Thursday, May 31, 2007

Millcreek Pain

After two weeks away from the road bike I felt it was time to show it some love. Unfortunately my body didn't enjoy the ride as much as my bike! It's funny how quickly you adapt to a particular position and style of riding. Today I felt awkward on the road bike and my back is sore where normally I feel that way on the mountain bike. I rode from the office and met Kris at the mouth of the canyon. It was his first time climbing Millcreek on a road bike and as is now quickly becoming standard procedure he made me suffer on the way up!

The canyon was great, cool but not too cold coming down. One thing that always amazes me about Millcreek is the number of dogs on the road/trails. Since leashes seem to be going out of style amongst the dog crowd it was tough to get into a groove descending above the gate as you never knew what you'd find around the next corner. Pretty annoying but what can you do? According to the signs there's a leash law up the canyon but people seem to just ignore it...

I'm still tired so am going to skip Sundance this weekend. I'll pre-ride the Deer Valley course next week and then make a decision whether to race on the dirt or road on the 9th.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

You gotta love Dave Z

When asked how his Giro was going Zabriskie didn't give the usual boring bike rider answer. "You know, I wake up in the morning and I piss excellence. I'm just a big hairy American winnin' machine," said Zabriskie to Cyclingnews.

Monday, May 28, 2007

ICUP #5: Draper Stan Crane Memorial

I was pretty nervous about racing today, probably due to the amount of effort I'd put into pre-riding the course. I didn't feel that great during my warm-up but figured I'd give it some gas at the line since the family was spectating. I lined up in the big ring and led up the road and down onto the course. That was cool and seeing me in first position my kids were sure I'd won the race! This was by far my best start in my 3 races which is funny 'cause I probably warmed up the least for this one. It didn't take long to hit the stragglers of the Clydesdale group which kinda sucked but as long as I keep racing Beginner I figure it's my problem to deal with. I lost a few positions on the first section of dirt road and lost a few more as we turned onto the main climb. Amazingly I was able to gain time on the downs and was able to pass a few of the guys who had dropped me on the climb. Unfortunately, it was hard to maintain gaps due to the slower riders we encountered in the tight singletrack. Passing where possible, I was able to sneak by one other guy in my group on the grassy section along Highland. Not wanting to give up any spots I big-ringed the final section of singletrack and up the dirt road. Overall I felt good about my ride as I really only gave up time on the climbs. Not sure what to do about that other than trying to drop 10 pounds this winter... So I ended up 6th out of 17 racers in my category and got a sweet green ribbon that is now hanging in my son's room. I'd really like to place in the top 3 before moving to Sport but if that doesn't happen in the next race or two I'll probably make the move anyway.

Results are posted here.

I'm not sure if I'll be racing at Sundance next Saturday as I'm pretty beat and the following weekend I'm thinking of doing the Sugarhouse Crit. I'll take a couple of days off and make a decision later in the week.

Oh yeah, I asked Bryson if RB was in the house only to discover he had opted to stay home. Apparently both Bryson and Art had bikes available for him to use but after racing on the pavement Saturday he gave the dirt a pass. Bummer. I was looking forward to watching the tall man rip it up.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Draper Pre-Ride #4

Ok, first I want to apologize for the boring content as of late. After Monday I promise not to ride the Draper trails for the rest of the year!

I tagged along with the Revolution ride this morning and got worked over pretty good by the guys who were just taking it easy. It pretty much sucks watching a group of guys riding easy, chatting with each other up ahead while you're hurting with a heart rate in the 180's back behind. Oh well, I guess it's experiences like today that will eventually make me stronger. Fox gave me some tips on the downhill that I'll be working to integrate into my riding going forward. Not sure I would have believed it's possible to ride easy in the big ring until today. Let's just say that he's going to make it hurt on Monday.

Speaking of pain, my good friend Goat spent 16:05.35 in the pain cave yesterday during the Stage 1 TT at the Edgar Soto Memorial race in Nashville, TN. Oh yeah, his time was good enough for 6th out of 88 racers in his first major race as a Cat 3. Pretty impressive to say the least. Crazy to think I could actually keep up with him (as long as we weren't climbing!) when we were kids.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Draper Pre-Ride #3

Today was a better day for my confidence going down. I felt really solid on Clark's and did ok on the other stuff (meaning I didn't tip over this time!) though I still had to clip out on two of the really tight corners. Hopefully nobody in my class will rip through the golf course section of trail as even after 3 times I still take it slow. There is a new section of trail being built that bypasses the stream crossing at the beginning of the course, taking you over a bridge instead. The connecting segment is nearly complete but not 100% and we had to walk around the Bobcat stopped in the middle of the newly cleared trail.

Many thanks to the crew at Contender for getting my bike in & out for a rear disc brake bleed yesterday. My bike felt much better today than it did on Wednesday!

Today I rode with my friend & neighbor Mike (who has been trying to get me out for a ride with the "dawn patrol" for a while...) who pushed me down Clark's. Speaking of which, one of the best reasons to ride early is the lack of other riders on the trails. We encountered zero, zilch, no other riders which made Clark's that much more enjoyable on the way down.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Draper Pre-ride #2

Well, today's ride wasn't much better than Monday's. I felt even more awkward going down the tight, twisty singletrack and even managed to fall over and hit my left shin on a root on one uphill corner. That sucked. The only positive I can think of is that I carried a ton more speed through the two sandy sections on the last section along Highland Drive which made a huge difference. Oh yeah, and I took Forrest's advice and rode to & from the course so I was training "green" this morning.

I'd be interested to know what the rest of you think of the course. For me it's going to be a difficult race.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Draper Pre-ride #1

I rode 1 lap of the course this morning before work with Kris. All I can say is that he was fast and I wasn't! I really like the first 70% of the course and could grow to like the last 30% with more practice. Once you hit South Mountain Golf Course the trail gets really narrow which, combined with some tight corners and sandy surface, made me a bit nervous. The section of trail that parallels Highland Drive has you cruising through high grass hoping there are no hidden obstacles underneath! That section also had some deep sand that made things interesting. The descent down Clark's is going to be a ripper for those willing to let go of the brakes!

Saturday, May 19, 2007

ICUP #4 - Hammerfest at the Hollow

Well, my result improved but the field was smaller so I'm not sure if I fared better or worse compared to 5-Mile. However, I do think I made improvements in my start though I still lost time compared to a few others in my category. Overall I placed 4th, which earned me a pink ribbon that is now hanging in my 5 year old daughter's room. If it were her choice I'd get 4th every race! One thing that frustrated me is that I was unable to establish & hold a lead on the 3rd place rider whom I passed twice on the course only to get passed up myself a few minutes later. He finished 40-50 seconds in front of me and 2nd place was like 1:30 in front. The 1st place rider was cruising and beat me by a good 5 minutes or so.

For the most part I was able to ride strongly throughout the course, though I did have a mini-blow up after 20 minutes or so. Also, I wasn't able to clear the first steep, dusty hill due to congestion ahead of me that necessitated a reduction in speed leading up to it. I probably looked like a complete idiot as the riders in front made way but since I had been forced to slow down I didn't have the momentum I needed to get up and over so ended up spinning out and tipping over into the scrub oak. That was lame... However, I made up for that mistake with solid efforts on the other two steep, dusty sections and passed a few riders who had to dismount. I got forced into some bad lines on a few of the tight, rutted switchbacks which sucked but given my limited descending skills I think I rode ok. Nobody from my category passed me on the downs which was good.

At the podium/awards ceremony (or whatever it's called) I had the honor of sitting in the Tweety Bird chair. Too bad my kids weren't there as they would have loved to have seen that. Julie snapped a picture and emailed it to me but now I'm starting to think I gave her the wrong email address (I think I told you .com instead of .net). If you read this can you click the 'Email' link in the right sidebar and send it to that address? Thanks!

Next week I'll be burning laps on the Draper course as I try and increase my speed on the downhill. I also need to improve my warm-up some more since that first climb will be crucial due to the narrow singletrack descent that makes up the second part of the course. Passing will be tricky.

Friday, May 18, 2007


Since Wednesday morning's pre-ride of the Soldier Hollow course I've just been laying low, resting the legs for Saturday. My main goal for the race is to start strongly to avoid losing time in the first mile like I did at 5-Mile. To accomplish that I'll need a quality warm-up so look for me to hit the venue bright and early tomorrow!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Soldier Hollow Pre-ride

Today was a good day... It started with a pre-ride of this Saturday's ICUP course at Soldier Hollow. The course is going to be tough, especially since we're looking at close to 90 degrees on Saturday. Today there was a lot of dust which made for some slick climbs and corners. Right from the start you're climbing and that is pretty much the theme of the race. Not until the final miles do you actually get some prolonged descents though the longest is on tight, dusty, bumpy singletrack that requires your full attention. There were two short, steep climbs that caught me by surprise and in the wrong gear so I flipped around and rode them a second time. Given all the climbing I'm not sure how I'll do. Guess that's why we have a race!

After the pre-ride I headed home and had lunch with the girls at the new Market Street Grill. Following lunch I took a nap and then went to Lowes to purchase a new toilet seal. Cami's parents and sister (with her two 1 year old twin boys) came over this evening and my father-in-law showed me how to replace the toilet seal. Our downstairs toilet has been leaking for the past few weeks so hopefully the new seal fixes the problem.

Now I just need to get the kids in bed before LOST starts at 9! One of these days I need to get a DVR so I can record the show and watch it later.

I'm hoping the Phoenix Suns pull off a miracle tonight and beat the Spurs. Unfortunately, Robert Horry is looking like a true MVP candidate after his performance in the last game. The whole situation is crap and if you can't tell I'm not a big fan of San Antonio. It was nice to see Utah finish off Golden State last night. Of course, I went to bed after the first half so didn't actually watch the victory (another good argument for purchasing a DVR). Now let's hope they don't forget how to play ball in the next week while they wait for the Western Conference Finals to start.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Jury Duty

Well, my plans to ride Yellow Fork tomorrow morning got scrapped when I called the juror hotline this evening... Yes, I am one of the lucky few summoned to jury duty. I report at 8:30 am tomorrow and my fingers are crossed that I won't be selected. You see, I need to pre-ride the Soldier Hollow race course and right now I'm planning to do it Wednesday morning.

The weather today was fantastic. I hadn't planned on riding but given my summons I went out for an hour after work to do some PowerStarts. Any workout with "power" in the description must be good for me right?

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Part II - Millcreek

Later in the morning Cami and I dropped the kids off at Great Grandma's in Sugarhouse and headed up Millcreek. Amazingly (keep in mind that today is May 12th) we were able to ride all the way to the top. What made this even better was the fact that the gate is closed (anybody know if they ever open the gate before July?) so the last few miles were traffic free. Well, when I say traffic I am referring to motorized vehicles as there were plenty of bikes and hikers on the road.

On the lower section we had been passed by a junior rider who looked to be riding quite leisurely, only hitting it when there was somebody ahead to pass. He never got farther than 200 yards in front of us which made us wonder what he'd do if I caught & passed him. Well, just below the Elbow I left Cami and started working to catch up to him. It took me about half a mile to get him and when I did I just rode by and waved. As expected, I heard him shift and soon he was riding next to me. We talked for a while about the crazy weather and racing at which point he started to pull away. As before, once he established a gap his speed came down and I caught him again. We chatted some more (which was hard for me since I was working hard at this point) and he pulled away again. This time he stayed away until the top. He said he races RMR each week and did Sea Otter last month. He's been racing with the Juniors but since Utah doesn't have many he's going to race with the Cat 5's beginning with Bear Lake. It was fun to hang a bit with the younger generation. I wish I'd had some good advice to pass on but seeing as he was working me over pretty good all I could offer was my recommendation to do High Uintas!

On the way down I saw Norm Jr and another rider heading up. Thinking back I should have flipped a quick U-turn and said hello as I was stopped at the Elbow waiting for Cami to catch up. Norm, of course, looked to be just chilling as he climbed.

Part I - Yellow Fork

Rode Yellow Fork counter-clockwise this morning with my neighbor Phil. We hit the trail at 6:30 am and were the first car in the parking lot. On the way down we encountered 8 other riders but no horses. When we finished there was a single horse trailer parked at the bottom.

This is one of my favoritie rides but it needs to be done early to avoid horses, heat and flies. Nothing beats the sound of turkeys calling in the morning!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Draper Trails

This evening was my first riding the network of trails on the bench above Draper. Given how close the trails are to the various neighborhoods I was amazed at how isolated they feel. Of all the trails we rode, Clarks Trail was by far my favorite (both the climb and descent) and Oak Hollow was my least favorite (especially the descent). The latter was just too narrow, sandy and exposed for my limited skills and tolerance for heights. Overall I enjoyed the ride and company of Kris, Steve and Brian. The only thing I would change is the temperature. Lately I feel like a malcontent, or a grumpy old man, always complaining about the weather. So far this year has been all about extremes: Either it's really cold or really hot. Today we hit 87 where 68 is normal. Contrast that to Saturday when we were in the mid 40's with a 20+ mph wind. Insanity.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Dirt & a Burger for Lunch

I extended the standard lunch ride by continuing north on the BST after dropping into City Creek. I've been curious about the trail on the west side of the road so today I just crossed the road and kept riding. Due to time constraints I had to turn around about a 1/4 mile past the Ensign Peak fork. As much as I like climbing Dry Creek I may need to explore this area for the next couple of weeks. Speaking of Dry Creek, I think I'm ready to ditch the 32x32 and kick it up another notch. However, I'm not sure if I have the leg to roll the 32x28 so I may pick up an XT 11-34 or XTR 12-34 so I can graduate to the 32x30.

After the ride I walked to Cannella's for a burger and pasta salad. I know it sounds odd to get a burger from an Italian restaurant but once you've tried one you'll understand. Oh yeah, I also picked up a slice of chocolate beet cake to eat later tonight. That stuff is evil. I never should have given in to my curiosity and tried it 'cause now I order a slice to go at least once a week. Remember my post about being a pig? Well, it's still true...

Monday, May 7, 2007

Anybody know where I can buy one of these?

I'd like to try the new Specialized Phenom saddle. Anybody know if it's possible to get one now?

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Intermountain Cup Race #3: Showdown at 5-Mile Pass

I believe I had a good first mountain bike race, finishing 8th in Beginner Men 30-39. My raw finish time was 1:16:03 which, subtracting the 17 minute offset, puts my actual time at 59:03. Definitely faster than the 1:12 I rode last night! What hurts is the guy who finished in the 7th spot was only 5 seconds in front of me! I caught him right before the hike-a-bike and continued to catch him on the little climbs for the rest of the race only to watch him ride away on the downhills. Speaking of catching riders, I caught quite a few seeing as I was in (or close to) last position 100 yards after the start. After freezing on the start line for close to 20 minutes waiting for the other groups to go it took my legs a few minutes to get moving again. I'm not sure how all of the other riders in my category managed to start so fast but I'll try to be less conservative and just go for it at the next race. Another thing I'll change is to ditch the big Camelsback and go with a smaller pack and/or bottle. Oh yeah, one more thing: I probably won't finish my pre-ride at 8:30 PM the night before the race.

It was fun to talk to the other bloggers at the race. I met Art walking to registration, warmed up a bit with Utah Mountain Biker and talked with Fox, Stupidbike, Team Rico, Julie and Dr. X. I saw Adam a few times but didn't get a chance to say hello. All rode strong races in their respective categories as did Jesse, Kris and Jolene.

As far as the pro race was concerned, Bart took first followed closely by Fox with Team Rico riding to a strong 5th place. Art flatted on lap #3 and had to walk in.

Good times for sure and I'll definitely be back for another go. I have a ton to learn but the process of improvement should be fun.

One last thing: The event itself was fantastic. All aspects of the race were very well done: Registration, course marking, results, swag bag, support, etc., etc., etc. In fact, results were essentially "real time" as tags were pulled at the finish and posted on the board within minutes. Maybe I'm still a little bitter because of the DNF I received at Hell of the North (my fault for not sticking around to dispute the preliminary results). Regardless, the folks who put on the ICUP series are top notch. Thanks for a great first mountain bike race experience!

Official results have been posted and can be viewed here.

Friday, May 4, 2007

5-Mile Pre-ride

Lots of people told me that the course at 5-Mile Pass wouldn't get muddy with all the rain we've had the past 2 days. Well, I wanted to see it for myself so I drove out this evening and rode an easy lap, finishing just as the sun went down. All I can say is everybody who said the course would be fine was telling the truth. There were a few puddles to dodge but other than that I only really noticed mud while hiking Yellow Page Hill and on the lower section of the long downhill run after 7-Mile Hill. However, in both cases the mud didn't really stick and my bike came out of the ride in basically the same condition it started in. I even took a picture in case you didn't believe me!

The course was fun but I'm still undecided about racing. My lap time was 1:12 and while I took it easy, I don't know if I can ride it 20 minutes faster. Looking at last year's results for Beginner 30-39 the winning time was 52:41 with 5th place at 57:51.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Rain = Recovery

I'm taking Bart's advice and not stressing about today's rain keeping me off the bike. What I am worried about is the rain turning the 5-Mile Pass race course into a muddy mess on Saturday.

Speaking of competition, I won all three games of Memory I played with my kids tonight. Good times.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Dry Creek for Lunch

Another quick lunch ride today down 11th Ave then up & over to Dry Creek, up to the BST and down City Creek. There weren't many people out which surprised me, given the great weather and cold front moving in tonight. Maybe everybody is planning to ride after work today. Anyway, I had to clip out in order to navigate the two tight switchbacks on the descent into City Creek which was lame. I hate not being able to ride stuff. The next time I'm shredding the neighborhood church parking lot with the kids I should practice coming to a standstill on the bike (in the grass). I've seen videos where guys stop completely and bunny hop around a sharp turn. I'm not sure if those skills are needed for the City Creek switchbacks but I do know I need better balance on the bike.

So my 5-Mile pre-ride may not happen tomorrow if the forecast holds true but I'll wait and see what the day brings before officially calling it off. One bad omen is the fact that my son has a field trip tomorrow which, if his '06 kindergarten experience is any indicator, means the weather will totally suck. Last year his class piled on the bus to visit the SLC Zoo only to flip a U-turn in Lehi (we lived in Payson) due to SNOW! Poor kids had to eat lunch in the bus and visit the BYU Beane Museum instead.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

5:45 AM is Early!

This morning I forced myself out of bed at 5:45 AM in order to meet the Inertia group at 6:30 AM. We rolled for 90 minutes and I was back at my house by 8:15 AM. It felt great to knock the ride off so early and good times to hang out with the guys but man, it's now 7:15 PM and I'm ready for bed! I'm not sure how those dudes do that every day. Maybe riding early makes you fast. Perhaps that's the secret training tip I've been looking for...

As far as the dirt goes, Kris and I are thinking of riding the E12 as a 2 man team. For those of you reading who have experience with 12 hour mountain bike races I'm curious if there's anything we should know. Any and all advice will be much appreciated. We're not looking to win, just ride strong laps and have fun.

The weather looks to be taking a turn for the worse in the upcoming days. We're looking at close to a 40 degree swing in temperatures, from a record high of 89 this past Sunday to a forecasted high in the low 50's on Friday. Not sure what that means for the 5-Mile Pass race on Saturday. Based on the preride reports the course is dry, loose and dusty so a little rain would be a good thing. However, racing in the rain could get messy if the dust turns to mud. Let's hope any rain falls before race day and not on race day.