Sunday, December 27, 2009

Protein Drink Comparison

Recently, my favorite protein supplement (Essential Natural 100% Whey Protein) has ruined their taste. When I inquired about it they told me that vendor issues required re-formulation. Bummer.
I then decided to do some comparison shopping at my local Vitamin Cottage. I purchased five different protein supplements with the following criteria: no soy, no egg and no fake sugars. The products I purchased had a variety of hemp, rice and whey protein. I then decided to rate the newly purchased products by price, taste, protein content and mixability. I mixed each drink with about 3 oz. milk and 7 oz. water. Here are my results:

#1 Solgar Whey to Go (chocolate flavor):

Price: $1.49 for a single serving packet.
Taste (1-10): 9  tastes great (and it does have a tiny bit of fake sugar in it)
Protein content: 16g
Mixability: mixes well with no clumping

#2 Nutribiotic Rice Protein (vanilla flavor).

Price: $.89 for a single packet
Taste: 7 taste was great but there was a chalky after-taste and it was kind of weak.
Protein content: 12g
Mixability: mixes well with no clumping

A three-way tie for third place in no particular order:

#3 Nutiva organic hempshake (chocolate flavor)

Price: $1.25 for a single packet
Taste: 6 taste was good but left a lot of grit in your mouth after.
Protein content: 7g
Mixability: mixes ok but had to keep mixing to keep the grit suspended

#4 Biochem 100% Whey (chocolate flavor)

Price: $1.89 for a single packet
Taste: 6 taste was a bit chemical and was harder to finish.
Protein content: 20g
Mixability: had some clumping issues

#5 Spirutein Whey (vanilla flavor)

Price: $1.65 for a single packet
Taste: 6 tastes like alfalfa or something
Protein content: 14g
Mixability: had to be shaken a lot to keep it mixed
Note: This stuff has a huge amount of nutrients in it. I am pretty sure that if you drink it every day, you will be able to breathe fire and shoot lightning bolts out of your arse!

My old favorite, Essential Natural 100% Whey Protein in the old formula would have won first or second place. Here are the stats:

Price: $.75 in bulk form
Taste (old formula): 9 all flavors are good
Protein content: 22g
Mixability: mixes good with no clumping

There you have it. My hard work has paid off for me when my current supply of the old stuff runs out. I gots to have my protein!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Nice day for a ride

With a predicted temperature of around 50 degrees in Pueblo, it wasn't a difficult decision to head down there for a ride. I sent out a mass invite but got mostly "no's". Of course, there is always one hardcore dude out there and I found him. The Kappel-meister! He only knows one He basically rides hard until he's tired, and heads back to the car. A perfect candidate for a helmet-cam footage subject:

Lake Pueblo State Park Mountain bike ride from Alan Keeffe on Vimeo.

As you can see from the video, I was finally a victim of the sharp rocks on my thin sidewalled tires. Ahh, the price you pay for light wheels.
After my rear tire exploded and instantaneously lost all of it's air, I set my bike down and started to asess the damage. Mike looked at me and asked: "What are YOU going to do?". Haha, I guess he was never a marine! I sent him on his way and made plans to fix the tire and meet him at his car. I got to his car first and he arrived within minutes, which means his ride was barely interrupted by my bad luck. Excellent!
The chest-mount strap for the helmet-cam was awesome. Thanks again, Don.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

You know you like bikes...

when you work at a shop that sells primarily high-end bikes and your garage is full of primarily high-end bikes.
Yet you still enjoy finding a sweet Huffy beach cruiser on Craigslist, fixing it up a little and smiling while you zoom around on it in all of it's simplicity.

Only slightly modified.

Nothing on the bars but grips.

Fun for all who ride it! (go Dave, go)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Holiday schwag

My friend Don, an occasional subject in the blog, presented me with an awesome gift today. It's a chest-mount for my new helmet-cam!


 Now I will have yet another vantage point from which to film our escapades. Yay! Thanks, Don!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Finally a warm day

After a week of storms and cold weather, we finally got a day above freezing. I opted for a mountain bike ride on the Santa Fe trail and then around the Air Force Academy. Still testing out the new helmet-cam and it's wide-angleness. So far, I really like it. Can't wait to actually ride some single-track with it. In the mean-time, here is another video:

Santa Fe Trail/AFA bike ride 12/12/09 from Alan Keeffe on Vimeo.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Manitou Incline Video

Got busy with the new Helmet-Hero Wide today. Hiked the incline with it strapped to my head! It was around 15-20 degreees and snowing. Makes me feel lucky to live in Colorado Springs.

Hiking Manitou Incline and down Barr Trail from Alan Keeffe on Vimeo.

Oh, and the new batch of beer has some reviews coming in.
Don: "Excellent".
Matt D.: "I want to start a blog telling everyone how good it is!".
Me: "Mmmmmm, good".

Saturday, December 5, 2009

A cold day in....

Colorado Springs, of course. I felt like I had better ride today because the next few days aren't looking so good. I decided to ride to work (Colorado Cyclist) and pick up a new Helmet-cam since my old one expired. My plan of attack was to find some Geocaches ( on the way back. I don't think it ever made it to 40 degrees today and when the sun went away, it became clear that I had better keep moving. My first cache was pretty easy but I had to hike through some seriously thorny trees to get to it:

Snowy and thorny.

I moved on to the next one but couldn't find it. Found the next one and gave up looking for the last one as the weather was telling me to get home.

After I got home, I immediately tore into the new cam's packaging. It is almost identical to my old one except it has a wide-angle lens. Here is a test video:

Testing the new Helmet Hero wide from Alan Keeffe on Vimeo.

Now I have to think of some interesting ways to use this cam!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Pics from Pueblo

Since I didn't have a camera last week, I decided to bring one today and take some pics. We rode similar trails only the opposite direction. My friend Mike was our guide on the trails up and down the bluffs (i.e. "edge", "roller coaster", "free-ride", "skull canyon" and a few others. Thanks Mike!

Mike on "Free-Ride"

Don finishing up "Outer Limits" on his new Giant 29'er

Matt and Mike taking a break on "Voodoo"

Another great ride in the books and here comes another winter storm...
Could be a while until we are down here again.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

I am returning to a past Thanksgiving Day tradition: bike ride then pig out. Last year I rode the Falcon Trail and it was cold but completely snow-free. This year it is warm but not snow-free...

Time constraints kept me from completing the entire Falcon Trail loop so I had some fun on the lower sections before heading home via the Santa Fe Trail.

Now it's time to eat!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Finally tried the Incline!

Today I decided to meet my friends Dave and Derek and hike the Mount Manitou Incline. I'm sure you've heard all of the stories about how steep it is so I won't be redundant.

Here is the view from the very bottom.

Derek and Dave getting started.

Dave on a snow-packed portion.

Those steps get pretty tall on the steep parts.

Derek on the final push to the top. Just below
him, the steps were slick and you could see
many hikers slipping. Derek said he
slipped back about 5 steps there!

Yeah, Dave!

It turned out to be a great workout especially for a cyclist. Going down is much harder for me than going up. The people are all pretty friendly, too. One guy blasted the last few steps and stopped his watch at 23 minutes. The funny thing is that is really fast for one mile and 2300' of elevation gain!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Helmet-cam demise in Pueblo

Today we decided to drive down to Lake Pueblo State Park and do a long (for November) ride. I prepared my Helmet Hero helmet-cam and mounted it to my seat-post facing backwards. The plan was to have my friends follow me so I could film their faces in complete agony after accelerating out of the 500 corners down there. Not ten minutes into the ride I jibbed off of a small bump and heard a loud crack and the sound of something dragging on my rear tire. My poor little camera got sucked into the rear wheel and the ensuing carnage destroyed the on/off button. Dammitall! I didn't even bring my camera because I had planned to take some stills with the helmet-cam.

Oh, the agony.

We continued the ride and slogged through the mud for a while longer. Then it warmed up some more and the trails became drier. Mike's theory is that the older trails don't get as muddy since they are more packed down than the newer ones.

One saving grace is that Don had his Garmin and sent me the file. Here it is:

Even after the tragedy of the Helmet Hero and the slimy mud early on, we had a great time and that's what counts. Oh and I am still trying to forget the dog poop that I ran over and scattered all over myself (I was thinking of you, Greg). Haha. Crap.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Beer finale

Well, the weather outside is frightful, and the beer is fermented so I guess it's time to bottle it up.


First, you have to cook up some more sugar
This is for carbonation.

While that maltodextrin in boiling I am sterilizing
the bottles in an iodine solution.

Super cool bottle-washing attachment for my faucet.

The bottle tree for draining them.
Christmas has come early!

I am transferring the beer to mix it
with the sugars I cooked earlier.

Now I am transferring the beer to various
containers for the final carbonation.

Capping those bastards!

Here is 5 gallons of beer in various containers.
In 1 to 3 weeks they will be carbonated and
ready to consume.

I took a sample sip of the un-carbonated beer and it is awesome! I can't wait until it is completely ready.


Thursday, November 12, 2009

Night ride heebee jeebies

Last night Ron and I headed out for our "classic loop" night-ride. It's about a 2 hour ride in the North Cheyenne Canon area. There are many forms of wildlife in the area including fox, bear and mountain lion. Near the end of the ride we were at a turn-around point and I heard some bird-like chirping nearby. Maybe it was a bird or maybe it was...

Time to head down the trail. About half way down I heard a voice. I thought it was Ron catching me until I came around a corner and saw a dude standing just off of the trail telling me to have a "nice evening". Holy moly! Talk about an adreneline rush. I'm pretty sure my heart rate shot up about to 1000 beats for a second.
When you are descending at night, your concentration is 100 percent on the trail in front of you and you really don't expect to see people hiking alone and talking to you. Weirdness.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Sad news.

I recently found out that my friend, Mike Pieczarka passed away after a massive coronary. The world will never be the same without Mike.

He was an awesome bike mechanic and loved his Datsun.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Your days are numbered....

This is the time of year in Colorado that your mountain biking days can come to an abrupt halt. It can be 65 degrees and sunny one day and the next it's a blizzard. We all keep a close eye on the forecast and plan accordingly. This week I over-compensated a little and rode more than my legs really wanted. It was such a great week for fall weather that I did a road ride, a lunch ride, a night ride and today, a great mountain bike ride. Around 10 hours on the was worth it!
Today's plan was to ride over to Balanced Rock with the Matt's and meet Scott, Don and Daniel. When we got there, they were nowhere in sight (our sight!). We sat and talked about greedy corporations and the bad economy and such, until I decided to call Scott and see where they were. Right when I dialed, I heard a phone ring down in the parking lot below us and it was Scott! They had been waiting there for 30 minutes! Ooops. No worries because it was so nice out.
We headed up Rampart Range to Williams canyon:

November in Colorado. Nice.

Daniel has no fear!

The Bagel is coming.

Scott and Don takin' 'er easy.

Good view down Williams Canyon.
That's Daniel in the shrubbery.

I picked up some hitch-hikers at the bottom of Williams.

After Williams, we headed over to the Inteman trail and rode it over to Red Rocks. This is Scott's "hood" so he was hookin' it up! That was fun.

Don wasn't feeling good, so he was considering
this to be his final resting place!

Here's Don on the last part of Inteman before dropping into Red Rocks.
If you look carefully in the background you can see a bare spot
on the hill. Above that is where we dropped into
Williams canyon earlier in the ride.(click on photo to enlarge)

Long shadows and flat light. Must be Fall.

Another great Fall ride with good friends is in the books. You could stick a fork in my legs- they're done! least for a few days.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The Lunch Ride

'Tis the season for the legendary Colorado Cyclist lunch ride. When the business slows down during the fall and winter, we are afforded longer lunch breaks. So, we plan the lunch rides. In the past we have had legendary cyclists along for the ride. For example, Mountain Bike Hall-of-famer Dave Wiens has joined us for a flat, windy jaunt through the old prairie east of town. He was on a cross bike and we were on skinny tires but that wasn't enough of a disadvantage..he worked us! World Mountain Bike champ Alison Dunlap has spent many a lunch in Palmer Park with some of the luckier Colorado Cyclist employees. Sometimes her husband, Greg Something-or-other tags along to kill us with his sick manuals and technical ability.

Today, well, today Dave is at home in Gunnison taking care of three wild boys with his awesome wife, Susan.  And Greg and Alison are getting ready to crush a bunch of Michiganders in The Iceman Cometh mountain bike race. So I decided to head over to Palmer Park and recruit some riders in the parking lot.

Here is who I found: Donny and Kandi. Kandi is a Bicycle cop from Michigan who is here visiting friends. She told me that before she was a cop, she was a meth-addict with little to no future prospects. She overcame that addiction by riding a bike and eventually became a bicycle cop to help arrest meth addicts. Ironic. I guess she got pretty good at it because she sure can ride a bike!

Here's Kandi puttin' the cuffs on a techincal ledge section.

I'm seriously considering taking up meth so I can overcome it and ride as good as Kandi. Damn.

Donny is a traveling Industrial chain-lube salesman originally from Pueblo, Colorado.

Here is a sample of Donny's wares.

Apparently Donny makes a lot of money selling this product because he told me he spends the entire month of July just riding his bike around France. Ka-ching!

Here's Donny on his Frannkensteined Tomac single-speed. I guess he's a pretty good garage mechanic as well.

Both of these riders were well above average in bike handling and fitness. They probably could be Pro bike riders if they wanted to but they chose a different path. Makes you wonder how many desk-jockeys have the VO2 of Lance Armstrong and the bike handling skills of John Tomac but choose to live a very different life.

Maybe next time I will ride with some famous Pro's hoping!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Beer update

Halloween has come and gone and we still have lots of candy left over from the 5 lb. (!) bag we picked out at Costco. After a 3 hour road ride today, I had a bit of an appetite so after some steak and salad I decided to try one of every candy bar in the bag (9). That's nearly 700 calories! No problem and that has effectively erased any calorie expenditure from the bike ride. D-oh! It was worth it!

Here is the homebrew update:

The beer has fermented for a week and I have decided to transfer it to another fermenter. What this does is create a clearer finished product and gets rid of the digested yeast.

This gets left behind!

A hydrometer reading (1.016) indicates that I am within the recommended Final gravity(1.012-1.018)  but I am going to let it ferment some more to be sure. We want it to be at max alcohol content!
Bottling will commence in around 2 weeks.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

The cycling seasons of Colorado Springs

Here in the Springs, we have a variety of trails and terrains available to us during the year. In the winter, we can ride many trails in town and down in Lake Pueblo State Park. As the snow melts, we inch higher and higher into the mountains until we can hit 14000' if we want! Here are some pictures from the many seasons of riding here:

January in Pueblo is a blast!

Way better than sitting in front of the tube.

It's June and we can hit the high country.

August at 13000'

Winter Park, CO on my birthday...sweet!

October is night-ride time before the big snow flies.

October at Rampart Reservoir.

It's November and we are in Palmer Park.

December: Back in Pueblo in the State Park trails. Good times!

As you can see, we can ride year round on the front range of Colorado, and there are some really good riders to hang out with if you are lucky!