Thursday, April 30, 2009

Working Man

It was bound to happen eventually.

After a relatively tranquil winter and early spring it now seems that as the temperature slowly increases so too does my workload. In fact, it is looking more and more like this summer will be one of the busiest in my company's relatively short history. Given the current state of the economy I view this as a very good thing. However, from a bike riding and, especially, a bike racing perspective, it is going to make consistent training difficult, if not impossible. Oh, and did I mention that my wife is due to give birth to our third child in June? Yes, life is about to get crazy.

So in an effort to prepare for my new cycling reality, I've been spending the majority of my chamois time either commuting or in the pursuit of the perfect lunch ride. With regards to the latter, I think the 45 minute (door-to-door) office to City Creek (via 3rd Ave and Memory Grove) to Terrace Hills to the office is one of the best. The road climb to City Creek is gradual and provides a nice warm-up for the suffering that comes as soon as you jump on the dirt at the mouth of the canyon. The pain continues until you top out just below the water towers at which point it's pretty much all downhill back to the office. In fact, I've ridden this section of trail so many times this spring that I can now ride all the switchbacks uphill much better than I can ride them downhill. Last fall the opposite was true. Funny what a simple change of direction can do.

Dry Creek to Bobsled is also a nice lunch ride but so far the Bobsled has been more of a river than a bike trail so that variation will need to wait another couple of weeks.

All of these 1 hour efforts should be good training for the Solitude series this summer. Or at least that's what I keep telling myself...

Monday, April 27, 2009

Clark's TT is Open for Business!

Who will be the first to submit a time and assume the top position of 2009? Will the Top 10 of 2008 be able to repeat in 2009? Are you faster than last year? There's only one way to find out. It's time to get your TT on! Click here to see the updated site and submit a time.

Remember, this is a living list so don't be afraid to submit a time even if you know you can go faster. Send me what you have and when you beat it send me the new time and I'll update your ranking accordingly.

PS - If anybody has a GPS track or elevation profile of the official route I'd love to post that information on the Clark's TT blog.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Corner Canyon

I rode Clarks and Jacobs Ladder for the first time this year today. Sweet! Both were in great shape which tells me it's time to update the Clark's Time Trial blog so it's ready to go for 2009. My thinking is to do the following:

1. Leave the 2008 Results so those who are interested can see historical times

2. Add a new section for 2009 Results

3. Add an All Time Top 10 to the sidebar

Initially the All Time Top 10 will be based on the results from 2008. However, as people submit 2009 times that qualify for the Top 10 I'll update both the 2009 and Top 10 results accordingly.

Here's a picture of the lower entrance to Clark's. Looks good doesn't it? Get your TT on!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Tastiest Brat Ever

Kevin's recent series of posts about his trip to Switzerland have brought back memories of my business trip to Zurich in May 2003. Today's post about visiting the Jungfrau and, specifically, the bratwurst he had for lunch, reminded me of the best brat I've had the pleasure to eat. Much of the enjoyment was probably due to the absolutely incredible scenery but that's not to take anything away from the brat itself as well as the accompanying potatoes, saeurkraut and Coke Light which were all most excellent. The Swiss definitely know their sausages!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Snowboarding Lesson at Brighton

Wow - It's April 16th and Brighton received close to a foot of new snow in the last 24 hours. Taking into consideration yesterday's 25" I'd say my ski season has ended on a definite high note.

I was joined on the mountain by my son Alder who skipped school today for his first snowboarding lesson. He absolutely loved it. The Brighton crew was awesome, from the rental shop employees to the instructor to the lift operators. Very friendly and helpful to a first timer who was admittedly nervous this morning.

What made the whole experience even better was the fact that Alder was the only "first timer" in the morning youth lesson which meant he received a 2 hour private for the cost of a group lesson. For $45 that's a sweet deal. Speaking of deals, the rental shop was selling their current inventory so we picked up a board, bindings and boots (sized to fit him next season) for $80. This is the earliest I've ever started shopping for Christmas gifts!

Oh, and check out the picture of the "small" nachos we ordered for lunch. We both laughed when they were set down on the table. I wonder what a regular serving looks like? We weren't able to eat more than half.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

The Deer Valley Experience

To begin I'd like to state for the record that I generally ride with people who snowboard. The VP at work, with whom I've ridden more than anyone else this winter, boards. So does my brother. In fact, many of my friends choose to snowboard instead of ski. In short, I have no problem sharing a resort with snowboarders. However, having said that, I'm also not one to pass up the chance to ski for free. So when Theresa offered me her last complimentary pass (for Market Research no less) of the season to use Friday I wasn't about to say no.

In fact, I was quite excited to say yes. I'd never been to Deer Valley before and had wanted to take my daughter Kate skiing all season but had yet to do it. Being a long time reader of Theresa's blog, I was already familiar with the knowledge and enthusiasm of Deer Valley ski instructors, not to mention their ability to have fun with kids and great sense of humor. After my experience on Friday I can now say from personal experience that it's all true. Kate absolutely LOVED her full day lesson. She even cried when I told her we wouldn't be able to go back on Saturday to do it again (her instructor told me that Kate was a natural and asked me a few times if she would be back the next day). That's exactly the result I'd hoped for and am now confident that I can get her a 2009/10 season pass (to a resort that is currently TBD) knowing she'll be excited to ski with me on Saturdays.

I should mention that Deer Valley has a good grasp on what their clients want/need to feel comfortable. For example, I rented Kate's skis from REI because it cost $12 vs $37 at the resort. However, the skis from REI were not pink. Neither was the helmet I wanted to rent (that luckily turned out to be too big so we didn't get it). You see, Kate was extremely concerned that people would think she was a boy on the mountain. No, I'm not making this up - she was seriously upset. So imagine my surprise (and delight!) when the helmet I rented at Deer Valley was pink. I also noticed that the rental skis for girls were pink too. It seems like a small, insignificant thing but to Kate (and, as a result, to me too) it made a huge difference. Having that pink helmet put her mind at ease that she wouldn't be mistaken for a boy be recognized as a girl. Small details like this are what defines Deer Valley.

Following the mid-afternoon hot chocolate break, Kate was the first student to the lift:

She'd alternate between riding the lift solo (I was a bit nervous watching her do it but she said it was fun!) and with her instructor:

On the way down:

Doing the "pizza":

While Kate was in her lesson I spent the day exploring the resort with Mark and his wife Rachel. I was surprised how many people (and not just adults - there were more kids on the mountain than I've seen all season at Brighton) were skiing on a Friday in April. Everybody I rode the lift with was from out of town (Mark and Rachel excepted of course) and all were friendly & happy. A guy from southern California gave me directions and a husband and wide from Chicago told me about their kids who were in ski school too. An older gentleman from Germany was exploring the mountain for the first time like me, commenting that in Europe most ski resorts are located above the tree line and that Deer Valley was very beautiful.

The turkey panini with mixed green salad, homemade potato chips and Martinelis sparkling apple juice I had for lunch at the Empire Lodge were tasty and the table bussing was quick and friendly.

A nice perk was the complimentary ski equipment storage, which came in handy when Mark gave me a loaf of chocolate sourdough bread Rachel had made as they were leaving. At the time I was planning to head over to the beginner lift to watch the last 45 minutes of Kate's class so asked the folks at the window if I could check in the bread. I was met with a few laughs and jokes but they accepted it and even returned it untouched an hour later!

All in all a great day on the slopes capped off by a Blueberry Izze (for me) and a raspberry mousse cup (for Kate) at the Whole Foods Market on the way out of Park City.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Short & Cold

The BST is dry, though a bit rough due to foot and bike traffic when the trail was muddy, between City Creek and I Street. I exited into the upper Avenues and descended I Street to 11th Avenue when it started sleeting.

Anybody else planning to ride Brighton in the morning?

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Lunch Ride

Warm temperatures, blue skies, clear visibility and dry trails east of Dry Creek combined to produce an awesome lunch ride today. The only negative is that I'm beginning to feel like I'm getting a sore throat. However, given that my eyes are itching & burning it could also be that I'm just suffering from springtime allergies. That's my hope as I want to get in a couple more ski days later this week!

Brighton on Thursday, Deer Valley on Friday is the plan unless I really do get sick. Cross your fingers...

Sunday, April 5, 2009


Blogs are funny things. It's interesting how you get to know folks without ever actually meeting them just by reading their blog. I've followed the adventures of Daren and Tanner for a while. So when the former mentioned in a post last week that he had two free passes to Snowbasin and asked if there were any takers for the second pass, I left a comment. He kindly followed up to offer me the pass and we made plans to head up together on Saturday.

To be honest, I was a bit nervous about skiing with Daren since he normally spends his time on the slopes with Tanner who's as fast on snow as he is on dirt or pavement. Lucky for me Daren's a patient guy and didn't seem to mind when he had to wait as I put myself back together after hitting the deck or stopped to catch my breath mid-way down a run (more on this below). The cat tracks especially gave me trouble due to the flat light in the morning. In the space of a second I'd go from making turns down the hill to slamming into a cat track I couldn't see. This resulted in at least two good falls which I can still feel today thanks to a sore shoulder, wrist and knee.

Another thing that proved challenging for me was the amount of vertical feet we had to ski each run. Snowbasin doesn't really have any lifts that serve just the top half of the mountain (the Porcupine triple chair being the sole exception on Saturday). This forces you to ski from the top (~9,000 feet) to the bottom (~6,500 feet) each run. What's tricky about this is that with the elevation change comes varying snow conditions. For example, at the top you ski soft, light snow that gradually becomes harder (in the morning) or heavy and wet (in the afternoon) as you descend. Conditions were really fun up high (though at times visibilty was limited, especially on the Strawberry side of the resort) and if there was a way to ski just the top half it would have been awesome. On a true powder day this wouldn't be an issue but since it's been a while since the last significant storm it ended up being a bit of a drag, especially later in the day when my legs started to get tired.

We finished the day with 22,700 feet of vertical which ties my previous best for a day of skiing. Most of our time was spent on the John Paul express quad though we also explored the terrain served by the Needles and Strawberry gondolas. We only rode the Mt Allen Tram once, as visibility was sketchy at best that high. However, we found the sweetest snow on our run down from the top and I was given a taste of what the Olympic downhill racers experienced (the one notable exception being that I made turns on my way down the mountain). I read that the men hit 80 mph within 6 seconds of dropping in. Looking over the edge from the top of the tram I can see how that would be possible. Those dudes are seriously crazy!

It should be noted that the facilities at Snowbasin are nothing short of amazing. We had the pleasure of using the bathroom twice and it was an experience rivaled only by the Grand America. Unfortunately my business was simple in nature and i didn't get to enjoy one of the marble tiled rooms where the toilets were located. I did, however, take a quick look inside one of the private roims (i can't bring myself to call it a stall) and regret not taking a picture. Quite impressive. And lest you think all the money was spent on the bathrooms, we shared a gondola with an older lady who told us about her hardwood ski locker that cost her $600/year!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Bring it!

Our progressive and stormy weather pattern will continue for at least the next 7-10 days with periods of rain, snow, and cold temperatures. No warmup of any consequence yet to be seen on the weather horizon!!!

Meteorologist Len Randolph
Live 5 HD Weather
Wednesday, 1 April 2009