i remember flying to a foreign country for the first time. as we approached the airport we could see the people in the nearby towns; farming rice, and driving in small utility vehicles the size of go carts.  at that moment my first thought was: “wow, there is a whole other world going on without me”.  well, that’s the same thought i had when i found this link. i never thought that the chain was an option to the bike design. pretty cool…. i’ll have to bring a few into my shop for people to tryout. oh wait a minute i don’t have a shop…. yet :)



i wonder if this bike will support a fatso like me?

that front wheel looks pretty unstable, but at least there is no chance of me getting my toes stuck in the front wheel :)

well this bike renovation is not going very well.  for one, everything is taking a lot longer than i planned.  my wheels turned out to be the bottle neck.  i can do anything until they come in.  i can’t do the breaks, because the rim needs to be in. also i can’t put the break levers on till i get the shifters… and the shifters are supposed to get here with the wheels.

the hubs rims and assembly was ordered over one month ago.  the lame shop where i ordered it from seemed to order the parts in serial.  once they ordered the hub, and the hub came in… then i found out about not having the shifter…. so they ordered the shifter. then once that all came in they decided to order the rim then the rim became back ordered… i don’t really think that they did it like that, but from my point of view that how i found out about everything.  finally last week, i sent some really angry emails to them, and asked if they had any other rims in stock. they actually had a much better rim in stock, that they would sell me for a reduced price.  anyway i jumped on it and they finished the wheel and the next day it got shipped.  now that the wheels are in the ups tracking system, i’ve been watching it. usually ups takes three to four days… it’s been 6 days.  there was a weekend in there but still.  and now today is delivery day and the package has not even checked into colorado yet.  i know it’s going to be late, and damaged or lost…. crap.

the next item on the list is my thomson seat post. i ordered a beautiful post from some bike shop in san diego.  right off the bat i got an e-mail telling me they were going to be late [not back ordered…just late].  so i called up and had them send the brake cables i also ordered from them so i wouldn’t delay the project.  i can build the bike without a seat post, but the brakes are a little more key.   they sent the cables express usmail for 9 dollars.  it was just a small padded envelope!  they could have put some stamps on it and sent it for 75 cents.  and it would have gotten here in 3 days… which is how long it took.  so a couple of weeks later i get an e-mail telling me it’s back ordered.  i called them again and tried to change my order because maybe my seat post length was the problem. the guy told me to just hang tight for a couple of days. i hung on for almost two weeks.  finally yesterday i called and they still had no eta.  i canceled the order and found a bike shop on ebay that had one for about the same price.  i haven’t gotten the “your item ordered yet” but they sounded like they had this thing in stock.  we’ll see though…

the last item on my waiting list are some cyclocross tires. these things are so cool.  i wasn’t even going to put knobbies on my bike, because i was planning to ride it on my commute first.  so i am in no real hurry to get these, but i’d like to put them on my bike before i get it all dirty.  i called them the day that i ordered, because i wanted to add something. the lady was glad i called because wanted to tell me that her shipment was stuck in us customs… and it would be there for 7-10 days.  oh well… two days later i get an e-mail from them telling me that my items have been ordered and will be shipped via fedex.  i never got an e-mail from fedex or a shipping number… so i think they just ment that they looked at my order.

finally, i am really pissed off this morning. i just found out that i deleted my bike renovation post about how to install the headset.  i am really irritated about that. it took me almost longer to write about installing the headset than it did to actually install it.


right as i left the visitor center feeling all tough, i looked out at the road and this is what i saw.


very steep uphill, no shoulder, and it started raining again really hard and the wind was just out of control. i had forgotten that the visitor center is not the highest point on the road. it was some 400 feet higher just east of me [the direction i was heading] . it wasn’t just 400 feet, it was climb 200 feet, drop 200 feet, climb…etc.

i actually didn’t mind the climbs too much, because it was keeping me warm. on every descent, i had a very hard time of it. there was no shoulder and the traffic was coming on strong. i couldn’t keep a straight line because of the wind gusts. i finally just had to dismount my bike and walk down hill. i was getting colder by the minute… really cold. the wind and rain were both getting more intense. because i was walking i was getting no where. it was so depressing, after every climb i would look over the bend and only see more descent followed by more climbing. each next climb seemed higher than the previous. at this point i was really worried the something was going to happen to me. i couldn’t stop shivering, and my hands were getting too numb to do anything. one weird thing was that my hands could not do anything, but squeeze the brakes.

at one point i had to wait for a construction traffic light and there was no protection from the wind and rain. i had to sit there in front of all these car, pretending like i was ok. i thought my uncontrollable violent shivering might have given me away… but it didn’t. when the signal waiting was over the traffic guard told me to go first. i went ahead and tried sprinting across, so i wouldn’t hold back the drivers. i was “sprinting” into a direct headwind with rain/ice pounding my face and glasses. i couldn’t see anything but a blur of the other construction signal. right after i got to the other side i pulled over and tried to rest, while the traffic passed me by.

i little while after i stopped i found a place to hide from the wind. here is a picture looking down.


this is what i looked like at that moment.


more of trail ridge looking down.


this road seemed to never have any relief. the only thing that kept me going, was the fact that i could live to tell about it. when i finally got to tree line, things didn’t get too much better. the road is completely shady and the rain seems to be going strong. i could not warm up.


i was very happy when i got to the top. i ran into a few people that had seen me riding up. they were pretty impressed with my accomplishment… and so was it. i asked one of them if they could take this picture, so i could have something to show for my pain.

i was pretty happy… “mission accomplished!” i put on my new hat, and pulled my jacket sleeves over my hands/gloves and headed out of the parking lot. it was going to be an easy cruse down trail ridge road…. or so i thought.


there is the visitor center. it finally stopped raining hard.


i don’t know how many miles i’ve been in the saddle so far but i do know that i have 2 miles to go.


right now i can hear the thunder all around me. it’s almost every thirty seconds apart. remember those beautiful peaks in my last post? well they are echoing the thunder all around me. every time lightning strikes the sound circles 360 degrees around me. it’s quite disturbing.


can you see the visitor center? it won’t be long now before i get to tree line. it’s raining really good right now. in the picture just below, you can see a white minivan. nothing special, just i thought it was inspiring to see someone actually at the end.


the rain turned to hail, and it’s not feeling very good. i guess the good part is that i am not getting wet :) the lightning kind of stopped and i am starting to see tree line. i was going to stop and wait under a tree till the lightning stopped, but since it stopped i can keep going.

i got about a half mile into tree line and the thunder and lightning started! now i’m scared no where to hide… crap! i pulled over to the side of the road near the embankment hoping to get a little shelter from the lightning. there was no where to really sit down unless i felt like sitting on tundra… which i didn’t. so there i was standing over my bike in a ditch next to the road [sorry no picture].

one couple passed by and the guy asked if everything was alright dude… yeah i’m fine. while i was there i thought that i would get some food. remember it’s pouring rain at this point. i pull out my burrito from this morning and carefully remove the soggy paper that it’s wrapped in. this is not easy, because it is very fragile and breaking into very small pieces. i manage to pull it back about an inch or so and take a bite. not sure if i got all the paper off. so i don’t want to hold the burrito in the rain while i am chewing, so i bit off as much as i can before i get to the start of the paper.

ok, so do you have a good picture: it’s raining/hailing very hard, there is lightning every thirty to forty seconds, i am standing in a ditch over my bike, eating a cold taco bell burrito… with my mouth full. at this point some lady drives by and asks if i’m ok. i can’t speak, because my mouth is so full… i don’t know what my face looks like at this point, but i just nodded my head. i probably looked really sick at this point, she had this kind of scared look on her face. she said, “are you sure?”….”i have a bike rack in the back…” i really wanted a ride but, i was so close. i thanked her for the offer, but turned her down. i wonder if she even understood what i said, my mouth was so full. by the way that cold burrito was so good, i can’t believe how much better it was that the one i ate down in estes.

it felt like the lightning slowed down a bit, so i packed up and continued my quest.


i am getting super tired now. i am starting to enjoy these moments when i stop to take pictures. besides the weather looks pretty good right now. hey looks like the tree-line is just around the corner.


these beauties were just above the way it started raining about this point, but not too bad. notice the yellow leaves finally?


i swear that every pedal stroke brings me to an even more beautiful place.



and just for the sake of symmetry, here is a shot looking down.

i finally got the start of old fall river road.


pretty excited at this point. i can see where i am going…. up.


here are some aspen trees that have not turned golden yellow yet. it seems pretty late in the season for these to still be green but i was told that we had a wet year.


there is the start of the one way uphill gravel section. it was actually pretty crowded. the sign actually read: “9 miles to fall river pass narrow steep switchbacks no vehicles over 25ft ” i should be ok.






the road meanders through a ravine for the first few miles before it really starts to kick up. this picture was taken on the south side of the road.


i was about here… but it felt like i was at least twice as far.


once i got in the park everything was so nice. the weather was warm, the sun was out, and there were no hills to speak of at first.


i stopped at this picnic area to organize my panniers a bit.


it was pretty crowded.


right outside this area there was an old flood area. i guess huge boulders came crashing down the hill side. i didn’t read the plaque, so most of this information is made up :).