Saturday, February 28, 2009

Spring, Spring Go Away

After five years of complaining about winter I'm finally beginning to understand how Forrest feels when the outside temperature warms and the snow stops falling: It sucks. I'm not ready for ski season to end. While it's true I had a great time riding the sweet Arizona singletrack last week, I'm still bitter about missing the big storm and the subsequent deep powder that resulted in what many of my friends now refer to as the best days of the year (so far - I have hope the best is yet to come).

Anyway, when I returned home my legs were fried and all I wanted to do was eat, eat and eat some more. However, to make sure what little skill I've been able to develop on skis this year didn't disappear after a week of neglect I added a short detour to Brighton Tuesday on my way into work. The snow wasn't great so I only did five runs for a bit over 5,000 feet of vertical but I was relieved to discover that I still knew how to ski.

Today I rode Solitude with my brother, in town for a final warm-up before his trip to Alaska in March. Mostly we rode the groomers, spending the majority of our time doing laps on the Eagle Express lift. We came down Challenger more than any other run, but sampled most of what was available. Late in the day we made our way over to the Summit chair and did a run in Honeycomb, which surprised us with some fun snow off of the south side traverse. We quickly made our way back over (if you can call the Honeycomb Return -> Sunrise -> Summit trek quick...) and did another Honeycomb run before dropping back to the car and heading home to pick up my brother's son for their 6:10 flight home.

We ended the day with 22,700 feet of vertical, falling a bit short of our 25-30k goal, but pleased with how much fun the day turned out to be. Riding is just plain fun, whether it be on skis or a snowboard which is why I'm not ready to bid it farewell just yet. I'm sure my early season form on the bike will suffer because of it, but come cross season I should have some legs!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Cooked Well Done

5 days

12 hours 26 minutes

105 miles

We decided to start the day off with a refreshing swim in the community pool. There's something cool about swimming outdoors in February - coming from Utah it just seems wrong. Of course, spending the week riding in shorts & a short sleeved jersey is pretty much the same feeling, but at this point I've come to accept it as the norm. Too bad that's about to change... However, I can't be too bummed as the forecast on the homefront looks sweet next week with a few good storms in the queue to freshen the snow. It was fun to ride some dirt for a change of pace but I'm not quite ready to bid farewell to my skis!

This afternoon we headed out to McDowell where I toasted my legs with a fun 3 hour tour of the Park, finishing with just enough light to load the bikes on the rack before turning on the headlights and driving home.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Going Big

Ride Time: 4 hours, 15 minutes

Elevation Gain: 3,858 feet

Distance: 31 Miles

Post-ride recovery food: In-N-Out (single animal style, fries & Coke)

Route Summary: Leaving my brother's house in Scottsdale, we rode Union Hills to Thompson Peak to Desert Park Trail to Windgate Trail to Windmill Trail to Coachwhip Trail to Dixie Mine Trail to a new development under construction, up some pavement to a dirt road up and over the Fountain Hills Preserve to a golf course community (we realized later we took the wrong fork in the dirt road) to Palisades Boulevard (Fountain Hills) to Shea Boulevard to 124th Street to Lost Dog Trail to Quartz Trail to Paradise Trail to Gateway Loop Trail to Horseshoe Trail to Thompson Peak to Union Hills to my brother's house.

See Kris' blog for more pictures, videos and a much more interesting description of our ride.

Cactus Pop Quiz

Correctly identify the following six cactus and you win a 2009 UtRider mountain biking calendar.







Thursday, February 19, 2009

Desert Classic + Helipad

After picking Kris up at the airport we immediately headed for South Mountain State Park to meet Mike to ride the Desert Classic Trail. I learned a couple of things on today's ride:

1. When it's been a month or two since Kris has ridden dirt it's a good idea NOT to let him lead for the first mile of his first mountain bike ride of the year. He was so excited that he went big on the first opportunity for air and immediately crashed so he could get even closer to the dirt he'd been dreaming about for so long!

2. When you can count the number of times you've ridden your bike in the last 7 weeks on one hand it's probably not the best idea to ride with a guy who lives in Arizona and has been riding regularly all winter. Oh, and when a guy who has no trouble riding down the National Trail cleanly tells you that a trail isn't very technical be aware that the definition of "technical" means something completely different to him than it does to you!

Luckily for us Mike turned out to be one of the nicest guys I've had the pleasure of riding with and showed us the relatively new Helipad Trail, one of the coolest, albeit slightly technical (it must not have been too bad as I managed to get up without dabbing but it definitely had a few sections that grabbed my attention), desert climbs I've ridden down here. He's planning to create a website similar to the Clark's TT so riders can compare times. I wouldn't be surprised to see his name at the top of the results!

Here's Mike making Helipad look easy. I can't wait to see his time on the singlespeed!

The view from the top, looking down on Desert Classic:

And looking south from the end of the trail, a real gravel helipad:

McDowell Sonoran Challenge

I'm disappointed that I won't be in town for this event, but for those of you who will it's sure to be a good time. Click the picture to register.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

McDowell Mountain Regional Park

This afternoon I rode with an old friend from college who is now an Oral Surgeon in Gilbert. It's always fun to reconnect with friends you haven't seen in years and after he treated me to the Phoenix Suns game (NBA basketball) last night, I returned the favor by showing him a few of the trails at McDowell Mountain Regional Park.

We started with the Sport Track but didn't ride the full loop, choosing to connect to the Technical Track where they intersected. We stayed on the Technical Track until it crossed the Long Track and then rode the Long Track back to the parking area. Ride time was a little over an hour and like yesterday, my legs weren't shy about telling me to slow down anytime the trail started to climb!



Tuesday, February 17, 2009

McDowell Sonoran Preserve

At 2:22 and 1,600 feet of elevation gain this morning's ride doesn't sound too difficult. However, given the fact that I've only ridden three times since I was last here over the Christmas holiday it was more than enough to work me over.

I guess ski fitness is different than bike fitness...

At least the scenery didn't disappoint. Thanks to all of the rain that has fallen over the last few weeks the desert is lush and green. In another week or two it should absolutley explode into color. There was, however, one type of shrub that was starting to flower (I need to take a picture so Alex can identify the plant - the flowers were red) but none of the cacti that I saw had bloomed yet.

We rode from the house into the McDowell Sonoran Preserve and worked our way over (Desert Park to Horseshoe to Gateway Loop Trails) to the Paradise Trail which we rode to the Quartz and Taliesin and Lost Dog Wash Trails, climbing up and over towards the Lost Dog Wash Access Area. Due to time contraints we had to turn around early, but it gave me a good idea of what to expect if Kris and I decide to ride the loop out to McDowell Mountain Regional Park on Friday. Before today I'd never connected the north and south area trails within the Preserve.

Today was my brother's first ride on his new Cannondale Rize 3.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Solo Endurance Driving

10 Hours 28 Minutes
636 Miles
23,921 Vertical Feet

I'm ready for bed...

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


I couldn't resist another morning of fresh snow at Brighton so headed up Big Cottonwood again with David (when I'm skiing with the V.P. it's all good!). There wasn't as much new snow as yesterday but what today lacked in volume was more than made up for in quality. Light & dry.

The more I ski the Prophets the more I like them. After two deep days, however, I am wondering what it would be like to ski something even wider, say 120-130mm under foot? I saw a pair of Prophet 130s yesterday and some Megawatts today. Those babies must be the sweetness when it gets deep!

Monday, February 9, 2009

My First Faceshot


The skiing was excellent at Brighton this morning. Ski patrol had reported 10" of new snow on the board at the base of Milly, but up high it was deeper than that. It took me an hour or so to figure out where I needed to be on my skis in terms of weight distribution (though the skiing was still fun during this trial & error period...) but the 2nd hour was all love as I started to get the hang of riding the deep stuff.

See, today was for all intensive purposes my first real powder day in 12 years. All I can say is that modern mid-fat skis (mine are 100mm under foot which seems to be considered "mid" by todays standards) make a HUGE difference.

The faceshot took place on the Little Milly run. I also had a few face down in the snow moments (as in I found myself face down in the snow after a tumble)!

With all of the new snow comes increased coverage so I've been adventuring out into the Lone Pine and Scree Slope area. I'm still a bit concerned about unintentionally skiing off one of the various small cliffs in the area but am gradually gaining confidence in my ability to make it down in one piece.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

I'm not a Jesus freak but...

...I do ride a singlespeed now and then. I wasn't going to take any pictures on my ride (yet again) up City Creek today but after reading this post I couldn't help myself. Sometimes the hype is indeed true as the following illustrate: The Office, Mexi Coke, Carbo Rocket and Singlespeeds.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

More City Creek

Decked out in my sweet long sleeve wool Fat Cyclist jersey I once again headed up City Creek Canyon on my single speed. Only this time I was joined by Mark who was under the impression that dug would be joining us and therefore dressed for the occassion. Nice shorts!

We pushed on after encountering the unplowed road, making our way up a tire track until our path was blocked by a large pile of snow. Beyond the pile the road had no tire tracks so we turned around at that point. Coincidentally, on the way down we ran (not literally but almost) into a truck driving up the snow covered road whose earlier tracks we were most likely riding in.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

First ride of 2009

Given my upcoming trip to Arizona I felt it prudent to start riding my bike. I met KDay for a little over an hour to just past the water plant up City Creek. Most of the road was clear and dry, though there were a few sections that were still covered in packed snow/ice. I was on the single speed which allowed me to wear my new Masher jersey for the first time. All I'm going to say is if you haven't bought one yet you'd better get on it because it's one sweet jersey.

More of the same tomorrow. I think I'll debut my new Fat Cyclist long sleeve wool winter jersey.

Here's looking up the road at the point we turned around:

And here's the road from the same position looking down at what we just finished climbing:

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Solitude Saturday

Ripped groomers with my brother-in-law at Solitude for a total of 20,500 vertical feet on the day. The Prophets carved it up, especially on the steeper runs like Challenger and Diamond Lane. Speaking of which, I read here that Challenger is reportedly the steepest groomed run in Utah.

Where is everybody?

Check out the pretty turns on the mountain across Honeycomb Canyon. Nice!

I should probably dust off a bike and hit the road this week considering my trip to Arizona is only a short 2 weeks away. However, all I can think about is carving turns on the mountain and when the next storm will hit...

01/31/09 10:10:00 am Link 160.00
01/31/09 10:17:00 am Apex 880.00
01/31/09 10:24:00 am Apex 880.00
01/31/09 10:31:00 am Sunrise 810.00
01/31/09 10:41:00 am Summit 1,235.00
01/31/09 10:58:00 am Apex 880.00
01/31/09 11:05:00 am Apex 880.00
01/31/09 11:14:00 am Powderhorn 1,600.00
01/31/09 11:32:00 am Eagle Express I 1,500.00
01/31/09 11:44:00 am Eagle Express II 1,500.00
01/31/09 11:55:00 am Eagle Express II 1,500.00
01/31/09 12:41:00 pm Apex 880.00
01/31/09 12:48:00 pm Powderhorn 1,600.00
01/31/09 1:05:00 pm Powderhorn 1,600.00
01/31/09 1:25:00 pm Eagle Express II 1,500.00
01/31/09 1:38:00 pm Eagle Express I 1,500.00
01/31/09 1:52:00 pm Eagle Express I 1,500.00
01/31/09 2:06:00 pm Eagle Express II 1,500.00