Yesterday I told you about our week-long bike trip. Day 2 of the trip was a "Happy Birthday to Me!" ride up Mount Evans. (Route links in yesterday's blog as well.) What a great way to spend my birthday.
The ride from Idaho Springs to Echo Lake is a mix of the landscape like you can see in the photo below and forest.
For the week of riding, some of the athletes could only do a couple of days, some did only road riding, some only mountain biking and a few did the entire mix. In the photo below, the Mt. Evans gang poses at the entry point for the climb. Left to right are Ed Shaw, Bill Frielsdorf, me, Meeka, Ernie Wintergerst and Todd Singiser.
The remaining photos give you a few glimpses of the landscape leading to the top. First, the early switchbacks:
Ed Shaw powers up the climb, above treeline.
Bill Frielsdorf was King of the Mountain this day. Look at all that snow!
Todd Singiser standing on the final set of switchbacks before the top.
Ernie Wintergerst on the final few meters of the ride to the top.
Thanks to Del for taking all of the great photos. I'll post more photos in a slide show at the end of the series.
Round trip ride time today was 4:13, "out" time was 5:30.
I don't know if an Active jersey will make you climb as good as Ed; but it's worth a try. Active is placing a big order for cycling and triathlon gear. Jerseys are $45, shorts are $30 and sleeveless jerseys are $40. They are looking to close the order by Friday July 4th.
You can click the link below to see the gear. You can get through all of the steps to see the details and pricing before having to commit to a payment.
I'm definitely replacing my worn-to-a-nub jersey...
The link is below. All you need to do is click "register now" and follow the steps, pricing is within the order pages.
I was offline all of last week, busy riding my bikes (yes road and mountain) around Colorado. While I was gone, Hunter Kemper and Sarah Haskins claimed the final spots on the USA Triathlon Olympic team with solid performances at the Des Moines race. Congratulations to both of them.
Since 1999, I've been doing a week-long bike tour to boost my fitness and mostly because it's great fun. (The fitness boost is just a handy excuse to ride my bike for a week - as if I need an excuse.)
The plan came together last summer when Del, my husband, suggested that some of us that ride together a lot do our own tour. He said, "Why don't you do a road and mountain bike week and I'll sag for you?" (You've got to love this guy, don't you?)
Over the winter the plan was hatched, Bicycle Tour of Colorado a la Del, known as BTC a la Del:
Day 1: Road bike ride from Loveland to Central City. Overnight in Central City. (80 miles)
Day 2: Road bike ride from Central City to the top of Mt. Evans and back. (56 to 80 miles depending where we start) Overnight in Central City.
Day 3: Mountain bike from Central City over Rollins Pass to Winter Park (Estimated 20-25 miles). Overnight in Winter Park.
Day 4: Mountain bike ride in Winter Park, overnight there as well.
Day 5: Mountain bike ride in Winter Park and drive to Grand Lake or road bike to Grand Lake (40 miles) or some combination. Overnight in Grand Lake.
Day 6: Mountain bike ride around Grand Lake or road bike around Grand Lake.
Day 7: Road bike ride from Grand Lake back to Loveland over Trail Ridge Road (78 miles).
Because my internet access was quite limited last week, I'll give you a recap of what happened in this week's blog. I will tell you that the tour had to be modified due to lodging issues, snow issues (Day 6 in the photo below) and some road issues. More on those issues as the story unfolds...
For Day 1, we rode the back roads from Loveland to Lyons. After a refueling stop in Lyons, we traveled south on Highway 36 towards Boulder. Before hitting Boulder, we headed west on the Lefthand Canyon Road to Ward. This section of road is one of the classic rides out of Boulder. Just west of Ward, we caught the Peak to Peak Highway (72) just past Central City and Black Hawk to stay at a hotel that allowed dogs.
Ride time was 5:44 and "out" time was 7:00, a long day in the saddle; but fun.
I don't have photos from the Day 1 ride, but look forward to Day 2 - Mount Evans, "North America's Highest Auto Road" where we climbed 28 miles from Idaho Springs (7,524 feet) to the top of the pavement of Mount Evans at 14,130 feet. This route hosts one of the classic Colorado races, the Bob Cook Memorial Mount Evans Hill Climb. The route and profile can be found here.
This recent May, a group of us took a trip to Moab, Utah for some mountain biking. When we drove over Vail Pass on Friday, May 2, it was snowing. Winter did not want to lose grip on Colorado.
On the way to Moab, we stopped outside of Fruita, Colorado to try out the Western Rim Trail. We were running late and didn't get a chance to do the whole trail, but everyone agreed it was worth the stop.
One issue with a stop of any kind, is the migratory rock issue. If you don't know about rock migration, perhaps I can give you a heads-up.
It seems that rocks find a way to migrate into hydration packs, looking to be located somewhere new. How they find their way into a pack has not been documented. There are many theories about how a rock might appear in the pack of an unsuspecting rider, but none of these theories have been caught or documented by a camera.
What has been caught on camera is owners of packs finding these migratory rocks. Dennis Andersen can be seen below, removing a migratory rock from his hydration pack. There is some speculation that he carried this rock in his pack for an entire day of riding on the Soverign Trail system. Though he had three people riding with him, not one of them noticed the rock fly/roll/jump/crawl into his pack.
"Courage and extraordinary effort" in the current extreme situation is an understatement.
First, well-wishes are extended to all of the people suffering from the continuing flood issues in the Midwest. They are literally submerged in several feet of water and the water keeps coming. I hope they get a break soon.
In the face of losing homes, businesses and farms the Des Moines and Hy-Vee people are rallying to put on a world-class event. The Des Moines ITU World Cup pays the biggest prize purse on the circuit and is the final qualifier for a spot on the USA Triathlon Olympic team.
Right now, there are cautiously optimistic reports that the water quality is good enough to hold both the age group and elite races as triathlons and not cancel the swim portion of the events, turning them into duathlons.
In my last blog I reported officials said that if the swim portion was cancelled there would be an Olympic selection process based on the last four years worth of athletic performances. That has apparently changed, pending US Olympic Committee approval.
The current proposal is that should any portion of the Des Moines event need to be cancelled for any reason, the Lifetime Fitness Triathlon in Minneapolis, Minnesota on July 12 will replace the Des Moines event as selection event #3.
I'm glad to see the athletes get to race for the spots rather than have a selection process.
Mid-west flooding may put the Triathlon Olympic trials "race" at risk, changing the process.
The Rocky Mountains have seen unusually cool temperatures thus far. Some of the age group athletes didn't swim at the ITU World Championships due to cold water and high winds. The east coast is cooking with high temperatures and humidity. Tornados and flooding are pounding the mid-west. The flooding may change the Des Moines World Cup Triathlon into a duathlon.
Flooding in the area originally intended for the triathlon is forcing race organizers to look for alternate locations. While it is an important event for Olympic qualification, athlete safety should always come first.
If the original selection process cannot be used because of the cancellation of the swim portion of the Des Moines event, USA Triathlon will use a selection process based on athlete performances in the past four years.
The process will not be without controversy.
A column from the Des Moines Register can be found here.
Unofficially, Big Matt Reed got the job done today, securing three slots for the U.S.A. He also secured his own spot on the team. He did this by racing to a strong fifth place finish at the ITU World Championships in Vancouver, Canada.
He needed to place higher than several other men and mission accomplished. His competitors for securing that valuable country slot included these men and their respective finish places:
11. Dmitri Polyansky (Russia)
37. Brendan Sexton (Australia)
DNS. Terenzo Bozzone (New Zealand)
10. Ivan Vasiliev (Russia)
The weekend was chilly, with the swim shortened for some of the age group competitors and eliminated for others (turning the event into a duathlon).
I'll post more details on the weekend of racing on Monday after the official country slots are posted.
The race season is having a chilly start. Athletes heading to Ironman Coeur d'Alene in a few short weeks have been given notice that the current water temperature is 49 degrees Fahrenheit. By race day on June 22, swim water temperature predictions range from low 50s to low 60s.
Neoprene caps are recommended. Though normally not allowed, there is a chance that neoprene socks will be allowed.
Action at the ITU World Championships in Vancouver, Canada got underway yesterday. The juniors raced in cold conditions and pouring rain. Today, age groupers from around the world raced for world titles at the sprint distance. Video and photos can be found here. This is also the location to watch live coverage of the rest of the weekend's events.
With all of these cold races, seems there is a need for fur-lined wetsuits and tri suits?
Those of you following the elite racing know that Hunter Kemper pulled out of Worlds due to an injury. I read an update on his injury and he writes, "I am disappointed to report that I have been diagnosed with a small inguinal hernia in my lower right abdomen/groin. I have been dealing with the symptoms from this hernia since mid-February."
He goes on to say, that he plans to race at the Des Moines World Cup event. His journal entry dated May 27 can be found here.
Here is the schedule for Sunday's World Championship event, all PST:
Sunday June 8, 2008
07:00 U23 Women World Championship
10:00 U23 Men World Championship
13:00 Elite Women World Championship
16:00 Elite Men World Championship
18:15 U23 & Elite Medal Ceremonies
19:30 Awards and Closing Banquet
Sunday evening at 6:00 pm PST, we will know whether or not the USA gets three spots on the Beijing Olympic Triathlon start line.
Two years of racing comes down to the ITU World Championships in Vancouver, Canada this weekend. Those of you that have been following my blogs and columns know that the men's race on Sunday, June 8 will decide whether the U.S.A. will get three starting slots for the men at the Olympics in Beijing in August.
One thing that has changed from last week's blog is that Hunter Kemper is not racing. National Team Program Director, Scott Schnitzpahn, says that Hunter is still battling an injury and is staying home to get healed. Wishing you well, Hunter, heal quickly.
That puts all the pressure on Big Matty Reed. While there is pressure on him, the rewards go to him as well. If he can, at minimum, race faster than Dmitri Polyansky, Brendan Sexton and Ivan Vasiliev he has more than likely punched his own ticket to Beijing.
Can he do it?
Critics might say he has been racing too much and due for a bad race.
Others might say he is now healthy and on a roll that won't stop. He'll race strong and fast.
Best wishes for a strong race, Matt. I'm betting on you.
Traveling to an ITU World Championship race as a representative of the United States of America is not only for elite athletes-but age group athletes too.
Each year USA Triathlon sends a team of age group athletes to race head-to-head with athletes from around the world at ITU World Championship events. USA athletes earn a slot on Team USA by qualifying for, and placing well at USA Triathlon National Championships or specified qualifying events. For a full explanation of how to qualify for a future Team USA, check it out here.
ITU will provide live coverage of the weekend of events. You can find coverage details on the ITU website. If you can't watch live, the 2008 Vancovuer BG Triathlon World Championships will be broadcast in over 160 countries.
If you have not yet had the chance to watch an elite ITU event, the Vancouver race is one to watch. For those of you unfamiliar with the format, it is a draft-legal format that includes tactics and strategy similar to bike racing. These races are fast.
Last year at the World Cup in Vancouver, the lead male swimmers came out of the water in 18 minutes. T1 was 18 seconds. The lead bike group rode 40K in under an hour, on a hilly course. T2 times of the top racers were in the 30-second range. After all of that, they ran a 10K in around 30 minutes.
Specifically, Matt Reed was third at that race and ran his 10K in 30:53.
What do you think, will Matt keep that third country slot for the U.S.A.?