Thursday, April 27, 2006

White Rim in a day...


Oh boy, the views, the hundreds of desert miles and the big-nasty burrito are heading my way. If you haven't guessed it, I'm riding the White Rim this weekend. The White Rim trail is mostly desert double track in Moab, UT. However you cross some of the most scenic terrain in all of the US! It is desolate, big and full of 360-degree views. The ride distance is a little over 100 miles. The time to complete the ride needed is roughly 9 -12 hours, if you're doing it in a day. I'm hoping to bang this out in 8 hours - we'll see.

Stay tuned to this blog for a podcast and video on www.yourmtb.com...

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

The Edge Loop - IMBA EPIC

I did it! I finally road the Edge Loop in Fruita, CO. It was incredible – full of climbing, fast, twisty singletrack and a 50-foot waterfall descent on a sketchy piece of wet rope. By far it was one of the most amazing rides I’ve ever done. I created a video of the waterfall descent. You can click HERE to see it…










Beginning of the singletrack...

Monday, April 24, 2006

The shaving...

Well, it is that time of the year again. Time to shave the head. Wow! Check out that tan line...

I bet my tan line is better than yours...

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Riding the passes - Coal Bank

For those of you who love the high altitude, Durango’s Coal Bank pass is it! Yesterday was my second journey in a row to Coal Bank’s 10,640 feet. Granted, the riding was all road, all the time. But, the training, the views and the bonking come complete at the top.

Yesterday’s ride to Coal Bank pass began in downtown Durango, near my house. It was one of those Colorado spring days when the mountains bring cooler air into the valley. Actually, the air was northern and a bit cooler than I was expected. The ride into the Animas valley was somewhat slow, as I needed a lot of warm-up time following an hour and a half mountain bike ride in the morning. The Animas valley is not to be overlooked. It is very deceiving especially when the winds pick up or you’re riding in a fast group of pros. At 15 miles, roughly, the Animas valley, or flat portion of my ride, ended. I turned onto 550 and headed up Shalona hill.

For those of you who don’t know Shalona, it is the widow maker, the lung-buster, the beginning of the end, the separator, the toughness factor all in one. What I mean is during the group rides, Shalona can crush even the strongest rider, and separate the rest of the pack. If you’re riding alone, Shalona is the beginning of the 3,000 ft climb to Coal Bank. My goal was to keep a steady pace up – I didn’t want to blow my leg power. At the end of Shalona, the road flattens for a disappointing 30 yards. It was time to take it slow, recover and prepare for what, in Durango, we call new Shalona.

If you’ve ridden the Durango Silverton Narrow Gauge steam engine, then you’re aware that it stops roughly halfway to Silverton at Rockwood. The little town (about three houses strong) supplies the train with additional water for the journey through the passes to Silverton, CO. It is also the end of the new Shalona climb. This climbing section is fairly steep, but not as long as the first Shalona section. It is just enough to get your legs pumped for the rest of the journey.

My next stop was at the Needles country store. This stop, following a short climb from Tamarron resort to Haviland recreation area, constituted a well-deserved bathroom break. I was out of the general store quickly, as I wanted to take in the views for a moment before heading off for Durango Mountain Resort and then Coal Bank pass.

The beginning of Coal Bank is a heart-wrenching 10-15 degree hill, depending on how you’re measuring it. In other words, the beginning of the climb is very steep. You don’t just ease into the climb – like you want too. The climbing gets fierce as you push through switchback after switchback. However, the views are almost 360-degrees. The mountains tower above you, like skyscrapers. You’re so close to the top of the world that your lungs almost burst. It is magical scenery to experience.

At the top, I pull back the reigns of my Colnago and bust out the Gu. It is time for a recovery snack. My break it quick and to the point. My plan was to ride up to Coal Bank and finish the day at Durango Mountain Resort where Christina, my Fiancé, will meet me with a bottle of wine, crackers and cheese – yesterday was a date night, because she is leaving for New York City. I point my wheels downhill and begin my descent.

If you haven’t experienced 50 miles per hour on your bike then mark it on your to do list. The same goes for passing cars. I was cruising. I passed cars with Texas license plates, easily. The once difficult switchbacks became speed whips, as I gathered momentum on each turn. I tucked to gain even more speed. The fun mounted as I reached the steepest part of Coal Bank. 51 mph, 52 – my speed quickened, however, naturally, like all good things, the speed came to an end as I turned the last hairpin corner. I moseyed on to Durango Mountain Resort and found my Christina waiting patiently. Ahhh, the after ride wine – what could be finer.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Another poll, Walker?

Yeah, but this poll is a lot more funner (hee hee). I am curious, if you had all the resources of the world at your fingertips where would you go to take a mountain bike vacation. To visit the poll click here.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Getting Skinny...

The Dawn til Dusk race in Gallup, NM was a blast. The picture you see to the left is of your's truly starting another lap on the 12.5 mile course. Some ragging fan took this picture and sent it to me. When I received it, the first thing I noticed was my arms. I look like an erector set. I guess it is that time of the year when long rides take off the winter pounds (not that I've ever been that heavy). So, as I'm writing this, I'm thinking about my diet. Typically, I fill my gut with an assortment of chocolate bars and ginersnaps. There are also times when vegetables make it down the hatch, but it can be rare. Naturally, I'm thinking my diet isn't going to assist me on my way to international cycling stardome. I'm sure there are many of you who race or ride hard. As a benefit to your cycling, you overeat or eat a bunch of crap, like me. This begs the question what do you eat during the summer months? Do you focus on your diet? What is your favorite meal?

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

yourmtb.com

So you come to my blog, you read whatever you like and then you toss me a comment. Well, those days are over my friends. Now, I invite you to visit a new site dedicated to mountain bikers - that's right, let me repeat that: DEDICATED TO MOUNTAIN BIKERS!

YOURMTB.COM is full of stories and information from riders like you and me. Yourmtb.com isn't out to cater to the big pros and sponsors. It is about finding the small details about a new trail in Missouri or a new fashion trick for the ladies - and dudes. The site will contain such a community of mountain bikers ready to share their vision, lives and apres trail experience - now won't that be fun?

I am playing a big role in this new website. I'm considered the "Enthusiast in Chief". That's right I've stepped up into the corporate world, well, not really. The deal is I'm the site editor. My job is to get your butts off my blog and into the yourmtb.com world. I'm also creating podcasts and some video that will be coming soon! In other words, I'm taking all things mountain biking and giving them a better forum in yourmtb.com.

So, if you haven't been there by now, I encourage you to visit the site. What's the site name you ask? YOURMTB.COM.

PS: I'll still be around here, too...

Friday, April 07, 2006

Off to the Races...

Well, dedicated readers of Chain Ring Action, I'm heading to Gallup, NM to race the Dawn till Dusk. For those of you unsure of the race, it is long. The race consists of 12 hours of mountain biking. Solo participants are to complete as many 12.5 mile laps, as possible. The same goes for teams. Each lap contains at least 1,700 feet of climbing, undulating hills, technical slick rock sections and loads of fun! As always, I’m going for the win. However, it is early in the season, so the last thing I want to do is get discouraged by a loss. I’m hoping for fun!


Full details to come soon…

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Who Stole My Fiance's Bike?


Recently, I was struck with anger after my fiancé told me that her town cruiser was stolen. I should clarify that her cruiser has a maximum value of $49.68. The sole reason she purchased the bike was to help out the environment. She wanted to ride to work instead of drive. And, someone stole it! They took it off the rack, road it (probably drunk) and forgot about the fact that someone paid for and wanted this bike. Now she, along with others who have experienced thievery, has to deal with buying a new bike. Naturally, it will probably be my pocketbook taking the hit (I love my fiancé).

I can relate to her predicament, on a more personal level. About three years ago, I awoke one morning and couldn’t find my car, the bikes attached to it nor any other items that were once apart of my mobile suitcase – Ford Explorer. I was in shock for about two hours. Then I did what everyone else must do – I filed a police report. The cops came to the door, asked me questions and then told me not to expect the car, or the bikes, to come back home (I was in Albuquerque at the time). Again, the shock, but I pulled through it for a couple more hours. It became a lesson in letting things go. I was Zen.

About 10 hours later I called my cell phone, which was in my stolen car at the time. It rang and rang. Then someone answered it! I told them they were talking to the person whose car they just stole. The person hung up. What did this mean? Could I trace the call? Would I be able to find my car? At this point, any development was a step in the right direction. I called again – I really wanted to check my messages. A woman answered. Before I could release a wave of profanity, the woman on the other end calmly asked me to settle down. She said she was a member of the Albuquerque police department. She asked me if this was my car. I asked about the bikes. She said one bike was there, but it appeared as if another one had been broken off the rack. I asked her if the remaining bike was a road bike. She said yes – again, the shock. My new mountain bike had been stolen!

I ended up on the good end of a very back stick. Insurance covered all of my damage and theft. However, some of us lose everything in situations like mine. There are those who don’t own a car. They end up losing their transportation, if their bike is stolen. According to the National Bike Registry, it is estimated that 1.5 million bikes are stolen every year. That statistic is staggering. So, what does it mean to have your bike stolen? How did you feel when your loss equated to no work transportation?

Please email me or post your story.

Remember to lock your bike!

Monday, April 03, 2006

A a new spot in the Land of Enchantment...


Socorro, NM and Winslow, AZ have two things in common. The first is they both host amazing bouldering and climbing areas (near town). Second, they have been honored by being the gateway to hwy 60. This stretch of road is fantastic. Hwy 60 is great road riding, hot salsa, long high-country mountain biking trails, “Santa Fe” style art galleries, greasy tacos and fat guys on motorcycles. I travelled this stretch of road and hit up the riding, bouldering and towns, recently. Now, I’m going to tell you about it.

We arrived in Magdelana, NM Friday night – the trails, dirt roads and camping would be here. They were. We woke a little slowly after a full magnum of Bare Foot wine. I made the Yerba Mate and yelled at the Baxter, the dog that belongs to my Fiancé. With a much more agitated attitude than I had expected, my Fiancé, Christina, and good friend, Brian, quickly rose from their slumber. It was during that moment that I decided we would climb and ride hard – everyone also agreed, later that morning.

Our first ride would encompass dirt road riding covering 2,500 feet of elevation gain, scenic views of the surrounding mountains, a smooth forest service road and 12 miles of total distance. The ride up Forest Service road 235 was incredible. We maintained a slow speed, as we were inclined – literally- for some time. Our trail of choice was called 11. I guess they called it that as it is roughly 11 miles from the entrance to the campground. At the top of the Forest Service road, the trail begins, quickly. It dropped down through, what appeared to be, a run-off ditch. This first section was not very promising. However, after that quick awakening, we were soon blessed with oodles of single track – 3.3 miles of it. Other than one car, a ranger and a dump truck we were the only people out that day. The remoteness of the area, the beauty and the lack of noise made this ride one of my top 20.

Once we returned to camp, we were off to the Box Canyon near Socorro New Mexico. For those of you who haven’t heard of The Box, it is a fine place to break open the fingers. In other words, if you haven’t broken those finger tips on overhanging volcanic boulders yet then this is the place. The Box is full of Hueco Tanks style climbing. It is powerful, long and abundant. Brian and I hit the backside of the canyon with a vengeance. We tackled some of the areas tallest and most committing routes. Although, I am not in the best climbing shape, I was able to “hang”. After 2.5 hours of bouldering, we decided to head back to camp for some wine.

The best part about being fully active in the mountains is the camp fire, the stories that go round it and the warmth of the booze. We took it all in. There was no better way to spend an evening. What’s more, the camping was extremely easy. The fire rings are abundant, the ground is level and the fire wood was easy to gather. We spent most of the evening laughing and talking about our adventures.

I would elaborate on the following day, but I’m going to save that for me. If you are near this area, I do suggest you visit the Magdalena, NM riding and The Box bouldering. You won’t be disappointed!