A BolderBoulder to Remember

And here’s another entry from your guest blogger, Peggy….

Many of you may recall that I ran my first BolderBoulder last May. The 10K is the largest in the country with a field of ~52,000 runners and is pretty much a 6-mile long party. Oh, of course, there are those that take this quite seriously (like my friend Terry Gillach who turned in a sub-40 time…crazy man. And I say that with a great deal of admiration, for Terry is old) but I looked forward to it this year most of all because Chloe had agreed to be my running buddy for the race.

We did a couple of “training” runs prior to the race but agreed that our rules for that day were to a) have fun and b) go at the pace that Chloe wanted to go, be it running or walking. Of course, looking the part is just as important as the actual run, so Chloe and I decided to wear matching “RUN LIKE A GIRL” t-shirts and put our hair up in big pink-ribbon ponytails. And we were especially thrilled that Grandma and Grandpa Schrammel had come to watch us run it.

Kurt dropped us off at the Start at around 8:30 AM on Memorial Day. And after hitting the porta-potties (first rule of running: ALWAYS use the porta-potties) we made our way to our wave, lined up and waited for the gun to go off. Chloe was SO nervous….everyone around us was singing and dancing and she was quiet…I could tell that she was worried. Once I reminded her of our two rules and got her grooving to “YMCA” blasting over the loud speaker, she loosened up and began to have fun.

Finally, our wave was called to the post (yep, with the trumpet…just like at a horse race) and we heard the gun go off. I reminded Chloe to go nice and slow and enjoy the fun. She was getting hot and slowed to a walk at about mile 1.5 but then her spirits lifted, as the next 3.5 miles had LOTS of opportunities for Chloe to get wet….spectators sitting in lawn chairs with garden hoses pointed at the crowd which she ran through, slip and slides in yards that she slid down and best of all….Chloe running into a yard and doing a belly flop into an inflatable pool. All this made the time fly by!

We saw Kurt and his parents at about mile 4 and continued on, mixing jogging with walking, being urged on by spectators yelling “RUN LIKE A GIRL! YEAH!” Upon entering Folsom Field/CU Stadium I told Chloe to go slow down the first stretch and then sprint when she made the turn. And MAN, did she take off….being a 7 year old allowed her to bob and weave between folks as she made her way to the finish. And finish she did…about 2 seconds ahead of me. Did she legitimately beat me or did I let her win? While it’s not as controversial as the Immaculate Reception, like Fuqua, I am taking it the grave. All’s I know is that my little Franco scored big!

At any rate, Chloe and I had a great time and plan on doing this race together every year possible!

Right-side photos, top to bottom: a sampling of the "entertainment" along the way, and yes, that is a male belly dancer; not everyone wears traditional running attire, or shoes; The King (of sorts.)

Left-side photos, top to bottom: Chloe with still a lot of spunk at Mile 4; Chloe and Peggy celebrating at the Finish Line; A pre-race photo.


Racing With History

I strapped on the ol' spandex kit again this morning to race on a course that is not only well known in these parts, but also known to those who are familiar with the domestic racing scene of the mid 1970s and '80s and/or filmophiles familiar with cycling movies.

Today was the Superior Morgul Classic road race, which gets its name from the famous Morgul-Bismarck loop used in the Red Zinger and Coors International Bicycling Classics (and raced on by cycling legends such as Greg LeMond, Bernard Hinault, Davis Phinney, Bobby Julich and Andy Hampsten) and used in making the movie "American Flyers" starring Kevin Costner.

The loop is just a little over 13 miles in length and has about 750 feet of elevation gain per lap. A good portion of that elevation gain is achieved during a specific stretch known as "The Wall," a 1-mile long incline that steadily gets steeper as it goes, culminating at 12% grade at the top (which is where the finish line is.) My category had to do 3 laps, but because of the subtleties of the race and where the start was, we had to climb the wall 4 times. (I'm not complaining... the Pro racers had to climb it 7 times.)

Anywho, at 8:04a my category (and another one) rolled out of the staging area for the neutral start and made our to the base of The Wall (where racing could actually begin.) As in other races, I kept myself in the front half of the field, improved position when the opportunity presented itself, and tucked in behind others to draft and save energy. The first climb up The Wall went well (given the 100+ cyclists trying to make their way up it,) and I was comfortably in the front half of the pack as we summited and made our way to a set of long rollers. The rollers were followed by a nice 1.5 mile gradual descent allowing for some recovery, and then some gentle climbing into a slight headwind... I was nicely ensconced at this point. After some twists and turns, it was a short climb up "The Hump" and then a quick descent before we reached The Wall again. And through this all, I was in good shape... I felt pretty good during the climbs, and wasn't getting caught out in the wind.

Upon completing Lap 1 (and the second ascent of The Wall) I was still in the lead pack (which thinned out a little bit by this point) but not close to being in the lead. Which I was fine with since there was still about 26 more miles to go. As we reached the first roller after The Wall, I was befallen by some misfortune as I went to shift from my big chainring to little chainring (i.e. the big gear to the little gear in the front) and the chain didn't latch onto the little chainring and ended up on no chainring at all... leaving me spinning my pedals. I can usually shift the chain back onto a chainring and keep going, but that tactic didn't work for me this time, so I had to get myself to the side of the road, unclip my shoes, come to a complete stop, and put the chain back on manually. All the while, the lead pack is continuing up the road.

I was devastated. For a split second, I considered turning my bike around and riding back to the Finish Line to meet up with Peggy, Chloe and my parents and calling it a day. But after saying a few choice words and getting the chain back on, I re-saddled-up and began to see if I could chase down the lead pack. After getting up to speed, I was able to link up with 2 other cyclists who likewise were trying to latch back on. We worked well together, but were spending a heck of lot of energy doing so. Eventually, we did latch on. Unfortunately, it took us nearly half a lap to do so (with little to no recovery) and did so just before we made the the turn to climb The Hump. I was able to hang on for the first half of the climb, but then popped. The pack road away again.

Dejected, I decided to turn the rest of the race basically into a hard training ride. I finished off The Hump and put in a moderate/hard effort to get up The Wall, and made my way through the rollers riding at a solid up-tempo place. It was then that I rejoined a group of about 5 other cyclists going in a paceline, and adjusted my mindset: this is now my race... beat these guys.

We picked up a couple other racers as we went along, with me deliberately staying in the back of this group conserving energy and looking to see who is riding well and who is laboring a bit. As we hit The Hump, me and another race picked up our pace just a little and ended up passing the group. We rode alone for a bit, but were eventually caught by the others during the brief descent after The Hump. I again sat in for a bit to recover before The Wall begins to really kick up. With about a half-mile to go, I again made my move, gradually increasing my pace to see if anyone could go with me. One or two initially did, so I continued to increase my pace to put pressure on.

Thankfully, I was able to ride away from them, but still decided to push hard until the line. In the course of doing so, I stood up out of the saddle to get some more power, and my right quad seized up from a cramp. My right leg briefly locked in an extended position and I nearly tumbled, but I was able to sit back down and finish the effort sitting, relying on my hamstrings and calves to get me across the line. I crossed the line, and quickly found Peggy, Chloe and my parents, dismounted, and began to stretch my leg. I took a couple of moments to compose myself and catch my breath, and then celebrated my finishing with my fan club.... thanks guys!

Final numbers: 53rd place out of 97 finishers; 42.5 miles in 2:04:30; average speed of 20.4 mph, top speed of 49.1 mph.



Today was the last day of school here for kids in the Boulder Valley School District, and as such, Chloe's last day a first grader! She had an awesome year, and had a very strong last trimester in all areas on her report card, getting several "top marks"... more than in any other previous trimester.

At dinner out tonight, we celebrated both Chloe's great performance in 1st grade, as well as my parents' 48th wedding anniversary as they were in town visiting!


Riding the L

Less than fresh off of yesterday's hill climb, it was an early morning for me as I had to head to the eastern plains to do a road race in a town called Deer Trail. It's a 90 minute drive from Boulder, but my category was the first one to go off (at 8:30), so I was up at 5:20a to leave the house by 6. While the early morning start was not very welcomed, I knew that races starting later in day were likely to have to deal with stronger winds than I, so I was OK with that trade-off.

The course for today was basically L shaped, with the race starting at the corner, and going up and down relatively gentle rollers. My category was to ride the bottom of the L, come back to the corner, then head North to do the vertical line of the L, turnaround to go back to the corner, and then do and out-and-back on the bottom of the L again to the finish. All for a total of about 43 miles.

There was a neutral start for the first stretch to get from the town to the L (meaning everyone follows the lead out vehicle in a calm and orderly fashion, and no one can attack.) And even though the racing hadn't officially begun, I knew it was important to position myself early both a) towards the front half of the field (of 76 racers) and b) to the side of the field where I'd be shielded from the slight breeze coming out of the North as we headed East along the bottom of the L. As we reached the L, the racing began and the pace picked up some. I was happy with where I was for the time being... kinda towards the front, and tucked in on the right side of the road drafting as much as possible. The rollers tended to string the field out a bit, but it would bunch up again on the downhills as the pace let up.

There was some jockeying for position going on approaching the first turnaround because people knew the field would surely stretch out after the 180-degree turn... there is no way a pack of cyclists like that can go around an orange cone in the middle of a two lane road and still stay together. I wasn't able to move up dramatically before the turn, so did get caught up in some mayhem at the cone... I bumped into 1 or 2 cyclists, and had the same happen to me.
I got myself the positioning I wanted after a short, intense effort to get back towards the front of the pack, except this time, nestled towards the center of the road. Things were pretty calm for the next several miles... there was a guy doing a pretty solid solo effort off the front, but he was only maybe 150m in front of us and there were 30 more miles to go, so it wasn't time for panic.

The field did get a little strung out as we headed North and into the wind and over some rollers, so I became more aggressive in keeping myself shielded... I did get caught out a little bit at times, but made sure to correct that as soon as possible. Remembering what happened at the 1st 180-degree turn, I got myself to about 15th wheel about 200m before the turn so I could both avoid the chaos and make sure I could position myself for drafting. (Yes, even though we would have a tailwind now, it was still important to draft as much as possible as we were going faster than the breeze.) Plus, I expected the pace to pick up as we'd be approaching less than 15 miles to go, and sure enough it did.

Right after rounding the turn, I had to get up out of my saddle to chase down the people in front of me and get behind them, and the guys up front kept the pressure on solidly for the next 7.5minutes/3+ miles or so. It eased up for a short stretch, but as we approached the next uphill roller, it was back to hard riding as there was a definite effort to thin the herd.

There was a slight downhill to the turn to do the final out and back to the finish, so I could recover some. As we made the turn to do the slight uphill, the guys up front hit it really hard and I made a huge mistake as I was not on the side of the road where I needed to be avoid the wind; rather, I was acting like a windshield for my fellow racers. I let up a bit so I could tuck in behind the last guy, but by this point I had "eaten" a lot of wind and spent a lot of energy. I was able to tuck in for a bit, but it was too late. I then latched onto a group of chasers in hopes of rejoining the lead pack and was able to stay with them for a while, but alas, they, too, were too strong.

It was "Operation: Maintain Placement" at this point and if possible pick off anyone who also got spit out the back. I was able to catch a couple and had a few go by me, but the impact of my mistake became all too clear as I rode the last couple of miles in no man's land and dealing with the wind on my own. Out of 76 finishers, I came in 31st place with a time of 1:58:00, average speed around 21.7 mph.

It was a tough weekend in the saddle, and am now looking forward to a little break (racing-wise) before my next kick at the can on Memorial Day weekend.


Nowhere To Go But Up

I gave it another go in the "Hill Climb" discipline of bike racing again this morning. Aside from it being uphill, today's race had little in common with the Lookout Mountain hill climb I did 2 weeks ago. That one was short: just 4.5 miles and 1220 feet of climbing, and took me just over 24 minutes to complete... a "sprint" by road racing standards.

Today's race was harder. Much harder. Here are some specs for it:
- Total Elevation Gain: 3226 feet
- Average Ascent Grade: 7.6%
- Maximum Ascent Grade: 23.1%
- Start Elevation: 5509 feet
- Finish Elevation: 8426 feet
- Distance: 9.1 miles, the last 3.5 of which are on dirt. (And just in case you didn't read the post before this one, there was some rain and snow this past week, so the dirt section was a little sloppy.)

I was estimating that it would take me somewhere about an hour to do this climb, so my plan of attack was to get in my "hour effort" pace shortly after the start, and then stay as close to it as I could during the race. The hope was that by doing so, I'd be able to pick people off at the end who went out too hard. That all sounded good in my head. But reality had different plans.

I was doing a good job of keeping my effort where it should be for the first 6 miles or so, but shortly after getting on the dirt section, things began to go metaphorically-downhill. My legs lost their punch and I couldn't keep my power up. So instead of picking people off near the end, I wound up holding on for dear life. (How did the rain and snow effect the upper section? Follow this link to see some photos.) At about 1 mile to go, my legs started coming around again and I could again produce "1 hour power." By this time it was too late, however, and I shut things down a bit given that I had another race on the schedule for tomorrow. Even with shutting things down a bit before the finish, I was tired. This was the first "effort" - training or racing - since I got into the racing scene where I felt the need to take a nap afterward.

Final results: 1h 2m 17s, 25th place out of 31 racers in my category.


What the Short Term Future Holds For Us...

This may take some deciphering to read, but it is a "screen shot" of the weather forecast for Boulder over the next couple of days.

<span class=NOAA logo - Click to go to the NOAA homepage" title="NOAA logo - Click to go to the NOAA homepage" width="85" border="0" height="78">Your National Weather Service forecast<span class=NWS logo" title="NWS logo" width="85" border="0" height="78">
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NWS Denver-Boulder, CO
Point Forecast: Boulder CO
40.02°N 105.25°W (Elev. 5356 ft)
Mobile Weather Information | En EspaƱol
Last Update: 10:43 am MDT May 11, 2010
Forecast Valid: 4pm MDT May 11, 2010-6pm MDT May 18, 2010

Forecast at a Glance

Rain Likely  Chance for Measurable Precipitation 70%
Hi 49 °F

Rain/Snow Chance for Measurable Precipitation 100%

Lo 33 °F

Rain/Snow  Chance for Measurable Precipitation 100%

Hi 46 °F

Chance  Rain/Snow Chance for Measurable Precipitation 30%
Lo 32 °F

Slight  Chance Rain/Snow Chance for Measurable Precipitation 10%
Slight Chc
Hi 51 °F

Slight  Chance Showers Chance for Measurable Precipitation 10%
Slight Chc
Lo 37 °F

Slight  Chance Thunderstorms Chance for Measurable Precipitation 20%
Slight Chc
Hi 58 °F

Slight  Chance Thunderstorms
Slight Chc
Lo 41 °F

Slight  Chance Thunderstorms
Slight Chc
Hi 61 °F

Detailed text forecast
Hazardous weather condition(s):

Late Afternoon: Rain likely. Cloudy, with a steady temperature around 49. North northeast wind around 11 mph. Chance of precipitation is 70%.

Tonight: Rain before midnight, then rain and snow. Low around 33. North northwest wind between 6 and 13 mph, with gusts as high as 20 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%. New snow accumulation of 1 to 3 inches possible.

Wednesday: Rain and snow before noon, then a chance of rain. High near 46. North northwest wind between 6 and 9 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%. New snow accumulation of less than one inch possible.

Wednesday Night: A chance of rain and snow. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 32. Northeast wind around 5 mph becoming calm. Chance of precipitation is 30%.

Thursday: A slight chance of rain and snow showers before noon, then a slight chance of rain showers. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 51. Calm wind. Chance of precipitation is 10%.

Thursday Night: A 10 percent chance of showers before midnight. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 37.

Friday: A 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms after noon. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 58.

Friday Night: A slight chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 41.

Saturday: A slight chance of showers and thunderstorms. Partly cloudy, with a high near 61.

Saturday Night: A slight chance of showers and thunderstorms. Partly cloudy, with a low around 42.

Sunday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 68.

Sunday Night: Mostly clear, with a low around 46.

Monday: Sunny, with a high near 77.

Monday Night: Mostly clear, with a low around 46.

Tuesday: A slight chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 78.

Current Local WeatherMove point forecast map up, and current conditions, radar, and  satellite down.

view Yesterday's Weather

Lat: 39.91 Lon: -105.12 Elev: 5656
Last Update on May 11, 2:53 pm MDT


41 °F
(5 °C)
Humidity: 81 %
Wind Speed: NW 14 MPH
Barometer: 29.79"
Dewpoint: 36 °F (2 °C)
Wind Chill: 33 °F (1 °C)
Visibility: 40.00 mi.
More Local Wx:3 Day History: