Sunday, August 3, 2008

Vail, CO

This past week I was at Vail, Colorado. I brought my Redline 29er (geared!) and I borrowed a Cannondale Rush from Skunk River Cycles. We arrived on Friday afternoon and on Saturday morning I was off for my first ride up Meadow Mountain. This was a 9 mile mile ride that became 18 after I got off course a bit near the end. It began with a 2000 foot climb in just under 5 miles. We don't find climbs like that in Iowa! It took me an hour!

On top with the big wheels.

Now for the ride down. Riding a 29er fully rigid beat the hell out of me, but it sure was fun.

Why ride in Colorado? This is why!

Near the end of the trail the trail literally fell into someone's future basement. I crawled up to the road and rode another 8 miles trying to find the right way back. After over an hour of exploring strange single track I rode into a town and took the highway back to my car. Strange. I actually had a cute girl ride up to me in town, rode to my car with me and then asked me to ride Meadow Mountain with her. I declined. In 18 years of marriage (as of July 28th) I think that was the first time I have ever been hit on. Tammy seems to be hit on weekly if not daily. I guess I am the lucky one huh!??! %^)

On Sunday, I rode with the fellow Mobsters, Andrew and Stephan Carney up Vail Mountain via the gravel rode. I think this was something like 3000 in 7 miles. It didn't seem steep, but we nearly granny geared it all the way. Of course, I was holding those two super freak of natures back!

Once on top we rode the Grand Traverse. This was a 4-5 mile climb of about 1000 or so feet. Then we turned around and rode the most incredible single track of my life. I was smiling ear to ear and couldn't stop. There is nothing like riding waving single track for miles. It was incredible. We only stopped to take pictures. If you are ever in the Vail area you must ride this. It is not hard at all, just pure perfection. Here are some photos.

Once we topped out we rode some single track about half way down the mountain until it started raining. We got completely soaked and it was a cold ride down, but still tons of fun! Once on bottom they even had hoses to wash off the bikes.

On Monday, it was rest day. Tammy, Paula, and my brother and sister in law, Tim and Angie, along with their kids went shopping in Lionshead and Vail Village. Vail is pretty cool to hang out in. We ate some great food and just chilled. We also took the gondola up the mountain and had a ball. I then called Paragliding Adventures out of Glenwood Springs so Paula could have the trip of a lifetime.

Paula about to take off. Her instructions were to run as fast as she could TOWARDS the edge of the mountain.

Making the leap of her life!

And they are off!

Enjoying a tour of Glenwood Springs

A picture from the ground

Paula right after she landed. She had a ball.

We then headed back towards Vail and saw a sign for Hanging Lake. We decided to pull off and to check it out. It was one of the highlights of the trip. If you ever are near Glenwood Springs make sure you stop. After a 1.2 mile hike...

You get to this

And this. This is a picture of my brother and sister in law and their kids, but in the background you can see two waterfalls that come shooting out holes in the cliff. Pretty awesome.

What a great day.

The plan for Wednesday was to ride down Vail Pass. Our time share unit has all kinds of activities each day and on Wednesday they would drive you 16 miles up the road to ride the bike path back to Vail. This was all down hill!

On Thursday I had planned on driving over to Breckenridge to ride Loop 2 of the B 68
route as my good friend Jim McGuire had ridden it just the week before and had a blast, also Andrew Carney was raving about the course.

But...... on Wednesday afternoon, my brother in law, Tim and I decided to go for a ride. We rode up the rode on Vail Mountain for a ways until we saw some single track. We rode just a bit until we realized that we were going the wrong way. Since both Tim and I love Aspens we decided to take some pictures. I broke cardinal rule number one and asked Tim to take a picture of me riding the single track. Well, first off, we were on a black diamond (downhill protection highly recommended) route that I didn't realize until it was too late, but then I also had Tim taking pictures of me going down steep single track while standing on the trail. I ran the bike up the hill, rode down just fine, but then had to stop. Obviously, going over large rocks and roots galore and then stopping on a steep downhill wasn't smart. I endoed at about 4-5 mph, but in doing so, I drove the end of the handlebar into my ribs. I was fine at the time except I felt like a redneck telling my brother in law, "Hey, watch this!". Dumbass of the month award for me. We rode home (still having fun, but feeling like a showoff that deserved what he got). After getting home my chest really started hurting and I wondered if I broke a rib or two. I pretty much knew my riding was over for the week at this point. I woke up on Thursday morning in a lot of pain and took it easy the whole day. I was REALLY upset that I couldn't ride more, but was also happy that I wasn't in the hospital. At this point (on Sunday) I am feeling much better. I think I just bruised my ribs. They hurt, but are a lot better than yesterday when I thought my riding will be delayed a few weeks. I should be riding this week now!

Tim took some great pictures of my endo so stay tuned!

On Thursday we took some time to drive up to Piney Lake. This was about 45 minutes up a dirt road from Vail. There are tons riding opportunities up here and someday I hope to be back!

Now let's see if I can get some racing in in the next month or so!

Happy training.

The endo in pictures!

So far, so good, until I need to stop as Tim in on the trail. I probably am watching Tim more than I am watching ahead of me and as I slow down (those hydraulics sure have some power!).....

And my ribs still hurt! I was feeling really good until I watched a Robin Williams stand up routine tonight and now they are hurting again. Hopefully they will be better tomorrow!


Andy said...

Paul, great story and great pictures! Can't wait to see a picture of that endo!

Carney said...

That pic of you in peak endo position would make a great header photo!! :)

Paul said...

You think so huh? I am still embarrassed by it.

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