Wednesday, November 23, 2005

These guys are Swift

So, I've like... nearly three hundred pictures to go thru since Sunday. But I've got a 4 day weekend and not much going on, so I'm taking a stab at it now.

This past Sunday, I met up with the Swift club at Vic's on 30th for their group ride. These guys are chill and very sociable. They also have good discipline and manners, courtesy of ride leader Stephen Haydel. Some good reasons to ride with them.

This is the typical M.O. upon meeting at the shop. The pre-ride coffee klatsch, as everyone catches up on recent races, news, family life, etc...

There are always a number of nice bikes in any of the local Boulder group rides to ogle. Doesn't seem to matter much to these guys that we often take a route through the dirt secondaries. For you enjoyment, I give you: one brand new carbon Look with D/A, one Trek pro team edition SL (Trek-VW regional team bike), also with D/A, and one Pinarello Opera with Record:

More discussion as to route, where and how long we're going to be riding:

Ah, underway by 10.00, not bad. The ride leader always has us meet a few minutes early to accommodate the terminal flakes amongst us. The guy on the right of this shot is our intrepid ride leader, Steve.

Okay, these shots from down by the crankarm, are kinda fun right? Well you should see how many I eff up and have to delete! These are totally shooting blind. Examples include...

The Strap. I leave this thing on cos I'm terrified I'm going to drop the camera at some point... it makes a good handle for juggling the cam in and out of jersey pockets, but as you can see... it totally gets in the way, a lot. I have many deleted shots of The Strap. This one actually is kinda interesting in a way:

The... Random WTF Was I Shooting At?! shot... but it looks kinda cool as a duotone, mebbe. Or I'm just delusional from lack of sleep:

Once out of Boulder, we headed out the Diag, then up the hill on 52 heading east. This pair were crushing us going up every hill. I think the young lad is maybe about ten, but he seems to have the power to weight ratio rocking pretty good there. He and his dad come out on quite a few of the Swift rides. I certainly wouldn't want to ride the stoker cage (aka rumble seat) on some of the dirt washboard we encounter on Steve's routes, but this kid enjoys every ride and never complains a lick.

The marvellous thing about riding most of the highways out here, is the massively wide shoulders. Riding 3 and 4 abreast, isn't a problem most of the way out 52 as there's ample shoulder to accomodate it. This road literally goes for miles.

Christamighty, look at these wheelsuckers! Why do I always let myself get pushed up to the front, in the wind, anyhow? And how in the name of Dog does this 6'3" character think he's going to get any benefit whatsoever from sitting behind my stumpy arse?

Flat!! ... goes the call, and everyone dives off onto the shoulder to regroup and check their own tyres for debris. One of the perils of riding these wide bike lanes / shoulders in this area is all the glass, construction staples, nails, boards, roadkill, goatheads, tumbleweeds and whathaveyou that get scattered about on them. Fall and winter is the worst time for this, as we have more wind / rain / snow storms, the county sends the sweepers out less frequently, and any and every sort of puncture device known to bicycles will get blown, washed or tossed onto the shoulders to lurk in wait for an unsuspecting Michelin or Conti. Erik and Steve have rides later on in January and February, utilising some open space trails, that they are adamant are 'Armadillo-only' routes, due to goathead potential. The Swift rides post a disclaimer on their website asking people to please bring stout tyres to these rides. Ironically it was our intrepid leader himself who flatted this time around, although I'm not sure what would stand up to the monster steel construction staple he pulled out of the tyre. I've seen those things go thru rims.

Okay you'll recognise this next shot, because it was in the 'teaser trailer' post from Tuesday. This is the only time on this post I'm gonna get all photography dorky. There's a specific reason I converted this file to black and white, having to do with the composition. There's a lot going on in the colour file, and the lad's bright yellow jacket there becomes just too distracting. I'd rather have the focus be on Brad, the guy to the left. Cropping the shot would lose interest of the tree and the eyeline between Brad and Dave (left, background) conversing. See for yourself.


Back underway, we head out to Weld County, and I take advantage of the mellow pace to jump off the front and take a decent shot of the group on the roll.

Soon afterwards, we turn off and embark upon one of the highlights of the Swift rides... the dirt detours. Check out this scenery, and not a car to be found:

Let me tell you, shooting pictures whilst barrelling along one-handed on rough washboard dirt (and getting them to turn out for anything) is NOT EASY. Especially since I was riding my backup bike, the Morgul Bismark, which combines upright jittery crit/tri geometry with a straightblade fork, unrelentingly stiff Easton 7005 oversized bladed tubing... let's just say it doesn't take kindly to this sort of nonsense and I had some interesting adventures in the potholes and sand pits. I took a lot of shots out here, and had to delete most of them, simply because I was bouncing around too much to get either a) decent framing or b) decent focus (not to mention The Strap and other issues).

Another okay shot, with a little lens flare (my especiality, it seems):

One of the nicest things about the Swift 'base' season rides, as I've mentioned before, is that these guys actually do ride at a base pace. Meaning one can take a look around at the scenery:

Now, I'm a big fan of male booty, especially well toned bike racer booty, but even I have boundaries. Casey, dude... those shorts make my head ache. I'm surprised his wife lets him out of the house like this:

Which way do we want to head back to Boulder? Ah, thanks Brad... that way:

Speaking of scenic, here's another nice view from the top of Lookout. pssst, Casey, I know you think yer shorts are loud enough to scare the drivers... but try riding a tad bit more right willya? (Steve only had to remind him about eleventeen times...):

Last but not least, just an all around faboo shot at the crest of Lookout, looking down on Boulder Valley and out towards the Indian Peaks:

The End,



Blogger Marty said...

Wow, you see more of my coach than I do!! ;-)
How are you?? Are you going to be hanging out at 'cross States this Saturday, by chance? It's a Xilinx. I'll race if I feel okay and the weather's decent -- I got hit by yet another cold after frying my lungs at the race on Nov. 19th. ;-)

1:39 PM  

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