i have been at this same job for about 17 months now, and believe me it’s been kicking my butt.  i have either been working crazy hours, or else been out of town working crazy hours.  in either case i haven’t been in the best of shape.  i’ve actually lost some weight, but mostly due to atrophy.  my heart rate was jumping up for the most trivial task. i’ve been in town now for a couple of weeks and my fitness schedule is starting to return to normal.  i have tried to do something….anything everyday. at first it was mountain biking in the mornings….then it was running. more recently it’s been swiming some mornings and riding my bike to work, or running at lunch.  it’s been like a crazy cram session of fitness.

a couple of days ago i was telling this story to my coworker and he asked it i ever work out in the gym?  i denied such allocations and tried to change the subject.  i really don’t like the gym for some reason.  i think because the “gym”and all that it stands for imply “indoors.”   i’m not really an “outdoors” person, but when it comes to exercise i have to be outdoors.  anyway, after some more talks with my coworker, we came up with a pretty elaborate plan to get some exercise in on friday [today].

here is the plan…. at lunch we change into our running/workout clothes,  then run the trail to the longmont rec center, lift some weights,  run back to work.  we estimated that the run would be 1.5 miles or so.

here is my side of the story;  i woke up this morning after such a wonderful nights sleep.  i decided to ride my bike in since i had so much energy.  i took my time getting ready, there are just so many things to do before work. like make a lunch, get all my cold weather gear out because it was pretty freaking cold outside.   i froze my butt off getting in to work, but still rode hard enough to keep my body temp up.  work was ok, just a little cold…..work work work till 12:30.  at that time we got ready for our workout and headed out the door.  still freakin cold, and i am fairly under dressed.  my coworker was severly underdressed and looked pretty cold.

the run portion took quite a while since it was not 1.5 miles like i had originally thought. i think it was more like 3 miles…ugh.  the added distance gave us plenty of time to work up a sweat as we walked into the rec center.  i was sweating so much that one of the check-in ladies mentioned how much i was sweating.

cil: “wow, you are already sweating!”

me: “yeah… you don’t have any policies against that do you?….heh heh”

cil: …silence

cil: “no”

me: “heh heh”

so we got in, worked out on the machines and stuff…till my arms were shaking like a couple of small blades of grass in an open field of free range cattle.  after 40 mins or so, it was finally time to leave….and i do mean finally!  we actually ran back to work and tried to take a short cut which probably took off a half mile or so, but we were so tired that it felt bad anyway….all the way.  we got back to work and i was very tired.  i actually felt good, but not in a good way.  i felt good that the pain and suffering was finally over.  i was in the nice warm comfort of hig voltage equipment and soothing white noise from the mundane conversations going on around me.

i was not looking forward to riding home. i was thinking of bailing, but that wasn’t in the plan. i had to do it, i rode in, so i had to ride home…that’s the rule. the only real exceptions are mechanical failures, or i’m took drunk to ride home.  my bike was in fine condition, and there was no beer to be found anywhere….. i had to ride home.   it was so cold [sorry for the repeat adjetive, but it really was cold today].   it was a pretty horrible ride home. i was extreemly stiff from the waste up and i was getting stiffer by the mile.  my legs were extreemly sore and hurting like sand paper underware [maybe i should edit this later…?].  i put all my lights on even though it was not quite dark yet and put my head down and just pecked away at the distance.   i don’t know how long it took me, nor do i know how many times i almost got killed, but i do know that it is over and i am home.

now if i can only find some beer/

i didn’t feel like working out at all!

after missing the grand opening of a new trail in boulder county last week i’ve been preoccupied with the getting home and out on the new trail.   some time before i got home i got sick.  i was out in new jersey in a hotel with a fever and nothing to do but watch tv.  somehow i just forgot about riding all together.  yesterday was my first full day home and i wasted no time heading out to the trail.  unfortunately  the fever completely erased the fact that there was a new trail open in the area.  i stupidly headed out to my “everyday” trail.  i actually got about half way through it [the tough half]…. when suddenly i remembered…new trail!!!! “wtf am i doing here?” i turned around and sprinted bak to the car.  i was exhausted, just recovered from a fever, been at sea level for over a week, not to mention that i am not in the best of shape anyway…..ugh!   i headed out to the new trail, my head chest and both shoulders were hurting :).

the new trail is the opposite direction from my house so i was about 35 miles away.  it was a pretty long drive, but i was too excited to care.

there is a temporary trail head parking on red gulch road. there were only about five or six cars at the time.  i headed out on the trail and it starts out winding through a valley.


the trail is pretty buffed out at this point with lots of powdery dirt from all the traffic.  plus the trail is only a week or so old, it needs a few rains under its belt to get firm.


such a beautiful trail….. wait till you bomb down it!  there were lots of sections that were cut into the side of a hill.  you can see from the picture below, that it must have taken a lot of work to do this.


it’s really interesting riding on these sections, because there is a drop off on one side and wall on the other. also,  there are lots of sections where you have to turn on a bump, or else go off the edge.  if you have balls to go fast, your skills will improve tremendously!  i’m a little rusty, but i still went as fast as i could…. no brake usage!


just more pictures.





not sure what this was but it was pretty cool to see…

i love old abandoned vehicles.



as the trail heads up toward heil valley ranch it starts to look a lot like the heil ranch trail [forgot the name]


finally after a very short 5.5 miles, the picture rock trail connects to the wild turkey loop… woot!



the trail builders went through a lot of trouble to build this trail.  they made sure you saw some interesting sights along the way like to old rock foundations of something, and the sylo, not to mention the two abandoned cars.   you can tell that the trail purposely seeks out these land marks for us to reflect.

there is lots of single track on this trail.  the only problem is that you really have to pay attention to others on the trail.  there are lots of blind corners, and steep drop offs if you are not paying attention.  i would recommend going on off hours to avoid people.  this trail is ideal for some who want to improve their down hill skills.  just make sure your skilled enough to go fast!  i did this thing on the way down where i tried to not use my brakes.  i wasn’t too successful, but it was fun trying.


birthday ride

thursday was my birthday, and i woke up without a plan.  i wanted to do something challenging like i do every year, but this year i am so severely out of shape i was having trouble coming up with anything.  putting my bike in the car could have been the event, but i decided i should do something  a little more.  i couldn’t come up with anything interesting so i decided that i should go out and ride.  i started out going to do my regular old ride…the devil’s back bone.   as i pulled in to the parking lot i was feeling a little unenthusiastic…after all i’ve done this trail so many times i might be able to do it blind folded.  i just remembered this trail someone told me about a while back not too far from here…at least it will be something new… for my birthday.

bobcat ridge; almost 12 miles out and back, and 1500ft of climbing in the first 4miles.


i don’t remember when they had the fire, but it doesn’t look like it was too long ago.


looking down…


nice racing stripe in the rock.


wild turkey!!!


finally the rock park.

p1050525.JPG it was a pretty tough climb up to the top, especially since i was out of shape, and my bike is a single speed.  i can’t wait to climb this when i’m in shape.

happy birthday to me!

war driving

i’ve been so frustrated lately because it’s been pretty difficult to find wifi. we went on a “family” vacation last week or so and i tried to stay connected, but it was very difficult.  turns out mc donald’s wifi is not free, motel 6 is not free, but theh air port shuttle in seattle was.  i had to tailgate him in order to get it but at least we could get online. so anyway, i’ll post more about my vacation later. right now i am at denver international airport waiting for my flight….. and what do you know? theay have free wireless!!!!! this must be a temporary thing because of the dem national conv.  i hope it stays free, but i’m enjoying it now.

off to new jersey

so lately i’ve been feeling insecure about my blog, and i checked the stats of my blog.  i wanted to know the demographics of my “audience.” so as far as i can tell i only have a few readers per day.  kind of depressing actually, when you consider all the people in the world who have internet.  i do get some random hits per day from people who google for things that happen to hit some words on my website.   my blog has a feature where i can see the search key that the googler used to find my site.  lots of people looking for bike parts, trails  etc…

once, some jokster [i think he was related to me] used the search term, “stupid websites like ex-cyclist.com” :(

the search word that got my attention the other day was “gram of weed”!  why does my blog show up on pot related queries? i guess since i am writing about it now, it will show up on future queries.  i was kind of curious about this so i googled the same thing.  i went as far as 15 pages and still my blog didn’t show up.   how persistent was this person, to go beyond 15 pages.  i hardly ever go past 4.   so now i guess i have to add another category…”pot smoking”

oh, another search term that comes up regularly is  “naked cycling” [w/o quotes] wtf?  i don’t know why my blog is so high on the list.



chapter 1: the trip

i went out to cedar rapids this last week for more work related fun. before i left colorado, a guy from the company where i was going, asked if i had hotel reservations…hmm. i wonder why he asked that, he never cares about my trip? well, it turned out that after cedar rapids was hit by massive flooding last month, it’s been very difficult to get rooms. i’m not sure if displaced families are taking all the rooms, cleanup workers, or maybe just stupid misguided tourist, out to take pictures of the flood damage.

one of my coworkers ended up getting us all rooms at the cedar rapids howard johnsons. it was kind of difficult to find because it was already dark when we showed up and their light was out. kind of odd for a hotel to have lighting problems, especially since it’s near a major road way. i wonder if they turn on automatically or the hotel “manager” turns them on. anyway, we walk into the front lobby, which looks like a small decrepit vacant version of a holliday inn…express. after squeezing past the the pamphlet rack near the front door you will quickly notice the security monitor right on the counter top, facing out toward the customer. weird… it was showing almost the exact thing that i could see anyway. they might as well of had the camera mounted on my head, it wasn’t switching from different cameras or anything like that…just one view. there were a couple other security devices like those found in a 7-11, like a round fish-eye mirrors at all the corners, locked bathroom doors, and signs about money in the register…. the only thing they were missing was a height chart at the door.

chapter 2: “eintsein”

just as you walk in you could almost see down the main hallway. it’s not that the hallway wasn’t in plain view, it’s just that it was so dark and narrow with 7 foot ceilings, almost no lighting. it looked like a mind shaft, with crappy carpet. i wouldn’t be surprised if rabid bats flew out. another interesting thing, was that the employee side of the counter was actually larger than the customer’s side. they must have about 50 people working there or something.

when we walked in, a seemingly normal young guy, with an over manicured beard showed up behind the vast employee side of the counter. right off the bat, he looked confused as to why we were there. he opened his mouth. he had this “professional” voice where he kind of sucked in his chin, and tried to talk deeper than normal. i could tell that every word that came out of his mouth was processed and iterated over and over by his mighty brain, until he eventually formed sentences that he thought sounded “well articulated.”

“what can i do for you today”

my first thought was, “you could start by turning on the hotel sign outside, and while your at it, please turn on the hallway lights, or replace some bulbs or something…jeeze!

we informed him the we had three reservations, and we wanted to check in. he kind of stuttered and looked a bit troubled. he was standing in front of a really old computer was making lots of noises as if he just passed gas or something. we couldn’t tell if he was having trouble with the “reservations” or just the hotel software. this is probably what the software looked like, and why it was giving him so much trouble:


[he couldn’t find our room?]

after about 5 minutes of grunts and sighs, and facial expressions, he finally returned back to the conversation, “you guys are really lucky…we are overbooked and i’ve only got 4 rooms left.” then he informed us that he will have to turn people away tonight, if he runs out of rooms. i guess that’s why there is such a thing as “reservations”

my coworker informed him that two of the rooms should be non-smoking and one doesn’t matter. he said that he only had smoking rooms available, but he would try to knock off 10 dollars from the nightly rate. after several more minutes of noises expressing confusion, and matching twisted facial expressions…he finally announced, “i can’t do it ‘right’ now, but as soon as i can, i will change the rate for you” [not surprisingly, we never got the discount].

then “einstein” started verifying the bed counts for the rooms. we told him don’t worry about it, we each need just one bed in our rooms. then … he paused what he was doing; with a look on his face as if he just invented cake frosting, he started to speak. this time, however, his excitement must have locked up his internal “word forming” part of his brain and he was forced to form his sentences out loud….in front of all of us.

“um… i don’t know how… well, i have a question…or more of a suggestion …uh.. request…let me see, how can i phrase this…it would really help me out. .. um, since you guys only need one bed, would you be willing to share the room with two beds?”

my coworker said, “no”

“um, ok, i just thought i would ask because it would really help me out tonight.”

then he starts talking about the rooms again, and how he’ll give us the rooms, and how he’ll take off 10 dollars a night, since we “were being so cool” about everything.

the whole check in took about 20minutes longer than it should have. no fault of the 2800 baud modem he used to charge the card.

chapter 3: the hotel … part 2.

howard johnson’s…”where you feel at home.” at least that’s what their stationary reads. i can say without hesitation, that this place did not feel like home. i can say that this place felt like a sweaty locker room for the cheap cigarette smoking convention.

if you go to the howard johnson website, it seems as though howard johnson’s is trying to be hip and modern. they started refering to themselves as “hojo’s.” this hardly seems appropriate in a business context. if my boss asks me where i ended up staying…what am i supposed to say? “i stayed at the hojo’s…bee-ach!”

if the customers are any indication of how classy a hotel is…then this hotel must be one step up from prison. the cars in the parking lot are not at all like the lot at the holiday inn express. the holiday inn express, or ho-in-ex [pronounced: ‘ho-in-ex’], has a parking lot, which consist of 90% rental cars, and 10% family travelers. the hojo’s on the other hand, consist of 40% severely damaged beaters and the other 50% were jalopies with minor damage, and the remaining 10% were rentals from suckers like us who didn’t plan far enough ahead to get in at the ho-in-ex. another interesting statistic to the parking lot is that 10% of the cars had people sleeping in them…guess “einstein” gave away their reservations.

chapter 4: house keeping

there was a sign in the bathroom, that warned people about stealing. i’m really glad that sign was there, because i was thinking to steal this decrepit age worn sand paper like disease spreaders…aka “linen”.


funny that they are so worried about missing/stolen towels, because when “house keeping” finally cleaned my room, they removed all but one small wash towel from the room. wtf? i came back from a long sweaty day at work and just wanted to take a shower before dinner. then i noticed that none of my towels were replaced. i called the front desk and a guy answered the phone, “howard johnson’s… how can i help you?” i could tell it was “einstein”.

i said, “yeah…, is there any reason all my towels were removed from my room?”

einstein enounced, “no there isn’t, but i will bring you up some right now. ” [note: i was on the first floor.]

i said, “ok..do you know what room i’m in?”

einstein phrased, “yes, you are in room 122.”

i said to myself,”then why the f#$% did you answer the phone ‘howard johnsons?’ are some of the phones hooked up to the clarion across the street?”

so in my stinky “smoking” room i waited for the towels… 15 minutes passed as i waited for a knock on the door. i gave up and decided to walk “down” to the front desk. hmm…no one is behind the counter. i yelled out, “hello!” then einstein comes out from the back room…

“can i help you?” [i’m supprised he didn’t say, “howard johnson’s can i help you”].

“yeah, i need some towels!”, i exclaimed.

“oh…uh.. they are actually still in the wash… that’s how back up house keeping is…”, he said with a look as if he too was staying at the hotel, and his towels were missing too.
is that supposed to make me more understanding? am i supposed to say, “no worries, i’ll just shower whenever house keeping is less backed up….thanks”

i mumbled to myself, “then what the hell did they take them for? …and why the hell didn’t he tell me that on the phone!”. so i went back to my room and pulled out my camping chamois that i happened to carry with me [i don’t know why i brought this with me]. i hope they don’t try and charge me for those stupid towels.

chapter 5: wtf?

the size of the bathroom is about the length of a tub, and about the width of two tubs. the tub and toilet occupy about 3/4 of the floor space, and the rest is left for the inward swinging door. only, the door does not swing open all the way because of the giant full size ironing board hanging across from the toilet. so i don’t know about the rest of the guests in the hotel, but i don’t even get towels and shampoo, i smell like like a hundred years of cigarette smoke… why do i care about how wrinkled my clothes are? i just hope this freakin’ iron doesn’t fall on me. if ironing is such a big deal why don’t they add it to their unlit sign?

howard johnson’s

“continental breakfast”

“cable tv”

“ironing boards”.

my bike has a myspace page. i think i am going to sell it if anyone wants it badly enough.


i usually don’t like to spend the whole day out doing my stuff, but if i start early enough, i might be back before noon. right at dawn was my goal. this is probably around 5:30am. i made a sandwich, packed my new tube, and patches and before i knew it i was leaving the house at 7…. i don’t know what happened.

the first stop was the devil’s back bone. this was only about an 8 mile road ride from my house to the trail head. nothing eventful really happened, except that i found out that my rear hub was loose. too bad i didn’t bring my cone wrenches, all i had was one small cresent wrench…would have worked out perfectly if i had at least two. i managed to get it hand tight, and probably good enough. i rode the trail from the back bone trail head all the way to fort collins. there was some fairly technical mountain bike stuff along the way, but my touring bike managed just fine.

when i got to fort collins, i rode out to the south end of horse tooth res. i wasn’t really tired or hungry, but i ended up eating this instant tuna sandwich and some gatoraid. this was really a difficult sandwich to put down, because it was just bag tuna and whole wheat bread. i was just sitting there chomping on it when a really low flying ww2 plane came by.

the old plane….

as i was sitting there relaxing eating my tuna, watching the plane…. a good friend of mine happened to be riding by and saw me sitting there. we talked for almost an hour before packing it up and parting our ways. this guy is in such good shape, that after talking with him, i always feel like a 90 year old fat guy wait for rigamortis.

my plan was to ride around horse tooth to the town of bellvue and up rist canyon.

the rid up rist canyon was pretty uneventful. lots of slow gradual hill at the start.

this rode basically went on for infinity. only it gradually got steeper and steeper with fewer flat spots. i was getting a little worried, because i had no idea where i was, and i had already been fool by two false summits. i didn’t know where i was but it sure was pretty.

how did this whale get up here?

i finally got to the summit, but i didn’t take any pictures, because i thought there was more climbing to be done… i was wrong. going down toward stove prairie was even prettier.


after finally getting to stove prairie, it started to rain on me just a tad. it wasn’t too bad and everything looked so nice i had to stop and take a picture.

right after i got through taking this little gem, it started raining pretty hard. the next 20 miles or so i spent putting on my rain cover, and then taking it off, then putting it back on….etc.

so at the end of the day i traveled:

11 miles of off road dirt.

11 miles of road climbing

48 miles of road riding.

70 miles total…. don’t ask how long it took me.

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