Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Again, which right am I suppose to turn left at?

The motorcycle club held the 25th annual Cruise Against AIDS run Sunday. This was the second year I attended. The weather was great this year; it was cold and rainy last year. There were a few more riders this year, I counted 18, which is better than last years eight. I've been told there have been as many as 60 riders in past years. I was a member of the planning committee this year but it came as quite a surprise when I was told I was going to be a Road Captain.

I’ve never Road Captained before so I wasn’t sure I could handle the job. Four of us had scouted the route a month earlier and I was tasked with making a map and writing the directions, so I knew the route. I’ve ridden number 2 behind Trail Boss for the past year and I had an occasion to ride with a different group a couple of times last year - not all Road Captains are the same. As Road Captains go, I don’t think I was terrible but I wasn’t great either.

The riders were divided into 3 groups. I led the second group comprised of myself and 6 other bikes. Trail Boss led the first group out, then I led my group out, and the third group followed us. Everything went well for the first 2 turns then I missed the third turn at 8th Avenue. I like to think my mental autopilot had taken over and was guiding me home, but more likely I simply wasn’t paying attention. I realized my mistake when we reached 6th. I had to do some quick thinking and take the left lane so we could loop back around to 8th.

Once I got us back on track everything went well until we got to Morrison. The stop light was red and there was a pedestrian waiting to cross. I started to go after the pedestrian had crossed but the light was still red! Fortunately everyone else saw the red light.

The rest of the ride seemed to go well. I didn’t go over the speed limit; I was under the speed limit much of time. I still found myself having to slow down, then slow down even more. I’ve heard this same lament from other Road Captains at other runs, so it must be normal.

I could have done better my first time being Road Captain but I did well enough. I don’t think I want to Road Captain on a regular basis.

also see: 25th Annual Cruise Against AIDS

Friday, July 23, 2010

My boots don't suck anymore


Last week a friend of mine tactfully counseled me with "Your boots suck!", so this morning I got the new suckless boots.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Riding Pikes Peak Highway

I and 2 other guys rode our motorcycles to the top of Pikes Peak last Saturday. We couldn't have asked for better weather. It was a very enjoyable ride. It's 19 miles from the gate to the top. It took us 47 minutes to reach the summit; I think we could have done it in 40 minutes but we got behind some slow traffic.


Watch in High Def.

The summit of Pikes Peak is at 14,115 feet. It is one of Colorado's 54 mountain peaks that are 14,000 feet or higher and it is the eastern most fourteener in the United States. The Pikes Peak highway is paved part of the way but there are still 2 sections of gravel road.

I took this video with a GoPro HD mounted on the front of my windscreen. The video covers the entire route from the toll gate to the top of the summit but the speed of the video has been increased 480% to compress 47 minutes into 10 minutes. I might post a shorter edited version later.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

I blame Voldemort

I’ve recovered from my first camping trip; I still need to open-up, clean-up and air-out some of my gear. I captioned and posted pictures on Monday. Tuesday I wrote an article for the clubs blog about the event. Wednesday I finally wrote a more personal post about my experience.

I didn’t remember I had a video camera until the trip was over and we were getting ready to start back. I shot some video of the ride back but was really disappointed how it turned out; the camera’s automatic exposure didn’t do very well and the video was too dark.

The bike got covered with red dirt and mud during the trip so Thursday I washed the bike. I didn’t do a very thorough job; the spokes are still dirty and there is still dirt in some of the tight spaces. I could have done a better job had my big belly not gotten in the way. Oh well, it’s only going to get dirty again anyway.

Friday I needed a vacation from my vacation so I bought a box of cookies and started watching Harry Potter movies on DVD. I get the wide screen DVD’s because I like to see the movie the way it was filmed - I don’t like pan-and-scan. I told myself I would only eat six of the cookies a day. I ate the first six cookies then told myself another six wouldn’t hurt. By the end of the first movie I had polished off the entire box - 45 cookies! That’s 3,000 Calories! I blame Voldemort.

It was back on the motorcycle Saturday. I and a couple of friends rode around Denver putting up posters for the 25th Annual Cruise Against AIDS to be on Sunday July 25th. We started the day by attending a pancake breakfast to benefit the Colorado Anti-Violence Program. They had a huge turn-out! I think they were a little overwhelmed by the number of people that showed up. From there it was off to hang posters. We went into some real dive bars. I don’t find it at all flattering that drunks like my motorcycle. Why would anyone spend their Saturday sitting in a dingy bar getting plastered at 11 O’clock in the morning?

I had a craving for Burritos Sunday night so I went to the store and got the fixings, made Burritos and watched TV. PBS aired an all new “Pairot” staring David Suchet. There are two more new episodes airing the next two weeks. I really like David Suchet.

I was back in the office Monday morning. I didn’t think about work at all during my 2 weeks off and I made it clear I would not be checking email or answer the phone. I spent most of the morning reading email - I was able to delete most of it. It was back to the same old routine; I just don’t know how they got along without me. Monday afternoon someone in another department was let go and I had the task of disabling their access and grabbing their hard-drive. That can be an unpleasant chore so I usually try to dispatch a junior to do it.

Three of us plan to ride our motorcycles to the top of Pikes Peak this Saturday. A couple of us will stay over night in Colorado Springs and attend the Gay Pride festival Sunday. Next weekend is Cruise Against AIDS, the week after that is Mount Evans and Trail Ridge Road, and the week after that is a weekend in Breckenridge and Leadville. We have to cover the miles while we can - summer is short after all.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Bicyclefeathers goes camping

I went camping last weekend. It was a whole new experience for me. Camping isn't something I would consider doing myself, I'm not the rugged outdoors type, but I wanted to hang out with the guys, go where the guys went and do what the guys did, so camping I went.

I bought a 2-man quarter dome tent, a self inflating mattress, a +40 degree down filled sleeping bag, and an LED lantern. I didn't need to consider food, cooking utensils or latrine gear. I also took clothes, rain gear and my camera. I might have been able to pack everything onto the bike but a friend offered to haul my gear in his truck.

I and five other guys rode our motorcycles to the camp site. We went over Berthoud pass, stopped in Winter Park for a few minutes, then rode on to Walden where we ate at the Moose Creek Cafe. From there it was another 90 minute ride to the camp site. The dirt road into the site is challenging enough when it's dry but it was raining by the time we turned off the highway.

The rain stopped long enough for us to set up our tents. I didn't have any leaks in my tent and was able to keep dry though some of my gear had gotten wet. The first night was a little challenging and I didn't sleep very well. I forgot to close the valve on the self-inflating mattress which promptly deflated when I crawled into my sleeping bag. I also managed to foul the zipper on the sleeping bag and it took some effort to straightened out. The next two nights were problem free and I slept reasonably well. I did find the small tent difficult to get in and out of.

I wasn't looking forward to using the out-house. My past experience with privy's hasn't been pleasant, fortunately these privy's were properly ventilated and well maintained, but I still wouldn't want to return to the nostalgic days of yesteryear.

I passed up an opportunity to go 4-wheeling the next day, after day one I wanted some down time, now I regret not going. I hung around the camp, helped take out the kitchen trash, dried my gear, went for a short walk, and snapped some pictures. There were also people games and bike games in the afternoon.

The club brought a full kitchen up to the camp so there was no shortage of food, and there was live entertainment every night. Latter in the evening we had a camp fire where we all sat and talked - we did not sing camp songs. The rain cut down the enjoyment of the fire the first night but the next two nights were very pleasant. I didn't stay up as late as some of younger guys did - I'm such an old fart. I wish I was better at making conversation.

Camping probably isn't my thing - not that I actually have a thing. I enjoyed the ride there and back, and I enjoyed hanging with the guys. I doubt I'll make camping a regular part of my life, but since it is only once a year, I'll probably do it again - with a bigger tent.

Also see: Jason Went Spying.