Who is Ted?

I'm the father of two beautiful daughters and an amazing wife. For fun, I enjoy the long hours of seemingly endless suffering that endurance sports (mostly running, cycling and triathlon)provide. During my "down time" I'm an avid beer snob and self-described gourmet chef (in other words I like to burn things on a stove or grill).


Ironman Boulder 2014

This isn't a race report.  If you're looking for a first hand account of the race from swim to bike to run, you won't find it here.  I was at the Ironman on Sunday, and I was at the finish line well before the first athlete arrived.  This year I volunteered at the race which was absolutely awesome.  Along with my brother, we were stationed at the finish line.  It was really cool to see all of the athletes make their way in to the finish and celebrate that moment of accomplishment.  Originally we were signed up to pass out medals and t-shirts, but after a while we wound up being the ones to pass out water bottles (People seemed very thirsty when they finished?).  The finish line was a very inspiring place to be.  Some folks screamed and yelled and jumped around as they finished.  Others were more subdued.  There were a few tears, a few wheelchairs, and plenty of tired faces.  I was busy, and so I did not take many photos, but here's a few to enjoy.

There isn't a better view than the finish line.  Here's a photo of everyone waiting as Justin Daerr, the overall winner, makes his way down the finisher's chute.

There were a few other SoCoT2 members volunteering (along with many racing) and thanks to Kim for snapping this photo of my brother and I getting ready to hand out medals.

One of the jobs of the volunteers it to be a finish line "catcher."  They help to ensure that the athletes make it from the finish line to the exit area without any mishaps.  When Laura Bennett, a professional triathlete from Boulder finished, she had a special "guest catcher."  I was a little slow on the picture taking, but she was assisted by none other than Mirinda Carfrae and her husband Tim O'Donnell.  Pretty cool when the current Ironman World Champ shows up at the finish line!

This was the third event that I've volunteered for this summer and it has been a really cool to see the races from a different perspective.  Alas, I won't be back to volunteer at Ironman next year . . . The photo below explains why!

Yup, here goes!  Next year will be my 6th year in triathlon and it's time to take the plunge.  My brother (who is also going to race) and I got up early on Monday morning and made our way to Boulder High School where we were able to "priority register" for next year's event.  After witnessing last Sunday's race first hand, I'm very excited to be signed up for 2015.  I know that a lot of blood, sweat, and tears stands between me and the finish line, but in the end, it will all be worth it!


Manitou Incline

Yesterday, Melisa and I took a trip up to Manitou Springs to do the "Incline."  For the uninitiated, the Manitou Incline is an abandoned rail line that runs up the side of a mountain just west of Colorado Springs.  For several years, it became an unofficial trail (it was actually trespassing) that has lured hikers, endurance athletes, and just about anyone else who wants a challenge.  It is a little over a mile long and gains 2,000 feet.  The average grade on the incline is 40%.  You can read all of the nitty, gritty details here.
I found this graphic which demonstrates nicely the height of the Incline relative to some other tall locales.

We got a late start and didn't wind up getting onto the trail until mid-morning.  By this point it was fairly hot which added to the challenge of the climb.  Fortunately, as we gained altitude, we were greeted by a refreshing breeze which helped a great deal.  Still, an early morning or a cooler day would be preferable.  As you climb, you will see all kinds of folks on the incline.  Some are running, others are hiking, and plenty are just plain sucking wind.  

A couple of climbers making their way up the last few steps.
The trick to the incline (in my opinion) has to do with pacing.  It's important to find a steady climbing rate that allows you to keep moving forward without pushing the cardiovascular system to the brink.  If you go too fast, you will be forced to stop every 20 feet just to catch your breath.  This will add a great deal of time to your climb.  If you move at a steady pace however, you may not rocket to the top, but you also need fewer breaks.  Even pausing for 10 seconds usually does the trick if you are gong slow enough.  Here's a very short video of what the climb looks like (this is about 1/2 way up).


For our trip, we took our time and stopped along the climb.  It took us well over an hour to make it to the top, but we weren't in any rush either.  Instead of climbing back down the incline, we took the Barr Trail.  The trail is about 2.9 miles (the sign says different) but involves more switchbacks and fewer steep descents.

All Smiles after reaching the top!
We are planning at least one more trip this summer up the incline.  I'd like to try to see how fast I can get to the top the next time we go (the record is 16:42, but I'd be happy with a sub 40:00 minute time).  If you have the opportunity to make this trip, and you're up for a challenge, I highly recommend it! (Note: The incline will be closed for repairs later in August.  They are anticipating a four month closure).
Looking back down the trail from the top


MTCC Experience Ride (What an experience!)

It has been nearly a week since finishing the Mountain Top Cycling Club's Experience Ride.  This year my brother joined me for the ride which was great and made for a much more pleasant experience (Read his in-depth report here). The MTCC is a friendly little bike ride that takes place in and around the mountains of Florissant.   The 106 mile ride includes approximately 10,000 feet of elevation gain.  In fact, nearly all of the ride involves either climbing up a hill or flying down the other side.  According to Strava, there are three category 3 climbs, along with nine category 4 climbs.  In between there are numerous other little bumps to enjoy as well.  The challenge with this constant climbing and descending is that it makes it really difficult to settle into any kind of rhythm.  The legs get used to a certain amount of climbing, and while a nice downhill is great for recovery, it is usually very brief, and starting up the next hill can be incredibly difficult as the fatigue starts to develop in the legs.
A few hills make for a challenging ride
Maybe it was the lack of training rides in the mountains this year, but the ride was much more challenging for me this year (not that it was a picnic last year either).  In 2013, I had logged at least three rides of 50 miles or more in the mountains prior to trying this ride.   This year, I did manage a 96 mile ride from Pueblo to Parker, but did not find the opportunity to get into the hills for any riding prior to the event.  At any rate, I really hit a rough patch at about 60 miles in this year.  There is a stretch on the course that takes you up Highway 9 about 15 miles, and the last 10 miles or so just beat the living hell out of me.  There were a couple of points where I simply had to stop and take a breather for a minute or two before moving on.  The topper was when the guy below came by me as I was stopped on the side of the road.  I did notice that we had the same bike . . . his just had a little more stuff on his. . .
Just like my bike, but with more "stuff!"
Once we reached the hamlet of Guffey, I knew that I would finish the ride.  There's a very nasty little climb out of town that's a couple of miles long, but I willed myself to the top where my brother was kindly waiting!  From there we cruised the next twenty miles or so before returning to the start back in Florissant.  The ride took me about 8 hours and 20 minutes this year which is probably close to 45 minutes longer than in 2013.  The good news is that it wasn't a race (I don't believe there are even any "results" that get posted) so I can just take it as a "casual" bike ride.
The highlight of the day (other than finishing of course), is a stop at Paradox Brewery in Woodland Park on the return trip home.  This year I picked up three bottles to bring home.  One particularly interesting acquisition was the "Cerveza Provisional."  This was a farmhouse style ale aged in anejo tequila barrels with lime and other natural flavors added.  The result was a very unique tasting beer.  The lime was natural (think the opposite of a limearita or a BL lime) and didn't' make it overly tangy, but it had the nice zap one would expect of a sour beer but with an extraordinary tequila flavored finish.  Having lived for three years in Mexico, I can appreciate a quality tequila (by the way, good tequila is not Cuervo Gold, 1800, etc. and is meant to be sipped, not slammed down the gullet with a lime chaser).  I would definitely recommend it to anyone who enjoys trying something a little different when it comes to beer.
I don't know if I will return in 2015 for another go at this ride, given that there is an Ironman planned for the same summer.  I might consider doing the 50 mile ride which is still fairly challenging.  I will say that for the money, I doubt that there is a better Century Ride anywhere in Colorado.  In addition to be very affordable, it is well-organized, there is plenty of support, and the MTCC members seem to be some of the nicest folks around.  While I might take a pass on this one in 2015, I doubt that I've done my last MTCC ride.