Yesterday was the Pikes Peak Cycling Hill Climb. The Pikes Peak Cycling Hill Climb includes both a USAC race and a timed citizens ride. The cycling hill climb starts the same place as the auto hill climb. The course climbs over 4,700 feet in 12 miles to the summit of Pikes Peak at 14,115.
I helped hand out timing chips at the start line and then shot photos up on the mountain once the USAC race started. The weather at the start was similar to the past years but ominous clouds were building over the summit.
Once I headed up the mountain, I encountered strong winds and it got worse the higher I drove. Clouds were blowing throw so I was having trouble finding a well lit spot for shooting photos. Riders were getting blown around on the road by the wind gusts.
When I was shooting photos, I was shivering and kept jumping up and down in an attempt to stay a little warmer. At the last spot I stopped to shoot photos just before the summit, there was fog and the rocks were covered in ice.
Although the riders were working hard going up, I could only imagine how cold they were as some of them were in shorts and short sleeves. Although many riders sent warm clothes to the top for the ride down, they didn’t have warm enough clothes and were concerned about get blown around on the way down. The race organizers and whomever could shuttled people back down to the start where the weather was a pretty typical August day.
In spite of the weather, I shot a large number of photos. Prints and digital downloads are available on my Pikes Peak Cycling Hill Climb photo page. You can also check out my 2013 Pikes Peak Cycling Hill Climb photos.
A few weeks ago the Forest Service had an open house about proposed trail closures due to the greenback cutthroat trout in Bear Creek. I’m not convinced they’ve studied the impacts of the trail well enough to say they’re a problem but because of settling a lawsuit with environmental groups it probably doesn’t matter what the impact is. The US Fish and Wildlife Service must approve any trail work in the Bear Creek drainage including current trail maintenance.
At the open house, 3 alternatives were shown. Alternative A is the current trail system and we know that there’s very little chance the trails will remain the same in the future. Alternatives B and C have various trail closures and re-routes.
Both new alternatives would still allow the “Missing Link” trail to be created to link Barr Trail to the Jones Park area but would make it longer because of going around Jones Park and I believe add an uphill section. Also with both proposals, High Drive would be closed to vehicle traffic but would be open to non-motorized use.
Alternative B has all of Jones Park off limits and the upper part of Bear Creek Trail (666) closed. A trail re-route from Pipeline would keep Captain Jacks away from Bear Creek and connect where Captain Jacks currently drops down from the ridge to the creek and intersects with 666. A connector would be created from Buckhorn over to 666 near Josephine Falls.
I believe Alternative C is the same as Alternative B except that all of Bear Creek Trail (666) would be closed. I don’t think you’ll find it surprising that I don’t like this plan.
One part of “Alternative B” that I’m not sure is necessary is the complete closure of Jones Park at least to non-motorized use as that area is flatter and doesn’t have nearly the erosion issues of lower on Cap’n Jacks. Most of Jones Park is Colorado Springs Utilities land and I don’t think they want to make sure they have no risk with the greenback cutthroat trout.
One effect of closing Jones Park is access to Mt. Arthur and Mt. Garfield will be more difficult. It would be nice if a trail could be built from the Section 16 area to allow more access into that area. Also there are ruins of historic buildings in the Jones Park area that would be off limits.
It’s not clear how long it will be before the whatever plan is approved will be implemented. The US Fish and Wildlife Service have until late summer to approve the plan the Forest Service submits to them.
I talked to Forest Ranger Allan Hahn at the meeting last month about how soon trail re-routes could be done after a plan was approved. Although the Forest Service doesn’t have money for the changes, he believes the plan could be implemented in a matter of weeks since so many people are willing to volunteer to get access to the area. I’m not optimistic that with all the government red tape that volunteers would be turned loose to get the re-routes done that quickly.
Now it’s time to move forward and get the best possible trails under the circumstances. Input on the proposals can be sent to the Forest Service by emailing email@example.com, faxing (719) 477-4233 or mailing. Comments must be received by March 27th, 2014. One thing a found from talking to the Forest Service is they don’t understand very well how people use the trails and that it would be helpful to them to know more.
The Gazette did an article that includes some of history of the Bear Creek area. Someone who is fighting against any closures also has history on the area with historic photos. At this point, I don’t believe fighting the changes is productive but the page has some interesting information.
Below is the letter the the Peak Mtb Collective has been asking people to sign at the informational meetings they’ve held. Use it as is or as a starting point for your feedback to the Forest Service. Also go to the Peak Mtb Collective page and sign up for email updates on the Bear Creek drainage trails and other Colorado Springs area trail issues.
Bear Creek Watershed Restoration Project
Pikes Peak Ranger District
601 S. Weber Street
Colorado Springs, CO 80903
In reviewing the proposed changes to travel management and recreational activities and the improvement actions for the stream habitat in the Bear Creek Watershed Restoration Project (BCWRP) area, I understand that the project’s purpose is to protect the greenback cutthroat trout as well as to maintain a balance among the many trail user groups. The area in question has a well-established, recognized trail system that is important to the outdoor lifestyle for which the Pikes Peak region is known.
As an avid user of the Bear Creek area and Pikes Peak region trail systems, I am aware of the important balance we share with our eco-system. I have read full through the proposed BCWRP proposals and I support “Alternative B” as the action plan for implementation by the Pikes Peak Ranger District. I believe “Alternative B” supports the objective of protecting the greenback cutthroat trout as well as offering a balance between access and use of this vast trail system.
Acknowledging that change is needed in the area, “Alternative A” offers little compromise regarding the ecological concerns of the project. “Alternative C” offers limited compromise by significantly limiting trail access including the complete closure of trail 666. I believe either of these plans hinders involved groups’ respective goals and could have negative long term effects.
I want to thank everyone involved in the project and look forward to seeing “Alternative B” move forward. I also extend myself as a resource in the implementation of “Alternative B” in the Bear Creek Watershed Restoration Project.
Update: Complete set of Pikes Peak Hill Cycling Climb photos are here.
Yesterday was the Pikes Peak Cycling Hill Climb. It climbed the top 12.5 miles of Pikes Peak and had over 4,700 feet of climbing. The fun ride started at 6 AM and the race started at 7 AM. LeRoy Popowski defended his title of king of the mountain. Results are here.
Back when the Pikes Peak Highway was still gravel, we used to race the top 8 miles on mountain bikes. Even that was a tough race but I liked it because of the uniqueness of being above timberline. Now that I’m not in great shape and the highway is open to bikes, I’m happy just to ride my bike up there without racing.
Although I didn’t race this time, I went up and helped with handing out timing chips and then went up above timberline and shot photos. I shot over a thousand photos so it’ll take me some time to get through them all. A few of them are down below.
Once I go through them, I’ll post them on the photo page. As with most of the photos I take, they’ll be available for purchase both as prints and digital downloads.
Update: Complete set of Pikes Peak Hill Cycling Climb photos are here.
A couple years ago we were in Leadville for the Leadville Boom Days and the burro race. I believe the burro race is about 21 miles. Not only do you run most of a marathon through the mountains but you have to convince your burro to keep running.
For Boom Days they had a few burros that spectators could race a couple blocks on main street while waiting for the racers to finish. My daughter and I gave it a try. They told us to start and everyone else took off. Our burro just stood there and didn’t want to go. Somehow I managed to convince it to go and then managed to run fast enough to catch up and take the lead just before the finish.
Now there’s a movie about pack-burro racing. “Haulin’ Ass,” by New York filmmaker Trevor Velin, explores Colorado’s indigenous sport. It won the Mountain Film Award and the prestigious Golden Badger Award for Wisconsin Filmmaking. The film is a documentary about one of the most challenging, yet least recognized, sports in modern culture. It follows three men in their quests to take the triple crown while overcoming their own mental and physical obstacles.
The film captures the images and spirit of this remarkable and offbeat adventure sport, while also exploring the personal lives of three devoted competitors — Hal Walter of Westcliffe, Curtis Imrie of Buena Vista, and Roger Pedretti of La Crosse, Wisc.
“Haulin’ Ass” is showing here in Colorado Springs tomorrow evening, April 4th at Stargazers, 10 South Parkside Drive. Doors open at 6 PM and the show starts at 7 PM. There will be a special appearance of Hal Walter, 6 time World Champion burro racer.
Admission is $10 in advance amd $15 at the door. Advance tickets may be purchased online at www.imathlete.com/events/haulinass.
You can order the “Haulin’ Ass” DVD from the website.
Today, January 31st, is the last day to register for the 2013 Leadville 100 lottery for your chance to dig deep going up Powerline and on the rest of the course on August 10th. You have until midnight MST but if you plan on registering and haven’t, I’d suggest you do it as soon as possible just in case you have issues with registering. Head over to this page to register.
As has been the case for the last several years, there’s a $15 charge plus fees just to sign up for the lottery. This fee gets donated to charity though. Also the entry fee if you get picked in the lottery has gone up yet again. It’s now up to $345.
Although the Leadville 100 lottery used to be the only the only way to get into the Leadville 100, now there are the qualifiers to get a slot. There are also various charity slots that can be used to gain a Leadville 100 entry.
Good luck to everybody that is in the lottery! I’ve entered the lottery again in hopes of making my 10th start. Since I had a streak of 3 DNFs, I’ll be going for finish number 7.
Last week President Obama signed the law clearing up the railway right-of-way issue with the Manitou Incline. The Colorado Springs council also passed the needed resolution for legalizing the Incline for hiking. The only step remaining to legalizing the Incline is a resolution by the Manitou Springs city council. Manitou Springs council is expected to vote on January 29th.
Although I think there are plans to do more than is needed, I noticed several loose ties when I hiked the Incline yesterday. Stabilizing some sections need to be done soon or more work will need to be done. The Incline Friends are tasked with raising money to repair and maintain the Incline.
Total cost to implement the Incline Management Plan will run about $1 million, and the Incline Friends need $200,000 of that by the first week of March to meet a critical grant deadline. They expect much of it to come from private donors, but not all of it.
There are a few ways to help the Incline Friends raise money. Tomorrow night there’s a fun one. The Incline Friends Karma Hour will be at Bristol Brewery (1647 S. Tejon) from 5 to 9 PM Tuesday, Jan. 15. Bristol will donate $1 to the Incline Friends for every pint sold. Click here for more on the Incline Friends Karma Hour.
Below are some photos from hiking the Manitou Incline on December 16, 2012. It has become a tradition for people to hang Christmas ornaments on one of the trees at the top of the Incline. With the dry winter there was very little snow on the Incline itself or Barr Trail in December. With the cold and little snow of the last couple weeks, there was more snow on it yesterday afternoon and more fell overnight.
The USA Pro Challenge finishes here in Colorado Springs’ on this Friday, August 24, but cyclists will be celebrating the race with an entire week of events leading up to the big Stage 5 finish. There are nightly bike rides and parties all week and a full day of activities on Friday. This week includes numerous give-aways and contests; the more events you attend, the more prizes you could receive! Don’t miss a moment of the festivities.
Join with cyclists from across Colorado Springs for free, nightly rides starting Monday, August 20 leading up to the Stage 5 Finish.
All rides start at 6:00 PM at America the Beautiful Park and end at a different downtown destination each night.
Rides are for all ability levels, with different route options available.
Bike valet will be available
$3 New Belgium beers and food specials at the finish
New Belgium cruiser bike
2 trips to Las Vegas
1 night at the Mining Exchange
2 Skybox Passes to the Stage 5 Finish
Rally Week Ride: Fun Ride with Colorado Springs Cycling Club
Time: 6:00 p.m.
Destination:: Old Chicago
Rally Week Ride: Family Ride with Kids on Bikes -and- Road Ride with Pro Cycling
Time: 6:00 p.m.
Destination: City Rock
Rally Week Ride: Cruiser Joy Ride with Upadowna
Time: 6:00 p.m.
Destination: McCabe’s Tavern
Rally Week Ride: Ladies Mountain Ride with Women’s Mountain Biking Association
Time: 6:00 p.m.
Destination: The Mining Exchange Hotel
SRM Ride with Mario Cipollini
Pedal around Garden of the Gods with Mario Cipollini. See flyer for details.
It’s hard to believe it’s nearly time for another Leadville 100 mountain bike race. A couple years ago someone emailed me off list for tips on making the 12 hour time cut-off for a heavier rider. He was 195 lbs. Most of the tips apply no matter your weight so I thought I’d re-post them here in case they’ll help someone. They’re really just
I’ve dropped some weight this year but I’m currently over 40 pounds heavier than the year I rode 8:18. I’ll be much slower than that but I hope to break my streak of not finishing the last 3 years. I think I’m in about 11 hour finishing shape. Hopefully I don’t get food poisoning, have asthma issues or get a cold this year. Those are the things that derailed me that last 3 years.
One year I was 190 and finished in 9:02 after a couple mechanicals cost me close to 10 minutes. Weight is big factor on the Leadville 100 course but if you have a good engine and ride smart, you can still do well.
Make sure you don’t go out too hard but still keep moving and a good pace. You’ll most likely get caught in a traffic jam on St. Kevins. Don’t panic. I see way too many guys try passing and wasting a huge amount of energy. In a mile or less you’ll be able to easily pass.
Don’t waste time at aid stations. If you have somebody crewing for you, you should be stopped 5 minutes or less over the whole race. Even without a crew, I think stopped time should be 10 minutes or less. Somebody missed the time cut-off by a few minutes last year but said they didn’t know how they could have done it faster. They went on to say they only spent a total of 30 minutes at the aid stations.
Most of the time if you’re hurting you’ll actually recover better if you keep moving but go to a couple easier gears. That way the blood keeps moving and flushing the muscles. If you’re on a climb when that happens and you don’t have any more gears, get off and walk. If you really feel you need a break, don’t stop more than 30 seconds.
If you can’t keep turning the pedals smoothly on a climb, you’ll probably be almost as fast walking and will use slightly different muscles. If you have the descending skills, you can make up a bunch of time on the descents. For us that are heavier, that’s a time to recover some of the hard work on the climbs.
Try getting in a group on the pavement section near the fish hatchery and even on the Pipeline. As a bigger rider, you probably have more power than the skinny guys so you’ll tend to want to ride faster. It’s alright to take a little more than your share of pulls but also take advantage of the group and drop to the back and do some recovering.
Stick to what you’re used to eating during training rides. There’s lots of yummy looking junk at the aid stations but hold off and treat yourself to something yummy after finishing. For a race of this length, you’re best off sticking to all liquids for fuel. If you didn’t train that way, don’t go totally liquid during the race but try to do more liquid than solids. The solids slow your digestion and altitude also tends to slow digestion. I have raced 24 hour solo events on liquids only and it’s worked better than when
I ate some solids.
The race is long and you’ll probably need more electrolytes than are in your drinks. Even if it isn’t super hot, the dryness and the intense sunlight at altitude make me need more endurolytes than I normally do. I like the Endurolytes from Hammer Nutrition but NUUN seems to work well too.
Good luck and if you see me say Hi!
Although the Silver Rush 50 is a great race for preparing for Leadville 100, I skipped it this year. I was up in Leadville to pre-ride the Leadville 100 course so I stopped and watched the start of the Silver Rush 50. Here are a few of the photos I took and I have more Silver Rush 50 start photos here.
The photo above is of the first racer up the ski hill getting a gold coin from Ken Clouber. The gold coin that qualify for the Leadville 100. This guy gave it his all coming up the hill so he must really want to race the Leadville 100.