Saturday, July 31, 2010

10 miles of technical trail

Well, last night was just a hike. Today was a trail run on Peaks Trail. A sweating, wheezing, huffing, trudging, and cursing trail run. A little over two hours and close to 10 miles of technical trails that wound through the mountains from Breckenridge to Frisco, CO. But I was rewarded with some of the most beautiful sights that I have seen so far on this adventure for all of my hard work. At times it was so overwhelming that I had to stop running. I would throw up my arms in the air and slowly turn around looking at the towering trees with the sunlight sifting through the boughs at the tops that fell in dappled light onto the rocks and roots at my feet. I have been so lucky to have had some amazing workouts that really are not workouts, but more like moments of awakening. Being able to see things in a new light and in a new way. In a way that I am sure that I have seen before but that I just never noticed. The smell of the pine needles under my foot became perfume. The warmth of the sun on my skin was like an embrace from a constant friend. The sound of the babbling water in the stream that ran along the trail was like a calming whisper from a parent. The colors of the wild flowers were more vivid than gemstones. The flavor of the pomegranate mojito after the run was exceptional! I am not sure if there are any more words that I could type that would give the full scope of this trail run, so I will put it all in a photo essay....

I would have to take the gondola to the trail head.

Since it was Saturday, there were lots of other runners, hikers, and mountain bikers on the trail.
Rocks and tree roots were constant on the trail.
As well as little foot bridges that crossed mountain streams.

There was a series of locks to direct the flow of the stream to two different destinations.
Emerging from the tree line to survey the landscape...
and running through an open area where the tree beetles had destroyed the pines.
Looking down the trail to where my legs would carry me...
and looking back up the trail to see where I had come from.
Small yellow butterflies flitted around the path in the sunlight.

The Rainbow Lake
Nearing the end of my journey.
Enjoying an cold plunge for my foot in the Snake River.

Tomorrow is one last bike ride over a mountain pass before I have to pack the bike back into the bike box and take it to the FedEx office. I am a little sad that my visit to the Rocky Mountains is coming to an end. I am even sadder that I may not be coming back next year.

Last year when I made the trip, I did not know what to expect. I had been to Denver, Boulder, and Colorado Springs but only for a weekend at a time and I was usually busy with seminars and meetings that only left me time to take short runs around a conference center. My nine days in Breckenridge last year were eye opening. I did things that I never thought I could do. Like who in their right mind would take to the open road and pedal a bike up and over the Continental Divide and weather a hail storm on the way back down? Who would run up a mountain trail only to have to take shelter under some pine trees to get out of a thunder storm? I never thought that it would be me. Those experiences set the bar higher for me. It made the rides and runs in the heat and on the flat terrain of Texas seem almost too easy. Of course it is hard riding in the humidity and heat of the Gulf Coast of Texas, but compared to pedaling up a 7% grade for 4 miles, I was just as hot and sweaty.

This year my adventures have expanded to include other new experiences and yet there is still a sense of peace and calm that I have settled into at times that makes me forget work and my routine in Texas. I am not sure what next summer will hold for me. I may go to Europe again or possibly to the Grand Canyon. I would like to see Yosemite, and Yellowstone but I know that it will not be like the quiet trails here in Breckenridge.

Well, I need to get back to enjoying my last 36 hours in Breck.

Later Gators,


Friday, July 30, 2010

Solitary Hike

The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I-
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
More pictures from today's hike are on the way. I walked out the door feeling a little under the weather and a little blue but after almost 2 hours of sweat, silence, and switchbacks I returned to the front porch feeling better with a little bit of an appetite again, and a smile on my face. The restorative power of nature is incredible.
Later Gators,

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Game Trail Run

Today's weather was going to be too sketchy for a bike ride so the next best thing to do is a trail run. To make it challenging, put the trail up on a mountain. To make it more challenging, start running at 10,720 ft. above sea level.

To get to the top of the mountain I had to take the gondola half-way up the mountain and then take a chair lift the rest of the way up. I tried to take some pictures on the way up, but the windows of the gondola were not easy to take pictures through.

It was better on the ski lift. I could feel the temperature getting cooler the higher the chair lift took me up the mountain. I was glad that I had a long sleeve shirt and a long sleeve pull-over top on. The mountain was beautiful. There were even several trees that got close to the chair lifts that were decorated with plastic beads, flower leis, garlands, and ribbons.

The view from the top was amazing. The trails were all marked well and I was going to take the steep Dwight's Trail to the Game Trail. The Game Trail seemed a little less advanced and it seemed to cover more ground. Once on The Game Trail, trying to catch my breath was hard because there were some uphill sections. After dipping into the trees, the pace I was able to take was a bit more aggressive. There were sections that were out in the areas where the ski runs in the winter were and sections that ran through the thick trees and offered small running streams with small foot bridges to cross as well as all the rocks.

I wish I would have taken more pictures, but I was having so much fun running down the mountain. There were times that I felt like I was soaring through the wind on the way down the trail. Other times I felt like I was floating over the rocks in the trail.

I am sure tomorrow will hold another adventure.

Later Gators,


Wednesday, July 28, 2010


Ok, so Ned Beaty and Burt Reynolds were not along with me on my adventure today but I was having mixed feelings about today's adventure. First off, my kid got sick last night and could not go with. Second, I am not fond of cold water. Third, I felt like a third (really a 7th) wheel to the party of people that I was taking this adventure with. I had only met them 36 hours before and as nice as they were to include me in their raft trip, I still felt like the weird stranger. However, I was trying to live by the motto to "Do one thing a day that scares you".

I was fearful of leaving a sick kid with friends only to have him continue to be sick or to have him miraculously recover and be a dorky 12 year-old who annoyed the snot out of them. I was fearful, but excited of the white water rafting trip. I have never done anything like this and it sounded like fun, but I really do not like cold water. I was also fearful of being thrown in with a nice group of strangers. I do my best to be conversational and witty, but I am a bit of an introvert. Call it only child syndrome. I like to be alone at times and I like to be quiet. I tend to take the back seat and blend into the background but I don't do it well because someone will pipe up and say, "Hey, haven't you eaten anything yet??? Did we leave enough for you?".

So, I packed my gear bag with dry clothes and shoes and dressed for the wet day ahead of me and boarded the Magic School Bus to Arkansas Valley Adventures for their 8:30 am Cat 3 raft expedition. As the drive took me back past Fremont Pass in the other direction from which I rode it yesterday, I was in awe of how much climbing on the bike I had done. I got to see Historic Downtown Leadville, CO this time and a whole lot of Fourteeners or mountain peaks over 14,000 ft. above sea level.

Once at AVA, waivers needed to be signed so that if I died on this expedition they would not be held accountable. As I was waiting for our raft guides to give us directions I saw one of the most amazing things that I have seen. Hummingbirds! Lots of hummingbirds! I have only seen two other hummingbirds apart from today and they were guests in my backyard after Hurricane Ike. I always felt that the strange winds of the hurricane had blown them there much like poor seagulls are blown hundreds of mile inland trying to weather the storm. There were 8 or 9 feeders and they each had 4-5 hummingbirds swarming around them and chattering to each other. They swooped and dodged over and around my head. It was truly an amazing experience.

Our guides got everyone into wetsuits, splash jackets, and personal floatation devices. I had dressed properly so all I got was a PFD and a helmet. We were given instructions on which bus to board and we were off to the launch site.
On the ride we had a quick safety briefing by a guide named Kyle or "Big Country". "Big Country" was tall, tan, lean, and ripped. He had the long hair and beard to throw off any teenage girls that might want to ride on his team. I was put on a raft with JConn or Jason. He was tall, tan, lean, and ripped as well. He was our bus driver and told us that he was asked to help out as well as getting us there but to take a team down the river. He assured us that he had watched the instructional video and gotten some good advice from the other guides and he hoped that we would not flip the raft. His act of not knowing much did not last long. I got the hint that JConn was looked up to by the other guides and later found out that he had 10 years experience as a river guide and had been a guide for AVA for over 9 years.
Me, looking apprehensive about this whole thing.

So that I do not make your eyes glaze over, JConn was a great river guide. He engaged the kids on the raft and talked to them about school and how their summer was going. He gave great geological information about all the rocks and features of the river we were seeing. He let the kids take a quick dip in the chilly river. He was also a good sport when one of the other rafts bumped us into a rock and he fell out of the raft. JConn was given a round of applause by the other river guides because he would be buying them all beer later that night.

The section of the Arkansas River we were on was 9-10 miles long and had Cat. 1, 2, 3, and 3+ rapids on it. This section is also the most traveled section of white water rapids in the world. Approximately 1.5 million people go down this section each season from May to September. Yes, I got wet. Yes, It was chilly. Yes, I dressed appropriately. Yes, I had an awesome time. I would definitely do this again.
Cat. 1 section of the river...
Oooo....Cat. 2 section of the river...
Entering the Cat. 3 section and getting ready to go over those rocks...
More Cat. 3 rapids. This area is called the "7 Steps" and it was a lot of fun...

And the peanut butter and jelly sandwich I had after the raft trip was one of the best ones I have had in a long time!

Hopefully the rain that has blown in will stop before tomorrow for more adventures.

Later gators,


Tuesday, July 27, 2010

I Climaxed!!!

Yeah, get your head out of the gutter. Come on! I know what you're thinking you naughty reader. It was a euphoric experience and I did have something between my was my bike.

This morning I got a transport up to Leadville, CO. Leadville is the highest incorporated city in the U.S. at 10,430 ft. above sea level. It is also home to the famous Leadville 100 Ultramarathon and the Leadville 100 Mountain Bike Race. I was not fortunate enough to see the beautiful downtown historic section of Leadville with it's Victorian era buildings. I was fortunate enough to get dropped off at a Shell gas station on the edge of town that had a clean bathroom. Yahoo!!!
Leadville, CO. 10,430 ft. above sea level.

It was in the 50's when I left Breckenridge but up in Leadville I was wishing I had my leg warmers on and was very glad I had my super-duper awesome Terry thermal arm warmer bolero on. It was windy at the top and I had goose bumps. I also realized that it was time to shave my legs, ack! With my sun block on and my jersey pockets stuffed with gels, a camera, a pump, and other necessities, it was time to tackle Fremont Pass.
Just outside of town...

On the way out of Leadville there is a nice gradual downhill but the wind was making it difficult to coast on the road. I had to pedal all the time to make headway. I stopped for a few pictures of the mountains along the way. On the way up, I had seen a large group of backpackers hiking on the side of the road and I wondered where I would see them along the road. There were a few dumb drivers who thought it was alright to drive a little too close to me on the shoulder when they actually had two lanes to drive in and no other drivers around them. Why is it these cars are always SUV's?
The start of the climbing...

Things had started to climb around mile 5 and I found that I was having to work. I am starting to get used to pedaling at 10-12 mph. I saw a few cyclists coming from the other direction and we gave each other the finger wave off the handle bars. It is a nice "Good on ya!" that you offer to each other for tackling these climbs. Around mile 7.5 or so, I saw a sign that told me I had 4 more miles to the summit of Fremont Pass. Ugh! At 7-9 mph, that could be another 30-40 minutes of hard work. And I had seen the nasty hill that I had to climb on the last push. It is a climb that will definitely get your attention.
The last push up to Fremont Pass!

Around mile 9, I pulled over to have a gel and some water and I was dying for a bush to take a pit stop. No such luck, the back packers were just off the road and on a trail near me. I am sure those boys would have loved for me to drop my shorts, but I was not in the mood to give them a thrill. I looked at the road ahead and saw the climb from hell just ahead of me. The picture does this climb no justice at all. I had to give myself the internal pep-talk and encouragement to get it done. 2 to 2 1/2 miles. I could do it. Just think happy thoughts. Don't think of the two other small climbs that I still had to look forward to.
Look closer at the cropped pic from above. Notice in the right side of the picture you can see the road starting it's way up just behind the green road sign. Follow the tree line up to the upper left of the picture and you will see one of the buildings for the strip mine. That is near the top. Oh yeah!

I nudged my trusty steed back onto the road and set off. As I climbed I kept telling myself that it was not as steep as it looked. My blazing speed up the climb was 6 mph. I passed the 10 mile marker. Then I passed the 11 mile marker. I looked up and saw an edge to the road where cars were coming over. That might be the top! I can do this!!! At the top of summit is a strip mine and I pulled over into the driveway to take a few pictures. As I looked across the road, I saw something that I could not pass up....Port-o-cans.

With business taken care of, I saw the sign that gave way to the title of this blog post...

I also got a picture proving that both I and my bike made it to the top of Fremont Pass at the same time.

I went back to get a few pictures of the climb from hell...
I think that picture says it all...

And then it was all downhill from there baby! Well, there were two small inclines but for the most part it was downhill to Copper Mountain ski resort. I took things cautiously on the downhills but at one point I was up to 38 mph while feathering the breaks. There were beautiful lakes that were created by a system of dams that I got to see on the way down. I also got to see a dead elk cow in the shoulder of the road. That thing was huge and smelly. There was a stretch of 4 miles that was at a 7% grade downhill and it was not until the last 1/2 mile at the bottom did the traffic behind a Safeway tractor trailer semi catch up with me and try to run me off the road. I was glad that they did not encounter me on the section of rough road that put me out in the right wheel path of traffic.

I had a Quizno's sandwich for lunch in Copper Mountain and then it was time to hit the bike trail for the last 15 miles back into Breckenridge. It is pretty much down hill for 9 miles, but the last 6 miles are a false flat. You think you should be going faster, but you are really climbing. The bike path was full of other people, many who were tourists because they were pedaling their mountain bikes in the smallest gear they could find and they were not making much headway on the trail.

Well, another exciting bike adventure is in the books. More excitement to come...

Later Gators,


Monday, July 26, 2010

Montezuma's Revenge...

On my first full day in the mountains and thin air I was up early in anticipation of the adventures of the day. I watched the sun rise and light up the mountain peaks as I ate some left-over pizza for breakfast. It was still chilly outside so I did my strength training workout on my TRX system hooked up on an Aspen tree outside in the sunshine. It was not long before I was sweating and peeling layers off. The 54 degree weather felt great. I had to do something healthy. I had splurged on a beer at diner the night before, a glass of wine later, and ice cream before bed.

Once the strength training session was done, it was time to get ready for a bike ride. I love to ride my bike in the mountains. I love the challenge. I love the work that is involved. I love the feeling of accomplishment when I get to the summit. I wanted to get the mountain air in my lungs.

It was nice to roll out of the drive way, drop down into town and then on to the bike path for 6 or so miles of nice gradual downhill at 22 mph until hitting Swan Mountain Rd. At this point the work begins. For a long stretch, the climb is at 7% grade. I thought that there were 4 corners, or left turns on some switch backs but when I hit the fourth one, the road kept climbing! Ugh, I miscalculated. There are 5 left hairpin turns (and 6 right hand hairpins) to the top. There is a nice scenic pull out at the top and I regrouped before heading down the backside of the climb.
Sorry, I thought I had oriented it upright. This is where I had come from...
And this is where I was going...

Sadly, I am cautious on downhills that I have not been on multiple times. I feathered the breaks all the way down and I was still hitting 37 mph. At the bottom of the decent there is a bike path that runs along Hwy.6 heading to Keystone Ski Resort. It is up and down, twisty and turning, and full of hikers and mountain bikers. I had to keep a sharp eye out for people stepping out in front of me. I was glad to see Keystone for a public restroom!

From Keystone, Hwy.6 continues up to Loveland Pass to the Continental Divide that I climbed last year. At the bottom of the climb there is a road that turns left called Montezuma Rd. I had heard that there were some steep sections on this climb. Yup, it was steep. 5%, 6%, and 7% grades. I was cruising along at 7 mph! Yahoo!!! But I just kept plugging away. I was breathing hard, but I never got breathless. I kept my head down and just focused on the road just ahead of my front wheel not to get intimidated by the climbing road before me. As I neared the top, I wondered how much farther I had to go. I saw a sign that told me I was near....

And then less than 300 yards further, I saw that I was at the end of the line....
Not Where the Sidewalk Ends, but where the pavement ends.
Again, I took it cautiously on the way back down and even stopped along the way to take a picture of the Snake River. I had to work a little bit in some sections because the wind had picked up and was blowing up the mountain. Keystone became another stop but this time for lunch and fluids. I needed to get some calories in me for the climb back over Swan Mountain Rd. I knew that I still had 15 tough miles back home to go.
The Snake River
Swan Mountain Road seemed steeper on the backside even though the GPS disagreed with me. Again, I was breathing hard and working between 7-9 mph but I never ran out of air. I paused at the scenic lookout to grab some fluids and then headed back down to to Lake Dillon and back on the bike path to go home. The bike path is a false grade up to Breckenridge so my legs were starting to feel a little toasty. The last 400 yards to the house has a stretch of 18% grade. OUCH!!! And I had a dump truck coming up the road behind me!

Well, it was 41.65 miles of riding and 2520 ft. of climbing and I got it done. I have devoured a humongous plate of pasta and meat sauce and drank a bucket load of water since finishing. Tomorrow is another big climb and I have a feeling this one will be over the Continental Divide. I leave you with this view of the road and the trees as inspiration to get outside and move. Do something each day that scares you. Do something that you thought that you could not do. Just do it.

More later,


Friday, July 23, 2010


I took Jamie's advice and batted a few eyelashes, flipped my hair a few times, and sent this photo into the Zipp rep and my mechanic gave them all the details about my cracked wheel set. It seems that Zipp does not want me to go without wheels so they were generous enough to offer me a great deal through their Crash Replacement Program.

I can replace my 404's for $700!!! Of course I have to pay for shipping to send the wheels back in so they can retrieve the hubs and there will be some labor costs to do the spokes and get the new rims on. If I want 808's, the cost is $780!!! I would have to pay a little extra for a few more spokes since my hubs run more spokes and they would drill the rim for more spokes.

I would be a fool to pass up this kind of deal. I still have not made a firm decision on what I am going to do. I need to talk to my coach a bit more. He advised me that I may want to run a 404 on the front and an 808 on the back. He said the 808 on the front in the wind can feel twitchy to him and Coach Woofie is much taller and heavier than I am. At 117 lbs. I know that I am not heavy enough to run a disk on the back for fear I would be blown off the road so a deep dish on the front may not be a good thing either. So over the next 10 days while I am in deep thought pedaling my way up the sides of mountains on my high altitude training camp, I will weigh the pros and cons.

Yes fair reader, I am leaving on a jet plane. My road bike is already at 9,000 feet above sea level waiting for me. I need this break from work. I need a chance to not have to work out other people but to work on me. Not only will I be doing one hell of an epic ride next weekend that some refer to as the Copper Triangle, but I will be trail running and hiking some fourteeners. There will be swimming involved and strength training as well.

Am I a little sick and twisted to go on vacation only to thrash my muscles and tax my lungs rather than relax and zone out? Am I a little addicted to exercise when people comment on the goofy smile and twinkle in my eye when I tell them about my trip? Am I hopelessly lost to the dark side when I have to find a duffel bag large enough for my foam roller to fit inside of it? Am I considered to be a little "out there" by the other kids on the bus because I have a TRX suspension training system and it is going on the trip with me?


I hear there is WiFi in spots and for sure the Starbucks can get me a free link up if I buy a cup of Joe. I may not be too wordy due to a lack of oxygen to the brain, but I will at least post a photo essay of my play dates with the other adrenalin junkies. Stay tuned for all the adventures!

Later Gators,


Sunday, July 18, 2010


That is the noise I heard, and that everyone around me heard as I hit the edge of a pavement joint on a ride yesterday morning. That sick sound that tells you that things are not ok. The sound that makes cyclists wince. The sound that makes you swear and at the same time pray that you can keep the rubber side down on the road.

Several years ago I spent a spring season riding with a group of roadies who were Cat 3-5 racers. I was one of a handful of women who went out on the rides with these men and over the period of a few months, I was able to hold my own pretty darn good and hang with the group and not get dropped. I gained strength, speed, handling skills, and confidence. That spring I was able to average 21 mph on an Olympic distance triathlon course.

Fast forward to 2010 and I knew that if I wanted to get my bike power and speed back in top form, I was going to have to ride with the roadies again. My road bike was at the shop for a tune up before it gets packed up for a trip (YAHOO!!!) so I was on my Kuota running my Zipp 404's. My Mavic Kysrium wheel set was on the road bike. The group that I would be riding with was mainly men and mainly roadies. There were at least 4 other women in the group of 35-40 riders and 3 other people riding tri bikes. Being a newbie to the group I decided to hang to the back and get used to rolling 12 inches away from some one's back tire rather than 7 meters away.

We left the ride start and flew through downtown Houston and out through the inner-loop neighborhoods until we got to Hwy 255 that would run southeast through Pasadena, TX and towards the Fred Hartman bridge, loop around Baytown, TX and back to town. The route was 66 miles in all. I was doing a good job of hanging on the back of the huge peloton and averaging speeds of 22-25 mph and up to 27.8 mph at one point. There were points on the route where the roads were rough; but, because I had hung back I was able to snake my way though some of the bumps and pot holes.

When we hit the feeder road of Hwy 255 and about 18 miles into the ride, we were rolling along at a good clip when two cyclists right in front of me yelled out "HOLE" and they both swerved, one right and one left. Because I was rolling about 15 inches off of their back wheels, I had no time to react and swerve without taking someone out. I saw the "hole" which was actually a rut where the corner of a pavement joint had crumbled away with the straight edge of the next pavement joint running perpendicular to my wheel. I had no choice but to roll over it and hope my crotch would not suffer too badly or that I would not bite my tongue.

As soon as I hit the raised edge of the pavement joint I felt like I was kicked in the groin. I threw out an expletive and almost instantaneously I hit the lip with my back wheel and heard "CRACK!!!" Out of my mouth flew another expletive and I started to slow knowing that I had probably punctured a tire. As soon as I tried to feather the breaks, the bike started swerving and I quickly let go of the breaks and coasted and unclipped to bet ready to stop. I had a few other cyclists ask if I was ok but first and foremost in my mind was to get out of the road if traffic was behind me and to start changing my flat front tire.

I had so much adrenalin running through my body that I got to work fast even though two cycle boys were waving at me to come down the sidewalk to where there was some shade. Greyhound was thankfully on the same ride and he had pulled over and was giving me the "'Atta Girl" as I was dripping sweat all over the place and having a rough go of getting the tire off the rim. Since I run Continental R4000's, I almost never get a flat. That being said, the bead of the tire never gets stretched out. I changed that tire and got it back on the front fork and noticed that my handle bars had bent down quite a bit when I hit. I forcefully pulled them back up and tried to use a multi-tool to tighten the bolts but those suckers were on tight already. As soon as I tried to pedal away and get back on the road, I knew something was very wrong.

My back tire was flat as well! Now I was in the shade and I got to work again as one of the roadie guys held my bike for me. As soon as I was working the tire off the rim I noticed that one of my Zipp decals was peeled up off the deep dish rim..."NOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!" The rim was cracked all the way on both sides. My ride was over. The rest of the ride group was about a mile and a half up the road at a gas station waiting for us and I just had to pray that my wheel would hold up to get me to the gas station to let everyone know we were ok and that they could go on. I changed the tire and we limped to the gas station.

I felt like a huge tool rolling up with everyone looking at the stupid tri nerd who kept them all waiting. The cycle boys told the ride leader what happened and that I was ok, but that I was headed home and possibly by cab. I further humiliated myself by whacking my head on a sign at the gas station trying to put my bike up against a wall so I could take in some fuel. Greyhound joked that my hefty 117 lbs. was more than the wheels could handle. I wanted to pull a Norman Stadler and throw my bike across the parking lot of the gas station. I knew I was not allowed to shed a tear in front of these guys so anger was the only emotion that I could draw on. At that, I just clammed up and shoved a Clif Mojo bar in my mouth and took a deep breath.

Greyhound said he was going to get me home. We were either going to ride it super slow or if things were worse than we thought, we would get a cab and pay the driver when we got back to our cars. We took a gentle 17-18 mph pace back home as the heat and humidity only increased. At least we made it back before the rest of the ride group did. We were lucky to have made it back. When I loaded the bike in the car I noticed a puncture in the back tire and part of the tube peeking out of the hole. After loading the bikes in the cars Greyhound said I needed a treat from the Starbucks that was in the strip center where we parked. Thank you Greyhound for hanging with me when I know you wanted to keep going on the ride. I owe you one.

I called ahead to my bike shop and let them know that I was on the way and what happened. Once I got there, I got a chance to look at my bike. Here are the photos:
This crack is as bad as plumber's crack. Maybe worse!
This is on the left side of the rear wheel.
Here is the crack on the right side of the rear wheel.
There is that nice bulging tube trying to get out of the punctured tire.
Here you can see that the rim has a dent in it. That is why the bike felt loopy when I tried to break.
Another angle of the dent and the crack on the right side of the rear wheel.

AND to add insult to injury, my front wheel is cracked as well.

I was very lucky to have had such a great run on these Zipp 404 wheels for over 4 years. They have been through three Ironman races and a whole bunch of 70.3 races all around the globe. I had really only used these wheels for races up until last year when I got lazy and did not put my Mavic wheels back on the Kuota after I got back from Colorado last year. Someone asked me a week ago if I was going to get a new wheel set for Ironman Texas. I joked and told them I had to ride my 404's until I cracked them. Little did I know that there would be some truth to that statement. Ok, so they did some longer miles on the last ten weeks of training leading up to Ironman Cozumel. I had only picked the bike back up again in my training in the last few weeks once I finished my TNT coaching and running the marathon. So about 12-13 weeks of training plus 3 Ironman races, 6 half IM or 70.3 races, and 1-2 Olympic races. I loved these wheels. The Zipp reps convinced me at a USAT Coach's symposium back in 2006 how awesome their wheels were so I ordered me a pair to use for my first Ironman race. The Zipp reps did not lie. Those wheels were awesome. I found out how awesome they were last fall at Ironman Cozumel in the howling wind on the east side of the island as I was passing a whole lot of strong looking men and women on the second and third loops of the bike course.

Now I have to get me a new pair. I have to do some investigation into whether or not there is a warenty on these wheels or if there is a crash replacement program where I might be able to get some credit towards a new set of wheels. I'm thinking Zipp 808's or possibly a 1080 on the rear and and 808 up front. That may be a reach. I don't know if I am a good enough cyclist to justify having a killer wheel set like that. Well, for now my Ironman Texas training will be done on my wheels off my 2001 Cannondale. They were $45 rims each. I guess I need to be humbled and spend some time saving my money for a new set of Zipps.

I found $5 that fell out of someone's pocket in the laundry today. I guess I have some money to start my Zipp fund!

Later Gators with more wheel updates,