Friday, February 29, 2008

Emigration Tour

Wow - Today's ride left me hammered but in a good, I accomplished something sort of way. The last two days have been fun for me as I've had the opportunity to ride with some guys who it seems like I know pretty well because of their blogs, yet with whom I had previously never ridden. Yesterday it was Matt and today it was JE. Unfortunately for JE the ride didn't start off well when he realized - after driving downtown to meet me at my office - that his road shoes were at home. I know the feeling as last year, after driving to Park City and registering for the Deer Valley ICUP, I returned to the car to change only to realize I'd left my mountain shoes at home! Luckily, JE doesn't live too far away and 25 minutes later he was back in the parking lot ready to roll out.

The plan was to ride up Emigration Canyon with a detour through Emigration Oaks. That 2 mile section of road always hurts, regardless of how fit you may (or may not, as was the case today!) be, as it winds its way up, up and up. I don't think it's a coincidence that Bart's house happens to sit right at the highest point of the climb - talk about a killer commute home after work!

After suffering up the climb we descended to the main road where JE started down to meet with a tax professional and I continued on to the Little Mountain summit. At the top I decided to drop down the other side for some extra climbing, flipping a U-turn at the junction with state highway 65. I entertained the idea of continuing towards Big Mountain to see what condition the road was in, but figured I probably should get back to the office. On the way down Emigration I decided to turn off the main road and climb back up into Emigration Oaks. This was the road we had descended earlier and coming down it hadn't seemed too steep. Well, let's just say that my perception of grade isn't very accurate because it kicked my butt! Luckily the climb up this side isn't quite as long and after more suffering I found myself back at Bart's house. I dropped down the other side and enjoyed a nearly continuous downhill run back to work.

Overall I ended up with 2:20. Given tomorrow's forecast, that will probably end up being my long ride for the week. Plus, I'm only 40 minutes shy of my hourly goal for the week so I'll probably just ride with my son in the morning. This was by far the most intense effort of 2008 and while it wasn't exactly scheduled in the top secret training plan, I figured since I decided to skip the St. George ICUP race I needed to replace the suffering I would have enjoyed on the dirt with some of the same on the road.

Oh yeah, I should state for the record that the weather was amazing today. Absolutely fantastic. However, I was surprised by how many riders I saw with bare legs and arms. I admit it was warm (I think the high was 57), but not that warm!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Guess where I rode today?

Yep, you're right, I rode to the Marina and back for the 3rd day in a row. Luckily I had some company this afternoon as Matt works in the International Center and met me at Subway. Blogs are a funny thing as I felt I knew Matt yet this was the first time we had actually met in person. The ride was good with light winds, mild temperatures, a single stoplight and a few cars. On the way back we passed Dr. X who was on his way out (I think the only time I will ever "pass" the Cross Doctor is when we are riding in opposite directions!) but other than that we only saw a handful of other riders. No pics as I've pretty much given up on my phone's camera. Speaking of which, I should take a picture of the sweet boomerang Fox dropped off at my office today. Once I figure out how to use it I think I'll pack it on rides for self defense. Next time I run into a moose mountain biking or xc skiing I'll just toss the boomerang to make him/her yield the trail!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008


Another day, another out-and-back ride to the SL Marina from the Wells Fargo at 5600 W. The set of 6x30 second intervals went well, though looking back I probably could have gone harder. Of course, hard efforts are much easier outdoors so I had that working to my advantage. They get progressively more difficult as 30 seconds just doesn't provide much time in which to recover!

On a different subject, I'm not very impressed with my Blackberry Curve's camera. Eventually I'll buy an Apple iPhone but until it supports 3G and GPS I'm going to wait. Of course, my Curve doesn't support 3G and GPS either but for 29.99 I couldn't pass it up. For 399/499 the iPhone will need to represent a complete upgrade before I feel good dropping that kind of cash.

I'll probably do it again tomorrow if anybody is interested...

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

No Gloves

It's a good sign when you can ride comfortably without gloves and tomorrow's forecast looks even better. My lunch ride today was a mellow out-and-back from the Wells Fargo at 5600 W to the Salt Lake Marina. Tomorrow I'm going to do the same route with a set of 6 x 30 second intervals. Anybody want to come along?

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Team Ride

I met a few more members of the Revolution team this morning at the shop where we hung out for a bit, eating bagels, until the handful of us that were riding determined that the rain had stopped and ventured out. I rode to the shop from home so had about 40 minutes in the bag when we started, we did about 1:10 together, and I rode home for a total of 2:30. I was rolling the mountain bike on the pavement and funny enough, today's ride nearly equaled my all time high as far as mtb mileage goes. Riding the road, on a mountain bike, is definitely quicker than riding the same distance on the dirt as this today's ride was about 2 hours faster than my long ride on Mid-Mountain last summer.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Purple Haze

I'm not sure if our current situation along the Wasatch Front meets Jimi's definition of a true purple haze but after nearly a week it's really getting old!

Today I did a quick ride out to the Salt Lake Marina, starting from the Wells Fargo on 5200 W. Originally I was scheduled to do a 20 minute full gas TT up City Creek but due to the poor air quality I decided to go with the alternate plan of a 20 minute interval at a heart rate of 155-165 (Piotr will probably never visit my blog again after reading that I use heart rate. Yes, it is true that I have yet to spend the big $ on a power meter). I kept the intensity on the high end of the range and finished the effort with a 165 average. My legs felt decent considering I had lifted Tuesday morning but mixing strength and bike workouts leaves me tired at night!

Anyway, the reason for my post is to ask if anybody else has been riding (and breathing) in this crappy air? Tonight my eyes are really irritated, burning and watering which I assume has something to do with the polluted air. I suppose I could hit the trainer but now that I've had a taste of the open road the thought of riding indoors is even less appealing than it was a few weeks ago. Hopefully the forecasted storm on Friday will be enough to clean out the valley.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Best of 2007 - Pictures: Part V

October 13, 2007 (Saturday) - Great Western Trail - American Fork Canyon, UT

Normally I wouldn't have ridden on a day like this given the cold temperatures and rain/snow mix in the mountains. However, my brother (featured in the picture) had flown up from Scottsdale to attend a Continuing Education class in Park City during the week and was looking to ride some trails on Saturday. My concern with riding wasn't that we would damage the trail (motorcycles and horses are allowed on the trails and we encountered both on this particular day) but rather hypothermia from all of the climbing and descending. We decided to go for it but keep it short. Ride time was just a little over an hour and at the time it wasn't the most enjoyable ride but as time passes the ride has taken on an epic quality. The fact that we were there, on a day like that, riding our bikes together, makes it a personal favorite.

November 10, 2007 (Saturday) - Mid-Mountain Trail - Park City, UT

I still can't believe we were riding Mid-Mountain in November and the trail was dry! This trail is absolutely amazing...

December 8, 2007 (Saturday) - Usery Mountain Regional Park - Mesa, AZ

Ok, this picture may not be the most scenic but I think it's cool. Why? Because I'm in the air. Look closely and you'll see that both wheels are off the ground and the strap on my Camelbak over my left shoulder is floating in the air. At this point in the ride I'd just passed 13 hours for the week. I was completely wasted but still having fun.

Friday, February 15, 2008

This Could Get Ugly

PezCycling News posted a great commentary on the current situation in cycling. Here's a brief excerpt:

The CPA should, quite simply, Strike.

The riders should not be subject to decisions “on the fly”. Riders should never be worried about being black balled, but it’s going to take balls to make it happen, and I don’t mean sitting in the road for a few minutes… I mean nobody should kit up and show at all…

Damn it men, you can’t make a point by riding a stage slowly and generating 7 hours of TV revenue instead of 5 and a half and call that “making a point”!

Neither can riders sit in kit on the road with frowns on their faces...

Guys when you show up full tilt in protest, you're generating TV interest... You're showing sponsors logos...

And you're giving the same people you are fighting a spotlight and a microphone to promote themselves even more...

Don't feed the beast any longer...

Simply don't show.

Have your fairly new president (Cedric Vasseur) call a press conference and state your case.

Read the full article here.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Marina Part II

Logged a nice 2:45 with Bob this afternoon to the Great Salt Lake State Marina by way of the westside industrial zone and back through the golf course and airport bike paths. The weather was fantastic and the good company made the hours fly by. I was out a little longer than I had originally anticipated but hey, when the weather serves up 50 degrees in February I figure it's my obligation to take advantage. Plus, I'm on the hook to take care of a WebEx training with Thailand on Sunday night (Monday morning local time) and Indonesia on Monday night (Tuesday morning local time) so in my mind it all works out in the end.

Monday, February 11, 2008

I-80 Frontage Road to the Marina

I revisted a classic this afternoon by riding from 5600 W to the Marina and back along the I-80 frontage road for lunch. I passed a semi heading out which was funny since I wasn't riding very fast. New drivers train on the frontage road and man do they drive SLOW.

The big tower at the Kennecott facility always reminds me of something from the Lord of the Rings.

What's the best route to get from downtown to 5600 West? I feel lame driving out to ride but must admit to being a bit intimidated by the west side. I know people ride out there all the time since RMR is on the way so if you don't mind sharing your route(s) it would be much appreciated. Thanks!

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Riding Outside is Fun

It's been a long time since I've ridden my road bike outside. Today served up a perfect storm of sorts: Normal temperatures and no snow/rain. That doesn't sound too exciting until you remember that so far this winter normal temperatures have generally only occurred during the "warm before the storm" which, in other words, means they come as a package deal with 20+ mph winds. Basically what I'm trying to say is that today was a nice day to ride a bike outside and it's been a while since we've had a nice day where you could ride a bike outside. I should also note that when I say "nice day to ride a bike outside" I am defining this as a normal person would as opposed to somebody like Bart who believes that every day, regardless of temperature, weather or how much daylight is remaining, is a good day to ride a bike outside!

So to take full advantage of this rare opportunity I drove south to Payson where I rode for 2 hours and 42 minutes. What's nice about riding in south Utah County is that it took me about 2 hours and 44 minutes to ride 2 hours and 42 minutes. Think about that for a minute. Yes, I did stop at 1 light leaving town and another light when I returned but other than that it was pretty much all continuous forward motion (the only exceptions being a bathroom break and a quick stop to say hello to a friend). Sometimes I wish we'd never moved. However, the drive home provides a nice reminder of why we live in SL County. Yeah, Payson is a long ways from downtown SLC! Anyway, it was fun to cruise some of the old familiar roads and even to be chased by the same dogs. Most of the ride I was with my former neighbor Matt but when he returned home for his son's birthday party I kept it rolling for another 45 minutes to finish up my hours for the week.

It should be noted that I am available and willing to guide any big city cyclist looking to experience the roads of south Utah County. All I ask is that you provide a good wheel to draft and a cold chocolate milk after the ride. Though, if we ride long enough, I may also require a can of Coca Cola midway through the ride.

I should also note that we passed a group of Who's Your Daddy riders in Benjamin heading in the opposite direction looking quite serious. I wonder if they rode down from SLC?

Finally, I didn't see RB which was a huge disappointment. Hopefully my luck will be better next time...

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Best of 2007 - Pictures: Part IV

I decided to summarize 2007 by creating a series of posts around my favorite images of the year, one for each month. The process has brought back a flood of memories and served as a nice reminder of how lucky I was to have discovered mountain biking 2 years ago!

July 31, 2007 (Tuesday) - Flying Dog Trail - Jeremy Ranch, UT

[Click the picture to view full size]

This picture brings back some memories. First, I locked my Camelbak in the car - with my keys inside - and had to borrow a water bottle from another rider in the parking lot. Luckily I was able to call my wife who charitably agreed to drive up later with a spare. Second, there was a massive thunderhead across I-80 near the Olympic Park that spewed forth a constant dose of deep, rumbling thunder and flashes of lightning. It never moved close enough to cause problems but made me nervous the entire ride nevertheless. Third, Kris was riding like a man possessed, ripping the trail (and my legs!) at near race pace for the duration of the ride.

August 4, 2007 (Saturday) - Great Western Trail - Millcreek Canyon, UT

[Click the picture to view full size]

I absolutely love the trails of Millcreek Canyon. When you combine the trails I love with the woman I love (yes, that would be my wife in the picture) the result is a truly blissful afternoon of riding.

September 1, 2007 (Saturday) - Mid-Mountain Trail - Park City, UT

[Click the picture to view full size]

I realize it's incredibly cruel to post this picture in the middle of winter but seriously, if this doesn't inspire you to get out and ride your mountain bike this summer I don't know what will! Mid-mountain is pure sweetness.

XC Skiing at Mountain Dell

Last night I skied Mountain Dell for the first time and really enjoyed the trails, together with an armada of skate skiers! You see, I came to discover that Wednesday evening Wild Rose and TUNA put on a fun race (which I didn't participate in...) that, if last night is any indication, seems to be quite popular. I felt a little out of place amongst all the fast, skilled skate skiers but thankfully everybody was friendly and didn't poke fun at my beginner technique. I was held up at work so Kris ended up arriving earlier than me and decided to give the race a go. It was a tough 2 laps for him as he was one of only a few racers on traditional xc gear. The dude is a glutton for punishment! We met up after his race as I finished my first lap and decided to head out for another. It was good to get out and enjoy the snow as lately I've found myself growing increasingly grumpy about the weather.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Fun in the Snow up Yellow Fork Canyon

Alder and I did some exploring up Yellow Fork Canyon at the top of Rose Canyon Road in Herriman yesterday afternoon. The weather was great and the snow deep as we made our way up the main road. At the first picnic area we moved from the road to the single track but soon aborted that plan due to the soft, deep, comparatively unpacked snow. I was surprised how deep and soft the snow was, even on the main road. Last year I rode my bike up the road but with the high frequency of storms this winter there hasn't been enough time to really pack down the route. It made for good fun though as Alder enjoyed making snowballs, digging holes, making snow angels and seeing how far he could sink into the drifted areas.