Tuesday August 3, 2010 – The CTR (Colorado Trail Race) is heating up. Check out the action at Right now the top 6 are: 1)Ethan Passant;  2)Jesse Jakomait;  3)Jeff Kerkove;  4)Dave Harris;  5)Jefe Branham;  6)Eszter Horanyi. Ethan lives in Crested Butte and I’ve battled with him a ton. He’s won this race and many others before, too. Jesse and I went head to head at the KTR (Kokopelli Trail Race, an ultra-mini CTR) a few years ago. Kerkove is my Ergon teammate and he’s been focused on this event for nearly a year. Dave Harris is one of the most experienced backcountry ultra-endurance racers anywhere. Jefe lives just down the street from me. We have spent many hours doing trail work together and he alone, along with his dog, has done more trail work out at Hartman Rocks than all the rest of us combined. And, he’s a hell of a bike racer and has won the CTR. Finally, Eszter. Eszter just moved to CB and, as she’s doing here, always rides near the front of the race, regardless of gender. Okay, sorry, but I find following this race to be very compelling. They have a long way to go and they’re getting into some very chunderous terrain.

Skull Pass!

Me on the other hand, I slept in a bed last night and snored for a good few hours, too. Up early though, I motivated and was on my MTB and heading for Hartmans by 640am. It rained last night and there were puddles everywhere but the pavement was already dry. Shaping up to be a powder day out there! And it was. For those of you who don’t ski or snowboard, a powder day is when there is a ton of new snow, the skiing is as good as it gets and you are able to do things you simply cannot do on hardpack snow and ice. On the mountain bike, this is synonymous to trails with just the right amount of moisture in them to make them hard and tacky. Your bike carves like a pair of shape skis and the surface rolls fast. It was also overcast with a few breaks of blue so the ambience was killer.

I didn’t do anything specific, just rode trails all over the area: Gateway, Josies, Dirty Sock, Skull Pass, Joshos, Rattlesnake, Ridge Trail. I sought out some steeper jeep road climbs and I even got to push a little bit. I would categorize this ride as “JR; hard at times.” My max HR was 155 and my average, house to house, was 126. I was out for just over 3 hours and the vertical on my Suunto was 3,300 feet. I felt really good. I didn’t eat anything before the ride, just had the usual cup of Café Mam coffee. We’ve been drinking their French Roast for over a decade now. We like the coffee and the price. I stumbled across it in Eugene years ago while doing the Tour of Willamette stage race on the road. I like to do a ride like this on an empty stomach now and then. I’m close to home so if I totally blow, I can limp in easily, unlike where I’m planning on going tomorrow.

I’m all locked and loaded for an endurance road ride first thing in the morning. I’ll drive west on Hwy. 50 and park at the Dillon Pinnacles overlook about 20 miles west of Gunni. From there, it’s a five mile warm up to Hwy. 92, the Black Mesa, one of the best out and backs anywhere. If all goes well, I’ll ride to the next town, Crawford, which is 40-45 miles into the ride. I’ll have five bucks with me but my druthers would be not to stop; just do the little climb to the top of the main part of town and turn and head back for the Exploder. I won’t want to stop to take pictures but I will. I’m looking forward to this ride as I have not been on 92 yet this year. Beautiful scenery on the north rim of the Black Canyon of the Gunnison (National Park) and essentially no traffic.

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