We are just about finished with the condo remodel. I still need to paint the trim and do a few odds and ends, but the bulk of the work is done.
It’s nice to finally have our stuff back after a year and a half in storage. I’m pretty pleased with how things turned out (thanks to Evie for picking all the paint colors). It didn’t take too long given we started in mid August, but it was certainly a lot of long days and weekends.
Now we can finally relax a bit as we don’t have a ton on the fall schedule, other than the usual hikes with Lucy and exploring around Arizona.
August has been a whirlwind. Evie started teaching full time at Grand Canyon University, organizing the Masters of Public Administration program and teaching classes throughout the week. It’s a pretty great arrangement, the school is awesome, she really likes her colleagues and she’ll have the flexibility of summers off so we can escape the heat.
We got back to AZ in the middle of August from spending the summer in Colorado Springs again. Evie started up with a couple weeks of prep before students returned for the fall semester.
Also this summer, we bought a condo from my grandparents, the one in Scottsdale. I’m sure glad that process of paperwork is over. We are in the process of doing a small remodel. We painted the kitchen & bathroom cabinets, added some hardware, put up some new mirrors in the bathroom, swapped out some fixtures and then will be redoing the floors with the help of my friend Craig and some subs. Oh, and we also painted the entire interior (one room left to go!).
On Labor Day we took our annual trip to Spearfish, South Dakota for the Dakota Five-O. Another great year with great weather and good people. I got 7th with some great competition yet again. This past weekend I raced Fire on the Rim here in Arizona, just outside of Payson so it’s a little cooler and higher elevation. I won for the 2nd year in a row. It’s a great course with steep climbs and technical descents, a great way to cap off the season.
The summer and fall has also been filled with planning for the MBAA’s new Enduro series. A type of mountain bike racing that is made up of multiple timed descents with pedal transitions in between. Logistically it takes a lot, we held our first race at Sunrise Ski Resort the day after Fire on the Rim. I spent the week working on the trails up there with a great crew from Sunrise and planning for the weekend.
All in all things went great and the response from the nearly 200 riders who came out was fantastic. The next race is in Tucson next weekend and then the third and final race is in Prescott.
This weekend I’ll be doing the final painting and hanging some new blinds, next week we tear out the carpet and put down the vinyl wood flooring and tile in the bathroom, then we’ll finally be able to get our stuff out of storage. Looking forward to things slowing down a bit in late October 🙂
A few pictures from the variety of happenings these past two months. Cheers!
Well, August is just around the corner. Lots has been going on (as always) so here’s an update with plenty of pictures.
Evie took a full time position at Grand Canyon University in Phoenix which, works out pretty well in that it’s a 9-month on 3-months off arrangement. We’ll be living in Scottsdale and finding a place to escape to during the summer, hard to beat that.
The Grand Junction & Carson City Off-Roads did not go quite as planned. A flat tire in Junction and a failing back at Carson City didn’t result in great results, but still fun places to hangout and ride. Thanks to good friends for the accommodations and fun.
Prior to Carson City, Evie and I had our bikes stolen. I eventually got mine back (miraculously), but Evie’s is still at large in Albuquerque.
My dad and I went on a pretty spectacular hiking trip the week after Carson City. We hiked down to the Gunnison river at the Curecanti Needle and then up above 12,000 feet to Ice Lake which, was still covered in snow making for a tough last mile or so, but me made it.
Filling in the gaps of our travels were a few trips to Trestle to ride DH, Tucson and Sunrise to scope out the courses for the MBAA enduro series this fall, and spending time in Colorado Springs with the niece and nephews.
Lucy is doing better, her leg is healing, but her side to side stability will probably never regain full strength. She is running and jumping and swimming so that’s been good to see. We will keep working with her and monitor her legs.
Here is a collection of pictures from our summer adventures…
Last week Lucy injured her rear left leg while playing ball. I had to carry her home from the park and it lay limp for the first few days afterwards. The vet gave her some Vetprofin to help with inflammation and we took her to a orthopedic doctor yesterday. The doc said it’s a partial Cranial Cruciate Ligament (CCL) tear and also thinks her other leg experienced a similar tear years ago.
Surgery was presented as an option, but she is likely to end up with some arthritis when she gets older either way. After doing a little research we found a number of cases where the dog healed without surgery back to near full strength.
After 5-7 days she has started showing signs of improvement, but has a long way to go. Since ligaments are not living things they won’t grow back, instead scar tissue will develop around the knee area to stabilize it. We are going to give it 6-8 weeks and see if we can rehab her, then reassess to see if surgery will be needed.
I’m hoping her days of trail running, swimming, and ball chasing aren’t over just yet. At 4-1/2 she has a lot of years still in her. In the meantime, we’ll try and keep her from running and will need to crate rest her for quite some time.
The last two weeks are my favorite two training weeks of the year. Big rides means adventures and exploring! My goal for my big weak this year was to get in 30k feet of climbing in 7 days. I finished the week at ~24 hours and 35,000′ of elevation gain. Here are some photos from my adventures (and yes, they’re all from Arizona!)
Now the fun and games are over and it’s time to get down to business!
Well fall has come and gone and I didn’t get to posting once during that time. Winter is in full swing (more or less). Evie and I are living in Scottsdale, AZ for the time being, she is teaching a few classes at Grand Canyon University. Here are some of the other happenings as of late.
We came back to AZ in October for about a month before spending most of November in Colorado Springs. I got to sneak in a ride up Pike’s Peak before the weather turned bad. It was a pretty cool ride up to 14,000′.
While in Colorado we did some traveling to smaller towns across the state where Evie had some job interviews, beating most of the snow, it was a nice way to recharge before 2017 rolled around.
Christmas we spent in Illinois with my family. We’ve been flying on Allegiant Airlines out of Mesa and have had really great luck. All of their flights are direct and super cheap. We flew to Missoula, MT, Rockford, IL, and Colorado Springs, CO. The flight from Mesa to CO Springs was $39, pretty awesome.
The MBAA season has started, it’s getting a little less weird to throw a # plate on in January. Having a marathon category is super. A great way to get in a good base ride without having to go full gas from the gun.
This year I’ve moved to the role of Executive Director which I really enjoy. Registration numbers are on a dramatic rise and we are continuing to grow. Plans for a fall enduro series are in the works among other cool things!
Our friend Bobby from Grand Junction came down and stayed for a week with us. We did one of my favorite rides (right up there with Four Peaks 🙂 ) the Arizona Trail from Picket Post down to the Gila River (and back). It was a big day with long ripping descents and spectacular views.
There is so much to explore in Arizona and we’ve barely scratched the surface!
Boy, looking back the past 9 months have been a pretty good time. Evie and I got to explore a lot of cool places this summer, try out some new races and meet some new faces.
In August we went out to Steamboat Springs for the Steamboat Stinger 50 miler. That was a tough one on trails I’ve never ridden. I managed to pull out a 4th place. Then came the super fun Labor Day weekend in the Black Hills of South Dakota for the Dakota Five-O.
The Dakota Five-O
The Dakota Five-O is always a blast and this year was no different. More and more Wisconsin peeps are coming out every year which is turning it into a reunion since so many of us have moved away. This year Chris and Michelle and the Adventure 212 crew came out along with Brian and Corey.
Spearfish is a great town and it’s always a great week camping at Spearfish Park. We got a spot right next to the creek this year which was perfect. Evie and I did a bunch of hiking along with pre-riding. My parents were passing through on their trip to Banff so we saw them a bit. Hit up the ice cream joint downtown along with a few glasses of wine and beers.
As for the race itself, I ended up getting a flat about halfway through that I wasn’t able to keep booted, even after hiking back to the aid station and lining the sidewall with duct tape. I think the wet tires had something to do with it because there were a lot of sidewall tears by good riders this year and in years past I rarely heard of anyone getting flats.
Bummed on not being able to finish, I still had a great time and will have another go next year.
After Dakota I took on a new challenge of racing above 8000′ at Outlier Vail. Maybe it was the spectacular views, or maybe I just paced it well, but after climbing for over an hour cresting out at 11,500′ I felt alright. No headaches, no bonking, my goal for the day was achieved so ripping down to the lodge on singletrack was a bonus!
Fire on the Rim
Last weekend I raced in Strawberry-Pine, AZ at Fire on the Rim. A super challenging 45 mile race that takes you up a long gravel road climb from the start before getting into some fast doubletrack and chunky, rocky, good singletrack. I got the win, which was a great way to end the season!
Sunday Evie and I went Salt River Tubing for the first time. It was a blast floating down the river through the Salt River Canyon and a great way to start off season! Lots of new exploring to be had this fall, our list of places keeps growing!
Evie and I spent last week in Mammoth Lakes California, one of the most beautiful places in the country, but before that we did, we got to experience some other cool parts of nature.
Winter Park, CO
In June, we took a trip to Winter Park, CO where Evie spent a summer in college working at a kids camp and exploring the area. The world famous Trestle bike park was our destination, the drive was awesome and the park did not disappoint.
Before jumping on the lift I took a spin up to Berthoud pass, topping out at 11,307′ which was pretty awesome. After we rode some awesome trails with monster berms and big jumps we grabbed pizza and then went for a hike near the pass. We hiked about a mile up above tree line and had some spectacular views!
Mammoth Lakes, CA
The last two years Mountain Bike Nationals has been held in Mammoth Lakes, CA. A great venue with lots to do, Mammoth is an all around great place.
Evie raced Downhill and I did XC. My course was the same with a few more holes and bumps. The Cat 1 DH course was a monster. Super loose, big rocks, and gnarly 4-5 foot drops. We arrived on Wednesday to get some practice time in. It’s always fun to go to these kind of events because it brings in people from across the country, many of our friends whom we don’t get to see, but a few times a year.
We rented a condo from the same place last year right by the start finish. Joe and our friends Jonnie and Michele stayed with us and we all had a great time hiking, riding, and listening to live music at the village. I even saw a bear!
Our races went well. Having to stop trail side during the race last year bettering my result was going to be pretty easy so I just went into the race with no expectations of placing, just to ride a strong 6 laps start to finish, and I did. I ended up 22nd on the day which I’m very happy with considering I rode a solid race, holding my position at the start, putting time in on the descents, and picking a handful of guys off as the race progressed.
Evie also had a good race placing 2nd in the Cat 1 30-39 women on a super chewed up course. The women were the last to go on Saturday. Each day the course was changing a ton which made it hard to dial in your lines so we were both very happy with our results.
On Saturday Joe and I did a fun ride up to the top of a nearby mountain peak with some incredible views of Mammoth and the surround area.
Up next, The Dakota FIVE-O, my favorite race of the year on Labor Day weekend in Spearfish, SD. Until then, happy trails.
Two weekends ago set forth the inaugural Carson City Off-Road, the final race put on by Epic Rides in their 3 race series (Whiskey and Grand Junction being the other two). It certainly was Epic!
Evie and I drove out on Wednesday, about 16-hours on what was one of the most spectacular drives through Utah and Nevada. Big canyons, amazing rock formations and tons of mountains. We stayed in Reno with some friends Michele and Jonnie which made for a super fun weekend. Just on the other side of the hill was Lake Tahoe which we explored a bit around some course recon and other fun activities.
Race day was perfect, low 60s at the start (roughly 4500′). Right out of the gate we climbed 5000′ over ~20 miles or so. It was pretty awesome with some spectacular views of Lake Tahoe at the top. I settled in early which ended up being the right call because lots of people were going backwards in a hurry. I was able to move up a handful of places on the climb and hold everyone including Barry Wicks on the descent.
All in all it was a great race, fun town, and great weekend. I finished 24th on the day and 15th overall in the series. Until next year!
Times they are a changing. It’s been a wild few months. I guess I should back up and begin back in April with the Whiskey 50. April is always hit or miss in AZ, but it ALWAYS seems to rain on Whiskey weekend. This year wasn’t too bad. Ominous skies never really opened up and dumped on us like last year and it was in the low 50s by mid morning.
It had been a while since I’ve raced with the top echelon of mtb talent and Whiskey sure served up some big names. I ended up 40th on the day after a little to ambitious start, it was just kind of an off day all together, but I remembered how much different it is trying to race for a W locally versus a top 20 on a national level, a nice primer for Junction.
The Grand Junction Off-Road
Grand Junction was another story. We rolled into town Wednesday and hung out with our friends Kim and Bobby for the weekend. GJ is a really town and the racing kicks off on Friday night with the Fat Tire crit right in the heart of downtown. The race is actually super fun. A flat 10 corner crit that rips right through main street inches from spectators cheering and heckling. It’s probably one of the most fun times I’ve had racing my bike.
Usually crit racing isn’t my thing, but I ended up hanging on to the lead group til the end finishing somewhere around 16th. Saturday I played support crew for Evie and Bobby. They both had great races, Evie got 5th in the open women and Bobby won the open men! Sunday it was my turn.
The course in Junction is rad, super rad. Probably one of the hardest mountain bike courses in the country technically with the big chunky rocks, chutes, and all around physically demanding. The roll out from town is really long, about 10-mins before we hit singletrack. I did my best to be as patient as possible and stay tucked in from the wind. Going into the singletrack things swarmed a bit and when I put in a late dig got jammed up as things funneled down to one lane.
Nonetheless, after the first climb up the Tabby I pulled some spots back and then got to the fun stuff, ripping the Butterknife descent. I made a good 10 or so passes there and then buzzed down to the creek where you start a 45-min climb out up this steep rough jeep road. It’s a tough climb with constant rocks and changes in elevation and this year there was a stiff headwind which made things really really tough. It felt like we were just crawling. I haven’t suffered like that mentally in a long time.
I think I only passed one or two guys going up the climb. The wind really hurt. After another bombing rutted out jeep road descent there’s one last painful climb up some Moab type slick rock before dropping into Andy’s and finishing on the road back into town. I gave it my best, but only managed to come away with a 23rd, only a few minutes out of the top 15 so overall I was pleased with a super fun race and weekend.
MBAA Series Finale
This past weekend we headed to Flagstaff for the MBAA series finale. I decided to race Marathon to try and hold on to my series overall which I managed to do taking 1st on the day and 1st overall in the series. The vibe at the MBAA races is quite similar to WORS. Tons of people, families, kids, good trails, vendors, and and all around great time.
We drove down to Prescott for the night to celebrate at Park Plaza (aka the Liquor Deli) over a beer and wood fired Mac ‘n Cheese with Trevor and Karlene, good WORS friends of ours who are now living in Prescott. It was super fun to mix it up again with Trevor after years of WORS racing together. We even pulled off the 1-2 after 3.5 hours of some tough dusty riding.
Sunday the four of us went for a super fun ride right from the house for Evie’s birthday and then drove over to Cottonwood to do some wine tastings in the Verde Valley, an area that has completely exploded due to the new wine making over the past 5 or 6 years. All in all it was a great weekend!
A week to recoup and then it’s off to Carson City, Nevada for the Carson City Off-Road, the last stop in the Epic Rides EPIC series. I love that area around Lake Tahoe, but have never ridden there so I’m excited to check it out.