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Monday, December 31, 2012

Resolving to Make a Difference in 2013: www.peakchallengeforacause.com

Training and racing are, in many ways, selfish endeavors.  I'm looking forward to a new project in 2013, Peak Challenge for a Cause, that seeks to raise funds for important causes while simultaneously empowering athletes at all levels to set and achieve significant goals.

In conjunction with the project, I pledge to summit Bergen Peak, Evergreen Mountain, and Elephant Butte (the highest peaks in my 'hood) a total of 156 times this year.  The purpose is to raise money for The Ryan Haebe Fund, and I'm looking for individuals and organizations who would like to pledge at least 25 cents for each summit.  It's an all-or-nothing deal, and sponsors only pay if athletes like me hit their goals.  My parents and VITARGO North America have already signed on at $1 per summit, and I'd love to connect with others who would like to support the cause!

Info is below and at www.peakchallengeforacause.com, and I would love to receive an email from you soon (travis.macy@gmail.com) about being involved as an athlete or supporter!

Happy New Year!


Saturday, December 22, 2012

Pedal Power Snowshoe Race: Great Start to the Season on an Epic Course!

The snowshoe season started off with a fun and challenging course at Bruce Kelly's Pedal Power Pazzo's Eagle-Vail 10k. Josiah Middaugh and I ran together for most of the race, and he pulled away on the final downhill. We had a good time and got a great workout, and it was good to get a 1-2 finish for Northern Lites.

 Vitargo provided some excellent fuel, and I'm excited for more!

Conor Drumm ran strong for third!

My cousin, Ethan Pence, won the 5k, and his dad Eric, was third.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Just in Case the Mayans were Right...

Cheers to many more years of good life on earth!



 Oxygen-deprived ruminations on the beauty of life, the end of the world, and good things to come with Vitargo and others.

 Vitargo is at www.genr8speed.com, and I hope to look like the guy on the left of that home page after a few more months of training!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Life's a Blur at The North Face Endurance Challenge Championship in San Francisco

Given that I began thinking about the race two weeks beforehand, signed up one week beforehand, and specified my training four days beforehand (I took three of them off and biked on the other one, figuring that 50 miles in one day would be pretty much enough, which it was), I probably should have expected a total blur on race day.
The fast and furious burst onto a mile or so of flat pavement--I have successfully avoided flat pavement for most of the last decade--was still more than I anticipated, however, and the top men and women at The North Face Endurance Challenge finally in San Francisco this weekend really put the hammer down from the start. Amy and I enjoyed a nice journey to the Bay Area, and it was good to catch up with friends Dave Mackey and Brandy Erholtz, who's offhand comments had notified me of the race's existence a couple of weeks ago. Based on their solid performances, I think they had both been planning longer than I did. To make a long story short, I enjoyed the crazy rain and wind, and was glad to be running and not crewing (thanks again, Amy, Laura, and Julian!). The uphills went well, and so did nutrition and energy. I learned that I need to get faster on downhills, and I hope a running-focused training program will do that. Hoka One Ones are even better for racing than they are for training, and I can't imagine how sore my legs would be right now if I had not worn them! The top women were amazing, and I wished at many points for a camera to film the way their race unfolded since I was there for most of it--until they crushed me on the final descents, that is! Although 30th place does not exactly sound impressive to me, I'm encouraged by running 6:46 in my first (almost) 50-miler. In anticipation of a move towards ultra running next year, I'm stoked to get back on the trails! As soon as I can walk down the stairs again, that is.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Winter is Here: Bring on the Snowshoeing on Northern Lites!

I caught up with my good old friend Dave Mackey on a run at White Ranch in Golden today, and our conversation enthused me for--in addition to life in general--the upcoming snowshoe season and training for some running races. Snowshoeing has been my winter staple since I was about 12, and I have always loved the sport. I'm excited to continue racing on Northern Lites this year because they have long been the lightest, best snowshoes out there! Josiah Middaugh, who just finished 2nd at XTERRA Worlds (yeah Josiah!) will also be running on Northern Lites, and I have asked the company to make his snowshoes out of steel to give the rest of us a chance. I'm also excited to represent the Pedal Power Bike Shop this winter. Run by Bruce Kelly in Eagle-Vail, CO, Pedal Power has held the state's best snowshoe racing series for a long time. These are snowshoe races with real singletrack and a true sense of adventure, and I'm stoked to get out there!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Ordos Adventure Challenge and Wulong Mountain Quest: A Couple of Videos

I was lucky to compete on Team AYUP Lights this fall at two adventure races in China, the Ordos Adventure Challenge and the Wulong Mountain Quest.  We finished fourth in both of the multi-day stage races.

The first video here is shared with credit to the guys at hotreels.tv, who have done some excellent video production and will soon air their work on international TV stations.  The second is my home-made piece from the Wulong opening ceremony.


Ordos Adventure Challenge from Spontaneous Combustion on Vimeo.



WuLong Mountain Quest from Spontaneous Combustion on Vimeo.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Ordos Adventure Challenge

I had a great trip to China for an adventure race a few weeks ago with Team Ay Up Lights.  I raced with Gretchen Reeves, Jay Henry, and Jon Brown, and we had a good time out there, finishing fourth in a competitive field.

I've been back to reality for almost three weeks now and am still trying to finish the story about the race...it's on the way!  But don't hold your breath.

In the meantime, here's the story from the Vail Daily:
http://www.vaildaily.com/article/20120919/NEWS/120919858/1078&ParentProfile=1062

Sunday, July 29, 2012

European Ponderings (and Wanderings) en Route to the FrenchChampionship Series' Manigod Kilometre Verical


Starting with the end in mind, this was the final outcome: 2nd at the Kilometre Vertical Manigod. I was happy with the result in the strong competition. I'd love it if we could create some of these races in the US. Gaining over 3,000' in a straight shot uphill (probably about two miles) is a good experience.


Many thanks, as always, to the people and products at Team Merrell, Zanfell, Yeti, CamelBak, Squirt Lube, and other past and present sponsors, who make it possible for me to make the most of life by training and racing around the world. These companies make excellent products, and their support is appreciated.





A week after the JJ Memorial bike ride (nothing like following Greg Krause's wheel for a good workout), I tested my mettle again in XTERRA triathlon at the Mountain Championship in Beaver Creek. Two lessons:
1. These guys are good!
2. I could s some work getting to the bike.
My mile swim, at 24 minutes, was not horrendous by most standards, but I still lost over five minutes to many of the pros. I tried to hang with the age-groupers who passed me after starting two minutes behind, but Tim Hola and his compatriots were very fast as well! TA1 brought a hectic wrestling match with my wetsuit, and I was very thankful to finally find myself climbing the steep hill up Beaver Creek Resort.

Meandering through a whole bunch of strong swimmers and female pros brought me to a long stretch in no-man's land, and I finally contacted a few male pros at the end of the ride. Ski resort bike rides at high altitude are a good fit for me, and I had fun.

The up-and-down terrain of the run was also nice, and I gained more spots to finish 9th. I have been enjoying the XTERRAs and the community, and I hope to continue with pool work so I can mix it up with the top guys.

Congrats to Josiah Midduagh and Sara Tarkington, who both crushed it to finish 2nd. Thanks to Adam Plumber, who saved me with a wheel the night before the race...and to the Specialized Mechanic who adjusted my deraileur at about 9:00 p.m. when I was really in a spot! Touching base with DeWett, South African inventor of Squirt Lube (truly worth its weight in gold) was a nice post-race treat.

So were the hamburger, hot dog, cookie, chips, and three recovery drinks I downed on the way home as I raced to get ready to pack for the flight the next day.

The primary purpose of our European journey was to prepare for and compete in the Manigod Kilometre Vertical, an uphill running race in the French Alps that represents one leg of the country's Championship Series. Gaining over 3000' in one short, straight-up push was an alluring challenge, and I was excited to experience the tough Euro competition.

Ponderings arose for Amy and I as we wandered through London, Saas-Fee, Zermatt, Saas-Grund, Leukerbad, Aix-les-bains, and Las Clusaz...
What, exactly, was Wyatt up to back at home?
How aggressive are Swiss cows?
Is it possible to overdose on Nutella and bread?
Is there anything the Swiss CAN'T build?
Why would anyone run downhill, anyway?
How come European coffees are so darn small? And tasty?
Is there a reason every restaurant in Switzerland has the same menu?
Why does typing a blog entry on an iPhone while riding a bus on a tiny, windy Swiss road make you so nauseous?
Where exactly does my running race start?

Nothing announces the start of a European journey like purchasing a loaf of bread and jar of Nutella. Almost two weeks of relying on these vittles as my primary caloric source has seen me ready for a bit of a break, and, thankfully, the races here do not test for Nutella levels in blood.







The Swiss can, indeed, build anything, anywhere.


Hohsaas Huitte. Not a bad spot to spend the night in a mountain hut.

Saas-Fee. Cheaper than Zermatt, but just as cool.

Leukerbad. You get a free trip down the cable car if you can run up Gemmi Pass (about 3000' vertical) in less than 70 minutes. I made it in 45, and was stoked to get back to town in time for a second breakfast. Hotels have no idea what they're in for when they include meals with the price.  The run up the other side of the valley out of Leukerbad was not bad either. Cows crowding the trail on the way up were loud but nice.  Thanks to Brandy and Matt Erholtz for the skinny on the secret deal for running up with a free trip down!




Took the lift down, again. Running is a lot more fun and less painful when you don't have to go down the hill!

Frog legs? Yep. They're actually pretty good.

Big Ben. We got re-routed through London and had to spend and evening checkin out the city. No sleep for 30 hours, but totally worth it.











Amy had fun at Buckingham Palace.











Getting to the starting line for the big race became quite an adventure. We stayed in La Clusaz, a storied French mountain town surrounded by classic Tour de France climbs: Col des Aravis, Col des Maddrassier, Col de la Colombier, Col des Croix de Fry, etc. Croix de Fry became our rival for the day when we took a bus to the Col, hitchhiked down the other side to Manigod, discovered that the race started back at the top (where we were an hour ago), hitchhiked back up (now in the domain of bikes rather than buses), showed photos of Wyatt to the nice French couple driving us, and finally made it to the start.

The next adventure came with what turned into a two hour warmup full of anxiety about missing the race. Unsure exactly where or when (I thought it was 6pm, but everyone was still in line to sign up at that time) the race actually started, I down a hill towards what I thought was the course. And down, and down, and down. At about 6:15, I began worrying that the race started far below and everyone else was driving there, so I began to run. If the racers passed me on their way up the course, I considered, would I just hop in, or would I go all the way to the start and turn around? Now at a full gallop, I finally caught the young man, below, who became my savior for the start. He also had a race number (thank goodness--I must be somewhat on track), and was leisurely strolling down the hill. After a few minutes of our French-English mess of a discussion, I discerned that we were actually at the start (marked merely by a cone on a remote dirt road), and that the other racers would be running down to the start together after the race meeting at 6:30. Well, I guess I missed the race meeting.

Twenty minutes later, worry spike again as I continued my warmup (almost two hours now...extra training, I guess) and saw no other runners. My buddy had wandered off for more running, and I really was alone on a random road. When my new friend returned, I asked about ten times of he was sure this was the start, and he insisted. He seemed like a trustworthy and enthusiastic young man, so I stayed there. Plus, my only other option was to invent a starting line, take off from there, time myself, and pretend I did the race.

I had at least five minutes left before enacting said plan when the other runners finally showed up. Initial relief was washed away by finding myself at the very back of the field as people crept to an unmarked start. I darted around and through some bushes as the countdown ensued, wondering if these were the French version of stinging nettles.

They were, but burning quads soon overtook stinging calves and shins as we headed up the hill.

The race itself was pretty simple: run/hike full speed for about 38 minutes. Given the chance, I will definitely use Nordic ski poles for another race like this.

Here's some footage from the uphill running race. The flat section shown was a short reprieve of about 400 meters after one third of the race; the remainder involved a gradient around that seen here.


Back to good old Colorado (the Alps are nice, but this is not half bad), attention turns to the Ordos Adventure in Chinese Mongolia in August and the Wulong Mountain Quest in China in October.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Independence (from the Saddle) at the Firecracker 50 and the JJ Memorial Ride

After 50 miles of hard riding and some real suffering at the Firecracker 50 in Breckenridge on July 4th, I was definitely ready for some independence from the saddle!



The race took out easy for a few miles before my good buddies, Greg Krause and Jay Henry, decimated most of the field with some nasty attacks that brought us all the way to the start of singletrack off Boreas Pass Road.  The leading group contained somewhere around 15 riders, and Jay continued to rip things apart as he took the lead from there.  Henry held on for the lead, holding off a very strong rider from South Africa.

The race went fair for me.  I lost some time on loose descents to riders who either had better control, more guts, or both.  When French Gulch approached for the second time, I planned to pass a number of competitors and ride to glory.  Conversely, I found myself "reduced to a shadow of a man," as Phil and Paul would say in Tour commentary, as I struggled to simply make it through.  Some much-needed Gatorade from race volunteers brought me back enough to hammer home and finish in 14th around 3:53.  I was thankful that my Yeti ASR-C provided a relatively smooth ride on some pretty bumpy trails.

The weekend brought around the Jeff Jewell Memorial Ride, and 11 hours on the road bike over a couple of days in the mountains with Jeff's best friends provided some good time for reflection on the inspirational man who passed due to brain cancer.

My thoughts go now to Ryan Haebe, a young man and friend from Evergreen who ran to two DII National Championship titles this year for Western State, who now fights for his life after a serious brain injury.  Hang tough, Ry!


Sunday, July 1, 2012

Giving it a go at XTERRA Curt Gowdy

The Tour has finally started, and that means I have a bit of time to, well, sit around and type while watching the best event around.

I've said for almost a decade, "One of these days I'll do some swimming and sign up for a few XTERRAs."  One of these days finally came around.  XTERRA tris are like road tris in two important ways:
1. Biking follows swimming
2. Running follows biking
They are also different:
1. The biking and running are done on trails instead of roads
2. Before and after the race, you say hello to your competitors instead of staring them down

The atmosphere at Curt Gowdy State Park in Wyoming was laid back and fun, and the race organization did an exceptional job throughout.  We had a great family road trip, and the race went well.  I'll let the pictures tell the story.

Sara Tarkington took it out hard on the swim.  I had the 56th fastest swim time and had some work to do.


The bike and run went much better, and I was able to grab the fastest time on each.  The Yeti was perfect for the  technical terrain.


Sara won the women's race.


Ryan Ignatz, and old friend from CU, took the race and I finished second.


You know it's a good weekend if you look like this at the end of it.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Fun and Suffering at the Bailey Hundo

How do you know fun is coming?  Plan a mountain biking ride on the singletrack at Buffalo Creek.

How do you know that suffering is coming?  Take a whiff of Sportslick.

Macy, Tietzel, and Pearce, from left to right.


For me, at least, the smell of Sportslick is a tell-tale reminder that pain is on the way.  More pain, of course, would be present without Sportslick, which prevents chaffing on the feet and everywhere the sun don't shine, but the early morning application of my favorite product has become a certain signal of suffering to come.

Such was the case at the 2012 Bailey Hundo, which has quickly become one of my favorite mtb races.  I finished fourth at the Hundo last year in 7:07, and I was hoping to improve on my time and place this time around.

Supported by my dad and sister in the crew truck, I pedaled out with 250 others from Bailey at 6:00 a.m. on a beautiful morning.  We rode steady for seven miles on the road to spread the field before the singletrack, and six of us his the Colorado Trail with a gap to the others.

A few minutes later, I hit my pedal on a root and lost contact with Scott Tietzel and Colby Pearce.  So began my 90-mile time trial, which involved solo riding except for about 10 minutes with friend and competitor Stig Somme.

Tietzel and Pearce were just a touch faster than me on the singletrack--or maybe I lost time with too much focus pretending I was in a sweet mountain biking film as I cruised the best (literally) singletrack in the world--and they had two minutes on me when we hit the river road to Deckers.

The leaders, both excellent road riders, worked together on the flats, extending their lead.  I hammered it in as the climbs began, and I was happy to finish third in 6:44.  Somme hung tough through a completely useless front fork and finished a few minutes behind me.

The Bailey Hundo continues to be an awesome race and an incredible boost to important causes.  The event and its riders raised over $100,000 this year, which will be used to support causes like high school mountain biking.

Long live the Hundo!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Growled at by the Growler..Two's the Number at Teva

Josiah and I ended up in what seem to be our usual spots on the Teva Games Ultimate Mountain Challenge Podium.
Stories about the Teva Games:
http://www.vaildaily.com/article/20120602/SPORTS/120609966&parentprofile=search
http://www.vaildaily.com/article/20120603/SPORTS/120609934&parentprofile=search

Summer is in swing in Colorado!  School is out, the trails are dry (too dry?), forest fires are burning, and little boys (and their dads) are excited for camping trips.

Wyatt and I kicked things off over Memorial Day with a trip to Gunnison for the Original Growler mountain bike race.  We took the trailer for some camping, and enjoyed catching up with Jon Brown, Brian Wickenhauser, and other old friends in Gunni.  My informal study shows that New Zealand is probably about the only place in the world that has a higher world class athlete to general population ration than Gunnison, and it's always fun to go there.

Ten minutes into the Growler, when I got caught on a corner and fell to about 80th place and had to crank up a hill before taking on some of the most challenging singletrack around, I remembered just why the Growler is one of the most challenging mountain bike races in Colorado.  The terrain is unrelenting, with short, pumpy climbs peppered with technical, high-desert-style riding.

The first two hours felt like a shock to my body and riding "mind," and I was glad to finally feel a bit comfortable almost halfway into the race.  I moved up in the field for a few hours, and then held my spot to the finish, coming in around 5:57.  It was a real upper-body and back workout.

Wyatt and I had a great weekend!



A week later, Amy was back in town and we made the yearly family pilgrimage to Colorado's shrine of adventure sports, the Teva Mountain Games.  I usually compete in the Ultimate Mountain Challenge at the Games.  The event involves four separate races over two days: Downriver Paddle, Cross Country MTB, 10k Trail Run, and Road Bike Time Trial.  The event fits very well with Josiah's strengths, and I had finished second to him four times in a row going into this year.



The water level was very low in Gore Creek, and technical paddling conditions allowed me to gain about 45 seconds on Josiah after a 24-minute paddle.  Things went south quickly, however, on the mountain bike when Josiah cranked out an exceptional ride and I pedaled mediocre at best.  As Josiah moved impressively through the competitive pro field (we started two minutes after the full mtb field), I lost a few minutes to him on each of three laps.  By the end of the mtb race, I knew winning the overall title would require a minor miracle the next day.

Day Two brought the 10k Trail Run and Road Bike Time Trial.  I felt pretty good on the run, which ended up being more than 10k (probably helpful for me).  Josiah and I finished 5th and 6th, respectively, after two guys in front of us took a wrong turn and dropped out.  I was 13 seconds behind Josiah on the run, which is a pretty good finish.  Unfortunately, the new rules meant that we were out of the running for prize money in individual events.

The TT always brings a lactic acid-filled grind at the end of the weekend.  I felt decent and finished in just over 31 minutes, with which I was fairly happy.



Two was the number, again, at the Teva Games, and we had a good time.  In the women's race, Sari Anderson raced well to top Gretchen Reeves and Sara Tarkington.  All three are superb athletes and people, and it was fun to follow their racing.

I look forward to the Bailey Hundo in two weeks, followed by the Curt Gowdy XTERRA and Firecracker 50 MTB before heading to Brazil for the Brasilia Multisport on July 21.


Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Ridgeline Rampage in Castle Rock

My mountain biking season began with the Ridgeline Rampage Half Marathon in Castle Rock this weekend.  The organization (www.warriorscycling.com) always puts on a good race, and a strong field toed the line. 

We took off hammering in an attempt to hit the singletrack in good position, and I learned that my starts could use some work.  The 30-mile course consisting of three loops was almost entirely singletrack, and the trails were incredibly windy, with turns every few seconds for the entire course.  This provided some excellent skills work, and I was happy to be on the Yeti, which is great in the tight stuff.

Mike West provided some excellent downhill pacing for me as I tried to stay with him through a skills clinic in the curves for half a lap.  When his chain broke, I began time-trialing and did not see another pro rider for the remainder of the race. 

Friends Kelly Magelky and Josiah Middaugh rode strong, finishing 3rd and 4th, respectively, and I was 6th. 

I hope to make it to the Mountain States Cup in a couple of weeks in Salida, although moving plans may interfere.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Dirty Side Down at the First Annual Tour de Jeffco

It seems like just about everyone around my home area of Jefferson County says, "Yeti makes the best bikes for Front Range trails."  A few weeks on the ASR-C began to confirm this, but I decided to test the theory with a some friends today at the first annual Tour de Jeffco, a big MTB ride linking many of the popular trails in Jefferson County.



The route:
  • Evergreen to top of Evergreen Mountain
  • Up and down Bergen Peak
  • Across Bergen Park 
  • Down Chimney Gulch
  • Up Apex
  • Down Enchanted Forest
  • Across Matthews Winters
  • Stop at gas station in Morrison for food and water
  • Up Mt. Falcon
  • Down Lair O' the Bear
  • Up Morrison Canyon to Evergreen
  • "Dirty Side Down" Burger (1/2 lb. patty--probably full of pink slime--in between two grilled cheese sandwiches with bacon), fries, and beer at Cactus Jack's 
The concept was simple enough, and it made for a superb day of fun on the trails with great friends!  Andrew Adamowski (vote for him on May 8 for EPRD Board), Colin Booth, Nick Ramey, and Darren Lee all joined for part of the ride, and it was great to meet them out there.  


Nick was waiting for us at the top of Bergen Peak.  I think he slept up there for altitude training.
We saw the guys from Evergreen Bicycle Outfitters on top of Bergen Peak, preparing for the a very similar ride they simply call "The Stupid."  Brooks Beal came from Boulder and did almost the whole thing, including "pausing" his vegan diet for the Dirty Side Down at the end.  Andrew Speers, freshly crowned Teacher of the Year at EHS, proved why he's such an exceptional person by completing the entire ride only two years into his mountain biking career!  Not bad.  He headed home afterwards to play with his four-year-old twin boys, still in a bit of a haze.  Jon Brown came all the way from "Gunni" for the ride.  He pulled in at 10:00 p.m. last night, and demanded over a beer in downtown Evergreen that we ride at least as long as he drove to get here and back for the ride.



Well, Jon got his wish, and he seemed to be stoked about the Front Range trails.


I had a blast out there.  The bike was wonderful, and I was stoked to ride all day over 75+ miles without a single mechanical worry.  It seems to me that just about everyone around is right about the Yeti.


Not sure if the mustache or the sandwich is dirtier.  Andrew,
myself, and JB were stoked to be finished!


Monday, April 9, 2012

5'6" on a 21" Frame: My Journey to the Yeti ASR-Carbon

At some point around 1988, I was the luckiest five-year-old in all of Evergreen, Colorado.  I got to hang around, you see, while my dad (who surely wasn't riding in the Tour that year because he must have had a conflicting race) talked with Casey and Phil (who really were good bike mechanics, which made them the other two of the three coolest people I could think of) at Paragon Sports, which you now may know as Boone Mountain Sports.

I've always liked Paragon/Boone Mountain because its got a hometown feel that exudes quality and community.  I also like other brands that do that; more to come below.

A few years later, I became one of the coolest people I knew.  Not only was I a middle schooler (everyone in this age-group self-identifies as "cool"), but I also had a new bike.  And it had shocks.  The "new" ride was actually my dad's old Specialized Hard Rock, and I spent every cent I had--plus a few weeks of loaned allowance--at Paragon to get the rigid fork changed out for a new one.  And, unlike the forks on any of my friends' bikes, this one compressed when you hit a bump.  The removable, foam bumpers were sweet, and the adjustability therein (different colors of foam for different stiffness levels) made for what was sure to be the smoothest ride that could--or would--ever be had on Evergreen Mountain.  I paid extra to add grip-shifts, which I was sure would be usable for the remainder of my life.

We rode hard that summer.  Trips to Evergreen Lake.  3 for $1 hot dogs at Stop 'n Save.  Fishing rods attached to bikes, and not a care in the world.  Most of it was fun, but we also raced at Three Sisters, Evergreen Mountain, and Bergen Peak.  Every time I ride up Evergreen Mountain, even now, a nice thought pops into my head when I think about my friend, Erik, telling me that a particular switchback marks one-third of the way to the summit.  I thought I was going to die that first time up, and now I'm barely warmed up at that point.

Back to the bike.  Did I care that the frame was made of steel and weighed almost as much as I did?  Nope.  Did I long for tubeless tires and rear suspension?  What?  Why would I need even more suspension?  Did I pretend the 21" frame fit me even though I was 5'6"?  Heck yeah!  Did my dad ignore the fact that he would not have grandchildren if I slid off the seat an onto the cross bar?  I guess so.  Must have been part of the "mental training" regimen he had me on.

A rough count in my head reveals that my sweet middle school ride with bumper-shocks was somewhere around 13 bikes ago.  I've had some good ones.  I've had some bad ones.  And I've had some great ones with excellent memories of racing, traveling, suffering, and celebrating.  

After two days on the Yeti ASR-Carbon, I think I might now have the best one yet.

Thankfully, biking is just as fun now as it was then.  

Thankfully, some companies still work to intentionally maintain a hometown, high-quality feel.  

Thankfully, I've gotten more "sweet bike" comments in the last two days than anytime since my new shocks were installed.  

Thankfully, the view from the top of Evergreen Mountain is still worth stopping for.  



Thankfully, most of all, the frame shape on this bike will decrease concerns about the passing of the family name when I give it to my son when he's still way too small for it.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

"Tour de Jeffco MTB" on 4/22/12: Join for a Great Training Ride!

1. The route:
  • Evergreen to top of Evergreen Mountain
  • Up and down Bergen Peak
  • Across Bergen Park (stop at gas station for water/food)
  • Down Chimney Gulch
  • Up Apex
  • Down Paradise Hills and Frontage Road
  • Across Dakota Ridge
  • Stop at gas station in Morrison for food and water
  • Up Mt. Falcon
  • Down Lair O' the Bear
  • Up Morrison Canyon to Beaujo's in Evergreen for pizza and beer
2.  Who's invited?
You and anyone else who's interested; pass it on.

3.  Who will ride together in a group?
Fewer than the number required for a group permit.

4.  Is this an "event," "race," "ride," or anything else "official"?
NO!  no.  "No."

5.  What time?
Call or text me and I'll let you know when and where to meet.  Plan on early morning in Evergreen.

6.  Who thought this up?  Why should I do it?
Andrew has been talking about it for years.  If riding world class trails all day with your friends is not reason enough, you probably should stop reading now.

7.  Do I have to do the whole thing?
No!  I can shoot you text message updates along the way if you want to meet up.  Doing the first part (Evergreen Mtn) or last (Falcon+Bear to Evergreen or Bear to Evergreen) might work well.

8.  Why April 22nd?
Three weeks should give you time to:
8.1.  Ride like you're in the Tour (example of a real "event") to get in shape.
8.2.  Do nothing and get really rested up.
8.3.  Do something nice enough to get a hall pass, if required.
8.4.  8.2 and 8.3
8.5.  8.1 and 8.3 (three-week hall pass may be hard to obtain)

9.  Is there an entry fee? Will there be prizes?
No.  This is not an "event."  See #4.

10.  Will anyone present at the finish get to dig through my give away box of items gleaned when cleaning out the gear room before we move?
Yes.

11.  How far is it?  How long will it take?  How much climbing is involved?
I have no idea.  Depending on your perspective, probably something between "a solid day on the bike" and "I hope I survive."  Plan on being self sufficient, and think about coming with at least one person with whom you can ride the entire route.

12.  Can I crash on your couch in Evergreen before and/or after?
Yes.

13.  What bike should I ride?
A mountain bike.  Drop me a line if you're interested in a deeply discounted price on a new Yeti ASR-Carbon (I'm stoked to be racing on this bike!).

14.  How do I get extra credit?
Ride White Ranch and as many other Jeffco trails as possible on Sunday!

Travis

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Mountain Area Land Trust Presentation

For over 20 years, the Mountain Area Land Trust (MALT) has worked hard to keep wild places, well, wild.  My dad and I were honored to present at MALT's Airmchair Adventure Series last night.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Up Next: Mountain Area Land Trust Presentation in Evergreen Next Week

The Mountain Area Land Trust has taken significant strides in preserving the excellent places I use for training every day, and I look forward to presenting for the organization next week.

http://www.savetheland.org/calendar.html

Monday, March 12, 2012

Podium Finish at North American Snowshoeing Championship and "New Member" of the Macy Family

The snowshoeing season wrapped up yesterday with the always-competive North American Snowshoe Racing Championship, the final event of the Beaver Creek Snowshoe Adventure Series.

In the women's race, Sara Tarkington continued her dominance, but she had to work for the win due to strong charges from Lindsay Krause, who finished second.

My cousin, Ethan Pence, ran strong in the 5k for a third place finish among seasoned veterans.

Josiah Middaugh ran through bronchitis for the 10k win, and Peter Maksimow sprung off a 53-minute 10-mile road race last weekend for a great run to second.  I felt a bit sluggish and run-down, and I was happy to hang on for the final podium spot. 



In other news, Wyatt is happy to announce the addition of a new...



...camper to our family!

We're stoked for some road trips to mtb, multisport, and XTERRA races this summer.  Wyatt enjoyed a nice "stroll" up Mt. Falcon after this photo was taken.  As it turns out, the backpack would have been a much better option for that trail, which was still quite snowy in areas!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

RIBZ WEAR!

I was lucky to catch up with Ribz Wear, a compelling new company, at the Outdoor Retailer Show this winter in Salt Lake City.  Specializing in a one-of-a-kind front pack system, Ribz offers a great solution for accessibility to important items when adventure racing, cycling, paddling, fishing, photographing, or hiking.

I plan to use Ribz heavily for long-distance flatwater paddling in adventure races, when quick access to food is a must.

Check it out!  http://www.ribzwear.com/

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Leg Speed Proves Key at the USSSA Snowshoeing Nationals in Frisco, CO

While snowshoe races generally award aerobic fitness, hill climbing, and quick descending, the course at this year's United States Snowshoeing Association National Championship mixed things up with a flat romp around a field at Summit High School. 

The championship event drew strong fields for men, women, and juniors, and many racers from outside Colorado participated.  The juniors, aged 20 and under, kicked things off with a 5k, and I was proud to watch stellar finishes from EHS runners Sam Sahli and Jackson Sayler, who both did the Cougars proud!  Mitch Kasyon, a freshman at CU-Boulder, won the junior race in convincing fashion.  The USSSA deserves recognition for attracting so many young athletes to the great sport of snowshoeing, and it was great to see them in action!



In the women's race, Sara Tarkington crushed the course for a wire-to-wire win.  Josiah Middaugh (surprise) won the men's race, with my CU-Boulder teammate Jared Scott kicking in strong for second.  I ran in fifth for almost the entire race, hoping for some significant climbing, descending, and singletrack that I knew would never come.  There was one rise on the course, "Heartbreak Hill," which turned out to be aptly named for me when I realized it presented less vertical gain than my driveway at home.

All in all, I was happy to make the final spot on the National Snowshoeing Team with a top-five finish.  Evergreen resident and occasional training partner Brandy Erholtz finished fourth in the women's race, and Lindsay Krause was sixth.




Hats off to the competitors, organizers, and volunteers at the event!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

2012 Winter Teva Mountain Games

Ten years ago, according to Vail Valley Foundation VP of Sales Michael Imhof, the inaugural Summer Teva Mountain Games hosted a total of 50 athletes in a few competitions.  Over the past decade, the summer event has become a main course in any adventure athlete's diet, now featuring well over 2,000 competitors each year.  As of this weekend, a winter version provides an attractive side dish that's sure to grow in volume and variety.



My flavor for the weekend was a combination of 10k snowshoe on Saturday at 6:30 p.m. and the "Uphill" on Sunday at 7:00 a.m. 

After watching friends crank through a snowbike criterium just beforehand, energy was high at the snowshoe starting line.  Just before the gun, I discovered the presence of Jared Scott, an old teammate from the CU track and cross country teams.  I knew Jared would be tough, and so would Josiah Middaugh and a number of other talented runners.



The pace was fast from the start, and I struggled early on, running in 5th for a significant period.  As the course climbed higher, I found my rhythm and moved gradually into 2nd place.  Cresting the climb, I headed downhill with Scott Gall close behind.  Josiah was in sight, and we slowly gained on him, but he had it won at that point.

Cruising back into town, Gall and I battled with all we had.  Coming into the line, he unleashed a ferocious kick that left me scrambling, and I finished third by a few seconds.



After a quick refuel and attempt at sleep, we again found ourselves at the starting line, this time ready to ascent 2400' up Vail Mountain in just over two miles.  The uphill marked the final event of the Ultimate Mountain Challenge (nordic ski, ski mountaineering, and uphill), and the field was packed!

Josiah showed no signs of wear from the night before, and he took a second victory.  Not bad!

I, on the other hand, felt slow and powerless, struggling to finish in approximately tenth. 



The Winter Teva Games has made its point, and I look forward to competing in this event in years to come!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Goal: Go Fast Uphill at the Teva Mountain Games...

Big gear choice for the uphill on Sunday morning.  Which will you choose?




www.tevamountaingames.com

Saturday, February 4, 2012

A White Colorado for the Snowshoeing State Championship

Bruce Kelly and the Pedal Power Bike crew always put on great races, and this year's Colorado Snowshoeing State Championship was no exception!  Over a foot of fresh powder graced the course, and conditions made for a true snowshoer's race.  Those with smaller snowshoes and little experience suffered in the technical conditions.  I was happy to take the cake, and a good friend, Sara Tarkington, won the women's race.


A week later, snow pounded Evergreen!  We have enjoyed over three feet of perfect Colorado wonder.



Saturday, January 14, 2012

Off and Running at the Beaver Creek Snowshoe Series


Every year, the Beaver Creek Snowshoe Adventure Series offers tough courses at high altitude, strong competition, and high energy atmosphere.  The trend continues for 2012, and last weekend Lindsay Krause (wife of cycling buddy Greg Krause) and I tackled the I-70 monster to journey west to Beaver Creek.

After boarding a misguided shuttle bus that took us to the Beaver Creek Ritz Carlton (I didn't go inside, and doubt if I ever will), we finally made it to the starting line in time.  For the first time in years (ever, maybe), a Beaver Creek race was without Mike Kloser and Bernie Boettcher.  Josiah Middaugh, however, was there, and so was Alex Nichols, a talented trail runner on the Innov-8 Team, who looked tough.

After running together for about a mile, Josiah pulled away from Nichols and I.  We pursued him actively, but the race became a battle for 2nd.  Alex was a very tough competitor, and I was happy to finally gap him on the final ascent before dropping to the finish.

Josiah notched yet another win (it's been quite some time since anyone has bested him on snowshoes), and I was glad to bring Team Merrell to a 2nd spot on the podium.  CU Buff grads looked great in the women's race, with Lindsay taking 2nd and her training partner, Kari, taking the win.

I look forward to the Colorado Snowshoeing State Championship on 1/28 (pedalpowerbike.com) and Teva Games two weeks later.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Happy New Year from Peak 10 at Breckenridge!

Nothing like steep black diamonds with icy, man-made snow for my first tele run ever!



In other news, the second Pedal Power Snowshoe Race (www.pedalpowerbike.com) took place on Saturday, 12/31, with less-than-ideal conditions.  Snow has been almost non-existent, but approximately 40 snowshoeing die-hards took on Bruce's challenging course.

Josiah Middaugh took the cake, I finished second, John Tribbia was third, and James Kovacs was fourth.

Up next is the first Beaver Creek snowshoe race on 1/8.