Archive for Cycling

The White Rim

// October 4th, 2012 // No Comments » // Cycling, Reflections

Nearly twenty years ago I went on a three day off road/climbing adventure in Canyonlands Utah.  The trip was spectacular and all I could think about was coming back to do the trip on my mountain bike.  Well, last week I got the chance to make this 20 year old desire a reality when I finally biked the 100+ mile White Rim trail in a day.  One of the great joys of this day was to spend it with some good friends.  David Baker (of the Mountain Blind Man – he is not blind just in the business of blinds), Gil McCormick of Wheat Ridge Cyclery fame (largest bike dealer in Colorado) and Cole Bangert (National Downhill Mountain Bike Champ – who was there for a race so he drove support for us before his race – what a guy).

The fall weather was perfect and the recent rains had left the trail slightly more packed and a little less sandy than it would ordinarily be.  We began the day with a climb out of Mineral Bottom camp at 7:20 a.m. riding the loop in a clockwise direction.  There are arguments as to which way is the best way to do this ride and I can see the merits to both, my only suggestion would be to begin early, start with a climb, and bring tons o’ water.  One last word – Chamois Buttr.  While not super technically challenging I did find the grind of a long, rocky, sandy day of mountain biking to wear on my mind as well as my hind.

Why?

I think when we challenge ourselves with such endeavors and surround ourselves with good people that we can trust, we discover that we can go further, faster, and have more fun doing it than perhaps we thought possible.  At the end of the day we can feel good about ourselves for having invested in possibilities and having persevered to accomplish a life goal.

Deflated to Elated

// June 18th, 2012 // No Comments » // Advice, Cycling

The other day I was riding my bike up a rugged, steep, loose, dusty dirt road.  We have had a dry spring and summer which has left the road in a powdery, dry, dusty state forcing us mountain bikers to ride through this moon-dust like dirt sometimes up to two inches deep.  The pace, the hot sun, and the conditions make for a heavy sweat which can quickly soak one’s clothes.  Dripping in sweat I was not too thrilled when I heard that dreaded hissing sound of a tire rapidly going flat.  Dismounting my bike to survey the damage my feet were immediately engulfed in moon-dust and turned a dark brown.  The dust floated up my legs and soon they too were a muddy brown as the dust mixed with sweat.  The sun continued beating down and as I engaged the project of fixing this tire it seemed as though this dust and these circumstances were getting the best of me.  Sitting down and wrestling this tire in the dirt was beginning to look more and more like a mud wrestling match.  Covered in sweaty dirt-mud I looked up to wipe my brow, and as I did saw a fallen aspen timber lying near a small, cool creek with lush green grass all around in the shade of other trees.  “Now that is where I wanna fix a flat!” I exclaimed.  It was not a race so why was I trying to change it right where it happened?  It was time for a change of position.  Grabbing all my gear I picked up and moved thirty feet over to the lush, green, shaded goodness by the creek and propped myself on that sweet smooth log.  Soon the frustration went away and an aggravating ordeal turned into one of pleasure and joy.

I have heard people say that “we can’t change our circumstances, but we can change the way we respond to them.”  I don’t think that this is always true, there are indeed times when we can change our circumstances – we just have to be willing to get up and move.  Why do we allow ourselves to wallow in sweaty, loamy, dusty misery when just a little effort and fresh perspective can move us to the comfort of a log and a cool, clean brook in the middle of tasty, lush, green, shaded goodness?  Sometimes it is because we are in a race and we can accept those conditions, but beyond that why not look up, take a step to the side, do something different, make a change, find something better, whatever you do don’t just accept that the  place you are in is all that there is.  Most of the time there is something better if you take a second to just look.

…as wild asses in the desert go they forth.

// May 4th, 2012 // 2 Comments » // Cycling, Leadership, Reflections

20120504-070518.jpgMountain bikes, road bikes, 4×4′s, Razrs, dune buggies, rock crawlers, street motorcycles, dirt bikes, climbing gear, golf clubs, airplanes, paragliders, rafts – what good is a men’s trip to Moab Utah other than an excuse for guys to pull out all the toys and go play? – we have seen it all. While the toys are great, the best part is honestly the time forging friendships both new and old in the inhospitable environment of the Utah desert. Job 24:5 says “like wild asses in the desert go they forth” which for the purposes of good humor has become the motto of the trip. Having a few pastors in attendance allows for some good teaching around the evening fire and tends to give us some credibility as well as some thoughts to reflect on as we then go forth into the desert the next day.

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I have said before the value of sports is in the values sports instills in us. This statement was never truer than while on an epic 30 mile mountain bike ride and linkup of multiple trails. With my friends Dave Baker (a former D-1 hockey standout) and Gil McCormick (GM of Wheat Ridge cycler, former racer, and alpine hard man) I headed out well prepared with lots of snacks and water for a ride that we knew, due to the terrain, would take possibly more than six hours.
Navigating the winding canyons, over the slickrock, through sand, perching on precipices we rode under the hot sun continually seeking the best route and trusting in our one-eyed leader Gil (Gil lost sight in one eye while climbing a new route on Pumori in the Himalayas years ago). In this landscape getting hurt, lost, having weak or unprepared partners can be unforgiving, even so I never felt that way due to the fact that I was riding with guys I knew and trusted. I was having the best ride of the year because I wasn’t worried, felt prepared and in control. How often in our daily lives do we get to experience this kind of trust – trust made up of reliance and confidence that releases us from fear and worry. Sports – wether they are extreme or mainstream provide a venue to develop this kind of trust.

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Francois de Salignac de la Mothe Fenelon said this about trust in _The Seeking Heart_ “here is a way to know if you’ve actually trusted God with something – you will not think about the matter any longer, nor will you feel a lack of peace.” how great it is to know this trust, as well as a deep trust in the people you have surrounded yourself with. After the ride Gil said this “Seems you can hang out in lost and stressful situations, tired and worn out, and still have a sense of humor. Testimony to your extreme endurance and patience with the blind and half blind.” I took it as mere flattery and could easily say the same of my friends, but because of who they are things never felt desperate or out of control, just some guys doing a long ride in the middle of nowhere. I’m thankful for sports for the friends that come with them and for the values they teach as they wear us out but not down.

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The Pace-line (in honor of bike to work day)

// June 22nd, 2011 // No Comments » // Advice, Cycling

Are you feeling deflated, cold, lonely, as if the ride is all uphill with no sign of relief?  Join the crowd.  Really, join in.  So many times we try to do things on our own, under our own strength and find our motivation lacking, the hill too long and too steep, the battle too hard.  What we really need is to let go of a little pride and find a pace-line to join.  In doing this we take turns cutting through the wind, we can find a place in the slipstream to regain some energy and strength in the legs.  It is seldom that the solo breakaways make it to the finish line first for the victory, but those that learn to ride in concert with others ride faster and last longer.  It works in cycling so why wouldn’t it work for me if I happen to be battling cancer, struggling with alcoholism, lapsing in my faith, or just plain wanting to give up?  The best support I have found is when I find others that are stronger, that lift me up, until I am strong enough to support the ones needing my help.  At first maybe I am not the one to lead the pace-line, but just finding my place inside a strong group until I find my riding (or character/resolve) has been elevated to the point where I can now lead.

With today being bike to work day and gas costing close to $4/gallon, a lot of people are probably going to try to make a resolution to start riding/commuting everyday.  Certainly a good thing to do for health, finances, and environment, but many will find it hard to keep this going for much more than a week.  The best thing we could do to help us with our resolve is to invite others into the pace-line.  This is the cyclist’s version of car-pooling and with a little accountability we can keep each other “back in in the saddle” (check out iMap My Ride for a great way to share ride info with others).

“Two are better than one for they have a good return for their labor: if either of them falls down one can help the other up.  But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up…Though one can be overpowered, two can defend themselves.  A cord of three strands is not easily broken.”  Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

May is Bike to work month

// May 17th, 2011 // No Comments » // Cycling

May is bike to work month and in celebration of that fact I am going to try to ride my bike as much as possible.  Riding for fitness is great, but I want to incorporate it into more of my every day errands as a substitute  for my car and to defray the cost of $4/gallon gas.  The weather here in the mountains does not always cooperate with these plans and living 1,000 feet above town makes every errand a chore so a fine machine like the Cervelo R3 makes quick work of these mountain roads.  My friends at Venture Sports in Avon have allowed me to ride numerous bikes and even take them home for days at a time to see what best fits my needs.  They run a friendly and competent shop with top of the line gear, so if you might be looking for a bike yourself, give them a call or visit and celebrate ride to work month in style.  www.avonventuresports.com The R3 is race ready, light, agile, quick, responsive without being twitchy or nervous and is well suited for long rides and steep climbs.  Follow venture on twitter to find the latest deals too.  @venturesports