Mountain biking from Boulder – it’s possible! Sunshine-Poormans-Betasso-Boulder Canyon

November 11, 2015

Yesterday my buddy showed me the route to actually mountain bike from Boulder.  Boulder has a zillion hiking trails right in town but all are closed to mountain biking.  So we met at 2:30 at the far west end of Mapleton Avenue, which is incidentally the Mt Sanitas trailhead as well as the mouth of Sunshine Canyon.  I was a bit apprehensive about riding on the road, and I still am.  There’s no sidewalk or guardrails or even shoulder to get off the road, so you have to rely on every single car seeing you and giving you a wide berth, or at least a berth.  I was quite happy to notice there was very little traffic on the road which was comforting.  I ride a mid-fat Specialized Fuse hardtail which I love, but it is a bit slower than regular-tired bikes.  That plus the fact that John is stronger than me and pretty soon he was out of sight and I was left on my own pushing my way up the mountain.  I passed 3 or 4 side street turnoffs, none of which were “Poormans” which I was looking for.  Up and up and a really tight hairpin turn and up and then off in the distance was John waving his arms and yelling encouragement.  I pumped a fist and hammered it a bit harder and I was there.  It wasn’t so grueling really, and I don’t think more than 20-30 minutes or so.  Next leg was downhill, all the way to the end of Poormans on a dirt road, then it emptied out onto another paved road, Four Mile Canyon, where we took a right for another 5-10 minutes of climbing, then on the left side of the road behind a guardrail was a little dirt track, our trail, the FourMile Link connector trail.  Blissfully downhill, I hadn’t ridden my bike since we had done the Whole Enchilada in Moab a few weeks before, where I had rented a Pivot for the day – and had gotten used to it.  So I was  bit wobbly and timid.  It gradually wore off as we reached the bottom and a beautiful river flowing with a small bridge across it.  Apparently the bridge had only been installed for a few weeks, you used to have to wade through the river, bike in tow.  No longer.

Another uphill on the FourMile Link through tight pine forest up up up to the Benjamin Loop with a fat arrow sign pointing clockwise (it’s changed periodically and you can get ticketed for not following it).  We were running short on daylight, with a sunset of 4:50, having left at 2:30, so we didn’t do the full Benjamin Loop, only half of it.  Also note we were in the shade ever since Poormans, sun was hiding low in the south over the mountains – which meant chilly.  We rode, uphill again, to the Loop Link trail, completing half of the Benjamin Loop.  We took the Loop Link trail – with some oncoming traffic which addled my brain a bit until we got to the end of it to the Canyon Loop and I looked a map and realized traffic obviously goes both ways on the Loop Link.  Then we were onto the Canyon Loop, with some downhill and around a bend into some glorious warm sunshine where I had to stop and bask in the beauty of the canyons and mountains spread out before me and enjoy the sun on my skin.  More fun downhill then more up on double wide track, and then finally finally the end of the uphill.  Which was great but I wasn’t all that upset about all the uphill, I rather enjoyed it and the adventure of the trip.  Plus the added wildcard of the sun going down gave a bit more spice to the outing.

And it was a brief down on wide easy trail… and then the capper for the entire ride – and for the past few weeks, the incredibly fun and exciting and flowing and steep and fast and beautifully laid out Betasso Link trail.  I whooped with exhilaration and joy as I flew down it, turning and turning and turning again, sailing down over big rock gardens, banking around turns, absolutely glorious and one of my new favorite trails on the planet.  I gave another involuntary “woooo!!” and was answered by John up in front of me somewhere.  Down and down and gloriously down and then popped out into a small parking lot in Boulder Canyon, John cheering me on for the last bit.  Giant grins on both our faces as we talked about how crazy fun that was and both so happy to have had – or rather be nearing the end of a great adventure on a Tuesday afternoon.   Then a short ride down Boulder Canyon on the pavement – not pleasant with no shoulder, but we made it maybe 5 minutes and then we were able to turn off onto the Boulder Creek path and fly down it, barely pedaling and still talking about how much fun we had on the Betasso Link downhill section.  Pedaled into town, down Pearl street for a stop at Spruce Confections for a coffee and a local Max Bar, sat and chatted about life, kids, adventures, business.  And then we were off, pedaling back home and I carried my big grin with me the rest of the evening.  And it was still a bit light out as I rolled into my driveway.



Things to do in Denver if you’re alive

March 10, 2009

Lots to do in Colorado in early March.  It gets quite warm and sunny in Denver, and the snow is often the best up in the mountains.  See below for some ideas:

Ski the steeps at Snowmass with your brother-in-law and the brother of your brother-in-law (did I say that right?).

Scott and Mark Baby about to go big

Scott and Mark Baby about to go big

Watch Big Air Friday at Snowmass from the best Apres Ski bar in Snowmass, the Cirque

Big Air Friday from the Cirque bar

Big Air Friday from the Cirque bar

Go Rock climbing in Morrison Colorado, outside Denver.



Do some backcountry skiing into Francie’s Cabin near Breckenridge

Francie's Hut in the backcountry outside Breckenridge, Colorado

Francie’s Hut in the backcountry outside Breckenridge, Colorado

Go mountain biking at Matthews/Winters Park near Denver

Mountain biking Matthew/Winter Park with my friend Pete who lives out there now - lucky bastard

Mountain biking Matthew/Winter Park with my friend Pete who lives out there now – lucky bastard

Apres Ski with a ski bunny or two

Apres Ski in Snowmass

Apres Ski in Snowmass

Take your little nieces sledding

sledding with my amazing nieces

sledding with my amazing nieces

Take your nieces sledding at the Snowmass Club

Take your nieces sledding at the Snowmass Club

Ski Breckenridge

Skiing Breck with Ryan Weaver, in from Chicago for the weekend

Skiing Breck with Ryan Weaver, in from Chicago for the weekend

Ski Arapahoe Basin

The fabled Palivicini at A-Basin


Snowboard Loveland Pass and hitchike back to the top of the pass.

Hitchiking up Loveland Pass after an embarassing attempt at snowboarding

Hitchiking up Loveland Pass after an embarassing attempt at snowboarding

Stay and visit with old friends in Denver and eat a yummy meal

Hang out at the Hotsprings pool in Glenwood Springs

Hanging out at the Glenwood Springs pool, late February

Hanging out at the Glenwood Springs pool, late February

Eat lunch up on the mountain and watch people compete in skiing off cliffs freestyle at Snowmass

Snowmass Freestyle cliff jumping competition from Gwyn's

Snowmass Freestyle cliff jumping competition from Gwyn’s

Go to the greatest mountaineering store ever, Neptune Mountaineering, in Boulder, check out their museum and talk about famous climbers with the famous staff and owner Gary Neptune.Incredible Ice Axe selection at Neptune Mountaineering in Boulder

Party and grill out with thirty  new friends at the amazing Blue Sky Basin at Vail, gorgeous view of several 14ers including Mount of the Holy Cross and Mt Elbert.View from Blue Sky basin in mid March, 2009, lots of folks grilling and enjoying

Go bouldering in Morrison, Colorado.Bouldering

Stay with some old friends in Boulder that have become quite a bit more successful than when you knew them a few years back!The super fun and terrific Teegarden family from Boulder!

Take your girlfriend snowshoeing in the backcountry after spending the night in a backcountry cabin

Backcountry snowshoeing and telemark skiing

Backcountry snowshoeing and telemark skiing

First day, hiking in to the cabin

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2008 What a Year in Adventure-ness

December 30, 2008

Reflecting on the adventurous aspects of 2008…  One of the best ever for me second only to 2000 when I travelled the world for 6.5 months.  This year I was so fortunate.  Five foreign countries, two new mountains climbed, fourth Chicago to Mackinac sailing race, surfing, skiing…  I must list all the adventures and trips I was lucky enough to participate in this past year, and be so grateful for the opportunities I was blessed with.

  1. Elwha Trail hike in the Olympic Mountains West of Seattle with four good buddies.
  2. The 100th running of the Chicago to Mackinac Sailing race, on a J120 named Valkyrie, placed well in our class, finished in around 55 hours.
  3. Cruised the North Channel of Lake Huron on a 38 foot Ericson sailboat owned by my parents with a highlight being Topaz lake.
  4. Nantucket Massachusetts for several days with my oldest friend Spencer and his family, driving on the beach, catching bluefish from the shore, enjoying old friends, meeting my namesake, Cormac Thomas Carney
  5. Upstate New York at my girlfriend’s grandparents’ “camp”, waterskiing, kayaking, mountain biking, swimming.
  6. Climbing the highest point in New York State, Mt Marcy, ticking off the 12th state high point on my quest to do all 50 of them.
  7. Jamaica for work, Kingston.
  8. Cayman Islands to visit my cousin Megan for a few days.
  9. Jazzfest in New Orleans for a bachelor party
  10. Numerous mountain biking excursions around Chicago
  11. Numerous sailing parties on my boat, a 28 foot Ericson christened the Imjatse after a Nepalese mountain I climbed.
  12. Rock climbing in Red River gorge, Kentucky
  13. Rock climbing at Mississppi Palisades twice
  14. Summiting Mt Belford, a 14,000 foot mountain in Colorado, then sleeping in a bivy sack on its flanks overnight in about 15 degrees.
  15. Pilgrimage to the original Chipotle in Denver
  16. 35 person white water rafting trip sponsored by the adventure ministry I run at church, running class III and IV rapids.
  17. Kayaking the Vermilion River in very high, fast water.
  18. Costa Rica!  Staying at my friend’s resort, surfing, jungle hikes, four-wheeling.
  19. Talon’s Challenge at Vail, skiing thirteen black and double black runs in a single day with a reward of a free beer and a free hat.
  20. Skiing at Aspen with the family
  21. Moving my friend’s sailboat 200 miles down the intracoastal waterway from Norfolk to Beaufort NC, just my father and I.
  22. Two winter attempts of Mt Humphries, the tallest mountain in Arizona, each a failure, but getting closer and I lived to climb another day.
  23. Thanksgiving in Boston
  24. Ten person caving trip that I led through Buckner’s cave in Southern Indiana.
  25. Ski trip to Wausau Wisconsin and Granite Peak Resort.
  26. Raced the Cohasset Triathlon
  27. 40+ person sea kayaking trip led by my group

What a wonderful year, with lots of love and great relationships started, nourished, and deepened during all these adventures and trips. 

I have to give a lot of credit for this year to Tim  Ferriss, author of The Four Hour Workweek for his writings and inspiration to live like this – thanks much Tim and all the best to everybody in 2009.  I always wanted to live like this but never knew anybody who did – I didn’t think it was really possible until I read Tim’s stuff and embarked upon the adventure.  Inspirational.  This year has been the best to date for my business, relationships, and adventures and experiences.  I hope for an even better 2009 and hope for the same for everybody.  I have to copy some of Tim’s stuff from a mentor of his here  – good food for thought:

“While many are wringing their hands, I recall the 1970s when we were suffering from an oil shock causing long lines at gas stations, rationing, and 55 MPH speed limits on Federal highways, a recession, very little venture capital ($50 million per year into VC firms), and, what President Jimmy Carter (wearing a sweater while addressing the Nation on TV because he had turned down the heat in the White House) called a “malaise”. It was during those times that two kids without any real college education, Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, started companies that did pretty well. Opportunities abound in bad times as well as good times. In fact, the opportunities are often greater when the conventional wisdom is that everything is going into the toilet.

Well…we’re nearing the end of another great year, and, despite what we read about the outlook for 2009, we can look forward to a New Year filled with opportunities as well as stimulating challenges.”

1 Comment | Boston, Caving, Caymans, Chicago, Chipotle, climbing, Colorado, Cormac Thomas, hiking, Jamaica, Kayaking, Lisa, Mountain Biking, Mountaineering, Mt Humphreys, Nantucket, Rafting, sailing, Seattle, Skiing, Talons Challenge, The Mac, Traveling, True Adventure, Valkyrie | Permalink
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Triathlon with an Olympian, Nantucket Fish Haul, Mount Marcy Climb

July 9, 2008

Just took a week long vacation – haven’t done that in a few years.  It was action packed.  Started by flying into Boston and eating at Lisa’s folks – they always make amazing dinners – had pasta for us Saturday night in preparation for the Cohasset Triathlon on Sunday.  My good buddy from age five, Bill Burnett, puts it on, and what an amazing job he does.  This year Jarrod Shoemaker (representing the USA in the triathlon in Beijing!) and 900 other people raced it, including a number of elite competitors.  Jarrod beat me.  In just two years it’s become a huge deal in the northeast.  They had a giant stage and all sorts of gear and food available.  Super foggy and a heavy surf in the morning but they did the swim anyways, which added that much more difficulty to it.  I finished on a mountain bike, next year I’ll get a real bike, though I’ve said that for the last 8 triathlons I’ve done and never have.

Wayne and I before the Cohasset Triathlon

Wayne and I before the Cohasset Triathlon

The next day we left for Natucket to stay with my very close family friends the Carneys in their beautiful home in the town of Nantucket, overlooking the harbor – such a nice place.  But boo, it’s on the market, bummer.  My best bud Spencer was there with his kids, including new baby Cormac Thomas – named after me!  How cool is that?  2 months old, and amazing.  Also his older sister Daley, who at three is super fun to hang out with.  Went out to a super nice dinner at Orin Moore’s with Spence, Sue, Lisa and I, highlight was when the waiter brought a french press and pushed down on it at the table, spraying coffee and grounds all over the table and putting out the candle – we found it hilarious, the head waiter not so much.  Went sailing several times on their Rhodes 19 in Nantucket harbor and through the cut in the jetties to the open ocean, a little sketchy coming back in but fortunately the tide had shifted in our favor.  And a highlight was driving out on the beach on Coatue and surfcasting – we caught four huge bluefish!  I can never get over how you can stand on the beach up to your ankles in water and take this giant rod, cast out a huge lure, and reel in these 4 or 5 pound (guessing) fish.  Plus the added bonus of driving on the beach which is always a good time.  Letting the air out of the tires first so they are somewhat flat is fun too.

Fish in hand

Fish in hand


After Nantucket we went to Lisa’s grandparent’s place in upstate New York, on Indian Lake.  A terrific two houses they have, on the water next to each other, a bunch of waterfront  with docks, ski boat, swim platform, rowboat, kayaks, canoe, and sunfish.  And over the course of five days we used them all!  Taught Lisa to sail one day which I expect will do wonders for her confidence on my boat here in Chicago – so much easier to “get” sailing on a small boat.  Swam every day and showered and shaved zero days – just an “Adirondack shower” in the lake each day.  So fun.  For the 4th we went and climbed Mt Marcy – 3200 feet or so of elevation gain, 7.2 miles up and 7.2 miles down – it took us 4 hours up and I couldn’t believe it, but also four hours down.  Weird.  The last couple hours seemed to take forever.  The summit was really beautiful, above tree line so huge views, 360 degrees.  Count it as my 12th state high point! 

Nearing the Summit of Mt Marcy

Nearing the Summit of Mt Marcy

Actually quite incredible fireworks that night on the lake for such a small town – we took the rowboat and speedboat out to watch.  The next night I went on about an hour long mountain bike ride around Indian Lake, which is no small feat considering the trails are for snowmobiles not bikes – and are overgrown and mosquito infested and swampy in places.  Kevin, Lisa’s uncle, was in better shape and kicked my butt up the hills – one particularly long one – tough to train for that kind of stuff in Chicago.  Was a blast, and really cool and pretty.  A interesting aside – at one trail intersection in the middle of nowhere out in the woods there were advertisements on the trees for bars, hotels, restaurants, etc – for the snowmobilers.  Was something I’d never seen before.

Managed to chop a whole bunch of wood for Lisa’s grandfather, he appreciated it and I enjoyed the physical labor.  Small repayment for such incredible hospitality and relentlessly delicious meals, one after the other.

Got back late Monday night, tired but refreshed.  I need to figure out how to do more and longer trips!  Actually in a couple weeks we have the Mac race and then a few days sailing in the North Channel with my folks – so good stuff.

Leave a Comment » | Beach, Boston, canoeing, climbing, Cormac Thomas, hiking, Kayaking, Lisa, Mountain Biking, Mountaineering, Nantucket, sailing, Spencer, Swimming, The Mac, Traveling | Permalink
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Mountain biking, sailboat hull waxing

April 7, 2008

Got out mountain bking for the first time in quite a few months, went with my usual biking partners Kevin and Jon.  Pretty spur of the moment on Saturday.  Went out to Palos about 30 minutes from downtown Chicago.  Really actually decent biking out there, it’s always time well spent.  Trails were prett muddy in spots but quite ridable all in all.  Great to get outdoors, get the heart pumpin’, spend some time with the guys.  I am outta shape but getting back into shape.  Made it to the gym Saturday for a heavy lifting session, hard for about 30-40 minutes, sore today.  I love the bench press and am starting to up my weight again, it’s fun.

Did some solid work on my sailboat today with my boat partner, was fun and tiring.  Holding a heavy waxing drill deal with a spinning head on it that’s plugged in and pressing it hard against the side of the boat until it shines is hard work.  My dad came down to help, actually he did most of the hardest work.  Great guy, fun to spend time with him, he has a great sense of humor.  Good to be on the boat again, I’m looking forward to the season.  Chatting with my boat partner we’re planning to do more long trips this year, so maybe the boat will be left in Grand Haven or Milwaukee or somewhere for a few weeks, will be fun to have a pseudo-summer place on the beach.

Spent a bunch of time at my sister’s place with my two nieces and my folks, as my sis and bro-in-law were off to the Caymans to visit my cousin and my parents babysat.  My nieces are amazing.

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Beautiful hike in Palos, sharing stories with Blunk

November 12, 2007

Lisa nad I went for a hike in Palos – we drove around the roads around the forest preserves until we found a trailhead that looked good, away from horses and mountain bikers.  We got lucky, the trail was beautiful!  Up a ridge, through all different terrain and flora and fauna, some dense thickets, some forest, some prairie/open fields.  The leaves were turning and were showing reds, oranges, yellows, and there was still plenty of green in places.  Met a neat guy, drunkard by his own admission, who rides horses across countries!  Frank was his name, super nice fellow, has been across Spain, Sweden, Peru, the US and other countries.  Cool guy, gotta love adventurers like that.

Went to church this morning and made it to the gym.  Out late last night with Scott Blunk, my adventure buddy from way back.  We told tons of stories about our worldwide adventures.  Snowshoeing across Rocky Mountian National Park and digging a snowcave, sailing his boat from Cleveland to Detroit and beyond, Safaris in Cameroon and visiting the sahara, Safaris and trekking in Nepal together, having the shits in Bombay and Delhi and suffering through a 60-hour train ride.  Great times, was really good to see him. He motivates me to get out and do cool stuff.

Leave a Comment » | Blunk, Chicago, hiking, Lisa, Mountain Biking, Traveling | Permalink
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Climbing, Sailing, Partying

October 27, 2007

Yesterday I sailed my boat from Monroe Harbor, Chicago to Hammond/Crowleys where she was pulled out of the water by a huge machine and placed on her cradle for the winter. My Dad and boat partner came with. We had a gorgeious sail down, 12 knots out of the east, reach. Nearly rana aground as my dad pointed out a buyo and I watched the depth gauge go from 20 to 6.6 in a few seconds – gave it the quick “coming about!” and no problems. Unfortuantely a few nights before the boat “Jason” was lost on the rocks very near to there, at night in 10 foot seas and 30+ knot winds. They lost a man overboard and in an attempt to recuse him were blown into the breakwall. 3 of the four crew perished, even though all had life jackets on. Dangerous business, this sailing. We will miss the ship and the sailors who were lost, our prayers go out to them and their families. Sobered our trip up a bit, and also increased our appreciation for life and adventure and the opportunities we have. We managed to get he boat pulled out of the water even though no other boats were pulled that day – my dad sweet talked them and had a positive atttude., amazing.

Last night went out with all of Lisa’s girlfriends, and me, was a blast, they are all so cute and fun and happy.  We were out until about 1 and all were dressed up, me and five girls, good times.

Got a wedding tonight of a good buddy, we ran around together when we were both very single.  Should be a blast.  Tomorrow I take a group from church mountain biking, sounds like about ten of us.  And then tomorrow evening I’m off to the Red River Gorge for a week of climbing!  I can’t believe it – I’ve never spent so much time climbing, we’ll see if I get bored or super-into it or what, or just totally enjoy myself.  We shall see!  Picked up a new pair of climbing shoes today.  Looking forward to it.  All is well.

This Four Hour Workweek book has had an impact – I’m trying out this work-to-live idea – we shall see how it goes.  Also booked a flight to China – my buddy has a bunch of guys trading for him over there, so he got them to fly me over there for a week in December.  If anybody knows what to do in Beijing, tips area ppreciated! 🙂

Leave a Comment » | Adam and Nikki, Chicago, China, climbing, Lisa, Mountain Biking, Partying, sailing, Trading, True Adventure | Permalink
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