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Yesterday I went for a shortie mountain bike ride at Devil’s Backbone Open Space. Heading north, within the first mile of trail, I spot a saddled horse in the trail, eating grass. My first assumptions were that the rider was thrown off or they got off for an emergency pit stop in the bushes. I looked around and couldn’t see a rider.


As I approached the horse, I could see a horse and rider ahead on the trail about 200 yards or so. The rider was calling to the horse without a rider. As I got near the riderless horse I could see it was a young filly wearing only a halter and not a bridle. This means that more than likely no one was riding the horse – unless the rider ahead was leading the horse and its rider.


Keep in mind this is one of the busiest trails in the county– if not the busiest trail.


The woman ahead is shouting to me that the horse is very friendly and I shouldn’t be worried at all about passing the young filly. Know that I’ve had horses in my past and I know that they can easily get spooked. This can mean kicking, rearing up or bolting away on a full run. My main concern at this point was to not spook the filly and send it though a nearby barbed wire fence.


As I got closer to the woman, she explained to me that this was the filly’s first day with a saddle on. She was trying to teach the filly to wear a saddle and to follow her on the other horse.


Having been a horse owner, I couldn’t understand why someone would put the filly and other trail users at such risk. What a stupid training plan for the horse. My mind was spinning.


I knew it was against trail rules to have dogs off leash; but is it against rules to have a horse off lead (the horse term for a leash)?


The owner kept explaining to me how gentle all her horses are and this is not a problem and the filly would just love it if I were to stop and spend time petting her. I told her “no thanks” and moved on.


Knowing I would encounter them again on my way back, in about 10 minutes, I was deciding how to deal with the situation – if at all.


On my way back, I could see that the rider made it to the bottom of one of the steep hills (I'm descending, she's climbin), while the filly lagged behind some 150 yards. As I made my way between the two, I could see two sets of hikers coming toward the back side of the filly. About eight people total. At this point the filly is blocking the trail in front of them.


I decided to ask the rider if she actually had a lead for the horse. She told me she did. I told her I have owned horses and in my opinion, her horse needed to be on a lead for the safety of the horse and the other trail users. This was no place to do the type of training she was trying to do.


Meanwhile the woman instructed hikers to go ahead and pass behind the filly as it would be no problem at all. I could tell these people knew nothing about horses the way they passed behind the filly. Both horses are now getting a little nervous with hikers closing in on them and me in the middle between the two horses. This was a situation with huge risk.


In between justifying her actions, the woman agreed it was a poor decision to have the horse off lead for the first time on this trail. She put the horse on a lead and everyone went safely on their way.


As it turns out, all “pets” must be on  a leash at Devil’s Backbone.


I wouldn’t be a bit surprised to see this woman again.

463 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: horse, devil's_backbone, off_lead

Sunday at 7:00 am I decided to check the wind forecast for our traditional Memorial Day weekend ride. See it for yourself below. What direction ARE those arrows pointing? Variable? Miscellaneous? Undecided? Probably in our face for the entire loop?





Twenty people were in my driveway, ready for a 90.2 mile ride that included around 6000 feet of climbing. The climb, as you can seebelow is around 50 miles, with the bulk of the climb between miles 26 and 51.This is the climb out of Lyons, Colorado towards Allenspark and then towards Estes Park.


Loveland-Lyons-Estes grades_blog.jpg

(Click on the image for a larger view. The grade near 20 percent was where I picked up my bike and turned it around at a stop.)


My strategy for the climb was to average the highest sustainable speed for the entire climb, which meant pegging Zone 4-5a heart rate and trying to hold that intensity for roughly an hour. Unfortuneatly, my heart rate monitor strap slipped down about 10 minutes into the climb and I couldn't go by heart rate as a guide. Since I was unwilling to stop and adjust it, because I was riding with a good group of people, I didn't get accurate heart rate data. You can see from the two files (one from 2010 and one from 2012) that barometric pressure influences the total elevation gained for the ride. - I'm pretty sure none of the climbs were flatter this year. ;-)


Though we had some gusty winds heading to Lyons andheadwinds most of the way on the climb, we were rewarded with a nice tailwindheading from Estes Park to Loveland. The temperatures were reasonable and we didn’t get rain or snow (which has happened in past years).


A nice way to spend any Sunday ~

465 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: colorado, estes_park, loveland, lyons

Last weekend I had a chance to try a new product called ShowerPill. The product is a large (9 inches x 8 inches) body wipe made specifically for athletes. It contains germ killer, Aloe Vera, Vitamin E and is Alcohol Free.


The ShowerPill received one of the toughest tests and that was cleaning up dirt after a mountain bike race. Normally I would one of the moist towelette products available at most grocery stores. I was pretty dirty after the race and based on my past experience, I would have used some six to eight of the grocery store variety of hand and face wipes (5.25 inches x 7.5 inches) which are quite thin. I used two of the ShowerPill packets.


There are times after a ride that extra water is not available, so I will use wipes only. That’s how I tried the ShowerPilltowelette for this experiment. (If I would have used water first, to get off the majority of the dirt, then I would have only needed to use one ShowerPill wipe.)


One thing I liked about this wipe is the higher quality of the wipe material. It is thicker and softer than those found in grocery stores. This feature makes cleaning up tough messes much easier.


I also like the feel of ShowerPill on the skin, over the grocery store variety of wipes.


Looking at cost, ShowerPill wipes run about $1.75 each ($3.50 ror cost for this mountain bike clean up). If I would have used eight of the individually wrapped grocery store towelettes, it would have been 8 x $0.44 o r$3.52 total. My clean-up costs would have been roughly the same.


Sans dirt and mountain biking, using a single ShowerPillwould be a nice option for after a run or a road bike ride when I won’t have access to a real shower for awhile. A single wipe is easily packable in any gear bag and is enough to clean up post-workout sweat.


If you need a quick clean up to bridge the gap until you canget a real shower, ShowerPill is worth a look.



Questions and discussion can be found on my Facebook page.


Cycling and mountain bike training plans can be found here.

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I was invited to attend a think-tank group at Specialized headquarters last week. It was a half-day session focused on women’s products in the triathlon and road cycling market.


There were three other women in the same session as I, and two more women were to come to an afternoon session. Each of us had different backgrounds and athletic experiences which added to the richness of the session.


We met with the designers involved in all things cycling and triathlon – bike, shoes, gloves, saddles, graphics, etc… I was really impressed with the passion of the design team. They are driven to design the best (fastest, most functional, most aesthetically pleasing, etc.) products on the market. It’s fun to meet the brains behind the products that end up on the shelves.


Opinions and ideas filled the room. It was exciting to be involved with the group.


They did bring out a recently released triathlon shoe – a rear-entry shoe. It’s a great example of thinking outside the box – or – perhaps following the phrase on the wall in front of the tandem time trial bike “innovate or die.”




Questions and discussion can be found on my Facebook page.


Cycling and mountain bike training plans can be found here.

592 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: triathlon, specialized, rear-entry_shoe, triathlon_shoe, time_trial_bike

If you're looking to land a cycling related job in Colorado - check out the Fort Collins Bikes Program Manager position

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ITU World Triathlon Event San Diego – wow, what a race.


The event looked to be a top-shelf production, as with all the other ITU World Triathlon Events. I feel proud that the U.S.A. could host an event of this caliber at the birthplace of triathlon.


It’s hard for me to know where to begin to comment about this event; but I'll start with a lesson for all triathletes wanting to swim faster.


I watched the event live on ITUTV for under $3 USD. If you're a racing geek and want to see how the fastest triatheltes in the world do it, you can pick up a load of tips by watching the the live event - or the taped long version. If you don't have that kind of time or maybe patience, let me help. We'll begin with a sighting lesson.


For any triathlete that wants to see how the pros sight during a fast - and I mean FAST - paced swim without losing a stroke, see the race coverage at this link. The link provides total race coverage or the taped long version. You can watch as much as you please, but if you’re pressed for time and want to see a great demonstration of how to sight while swimming fast, watch the time segment from 12:55 – to 13:10. In 15 seconds Helen Jenkins shows you how it’s done.


If you’re still lifting your mouth out of the water to breathe while you sight – you’re losing time.



Questions and discussion can be found on my Facebook page.


Cycling and mountain bike training plans can be found here.

605 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: san_diego, itu, open_water, swim_sighting, world_triathlon, helen_jenkins

Last weekend was the International Triathlon Union (ITU) World Cup event in Huatulco, Mexico. It was a well run event in a beautiful resort city on the south western coast of Mexico. This was the last Team ITU event for 2012 and many of the team members were racing to secure London Olympic starting line spots.


Team Photo Cropped.jpg


This program was designed to align with the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) Solidarity Mission and World Program. One of the goals that the IOC program is aiming for is to organize assistance so those with the greatest needs can gain autonomy. While autonomy is one goal, a fantastic result of the way ITU leadership has organized their particular program is unity.


What I mean by unity is that athletes from different countries, and regions, around the world are united through Team ITU. Athletes (and coaches) in the program support each other in ways that would be impossible if it weren’t for past team events and coaching programs. Of course I could talk about accomplishments in hard numbers (which I’ll likely do at some point) but what I want to emphasize is the intangible results of global programs like this one.


Intangibles include:

  • A better understanding for different cultures
  • A desire to learn about other countries and lifestyles
  • The willingness to help others on the team, though their homes may be half a world away (including sharing of equipment and tips for success)
  • The open arms of “once Team ITU, always Team ITU”– so past team members feel welcome and part of the team
  • Shared happiness for the success of others and shared disappointment as well


I could go on and on with examples.


When I was on the flight home reflecting on the trip, I wondered if solidarity programs like this one can help unite a world divided by autonomy? While autonomy is a goal, and a good one, I think if you read between the lines of IOC solidarity framework that there is also a goal of unity.


Kudos to ITU leadership for designing a program that helps people be both autonomous and united at the same time.


If only world leaders could accomplish the same.


(More photos are available on my Facebook pages.)

507 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: olympic_solidarity, team_itu