Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Cruising on the Colorado Trail.... It's a RACE or It's a TOUR

Cruising on the Colorado Trail.... It's a RACE or It's a TOUR. I will let you know how it goes.

My final gear dilemma is Bivy Sack or Tarp Tent. If I choose Bivy Sack - then I'll go for some long days and nights, and that means RACE. If I go with the Tarp Tent (and thus a sleeping bag) then I've committed to a nice long vacation while TOURING the Colorado Trail.

In the end, Race or Tour, it doesn't matter. For me, it's all about the 500+ mile cruise on my bike.

So, I'm fully prepared, mentally. But physically prepared? Not even close. But who cares. Suffering is Suffering. Pain is Pain.  It doesn't matter. It's all in the head. At least for us dudes that roll at the Back of the Pack.

The Colorado Trail - The Bike Route:

For complete information (or semi complete) check my other website / blog:

SingleSpeeding on the Colorado Trail

A link to my Spot (the beacon) history:

The Link. Dude. Dudette.  But check below for the killer Trackleaders info.


The  map and relevant race resources. I'm a yellow marker - probably the JR yellow marker. If for some reason you don't see the JR marker - click on this Trackleaders link or find my name at the right and it will take you to a different page.

The Setup:

I'm rolling out with Black Sheep Highlight - The Padres Ride... my race bike. I was planning on making this a fatbike (Black Sheep Snow Roller) tour of the Colorado Trail. But the fatbike has a flat. I'm not motivated to fix it. AND the Morale Chairman can't participate. So what fun would it be to cruise a fatbike phat style across Colorado, solo. Actually, it would be a ton of fun.

I rolling with a 32x20 setup. Last year I tried 32x20 during a few scouting rides. But lowered the ratio to 32x22 for the 500 journey (but bailed to the asphalt at Purgatory.) So, I now know that I'll be walking most climbs. Therefore I'll need to 'gear up' for the bypasses. That's the strategy, anyway.

just some gear and a sheep

And Remember:
  • Don't try and contact me. My phone will be off AND I may just leave the communication device with Los Padrinos. This is a RACE! It ain't no social event.
  • I'm rolling out with the minimal gear, maybe. But if I commit to TOUR mode, then I'll pick up more gear & supplies in Buena Vista. Yes, that's legal - if I buy it or pick it up at the Post Office. READ THE RULES.
    • Definition of Self-Supported: The guiding principal is "Do. It. Yourself" and "equal opportunity" for all racers, regardless of whether you live in a town the CTR passes through or on a different continent. So, gas stations, restaurants, hotels, campgrounds, and any other commercial services along the route are fair game as long as they are not pre-arranged.
    • Maildrops to a post office and only a post office. It's not the job of a gas station, motel or restaurant to hold your package. That's what a PO is for. Buy snacks at a gas station and sleep at a motel, but don't mail them your junk. Imagine if everyone in the race mailed a package to the same tiny gas station... 
  • TRAIL MAGIC? I don't do TRAIL MAGIC... unless it's totally unexpected and unplannedREAD THE RULES
    • Definition of Trail Magic: Beautiful, beautiful trail magic. Totally unexpected and unplanned support. e.g. a random person giving you a coke or an orange. Or finding a box of girl scout cookies on the side of the road. But let's keep the magic, magic - if you personally know the person who is offering unplanned/unexpected support, politely decline their offer.
  • Whenever I cross the Colorado boarder, It's always 50/50 that I'll return to life as I know it. This time it's 50/50 that I'll take the final DIRT NAP
    • Madre... JUST JOKING! I hope.

with luck and determination I'll be on Segment 22 early next week


Saturday, July 21, 2012

Trekking on the Colorado Trail, Again

Phat Marching on The CT. That's right, no PhatPacking on these trips - as The Padre was hanging with the crew. Yep, when The Padre is around we make sure that breakfast and dinner is a nice family event with nice relaxing conversation. Uh... yeah, relaxing conversation.
Anyway 80 + miles down, 60+ miles to go - in the Colorado Trail wilderness areas.  I'm on schedule to complete all segments of the CT in 2012 - assuming I don't crack or die while cranking out the miles during the Colorado Trail Race. (Judd's CTR start date is July 25th, just because.)

And.... WARNING... this blog posting is super boring. No humor, dude, dudette. The realities of life removed me from the The Alternate Reality. So no Ludacracy in this posting. Maybe I'll find my groove, once again, in the next few months.
So, here we go.

Highlights of the Wilderness areas around Leadville and Buena Vista
  • Seg 9 - this is a cool segment with cool views and awesome lakes. The trail is a see saw of ups & downs and the last descent is pretty damn steep.
  • Seg 10 - this segment starts with a steep climb, that'll wake you up, then turns into a basic high altitude cruise with a series of small climbs and descents. The trail seems to be a highway for endurance trail runners. Probably because it's a well worn / smooth trail - an artifact of the access to Mt Massive, Colorado's 2nd highest 14er?
  • Seg 12 - straight up, straight down, straight up then a long gradual descent. That's Segment 12. A few good views but mostly the tree cover shadows the trail.
  • Seg 13 - the 1st 6.5 miles of Segment 13 are in a wilderness area - the next 12 miles are accessible by bike. The 1st 3 miles are straight up the next 3 miles ate straight down. And it ain't fast moving on the descent. On the descent there are really strange burn patterns in the forest. Numerous tress were destroyed by a massive (scattered but localized?) fire. Example. A massive upright tree is charred - destroyed at some time. But another massive tree, a few feet away is healthy. Can lightning really destroy one tree in a cluster of trees? Wild. 
and when you think things really suck:

How would you like it if someone dumped your house on the side of the road?

The Data:
As always, it's all about the data and the pictures

The Code: blue = segments in wilderness areas, green = segments open to bikes, yellow = bike bypasses

Segments 9 - 13: what you would experience on foot: miles = 87.1, ascent = 17650 ft, descent = 18717 ft

Segments 9 - 13: what you would experience on a bike: miles = 91.9, ascent = 8424 ft, descent = 10333 ft
Lessons Learned:
  • You (me) always think that you're crawling up the climbs and hauling ass on the descents. But the data said that going down is as slow as going up OR or going up is as fast as going down. Totally weird
  • Blisters on the feet are just a 2012 thing. Four pairs of shoes - different gear - doesn't matter, blisters are just gonna happen. It's a downhill thing. Lucky for me, I only walk a few short descents in the CTR.
  • For some reason, the lightning & thunder always start right when we reach the high point of the trail.
  • We all have different ways to travel the trail - phat style
    • Prob-eee likes to get 'centered' with Mother Earth before and during his meals. And Prob-eee must consume calculated portions of liquid and solid fuel at regular intervals.  If he doesn't, life is Hell for all those around him. 
    • Lore, on the other hand, just jams her hands into her pockets and cruises up and down the trails - and eats on the run, if required. 
    • The Judd... He doesn't eat or drink on the trail. It's a phat thing. 
    • The Morale Chairman? That dude only walks if he's also pushing a bike. Because, in the end, walking should be saved for Walmart.
  • And the most important lesson - know the trail and water sources. Don't carry 9 lbs of water UNLESS you know water is scarce. Most segments have numerous water sources. Only a few are dry, like Seg 16 & 17 & 22. (I don't do the detour to lakes, such as Baldy Lake on Seg 17.)
And a Thousand Thanks
  • At Back of the Pack Racing we have the greatest Bus driver and chaperone that a team could ask for. The Padre puts in the miles and provides the laughs. The Padre is the last of the long distance drivers . (The 21st century term is 'ultra endurance driving' AND it is a competitive sport!)
  • But we can't figure out why The Padre does what he does. My Ideas: 
    • The Madre tells The Padre to look after 'little Juddy' 
    • The Madre eagerly uses every opportunity to 'throw' The Padre out of the house for the weekend
    • The Padre just jumps on every chance to hang in Colorado - just like Judd - especially when there is a jeep and jeep trails nearby.
What's Next:
The Colorado Trail Race will be a race this year - at the Back of the Pack. The Morale Chairman can't make the planned 2012 BPR Tour of the Colorado Trail. So the 2012 tour is now the 2012 race, because a race is a race - at times. Anyway, I know the route, I have the gear, I have a strategy and I have the motivation. Time to buckle down, bite my lip and give it hell
A Few Pictures:
I'll have more pictures up on the Single Speeding on the Colorado Trail site - in the near future. Maybe

Segment 9:

Segment 10

Segment 12:

Segment 13

And More Data:

Seg 9 - Tennessee Pass to Timberline Lake TH

Segment 9: miles = 13.4, ascent = 3096 ft, descent = 2851ft

Seg 10 - Timberline Lake TH to Mount Massive TH

Segment 10: miles = 13.0, ascent = 2629 ft, descent = 2529ft

Seg 11 - Mount Massive TH to Clear Creek Rd

Seg 12 - Clear Creek Rd to Cottonwood Creek

Segment 12: miles = 17.8 ascent = 472f5t, descent = 4196ft

Seg 13 - North Cottonwood Creek to Chalk Creek TH

Segment 13, the wilderness area: miles = 6.4, ascent = 2507 ft, descent = 2452ft

Segment 13, the open access area: miles = 15.4, ascent = 1876 ft, descent = 2555ft