Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Playin' Hooky

Eat your hearts out slackers. What could be better than a mid-week cyclocross ride? Probably gloating to all you rain-bound misery cases about the fact that it's All Saint's Day (that's 1 November you heretics!) and 75 sunny degrees here in Boulder. Perfect day for a little R&R, methinks. Check out those mountains, will you? C'mon kids, follow me

So... WTH am I doing out on my bike at 10.30 AM on a Tuesday? Slacking, naturally. It's a Boulder tradition, straight from the folks who bring you corporate-approved Powder Days. Drives those East Coast workaholic types up the wall, which is fine by me.

That's right, my bud Marty (foreground) and I played some serious hooky today.

Oh and check out these smooth-looking characters, willya? That bubbly harmless (looking) chap in the Vitamin Cottage kit happens to be none other than the padrone of the infamous Front Range Mafia, Chuck Coyle. He'll break yer legs and keep on grinning as he leaves your prostrate corpse in his wake. The handsome devil in the blue kit is Boulder resident DII pro, Chris Baldwin, lately of Navigators' Insurance Cycling Team. I shouldn't even have to explain how fast he is.

sooo... what in the name of all things holy were we 4 loons doing in the Fox Park dirt jumps? Why, riding them on our cyclocross bikes, of course!!! Geez, ask a stupid question...

O and speaking of stupid - whilst attempting to ride a gnarly descent one-handed AND shoot a gratuitously salacious butt-shot of those 2 hotties... your intrepid narrator took a FLAMING wipeout. For the technical judges out there, it was a perfectly executed Triple Salchow-to-Flying M-to-Superman-to-Faceplant. Mad style pointz, high degree of difficulty and about a 7.2 on the Richter scale, punctuated with a veritable mushroom cloud of dust. Before you ask, both bike and camera came up unscathed. But I didn't get the shot, arrrrgh!! Guess that's why they don't actually pay me to do this stuff.

But I do try. I make a buncha mistakes, too. Some of the screwups actually end up looking rawther tasty, like this lens flare shot. Thank the God of Digital Photography for flash memory cards... I honestly lost count of how many shots I deleted on this ride. Especially the priceless ones of The Strap, The Sky, the Inside Of My Jersey Pocket, My Driveside Crankarm, The Trail Tread... you get the idea. Hell I dare you: just try shooting well-composed shots one-handed whilst bowling along at 15-20mph, on sandy, gravelly, sketched-out footing, on a capricious, squirrelly handling 'cross bike and see what results you get, ya chimps!

Aha, thought so... pffft, I say.

Speaking of Flaming Wipeouts... I busted a hump around the corner to get this shot... then waited... and waited... and waited... Apparently Marty stacked it up on something completely random and innocuous just before the corner. Isn't riding skinny-tyre bikes on singletrack the greatest? So many opportunities for uninhibited exhilaration... punctuated by fits of disaster. A properly shod 'cross bike is analogous to riding a high-strung Thoroughbred... fast, agile, bold and forward... and either steed will readily punish the ham-fisted.

Those dirt jumps are just 2 blocks from my condo, by the bye. With scenery like this in the background, one wonders why I bother going to work at all.

The great thing about these rides is how close all this stuff is to where I live. Every one of these photos was shot within a 2-mile radius of my front door. Checking out the scene from the crest of Gunbarrel Hill on a fine day rewards one with panoramas like this next shot:

Yep. Mountains are still there, with Arapahoe Peak prominent to the left of the shot. You'll have to excuse me for indulging in a little gratuitous shoegazing, but I honestly enjoyed composing these next few shots:

Just a wicked cool shot of the water tank at the top of Gunbarrel Hill. I liked the shape of the shadow and the way the light hit the cyclone fence.

Maybe someday I'll figure out how the channel mixer works for sepia... nah, I like this shot the way it is.

Cottonwood leaves, golden and glossy on bridge planking. Cottonwoods make lovely spreading pasture sentinels and are a native species well adapted to life in the high desert climate of the Front Range. As suburban yard trees, however, they're notoriously messy and drop loads of branches at the first hint of stormy weather... hence the name.

A shot of the aesthetically intriguing bridge span itself. Only in Boulder County would the Parks & Open Space Committee build a honking great steel bridge for a bike path in the middle of nowhere.

Another shot of this most excellent bridge, with Marty doing a styley little trackstand, a' la flatlander:

I can never get over how laid back Colorado open space trail users (usually) are. When I was mountain biking in Ohio, the equestrians tended to be ultra uptight and sketched out around bicycles and you had to be very careful approaching them. Even walking the bike and speaking soothingly to the horse, sometimes didn't help, and you'd get that wild-eyed 'O god it's gonna EAT me!!' reaction from most of them.

Now, the rule still stands out here: you should not ever charge up on horses, both for your safety and theirs. If you startle a horse, their first response is gonna be to kick, and the second one is to head for the hills. However, the majority of Colorado equestrians are smart enough to work with their animals to get them 'bike-broke', so to speak, so they're pretty well inured to trail traffic.

This gal was out cool-walking her 2-year-old Paint colt to get him used to the Teller Farm Open Space scene. For as young as he is (roughly equivalent to a twelve-year-old human) he's already super well behaved, not hyper in the least, and a natural at hamming for the camera. Yep, that nose is every bit as velvety soft as it looks. This colt also happens to be a distant cousin to my dearly departed old youth / amateur show horse... the resemblance around the head and face is remarkable.

Just a couple more shots before we both ride off into the sunset:

One of Marty

One of me

And last but not least, one more gratuitously glorious panoramic shot of the Indian Peaks, just to rub it all in:




Blogger midwest_hick said...

Nice picturers....and sounds like a good day for 'slacking'

4:28 PM  
Blogger Marty said...

Okay, now it's official -- your blog has thoroughly kicked, bitch-slapped and pimp-slapped mine into submission. ;-)
Love it!!

4:41 PM  
Blogger LFR said...

oh geez... NOT. Marty I'd give my eyeteeth for your photography skilz.

Plus the HTML formatting in Blogger is givin' me FITS!!! I tried fixing the framing / paragraph wrap a couple of times, then gave up in disgust. Ick. For someone who makes their livlihood doing desktop publishing, not being able to readily control the formatting makes me about break out in hives.

5:23 PM  

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