Monday, August 31, 2009

Skirt Chaser 5K

Laura, Ryan and Vicki at the 5K Skirt Chaser.

This is a bit different than all of the other road races. The women all start off first with the men's division starting 3 minutes later.

First person, regardless of gender to cross the finish line wins $500.00

Before the race, we stopped by the Hot 107 van and encountered a very nice young man(Ryan), wearing a very pink skirt.

I asked him if I could take his picture and he even flashed a bit of extra skin. Too funny.

Laura said the leading man passed her before the one mile mark. He was smoking. She was sure that he was going to win the overall race.

I ran pretty good for me these days. 8:33, 8:33, 8:29 and .45 for the last .1.

26:15! I will take it. The best part for me was I ran the race totally pain free. It has been a long way back this year.

I had fun hanging out after the race with Laura and Vicki. Good times.

Oh, the ladies won the race this year and fairly handily(17 seconds or so).

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Living full out!

I love the pure unbridled joy Ryan Spilborghs shows at the end of Colorado Rockies game last Monday.

No grandstanding to admire what he had done.

He could not wait to get home to celebrate with his team. When was the last time you saw a professional athlete show that kind of passion?

That is living full out.

Living an extraordinary life.

What if we all chose to live every moment of our lives that way?


Friday, August 21, 2009

How do you train for a Century ride without a bike?

I am really on a roll right now, but my bicycles are not.

I noticed that the bike I had rode in the Copper Triangle in a couple of week ago was not functioning properly. The back wheel was sticking so I had to use my other bike, which was badly in need of a tune up.

I rode in the Span the Rockies ride last Sunday in Boulder Colorado. This was a really small ride that offered a 75K, a 130K and a 200K choice of distances.

I opted for the 130K(80.9) miles.

Most of the climbing occurred in the first 28 miles of the ride, but oh what a climb there was in the last mile or so of Left Hand Canyon.

I have a bicycle with a triple chain ring, which a serious cyclist would scoff at, but for a not very strong cyclist it keeps me on the road and help me be a more effective climber.

Problem is that I resist using the easier gear even though I know I am simply not a strong enough cyclist to take on steep ascents without it.

Left Hand Canyon is a fairly steady 16 mile climb. I did the first 9 miles of the climb in the big ring of my bike, which was a disastrous course of action. So at about the 21 mile mark of the ride, I relented and shifted into the middle ring of my bike, but by this time my legs were already burning.

The last time I rode in Left Hand Canyon was the year I was training for the 2003 Century ride and six years later, I had totally forgotten how much the road was about to turn up hill.

As the grade in the road began to increase, so did the burning in my legs and I began to feel very uneasy.

I am pretty sure at this point I was the last ride that was doing the 130K ride. I had not seen another cyclist with a number on their bike for a long time.

Six years ago, I thought of myself as a pretty good climber. Now I can't remember why I used to think of myself that way.

There were times during the climb, I could not turn my pedals over and I had to stop and rest even in my "Granny gear". I was spent.

Each time I tried to get back in the saddle and start riding again, I struggled getting my shoes clipped into my pedals. For some reason I could not get clipped in and I felt very fearful of falling again. I looked for a flatter spot to get back on my bike and continued to struggle.

For the first time that I can remember, I felt totally afraid as I failed repeatedly in my efforts to start pedaling again.

I don't know how many times I had to stop. As other cyclists zoomed by me, I pretended that I had stopped to drink some water and enjoy the scenery. I did get some good pictures at least out of my folly.

The last mile was so hard. Again I had to get off my bike and push it up the hill. Never have I had to this before. I felt like crying. I felt totally defeated.

Finally I made it to the top of the climb and mercifully encountered a 1/2 mile descent to the aid station.

Before starting a good stretch of descent, I put my jacket back on as it was quite windy and a bit chilly. Even during the descent I did not feel well. Any time I had to pedal for any amount of time felt horrible. My legs were shot.

I wondered how am I going to get back to the start line. I did not enjoy the descent. There were part of the road that had little or no shoulder and to make things worse the descent was into a head wind and a cross wind which really affects your balance on the bike.

I continued even during the descent to get off my bike and rest and take some pictures.

I was so relieved to make it to the next aid station at the 55 mile mark. There was only about a marathon left to pedal and would be mostly flat with a few rolling hills. My legs finally were feeling better where I could pedal again.

I chatted for a mile or so with a young man who was training for his first Ironman in November. It was the first time all day I was not riding entirely by myself. It was nice to have some company, but we soon turned different directions and I was by myself again.

A volunteer at the last aid station told me there were 15 miles to go. We headed east into a very uninteresting part of the ride. Ugh. Now there was not even any scenery to distract myself with.

Shortly before the 75 mile mark I almost stopped at a 7-11 to get something cold to drink. Any excuse to get off the bike. I decided to forge on. After a brief stop at a light, I crossed the intersection at Arapahoe and headed towards Baseline Road.

200 yards or so, something went horribly wrong. Suddenly I could not pedal. My chain locked up. I got clipped out of my pedals without falling and looked down at my bike. The jacket I had worn during the descent had fallen out of my jersey pocket landed on my chain and in a matter or seconds tore the derailleur off my bike.

I struggled to free my jacket from the chain. I had to remove the rear wheel and after finally freeing my jacket from a jacket eating chain, I knew the damage to my bike was beyond repair.

I was done riding for the day. I was still 6+ miles away from my car.

I was barely able to reattach the wheel to my bike and I set off to walk back to my car.

I pushed my bike on a very busy street in Bolder, sadly holding on to the chain of my bike.

I walked about two miles when a nice young man in a convertible offered to help me get my bike back to my car. He was willing to let my throw his bike in the back seat of a really nice convertible. I found out later the reason he had stopped was because I was wearing my Team In Training cycling jersey and he was a former participant. Go Team!!!

I finally made it back to my car after another misadventure with my bike.

What is up with all of these accidents? Out of the last 3 weeks, I have managed to bend a wheel, break a spoke during a fall when my chain slipped going up a steep incline, because I did not shift into a ring where I would be able to keep my pedals turning over.

Tripped on some uneven pavement while running, the next week and now this. The only good thing was this week I managed to break my consecutive week of falling streak.

However I am now 4 weeks away from a Century ride that I have been training for since May 9th and I don't have a bike.

I took in my Fuji bike tonight and luckily that will only cost $20.00 to true the wheel and replace a broken spoke.

I fear my Bianchi bike will be much more expensive to repair along with my confidence.

Can I really take on the Big Nasty in 4 weeks? Am I strong enough physically to do this?

I honestly do not know the answer right now.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Brittany and Brandan fight on

Brandan went on his Make-A-Wish trip last week to go on a Disney cruise with his family.

My friend Brittany who is a 8 1/2 year AML survivor was able to spend some time with Brandan before they left and I suspect she may have spoiled him just a little bit.

I think this is pretty cool. Two of the heroes that I ride for, run for, spending some time together.

Brandan has a rare and dangerous form of Acute Myelogenous Leukemia. He has a long and difficult road ahead of him, so please keep Brandan and his family in your thoughts and prayers.

I met Brandan for the first time at the Team in Training Winter kickoff last year. Brandan is about the same age as my great nephew Keegan. So hard to imagine how different their young lives are.

I am so excited for this Thursday to arrive. Brittany is moving back to Denver! I am going to meet her at the airport and if time allows we will run over to the Mile High Station for the Denver Light the Night kickoff celebration.

Brittany is an avid volunteer for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. When she was in Orlando, I don't know how many events she went to for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, in addition to the time she spent volunteering at Give kids the World. Every time she has a chance to volunteer, raise awareness, give something back to the cancer community she is there.

Brittany and her family have raised over 100,000 through the Team in Training program.

Relentless for a cure and Brittany go hand in hand.

It is going to be great to have her back in Colorado and have her lend her passion and support to the Rocky Mountain Chapter.

Game on!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Love for Laiken

Laiken Kenwood's Mother posted this video on YouTube tonight.

I listened to this tribute to Laiken last fall, just a couple of days before the Denver Marathon last October during a radio-thon fund raiser for Loma Linda Children's Hospital.

I listened to this during work and tears were streaming down my face. I couldn't stop them and I didn't care who noticed.

In many ways Laiken reminds me so much of Kelly in the way she lived her life joyfully while living with a disease that no one, let alone a child should have to live with.

Laiken had such a bright smile, loved her friends, loved her family above all.

When I ran the Denver Marathon last fall, Laiken's picture was pinned to the back of my singlet right next to the picture of Kelly.

Please take a few minutes to watch this nice tribute to Laiken.

Love and Light x 13 x forever...

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Copper Triangle

I rode in the Copper Triangle last Saturday. The ride went over 3 mountain passes, 5,900 feet of climbing over 78 miles.
I even managed to do something I have never done before on my bike during the ride.

The event was a benefit for the Davis Phinney foundation. I love how almost every ride or road race has a tie to greater purpose.

I started a few minutes after 7:00. There is no mass start to events like this. This is not a timed event, although I did encounter a few people on the ride yesterday that acted like it was a race.

The course started from the base of the Copper Mountain Ski resort and headed out on Highway 91 where we started the climb to Fremont Pass(11,318) feet. The climb to Fremont Pass covered about 10.5 miles with approximiately 1,800 feet of climbing.

I did this climb staying in the large chain ring on my bike, which as I look back on it now, wasn't a very good decision.

For some reason, I have turned more into a masher(Large resistance, lower cadence) instead of a spinner(Less resistance, higher cadence). Spinning takes more work, but keeps the legs must fresher.

The year I rode in the Triple Bypass, I was much more of a spinner and I think I was a much better climber. For some reason this year, I just don't seem to be able to spin. Mashing has more power, but comes with a price.

After stopping at the first aid station, began the first major descent of the day. It was still pretty chilly(40-45 degrees) which is great for running, but rather cold on the bike when travling 30-35 mph.

The next aid station was 20 miles away and it was for the most part a very fast 20 miles. There was a brief climb to get to the aid station at the top of Tennesee Pass.

Leaving the second aid station, was met with another rapid descent, a nice stretch of flat road with a few short rolling hills.

We met a short, but pretty good uphill climb where we were treated to some great views for those that took the time to enjoy the fruits of the climb.

On a downer, there was an arrogant young man that taunted the other riders for not racing to the top of the hill and he spewed a obscenity laced tirade when another rider reminded him that was not a race. I hoped he would get a flat tire as he seemed to have plenty of hot air about him.

The bad part for me of finishing a climb comes the corresponding descent. I never feel comfortable in descending and I try and hang way to the back and give the other riders around me plenty of room. I don't think I ever pass anyone on the left during a descent. I have quit beating myself up for my lack of confidence during descents. It is what it is.

We passed Minturn and rode for a good stretch next to a river which is always a treat for me to listen to the sound the water makes. So peaceful.

We got to the first aid station at on the West side of Vail around the 56 mile mark. According to the map we would then begin the most difficult climb of the day ascending 2,500 feet over the next 15 miles or so.

I knew at some point the road would turn uphill and there would be some suffering on this ascent. The sun was now out in full force. It always seems to be sunny during the climb and then cloudy during the descent. The cyclings Gods seem to have a strange sense of humor.

So as I have done so many times, I thought of the people I am riding for and asked for them to stay with me during the climb. I know that while what I am doing is physcially challenging, it pales in comparision to the battles that my heroes and angels have endured.

I reminded myself that I was riding for Brittany and Trista, and Mason and Brandan(who is on his make a wish trip this weekend), Alyson(my newest little warrior hero) and of course my angels.

As I always do, I thought of Kelly. Much of the course I rode today, I had rode in the reverse direction in 2004 when I rode the Triple Bypass so I held those memories of her close in my heart as I headed towards the Vail Pass climb. I looked up towards the sky, touched my heart and whispered her name, and pedaled on wrapped in the safety of the love and light of my virtual peleton.

We crisscrossed between the road and bike path, crossed under I-70 where a volunteer noticed I was wearing my Team In Training jersey and she yelled out, "Go Team" and then she yelled again, "Oh my gosh, It's Ross. Go Ross!". One of the staff people from the Rocky Mountain Chapter had come up to volunteer at the event. That was such a boost to get a shout of encouragement. Thanks Tamara!

I kept thinking, this isn't as hard as I feared it would be. The miles were clicking by. We hit a steeper section and then I was lulled into thinking the climb was over. We started a brief descent and then had to make a sharp left hand turn and then the hill got steep very quickly.

I wasn't thinking very clearly. I didn't react in time to the steepness of the ascent. I had to decide if I wanted to attack the hill and get out of the saddle and power over the hill or downshift to the smaller ring and stay seated. The earlier mashing on the first climb of the day affected the decision I made. I opted for staying seated and tried to downshift to my smaller ring. The hill was too steep and the chain wouldn't go from the larger ring to the little ring.
It was too late. I hoped somehow it would release and I could make it up the hill and then the chain slipped off and the pedals locked and it was over. It was like watching a movie in slow motion. My pedals locked and gravity took over and I fell hard on my right side landing on my right elbow and right hip.

I have never fallen off my bike while it was moving. I got back up right away. Several people asked if I was okay. I told everbody I thought I was okay, but I was shaken up by the fall. It took me a couple of minutes to fix my chain. My legs felt really shaky and I was still on a really steep part of the path so I walked for about 1/4 of a mile where I could get back on my bike again and start pedaling.

We kept climbing and climbing. I didn't think we would ever reach the summit of the pass. The map had lied. The aid summit wasn't at mile 71, more like mile 74. Grrrr....

I texted Sue and Laura and told them I was leaving Vail Pass and they could expect me shortly.

The ride to Copper is all downhill and I don't think I hardly pedaled at all the last 5 miles or so.

I was relieved to make it to the finish line and get off my bike.

My Garmin said 79.25 miles, not 78. No wonder it took so long!