Sunday, September 20, 2009

Cheq 2009: Bill Fucking Rocked!!

Bill Vitali, Chequamegon 2009: "I came, I kicked ass, and then I left."

Bill, one of the Amigos, turned in a stellar performance at the 2009 Chequamegon Fat Tire Festival. Bill beat his time of last year by 34 minutes! This is a remarkable feat regardless, but, what makes this even more remarkable is that he did it on a single speed bike! His previous efforts have all been made on multi-speed rides. I knew when I rode with Bill a couple weeks ago in Elm Creek that he was going to kick ass. Bill, we are very proud of you!

The Amigos got very short notice that where we've stayed the past 2 years was not available. We got lucky when a co-worker of Bob's let us stay at his cabin for free. We appreciated it very much....

....however, it was a tad bit small. We made do. Just another Chequamegon adventure.
Speaking of people who rocked, Dave Hoglund turned in a 2:32 time! Unfortunatley, he had cramps that shut him down for about 10 minutes, or he could have had an even better time.

Jay and Berger relaxing after the race. This was something like Jay's 400th time doing the race. Mike, along with Neil and Larry were riding spectators and were at the finish to partake in "lemonade" with us!

Bob, who has pneumonia, but still rode great on his single speed, is having some sort of solitary vision moment. Not sure if he's seeing the Virgin Mary in the clouds or what.

Dave (back to camera), Luke Thompson and his dad, Jay. Luke rode his first ever mtb race, the Short and Fat. He did great! Lynn and Neil aren't having a very good time, but they're making do.

FWK didn't fare as well as I wanted to. I had hoped to finish at best at 3:15, and at worst at 3:30. I finished at 3:30:54. I never felt strong, even in the flats where I should have. No idea why. But, I had a great time with my cycling buddies. Well, there is always next year. If we get in, of course. But that is another story, right Bob and Matt?

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Video Introduction to Breck, 2009.

Being that Blogger will not let me make comments on the individual videos, I will do so from the top and work my way down.

This blog goes on for 2 pages. There is another section with photos and my usual witty commentary after the video section.

Jack's Cruel Joke is appropriately named. It starts off innocently enough in a nice little neighborhood one block off the main drag of Breckenridge. It is a series of switchbacks that climbs 300 feet in .47 of a mile. That incline is part of the problem. The other couple things are the nasty rocky and steep turns of the switchbacks and then there are the straight stretches. These are narrow and off camber. If you fall, you will get hurt. I walk the bastards. Hopefully, the videos will portray the difficulty that photos cannot.

Pinball is a very short stretch of trail that is reached by taking a trail called Baker's Tank. Baker's Tank is an old water tank located on Boreas Pass Road. It was a watering tank for steam locomotives crossing over the pass. Pinball rides fast, but isn't dangerous. It's banked and goes through a few trees. It's a fun little ride.

The Ten Mile Range is the name of the mountains on the West side of Breck. They are the reason why so many skiers go there. Peaks 8 and 9 are prime ski mountains.

Sallie Barber is an abandoned mine located about 6 miles up on the East range of Breck and is at about 11,500 feet. It's all dirt road to get to it, it's difficult to pedal to only because you're constantly climbing. There is a new single track trail located at the top that was a lot of fun to ride. Fun, because I could do it! The trail is located on an older, closed trail called "Nightmare on Baldy", which is basically a wash chute on the mountain. I could see why they closed it! The new trail did not have a sign post, so I don't know its name.

I don't know the name of this trail either, I just know it's part of the Breck 100 mile mountain bike race. Not very Kenny friendly.

There are two lakes in the bowl between Peaks 8 and 9. This is the lower one, and is the first time I made it there by bike. It is at about 12,200 feet. I started out at 9,665 in Breck and made it to 11,400 before it got really difficult to pedal. Elevation and the terrain make you humble.

A short video on the size of the rear cassette of the bike I rented. The cassettes on bikes you ride in flat country are much smaller (less teeth on the gears), the bigger the cassette, the easier it is to pedal. If you look closely, you will see I'm in 2nd gear.

The Burro Trail is the trail you have to take to get to lower lake. It actually connects you to a jeep road, which connects you to another mountain road, which brings you to a fenced off road that you ride around and then climb another jeep road to get to where the lake is. Right near Francie's Cabin. Got all that? You'll just have to trust me.

Jack's Cruel Joke, pt 1

Jack's Cruel Joke, Pt 2

Jack's Cruel Joke, Pt 3


Ten Mile Range

Sallie Barber Mine Road

Breckenridge 100 trail

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Breckenridge, 2009

Breckenridge for us was a little different for us in 2009. This was our 11th trip out there in 12 years. On all of our past visits, we flew to Denver, rented a car, and drove to Breck. We also have some great friends that allowed us to use their condo in the Beaver Run Resort complex. But, things change. The condo is no longer available to us, so we had to look for a different place to stay. The good thing is, we know the town so well we knew what area we wanted to stay in. There are a gazillion places to stay in Breck. A website, has listings for places to stay in Breck, it's pretty easy to navigate and almost all of the owners were quick to respond with any questions. We found a nice 1 BR condo only 3 blocks from main street for a good price.

The other big change is that we drove out there! We decided to do it to save some money, but also, Diane and I haven't done a road trip in 30 years. It is 1,031 miles to Breck, and it takes about 16 hours. We split up the drive out by spending a night in North Platte, NE. It was about as exciting as it sounds. On the way back, we drove it all in one stretch, leaving at 6:15 AM mtn time, and arrived home at 11:45 PM central time. It really wasn't that bad. Having XM radio in the car is a big help. We talked, read, and listened to music. We didn't really get bored. It actually was pretty neat to see a piece of America and to realize just how great and beautiful our country is. Driving across Nebraska isn't as bad as it sounds, and, the stretch from Omaha to Des Moines was beautiful, green, and hilly.

All vacations start out with a well stocked fridge. You can see how well we stocked it below:

Diane insisted we have grapes, I decided on the milk.

Nothing like getting up in the morning, going out in the parking lot and seeing a Fat Tire van!

Above is Dave, a bartender at the Breckenridge Brewery. We've known Dave for a few years now, but we really hadn't talked bikes. He told me about the new 29" bike he was building up, a Gary Fisher Super Fly. Bob, one of the Amigos, has the same frame, so I could talk intelligent about it. The next day, I ran into Dave at Avalanche Sports where I rent my bikes, so I snapped a photo of the proud man!

The first day, I went on the first trail I ever rode in Breck. It is called the Burro Trail, and it climbs Peak 9. This shot was taken at the crossing of the Wheeler Trail, around 11,000 feet. I pedal up trails, service roads, and "jeep" roads to get to this point. The Wheeler is as narrow as it looks, and I've found it very difficult to ride. Narrow, rocky, and the elevation make it hard. The photo is very deceiving.

The above photo shows the top and Northern end of Jack's Cruel Joke. The open space shown is a series of switchbacks to come down this side of the hill. It's called Carter Park. I used to hate it, but, this year they banked the corners with berms and it is much easier. Dave the bartender told me you can "fly down it with a smile on your face." I, uh, just kinda rolled down it and I smiled because I didn't crash.

This is the new single track trail that is accessed from Nightmare on Baldy. It is a beautiful trail, although it is still new and a little soft. I rode it from one end to the other and only had to get off the bike once due to difficulty.

What a great name for a trail! What is really is a drain chute on the mountain. Crazy steep and rocky. No way in hell you could climb it. They closed it off, and now you criss cross it riding the new trail mentioned above.

A shot of the 10 Mile Range, taken from the East side of Breck.

This is a photo of the lower lake that I mentioned in the video section.