Thursday, August 27, 2009

Mt. Falcon

I just climbed the East side of Mt. Falcon on my Mt. Bike. Most of you reading this blog do not know what that climb is like, but trust me, it is a challenging bike ride. Well, at least it is challenging for a 39 year old guy who until the past month or so has not really mountain biked for years and years. And truth-be-told, some of the rocks and erosion prevention logs were beyond my skill level (and / or fitness level), so there were spots I walked my bike.

Yes, I am an out-of-shape wimp.

Even so, I made it up in about an hour, which is not horrible for the terrain. I probably would not have been too disappointed 7 or 8 years ago when I actually did consider myself a mountain biker. If any of you out there do know the trail, you are probably saying "wow... That is pathetic!" I would not be too terribly shocked if my friend John can do the climb better on his hand-cycle. But, I have to accept the fact that for me, this was pretty good.

Now that I have made the climb, and rested, the top is much easier to ride over. I'll spend some time up here riding without my heart pounding and sucking air. Compared to what I just did, biking up here will be relaxing.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Rocks Win!

If you follow baseball, you probably know that the Colorado Rockies went to the world series in 2007 after an incredible winning streak to end up the regular series, which went right on into the NL playoffs.

The 2008 season brought Rockies fans back down to earth. The Rockies stunk again.

This year, it looked like another year like 2008 until the team fired the head coach. All of a sudden the Rockies are in a race again. They are winning the wild card race and not that far behind the Dodgers for the division. Let me tell you, it is pretty rare for that to be the case in August.

The giants (who were one game behind the Rockies for the wild card) came to town this past weekend. Saturday, we had a "Boys Night Out" at Coors field. So far, this year, we have had good luck going to baseball games. The Rockies have won every game we've been to in dramatic come-from-behind fashion. I think partially because of the great games that we have seen, the boys are really big Rockies fans this year. Tyler and Connor were really excited to get to go to the game.

We got there early enough to watch batting practice. We stood up on the left-field concourse and got to see some of the long bombs. Made me nervous and watchful because of the danger of flying baseballs. I think if I had the opportunity to catch a ball, I would have been busy shielding Connor rather than even making an attempt at the ball. But, it was pretty cool for the boys. It was the first time they have seen batting practice.

Eventually we got to our seats in section 205, which is the right field mezzanine. Not great seats because we could not see the entire outfield, but not really horrible seats either. And, boy did we get a show. The Rockies were down 6 to 1 in the 4th. We actually went for ice cream at the top of the 4th and got back to watch the Rockies score a couple of runs to get within 6 to 3. At this point, I was thinking that it would be great if they could come back, but maybe our great luck had worn off.

Nothing happened in the 5th. But, all of a sudden, the Rockies started hitting in the 6th. 7 runs later, including a grand-slam, the Rockies were winning 10 to 6. Even back in the days of the Blake-Street-Bombers, I do not think I've ever seen a 7 run inning by anyone, and let me tell you, Coors Field ROCKS when something like that is happening.

The game ended up 14 to 11, which made for a very late night for the boys, but going home they were pretty wired. I had no problems with a tired Connor walking back to the train at all, and Tyler just could not stop about how cool the game had been.

As I write this, the Rockies are 3 games up on the Giants for the wild card and only 3.5 games behind the Dodgers for the division lead. LA is coming to town this week, so now would be a great time to get hot. It would be awesome to see the Rockies leading the division in a few days.

It would be great to drink my Rocktoberfest Ale while watching the Rockies in the World Series this year. It could definitely happen.

video
note: when playing this video, you might want to turn down the sound on your computer. it is LOUD.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Mountain Biking

Yesterday, I went mountain biking. I have been a couple times this year, but before this summer, it has been years since I've actually ridden my mountain bike on anything remotely resembling a mountain biking trail.

I went up the old standard Waterton Canyon which after about 7 miles hooks up with the Colorado Trail. Yes, Waterton Canyon is the place we take Tyler quite a bit, but we just take him on the first part of the trail.


Surprisingly enough, even though I have not been mountain biking for so long, I got up to the spot pictured above in about the amount of time it took me years ago when I actually was in Mountain Biking shape. I was tired as heck with the climb, but I got there without having to stop. I did however just head back down the trail from that point rather than doing a loop that "real" mountain bikers would have done. I hope to do the loop next week sometime.

On the way back down the canyon, I "ran into" the herd of big-horn sheep that lives in that area. It has been a real long time since I've seen them, so it was pretty amazing to come so close (they were on the trail itself). It is downright amazing that I had decided to bring the camera, because usually my luck is not that great.

Actually, the only reason I brought the camera was that I wanted to take a picture of the valley on the other side of the switchbacks (the first photo in this blog). I think that spot ranks up there with some of the most beautiful views I have seen in Colorado, and I wanted the shot to put on one of my beer labels.

Anyway, it was nice to do some mountain biking again. I need to make sure I get out some more.

Lake Wellington

This past weekend, we went camping at Wellington Lake, which is a private lake (with private campsites) down in the Pike's Peak National forest. The reason we did a private campground is that I could not find any public campgrounds anywhere close to us that were not full of reservations for the weekend. One problem we have is that we do not plan far enough in advance to get reservations in. I do not know what weekends will be open until a week or before the weekend.

Anyway, on Thursday, the boys and I drove South 285, took a left at Pine Junction, traveled to FR550 and followed it to Wellington Lake. This gave Tracy a chick-flick night, and let us get an early pick (or so we thought) of the campsites.

The office at Wellington Lake was the most disorganized business setting I have ever seen. There was one lady checking people in where clearly, she needed one or two people helping out. She asked me if we wanted something by the lake (but without trees) or a mountain campsite (with trees but away from the lake). I decided to try a lake-side campsite, and she told me what campsites were available (or what campsites she thought were available) and had me go look at them to pick ours out. She gave me a choice of 5, but as it turned out, only two of them were actually available. Apparently, it she was so overwhelmed that she was unable to cross sites off in her little book as people claimed them.

Anyway, eventually, we claimed our site. The fee structure was sort of interesting to me. Rather than charge for the campsite, we paid per person per day. Apparently, you pay the same to go into the Wellington Lake area whether or not you camp there.

Thursday night, I was certain we had made the wrong decision (by the lake or in the mountains) because the wind by the lake was horrible from about 10pm until early in the morning.


But the next day, we ate our oatmeal, and got ourselves back in the minivan to go pick up Tracy. We got back to Wellington Lake around lunch time, so we ate lunch. The weather was rainy and windy and we spent time in the tent reading or playing games or whatever, but eventually all of a sudden, the sun came out BIG TIME. Very hot in the tent, so we went back to the office to rent a canoe. Yes, we (Tyler) fished, and no we did not catch anything. Connor was very nervous about sitting in the canoe. He was pretty convinced that we would tip over.

Luckily, Friday night was not windy, and Saturday was just gorgeous.


We went on a hike named "Waterfall Trail". It turned out to be a perfect length for Connor. Nice, since we had no idea going in. There were a lot of huge rocks and cave-like formations on the hike which was really cool. The waterfall was pretty neat too (we did not get a good picture actually by the waterfall, but the picture above is by the river as it goes down).


Our neighbors left during the day and left us some extra firewood, so we had a really good camp fire that night.


The picture above is our campsite on Sunday after we packed up. It is a really pretty spot, isn't it?

Tyler goes back to school next week. I do not know where the summer has gone. I am sort of hoping for a long Indian Summer so that we can get one or two more camping trips in this year. Next year I have to do a better job planning in advance.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Second Wind Fund

Well... Tracy signed up the Colorado Shepards for a run / walk / ride for the Second Wind Fund of Metro Denver. The event is in September.

The mission of the SWFMD is to decrease the incidence of teen suicide by removing financial and social barriers to treatment for all at-risk youth. SWFMD operates in the Denver metro area; nearly 1,400 metro Denver youth have been referred to them for ongoing counseling.

Apparently, they don't only want us to appear and walk / run / ride, but also want us to help them raise money. If you feel this is a worthy charity and wish to give, you can do so using the handy / dandy widget:



You can also check out my "Fund Raising Page" by going to http://www.firstgiving.com/sheppy



I realize my target is probably pretty high especially given my lack of wealthy friends. We'll have to see how the page actually does.
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