26 December 2016

Stardate 2016.981

Christmas Eve 2016

One week ago we finally received some additional snow. High temps had to struggle to reach single-digits, and lows crept dangerously toward minus 15 Fahrenheit. Then, as often happens, we received high temps in the mid- to upper-40s along with a massive melt over two days.

This allowed me to venture up Waterton Canyon on the Black Pearl until the snow and ice brought me to a slippery crawl. The canyon has been sporadically open for the last several months while an upgrade to a water diversion dam and tunnel has taken place. It may be seen in the background. The canyon's resident bighorn sheep were out and about, too.

There is a short length of access road in the frigid "narrows" that receives zero sun this time of year.

The Strontia Springs Reservoir dam had a cold silence to it, as if dormant.

One of the larger rams has a fresh battle scar on his left horn. When I first started riding this canyon, there were four massive rams. I named them Gigantor, Broken Horn (part of his left horn was gone), Mutt and Jeff. They were always together. They appear to have disappeared in recent years. I do see some hints in the current lineage of larger rams as to who fathered whom. But the big four are no more... sniff, sniff.

Riding Joint Trails 1776/800 to their separation was my plan for the day.

The lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta) forest was dark and gloomy at its entrance.

I didn't get much farther up the trail due to snow and ice, primarily the latter.

Below is a pinwheel; it's the result of dry snow (last week's cold snow) becoming wet for the first time (current warm temps). In an alpine setting, such as backcountry skiing, pinwheels are indicators it's time to get off the steeper slopes. Pinwheels often cover an entire hill slope. Pinwheels are mostly seen in higher altitudes in late March and early April when mountain snow conditions are changing from winter snow-pack (cold) to spring snow-pack (wet).

It's green, green, green... It' amazing how resilient forest understory is to snow and cold.

Shortly after my turnaround, I was back on the service road and heading down.

These medium-sized rams look tired; perhaps a bit dejected because the larger rams are getting the girls!

As the sun retires, so too does the temperature.

Well, there you have it! Thanks for sharing my Christmas Eve.

Merry Christmas!!

17 December 2016

Stardate 2016.962

a portion of the official Disney-licensed Christmas gift Snowcatcher picked for our grandbaby

Mountain Bike Magic

Anytime you can ride your mountain bike this far into December is magical. I was in shorts yesterday (15 December 2016). Tomorrow we're forecast for snow and a high of around 8 degrees Fahrenheit. Go figure! Nonetheless, the following pics may be the last for 2016. Happy New Year's early from the surrounds of Chatfield State Park. Let's start with one one of my favorite haunts – Waterton Canyon.

There's still remnant ice from last week's single digit deep-freeze, followed by a magical 50-degree warm-up.

The South Platte River sports magical shoreline ice in shady areas.

I had the trail, and magic, to myself.

You must watch-out for magical organic speed bumps.

The silence, can you hear it? It's magical!

Thanks for another year of magic!


06 December 2016

Stardate 2016.932

Crested Butte begins to slowly lose its afternoon sun.

It's Movie Trilogy Season

Finally! We have cold and snow approaching. It appears Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day will sport a high of 17 and low of -5 Fahrenheit. We may roll out of bed early Thursday morning to minus 11. That's cold enough to officially begin movie trilogy (or greater) season. Snowcatcher and I do not watch television and do not subscribe to a tv plan. However, we still have a television screen and dvd players. But before I list favorite trilogies, here are two recent non-trilogy movies I've enjoyed – Martian and Interstellar. I recommend both.

As mentioned in previous posts, I'm a big Clint Eastwood fan. A movie I found myself watching several times over the past year was 1968's Where Eagles Dare. This action classic takes us behind WWII enemy lines with Richard Burton and Clint Eastwood. It's a fun, action-packed movie.

During the Christmas season, I also pull out a short but good video featuring portions of a Trans-Siberian Orchestra concert. I guess you could call it a rock opera. If you like electric guitars, a classical string and wind section and classic Christmas music, I bet you'll like it. Better yet, attend a live concert of Trans-Siberian Orchestra. Their concerts are energy-packed and nothing short of awesome.

I think most of us have seen some, if not all of these films; I'm not going to do a write-up or review. I'm just listing a handful of fun films. Therefor, in no particular order, let's start with a trilogy of which I never tire...

Lord of the Rings

The Fellowship of the Ring
The Two Towers
The Return of the King

The Hobbit

An Unexpected Journey

The Desolation of Smaug

The Battle of the Five Armies

The Matrix

The Matrix
The Matrix Reloaded
The Matrix Revolutions

The Hunger Games

The Hunger Games
Catching Fire
MockingJay-Part 1
Mockingjay-Part 2

Dirty Harry

Dirty Harry
Magnum Force
The Enforcer
Sudden Impact
The Dead Pool

Planet of the Apes

Rise of the Planet of the Apes
Planet of the Apes
Planet of the Apes (1968 original)

Back to the Future

Back to the Future I
Back to the Future II
Back to the Future III

Jurassic Park

Jurassic Park
Jurassic Park The Lost World
Jurassic Park III

Additional films include...
Pirates of the Caribbean
Lonesome Dove
Star Wars
Star Trek

Et cetera

Thanks for viewing!


24 November 2016

Stardate 2016.899

Celebration IPA

Two months late is better than never. The snow gods finally painted us white. If you whack-off the end of the ruler right where the scale begins, it would actually read closer to 5 inches of fluff. Yes, I'm kind of picky.

This time of year, the craft breweries begin brewing their seasonal bears for the fast approaching holidays. My favorite beer to enjoy during winter solstice season is from the Sierra Nevada Brewery out of Chico, California. Their Celebration IPA is awesome. Perhaps you should give it a shot. Celebration often sells out well before New Year's.

Wow, look who rolled, or shall I say, glissaded into town. It's Dieter and Wolfgang. Or, is it Wolfgang and Dieter? Does it really matter? They're here for beer, cycling and skiing – pure and simple. I have to admit it was nice to see them again.

The wild and wooly Bavarians return. Stay tuned because who knows what will happen.


21 November 2016

Stardate 2016.890

The 2016 Mountain Bike Season Keeps Goin' and Goin'...

We probably will pay for all this nice weather, come spring. Nonetheless, I'm going to enjoy it while I can. I've been hitting Deer Creek Canyon Park quite a bit because I need to brush-up on my technical skills in the rocks. I think I've been too selective on my rides. The former, plus too much road biking. Anyway, enjoy the pics. Not far from the high-point, this meadow should have snow on the ground.

The great plains meet the mountains here, along with urban sprawl.

Not far away stands the mile high city and its symbiotic brown cloud.

Lower segments of the trail have the potential to be a bit wild.

My parting shot is a plug for Giant Bicycles. Of all the bikes I've stabled, the Black Pearl takes a spot next to my 1996 Specialized M2 S-Works. The Pearl's been a great steed!

Stay tuned, there's more on the docket.


10 November 2016

Stardate 2016.860

Snowcatcher Photo

The Bald Eagle Encounter

I noticed a bald eagle feeding across the South Platte River from me during a recent afternoon mountain bike ride.
Pic number 1

Isn't it a handsome devil?
Pic number 2

Notice how it drops it head, then rips meat in an upward motion.
Pic number 3

Look at the little magpies trying to score some morsels of meat.
Pic number 4

Was that cool or what? The moral of this story is...



08 November 2016

Stardate 2016.855

I work hard and play hard.

Me, Myself and I
A Hatchling Without a Name

I've always had a thing for two-wheeled bikes, with or without a motor. However, my roots lie with the motorized bike; more specifically, two-stroke dirt bikes. Now that the cost of many bicycles equals or exceeds the cost of a motorcycle, perhaps it's time to go motor again. Following is a synopsis of my motorized roots.

This is where it all began, Big Red Park, Colorado. When I was 15 years old, I landed a summer job as a dishwasher for the Sidestep Restaurant in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. I also took up space at my uncle's house for the summer. He was one of the top enduro riders in the state and, along with staff from the Yamaha shop and several local riders, the group put on a popular race called the Timberline Enduro. The enduro took place near Hans Peak, Colorado, north of Steamboat. Big Red Park was the staging site. The furry creature in the pic was my childhood ol' English sheepdog, Rowdy.

My first race was a small, local event in Grand Junction, Colorado. At the time, Grand Junction proper was much smaller than today. I placed fourth, riding on a flatted rear tire. My head was swelling.

I worked my tail off on a farm, trap and skeet range and Tuesday night league trap shoot to buy my first brand new, full-blown motocross racer – a Yamaha YZ 250. After working every day, I was rewarded Tuesday nights with play. My boss was a retired professional trap shooter sponsored by Winchester. He often let me fill-in for teams short a shooter, and I still got paid! Head swelling complete.

Bikes have come a long way since 1977. Modern bikes have aluminum frames, water-cooled engines, disk brakes, additional 3 inches of suspension on each end, lower center of gravity, yada, yada, yada!

My moto uncle came down for my first race on the YZ 250.

Me, myself and I!

Holeshot! My first hare 'n hound desert race was at an event called the 8-hour. You guessed it, an 8-hour race. It was a team race, and my uncle asked if I would like to partner with him. Guess what I said? The start was a dead engine start with about 50 teams lined-up. The first turn was about a half-mile away.

I was a "hefty" 155 pounds, soaking wet. My uncle's bike (rules called for only one bike shared) was a Yamaha YZ 450. Back then dirt bikes were two-strokes, and the 450s and 500s were immensely powerful. For the dead engine start, I stood on a milk crate to kick start (no electronic starter then) the big-bored bike. Well, to make a long story short, I was the first bike to the first corner, known as the holeshot. When I realized where I was, heaps of adrenaline kicked in, and I just held on. Little did I know the dust gods had a surprise waiting several hours out.

With one lap down, the bike took on petrol, and my uncle took the cockpit.

I was starting lap three and an hour away from severely breaking my collar bone. Surprise!

My final motocross bike was a 1982 Honda CR 250R. I loved this bike. In 1984 I quit competing, headed to university and immersed myself in pedal power.

Me, myself and I; letting the good times roll!

I often reminisce about those whirlwind years. Where did the time go?

Thanks for reading...

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