Sunday, September 23, 2012

Saturday, 09/22/12 Crater Lakes

6  miles/1,400 vert.

Had a great casual hike with the family up to Crater Lakes from the Moffat Tunnel.  Was a perfect fall day and the leaves are near/at/slightly past peak.

As an aside, as we got within about a half mile of the trailhead on the return trip, we could hear a loud siren repeating at regular intervals with some sort of announcement being made.  As we got closer, we could tell that the announcement was being made in (non-discernible from afar) English, as well as a host of foreign languages.  French, Spanish, Arabic, German, Italian, perhaps one or two others and we could not figure out what was going on.  A derailed train?  A crazed gunman?  Terrorists?

As we got to the lot, it became obvious that somebody (or perhaps wildlife) got too close to the tunnel opening and triggered the alarm that consequently ran for who knows how long.  It was ear splitting and was quite the dose of noise pollution in an otherwise tranquil area, just so extremely out of the realm of ones expectations to finish up a hike in the Colorado Mountains, having "WARNING!!!  ACHTUNG!!!  AVISO!!!" screamed at you.  It was also a bit nerve wracking not knowing what this was about as we approached the lot.  The dog was really sketched out, our 2 year old twins were a little disturbed and we were annoyed.  What a great way to finish a nice hike (OK, we got over it quick, it was otherwise such a perfect day).

I did not get any recording, but found this on youtube:

So, I have to ask, why the alarm?  Avoiding the tunnel falls into the category of no shit.  If you walk in there and get nailed by a train, you sort of have it coming.  It is pretty obvious.  If this is some sort of post 9/11 anti terrorist thing, then I have my doubts that this alarm will deter them.  Since the alarm is known to run for hours, or even days (as suggested in the comments associated with the youtube video), what good is it?  Which authorities are being alerted to come check whether or not something has really happened?  Clearly, nobody is paying close attention and if I had to guess, I'll bet this happens too often to follow up on every time.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Saturday, 09/15/2012 Rattlesnake Ramble

2012 Rattlesnake Ramble

4.2 miles/957 vert./30:55/7:22 pace/avg. HR 175

5th place overall
1st Master (2nd really, but Andy Ames was 2nd overall)

I ran Bill's race back in 2005 and had an awesome time, but unfortunately, every year since has fallen on (or too close to) my anniversary and I have not been able to participate since.

This year, the race was scheduled a few days before, so I was good to go.  Except, I was on baby duty.  I waffled as to whether or not I wanted to try and find somebody to watch them for 30 or so minutes while I ran, or just head over and spectate and take pictures, but on the day before the race, I got 3 separate offers.

In the middle of the night last night though, in my sleepy stupor, I double checked the race start time and realized that it was 8am instead of 8:30am as I had been thinking all along.  I opted to just bail on the whole thing, as often times the girls sleep until 7am and it can be a real struggle to quickly mobilize two 2 year olds.

I had shut off my alarm and awoke at 6:45am and heard at least one of the girls making noise, so I popped up, got dressed, ate and we were out the door by 7:15am which was quite the race in and of itself.  Definitely a PR.

Arrived at 7:32am and coincidentally parked very close to Joey and Heidi, where Heidi and her mom would be babysitting for me.  They immediately jumped into baby sitting mode while I went to register and get my number.  I had just enough time to obtain my tech race tee, pin my number on, pee and warm up for a few minutes.

Homie was the official honorary starter and before I knew it, we were sprinting up the road into a bit of a headwind.  I might have been in 10th or 11th position for what seemed like an eternity, but was really only a few minutes.  This section was really painful, as I had not warmed up nearly sufficiently enough and I was half tempted to just peel off.  I passed a few people as I started to get into a bit of a groove and was in 6th by the time we entered the steeper technical singletrack of the Eldorado Trail.  About 1/3 of the way up, I passed 2 more guys, moving into 4th place and was in close proximity to Andy Ames in 2nd and Toby ? in 3rd.  John Tribbia was long gone.  I was maybe 20 seconds back on 2nd/3rd at the turn around (12:55) and then eased into the fast and technical descent.  I was soon pushing very hard, more trying to hold onto 4th than I was trying to move up places and was surprised to catch Andy and Toby about half way down.

I was going a bit faster on the descent than Andy and Toby, but once I caught them, the trail was not quite wide enough to easily get by and I did not want to ask them if I could pass (though in retrospect should have, because the pace then seemed too easy and I definitely lost some time here).  Once back on the road (17:??), Andy and Toby really gassed it and started getting ahead of me (as I suspected they might), where I was just hanging on for dear life at that point.

By the next turnaround at the end of the Fowler Trail, I could hear 5th place breathing down my neck and he soon passed me.  It was then I regretted not building more of a cushion on the technical descent of the Eldorado Trail.  I kept him close for a while heading toward the finish, but once the trail smoothed out and then really dropped down the steep road, he was outstriding me and I knew then that I was now fighting to hold 5th.

I glanced back once along the road and did not see anybody, so now I was just pushing to beat my 31:27 PR from 2005, but I was secretly hoping to go under 30.  It was not to be though, as the second hand on my watch was running way quicker than I, but was able to sneak in just under 31 minutes for a 32 second PR.

Though I made the mistake of not passing on the down and quite possibly lost that one placing from behind, I was pretty happy with my result, as I gave it my all the entire time, was able to PR, take the Masters win and thus get an early pick at the loaded prize table.  It was a toss up between Microspikes and a free pair of La Sportiva shoes, but I ultimately opted for the shoes, as I can let Allison pick out a nice pair of trail shoes.

Post race, I was able to chat with quite a few friends and acquaintances which was a great time.  It was awesome to race on a trail so close to home, quite a rare opportunity.  If you have never done this one before, I can't say enough good things and I highly encourage you to run it next year.

  • It is a trail race in Boulder
  • Bill puts on an amazing event
  • The money goes to a good cause
  • It has a small race feel
  • The course is really fun
  • The shirts are always cool
  • It is just a great time 
  • And there are TONS of great prizes for the top finishers and for the raffle afterwards
  • You are almost guaranteed to come out ahead

Oh yeah, HUGE thanks to Joey's wife Heidi and Heidi's mom for watching the girls while I raced.  It was comforting knowing they were in such good hands.

Congrats to Tribs for rocking a 27:10 and taking down the course record (yet again).

Awesome special edition shirt

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

House Renovation

We have been renting a house in Louisville for 4 years and have been looking to buy in Louisville for much of that time with varying degress of seriousness.  In early June, with an inside tip from somebody we met at the park (who would later become our friend and neighbor), we checked out a house very nearby that was for sale by owner. 

It had been cleaned up a little bit after being a rental property for ~10 years, but was still in pretty rough condition and clearly needed some significant remodeling/renovation that required an open mind and vision to get past its deficiencies.  On the plus side, the location is good, the house is the right size/layout that we were looking for and the yard, though in tough shape on the surface, has a lot of potential.  Because of its rough condition and lack of updating, we were able to purchase the house for a reasonable price, realizing that we would be needing to budget well to get the house up to our specs.  It would consume our entire summer, but we were confident that it would all be worthwhile in the end.

After a lot of work with inspections, negotiations, finding the right mortgage and all of the work that goes along with buying a house, we finally closed on July 20th.  Then the real work began.

My dad flew out, I took 2 weeks off from work and we tore into it with gusto, working most days from sunrise to sunset.  We ripped out the old kitchen, knocked down a wall, moved the access door for the garage toward the front of the house, added a sliding glass door, pulled out all of the old carpets and flooring, baseboards, etc...

We added/replaced drywall throughout the kitchen, did some of our own electrical work (though ran out of time to do all that we intended and had to hire an electrician), replaced baseboards, built new bannisters/railings, built a small back deck, pulled thousands of carpet staples out of the floor and then sanded all of the floors, replaced broken stairs, patched holes, installed ceiling fans and the list goes on and on.

One of the most frustrating aspects of this project were the daily, often twice daily and occasional thrice daily trips to Home Depot or Lowes.  A few hundred dollars here, five hundred there, returning this, trading out that, oops, forgot this one little item.  Ughhh.

Adding to the stress, all the while we had to adhere to tight timeframes based on when the cabinet/floor/counter people were coming, coordinating our electrician, carpet guys, selecting appliances, delivery dates, packing up our existing house, arranging movers.  Not to mention take care of our twin daughters.

We still have a lot of work to do, trim, painting, new interior doors, new blinds, bathroom improvements, decorating, organizing etc..., then there is the yard, which will be an ongoing project.  All of that stuff we can chip away at our leisure though and it is somewhat of a relief to just be moved in and have the hardest part behind us.

None of this would have possible without my dad's huge amount of work, advice and expertise, help from Allison's parents with watching the girls when possible, help painting from Allison's brother David and his friend Sheri and the understanding/flexibility from my boss Leah.

Before Pictures:

Very small galley kitchen

A terrible place for a garage access door

That window back there just has to be a slider.  Otherwise the only way to the back yard is through the garage.

Master Bedroom


Old beat up metal rail has to go

We'll eventually put in a gas fireplace in the family room and do something with that brick

During Renovation:

Nice old linoleum from the 70s that was a real job to scrape up

This part was actually pretty fun.  I did it all with a hammer and my foot

I took a trip to home depot, came back and my dad had opened up the back wall for the slider

Dad about to frame in the slider.  His work was is impressively precise, literally a millimeter gap around the edges, pretty much fit perfectly.  He has spent his life doing carpentry, general contracting, home repair, electrician etc... and really knows this stuff.

Rough shape, but I cleaned this up pretty good.

Removing the carpet revealed 1x1 tiles glued to the floor that needed to be scraped up.

Was able to sell the old appliance on Craigslist (except for the dishwasher which was new and I was able to talk Lowes into giving me store credit to put toward a better one)

My outift for crawling around in the attic.  It was quite hot up there and I could only last 5-10 minutes at a time, not to mention the contorting became difficult.

With a little guidance from my dad, I built this small deck.

My little Home Depot helpers

Allison starting the painting

David cutting in

Sheri rolling out the kitchen

Putting in new baseboards turned out to be more of a job than I anticipated.  I had to complete this project after my dad had left in the evenings after work racing darkness (very limited lighting and electricity at the time)

After Pictures: