Green Tea Sherbert

Monday, May 25, 2009

Rocky Mountain National Park

From Rocky Mountain National Park - Loch Vale and Mills Lake

Less than an hour's drive to the trail head from our front door is one of America's best National Parks, Rocky Mountain National Park. On Sunday we had our first taster. We liked it so much, we bought a season pass. Here are pics from two lakes, Loch Vale and Mills Lake, both start from the Glacier Gorge trail head.

Even though much of the trail was covered in snow and the weather was pretty cold and wet, there were a surprisingly large number of people out. It thinned out a lot if you hiked more than 1/2 an hour, but it was still pretty busy on the rest of the trail. I can understand why people say to start hiking early.

From Rocky Mountain National Park - Loch Vale and Mills Lake

Also I noticed a lot of guys in camouflage hats and jackets. And not just the normal fashion camouflage that the back street boys wear, but the real hunting kind. I guess they're not allowed to hunt in the park, but I always feel a little apprehensive about hiking around guys with guns. I'm sure there are a lot of "hunting accidents" in these parts.

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Monday, May 18, 2009

Riding with Patrick Okens

My friend Patrick, came to visit me from Vancouver for some cycling and R&R in Boulder.

I've spent the past two days trying to keep up with Patrick up The Front Range Mountains close to Boulder.

Patrick loves to tell the story of the first time that we rode together. Somehow it was just him, me and Cypress mountain. We both pretended to be just having a normal conversation talking about such banal things as the weather and what we wanted to do when we grew up. At the same time we went as hard as we could to see what the other had. Eventually conversation faded as I had to drop behind Patrick and draft off him just trying to hang on. If I recall correctly he was about 200m ahead of me by the end.

Boulder is at about 5000ft. According to Emlyn, at this elevation there is 12% O2 in the air. At sea level there is 18% O2 in the air. Things like walking up the stairs, running, and cycling up mountains tends to hurt. Since I had acclimatized to the elevation I thought I could easily keep up with Patrick this weekend. So our first ride was a flat ride, with a sharp climb at the end.

We started out slow and steady because Patrick was unsure how he would feel at elevation. After about ten minutes, I felt a bit restless, and decided to take it up a notch or three and kept the cruise control at 38kph for a while on the flat. Hmm, Patrick's dropped off a bit. Good sign. Hopefully I will hurt him enough on the flats so that I can actually stay with him in the mountains!

Well it was not to be. Patrick DaLuca is a rhythm climber. Once he hits a nice long he puts his head down hill he gets into a solid rhythm and doesn't look up, or slow up until he's at the top.

Here is me fixing a mechanical on Day 2. It was a real mechanical, but it was also a convenient time to rest up for the long climb. I remember feeling great after this stop. I think I was actually leading the climb after this stop.

We had a couple of fantastic rides this past weekend. Snow capped peaks, famous mountain man Ward cookies at the top of the mountain.

Here we are, time to refuel! No comments about the apron!

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Preparing for Moab

Now that we are so close to the Mecca of mountain biking, Moab, we've decided that we must try to go there while we're here.

Sharon, keen to go to Moab, has decided that she had better learn how to mountain bike. So we're training here in Boulder.

Because of the semi-desert climate, the trees aren't nearly as dense as the rainforest of Vancouver. This is great because you actually get to see the mountains around you. And the views are outstanding. Unfortunately these photos were taken with my camera phone, but there is a snowcapped 14000 ft peak in the background.. really.

In fact it's a little dangerous, I have been caught looking out at the view and almost missed the rocks jumping out at me.

There are supposedly lots of places to ride of similar beauty all over Colorado. No wonder everyone here seems to own a $2k mtn bike.

I am looking forward to riding in a place called Crested Butte. Apparently there are some epic rides there where you spend much of the ride in the high alpine. At one point you ride over a glacier.

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