Friday, June 29, 2007

Ripping the Draper Equestrian Park DH

This evening I did some more recovery shredding with Alder on the trails west of the Draper Equestrian Park. This was his first time riding dirt hills and he did great. We worked on keeping his weight back (he thought it was funny when I told him to keep his butt behind his seat) and as you can see from the picture he learned quickly.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Shredding the Jordan River Parkway

Tuesday evening my throat started to feel scratchy. Having overheard a friend at work complaining about his allergies I figured that was the problem. So that night I took some allergy meds and went to bed. Problem was, when I woke up Wednesday morning I had a full on sore throat. Today my body is feeling achy. Lame. This morning I took the precaution of transferring my pre-registration for the Solitude ICUP race to Snowbird. It's very cool that Ed allows such changes and is another small example of what makes the ICUP so good. Since I'm in the middle of a rest week I'm not super stressed about not riding but colds suck regardless. And missing the race at Solitude is a bummer as I've heard nothing but good things about the course. Of course, thanks to the Tuesday night series at Solitude I'll get a chance to race on the trails next month.

The one positive aspect of not feeling 100% is that it gives me a chance to ride easy with the kids. That and it forces me to take it easy for a while. Last night I rode 6.6 miles on the Jordan River Parkway with my son. We stopped a bunch to check out the wildlife (lots of different birds, small fish, beetles, dragonflies, etc.) and explored some side trails. I'd ask him if he was ready to turn around to which he'd respond "You decide Dad." So we kept riding until he finally said he was ready to head back. Another cool thing was discovering that his bike fits nicely on my Saris Bones trunk rack. This makes transporting his bike a lot easier and quicker than fitting it into the back seat. Tonight we may head out to 5-Mile Pass to see how he does on some more advanced terrain! I think it would be cool if he decided to try racing at the Solitude Tuesday night series but want him to make the choice. He's still riding a fully rigid, single speed Trek Jet 20 (he just turned 7) so I'm curious to see how he fares at 5-Mile.

If anybody has recommendations for a geared bike with front suspension that fits younger kids let me know. I'm ok spending a little $ but what I don't want to do is buy something only to discover the shifting sucks and the suspension fork is crap.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Feeling Tired

Looking back at my training log it's no wonder I'm feeling tired. Since a nasty cold kept me off the bike for 5 days April 15-19 I've trained/raced for 68 hours over 39 days. On average I rode 4 days/week for 7 total hours. Max was 5 days and 10 hours. For the 39 days ridden, 15 were on the road bike and 24 were on the mountain bike. Ride times ranged from a low of 58 minutes to a high of 4 hours. Note that I don't record recovery rides with the kids.

I started to feel tired around this same time last year but kept riding, a mistake I'm not going to repeat. Yesterday I didn't ride (Sunday is my fixed day off). Today I just cruised the neighborhood for 30 minutes. Tomorrow I'll ride with the kids on the Jordan River Parkway and Wednesday will either be the same or another neighborhood tour. Thursday I'm going to do 1 easy lap of the Solitude course and Friday will be 30-60 minutes with a handful of hard efforts. Saturday is the ICUP race at Solitude where I'll be racing for the first time in the Sport 30-34 category. Wish me luck. I'll need all I can get!

Oh yeah, I totally realize that I could benefit from hiring a coach. If I ever get serious about racing (as opposed to just messing around like I've been doing this year) I'll do it. Until then I figure it's ok to do whatever, whenever I feel like it as long as I'm having fun! One thing I have wondered about is paying for 1-2 hours of "consulting" with a coach on a quarterly basis. I'd be curious to know if this is something anybody offers.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Boise Day #2

Was up early so I could ride to Uhl's house in time for our 7 am departure. Rolling out a few minutes past 7 we had Uhl, his wife Heather and Dan, a friend from the neighborhood. Heather races professionally for the America's Dairyland team which made this my first road ride with a pro athlete.

Last night I replaced my Maxxis tires with a new pair of Michelin Pro Races. On one of my first rides with the Maxxis tires the front sustained a large 1" cut. It's been ok for the last few weeks but since today was a big ride with new folks I didn't want to chance a flat. Well, guess what? I flatted my front tire within 10 minutes of leaving Uhl's house! Talk about bad luck. Luckily it was the only flat of the 70 mile ride.

Our route took us into Emmett then out to Black Canyon Dam and Horseshoe Bend. For those who are interested you can view a detailed map, courtesy of Uhl, here. We rode for quite a few miles along the Payette River which was fantastic. I wish I'd brought a camera though to be honest I'm not sure how many pictures I'd have been able to take as much of the ride was spent focusing on Uhl's rear wheel! Even on an "easy" ride that dude can motor. Oh, and he's also sporting some of the leanest, totally ripped legs I've seen on a cyclist. Like I said, I spent a lot of time on his wheel! About 50% of the roads were new to me which is always a fun experience. I'd never done the climb up the Old Horseshoe Bend Highway which looks deceptively easy but due to a slight headwind and rough road surface was painful. Again, I'm glad Uhl and Heather were taking it easy as it wouldn't have taken much to leave me far behind on the hill!

Since returning I've been eating pretty much nonstop. Anytime I do 4 hours on the bike I figure I've got a free pass (within reason) to eat anything. So far I've kept it mellow, just putting away the leftover chicken fajitas from dinner last night with a Coke, but when the pies leave the oven later this evening I'll take advantage of my calorie deficit and throw down a few slices!

Saturday Pie: Apple

Friday, June 22, 2007

Boise Day #1

I arrived in Boise yesterday at 5:30 PM with the kids and 2 cats. My wife is an advisor to the teenage girls at church and is in Moab rafting the Colorado as part of a youth conference. I figured since I was burning some PTO at work I might as well head to my parent's place so I had some backup watching the kids. Speaking of the kids, to say they were excited about the trip would be a huge understatement. Those of you with children and grandparents that live far enough apart to make frequent visits impractical know what I'm talking about. For mine each trip to Boise is like Christmas. For my parents it's a chance to spend time with their oldest grandkids. For me it's a great time to log some hours on the bike, eat a ton of tasty home cooked food and relax. Definitely a win win win situation for all parties!

So this morning I was up at 6 am and on the road before 7 am to beat the heat. I wanted to do a field test on the road to Bogus Basin so made my way to Hill Road. The section of Hill between Gary Lane and Bogus Basin Road is classic and never fails to bring back memories of riding it as a teenager. Back then it was rare to run into other cyclists on the country roads SW of Boise so when Goat and I were in the mood to test our legs against other riders we'd head to Hill Road. This is one of the main routes to get in/out of the city and always served up wheels to follow.

Reminiscing aside, after a quick stop at the gas station at the base of Bogus Road I started up. The test began at the 3-way stop by the school and ended at the Forest Service sign mid-way up the climb. Unfortunatly I missed my previous personal best by 37 seconds. However, my legs didn't feel too hot (probably a result of the 5+ hours in the car yesterday afternoon) so I'm reasonably happy with the effort. Tomorrow I'm supposed to ride 3+ hours with Uhl and his friends so hopefully my legs feel better. Luckily I have a few options to abort the planned ride to shorten it to 1 or 2 hours should the need arise!

Thursday's Homemade Pie: Apple

Pie on Deck for Friday: Fresh Raspberry (the kids are picking the berries as I type)

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Upper Millcreek Canyon

Riding while the gate's closed is fantastic. Sure, you're forced to ride 4.5 miles on pavement but when you reach the trails you won't need to worry about any bikers, hikers or dogs. Kris and I rode up Big Water to Dog Lake, then dropped down Little Water to Great Western and rode that up to the Crest. We then cruised down GW and Big Water to the pavement, then finished up on Pipeline from Elbow Fork to Birch Hollow. Besides about 6 downed trees the trails were dry and in great shape. On the dirt I tried to stay in front of Kris so I could regulate the speed. However, on the initial climb up the paved road I made the mistake of letting Kris get ahead of me and from that point to the top it was all pain.

My goal is to get up at least one more time next week before the gate opens. I bought a pass yesterday so no more $3 cover charge for the next year!

Many of you know that I started riding a mountain bike last year. My first ride was in February '06 on the Green Valley Race Course in St. George. Second ride was Bear Claw Poppy and third was Gooseberry Mesa. Thinking back to my riding experiences last year the predominant emotion that comes to mind is fright or nervousness. It seemed that most trails I rode made me so nervous that I had a difficult time enjoying the ride. That's not to say I didn't have fun as forcing yourself to conquer fear and learn new skills carries with it a certain degree of enjoyment and satisfaction. However, most of my riding was nervous riding. The reason I mention this is that riding the Pipeline Trail today was an entirely different experience in '07 vs '06. Last year I rode it with a friend from work and remember being a little freaked out by the sidehill exposure, steep rocky section and switchbacks (as you descend to the intersection with Birch Hollow). In fact, I clipped out and put a foot down on every switchback. Flash forward a year and I rode it today with no fear, nerves or any cause to put a foot down. I will admit to unclipping my right foot as I navigated the final, right-hand switchback but I didn't put it on the ground! It's amazing the difference a year of riding makes on the dirt. I've had similar experiences on the BST, Dry Creek, Yellow Fork and many other trails I've ridden this year.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

NMBS Deer Valley Pro XC

Headed up to Park City this afternoon with the family for the big XC race after doing some time on the road bike in the morning. If you thought Deer Valley was hot yesterday today had to be at least 10 degrees warmer. Of course, the pro men started at 2 pm so that alone made for a hot day.

We set up shop on the Little Stick climb, starting at the first steep corner next to the Holleys and then walked up into the trees in search of more shade. After the race we ran into Fox and then Shannon and Kevin Day. Kate absolutely fell in love with Kashi, petting him nonstop for close to 20 minutes. Both kids also had a fun time chatting with Shannon, telling her all about their pets at home. We even saw the Unicycle Kid jumping benches, rocks and garbage cans. I saw him yesterday and told the kids to keep their eyes open in case he was around today. Alder spotted him first and was completely fascinated watching him ride.

JHK rode close to the entire race solo in first position.

Kabush was never far behind. Anybody know where I can order some of those sweet socks?

Bart rode a strong race. Here he is climbing Little Stick on his final lap and crossing the finish line.

On the way back to the start/finish we ran into The Fox and The Hound. Kate really liked the dog and asked if she could take a picture.

Even the fast guys are wasted after a race.

We had an invite to the Subaru/Gary Fisher post-race party where Kate scored a sweet hat and lanyard. As soon as the sunglasses went on she started striking poses.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Park City

Today was hot! In Salt Lake we hit 91 and Park City was in the low 80's. However, for the riders in this afternoon's semi-pro xc race at Deer Valley I'm sure it felt much warmer. Just hanging out in the feed zone I drank 3 bottles of water! I was there to hand up bottles of Gatorade to Fox, Bart was supporting Blake and Warren was feeding a Cole Sport teammate. It was fun talking to these guys while we waited for the racers to come through. I haven't been able to find results online yet but heading into lap #4 Chris Holley was sittting in 3rd and riding strong while the racer in 1st looked to be hurting. Hopefully Chris was able to keep it rolling and finish strong.

I should have hung out a bit longer to catch the finish but after watching the race for 2 hours I was ready to ride some dirt myself. I drove over to Park City Mountain Resort where I parked, changed and headed up the Spiro trail to Mid Mountain. I wasn't prepared for a long ride as I hadn't really eaten lunch (a small bowl of pasta at 10 am and a Cliff Bar at 1 pm) and only had water and a single Cliff Bar with me. When I hit Mid Mountain I decided to take it south, towards Deer Valley so I could ride a loop as opposed to the alternative of riding an out-and-back towards The Canyons and then returning on Spiro. After 4 or 5 miles I hit a construction zone that had closed the trail. However, there was a new trail that had recently been cut as a detour (it was called Empire something) so I took that, hoping it would dump me off in town somewhere. Eventually I ended up at a paved road that fed into Hwy 224 which featured a section of 10% downhill where I was rolling with the cars at 45 mph. I ended up at the main roundabout between PCMR and DV so I was able to retrace my steps back to the car without too much trouble. Total ride time was 1:41 which was about right given my fuel situation. Needless to say I was hungry when I got home so I picked up an Astro Burger Combo for dinner. Such gluttony is limited to special occasions and man did it taste good today! After finishing this post I'm off to enjoy a bowl of mint chocolate chip ice cream and brownie before turning in for the night. Ice cream becomes a pre-bedtime ritual when the temps are 90+!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Primetime starts at noon tomorrow

I'm planning on driving to Park City tomorrow to yell at the Fox and then ride some trails. Company is welcome. Use the 'Email' link in the right sidebar if you'd like to join me for any of the day's activities.

This morning I was up at the crack of dawn to ride with Team Intertia. It's not everyday that you're rolling in a group of 7 riders at 6 am! Good luck to those racing High Uintas on Saturday. If I ever discover the secret to climbing I might be tempted to give it a shot one of these years. However, 2007 is not the year!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

American Fork Canyon Trails

It was all true. Every blog entry, conversation, trail description, etc. I've read/heard over the past year. American Fork Canyon is simply amazing. Many thanks to Kris for playing tour guide this evening. I think the pictures speak for themselves. If this is what Adam has in mind for the Wasatch Classic I may need to reevaluate my goals for 2008...

Monday, June 11, 2007

On the Road Again

Thought I'd mix things up a bit and start the week riding the road bike. Met Curt at 6:30 am and we headed out for a loop around Herriman. He was doing one set of 10x15 second high cadence (120-140 rpm) intervals with 1 minute recovery in between efforts. I figured it wouldn't be too hard and decided to join in the fun. Well, after 4 or 5 the fun stopped as the 15 seconds started to hurt! It was a good workout for me since my leg speed has decreased as I've spent more time this year riding the trails. Speaking of which, tomorrow I'm scheduled to ride up American Fork Canyon in the evening with Kris. I've never been on the AF trails and if Adam's pictures represent reality I'd say I'm in for quite a treat.

Oh yeah, thanks for the understanding comments on my last post. Stuff like that is totally embarrassing and it helps to know I'm not the only one who has done something stupid.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

ICUP #7: 16th Annual Deer Valley Pedalfest


I left my shoes at home.

I was going to hang out for a while but I was so frustrated that I just went home. Stupid rookie mistake.

The only positive is that I was able to transfer my registration to Solitude where I'm now pre-registered to race Sport 30-34. It's going to be painful...

Friday, June 8, 2007

Deer Valley Pre-ride

Originally I'd planned to ride the course at lunch today but was scared off by reports of mud. Fox decided to go up anyway and had room in his van so I went up with him. It was a good call as there was NO mud to be found on the course. The trail itself is good, especially the first long downhill section. There are some tricky switchbacks on the second climbing section and even more on the following descent but overall the course was a lot of fun to ride. Not sure how it will feel at race pace (though to be honest I was riding pretty hard trying not to fall too far behind Fox and Aaron) and after yesterday's 2 hours on the shoreline my legs felt tired today but I think I'll give it a shot anyway. At this point I'm undecided whether to race Sport or do one last race in Beginner. If my legs were fresh I'd go Sport but given how they felt today I may opt for Beginner and go Sport at Solitude.

I need to start riding with my camera again as my posts are pretty boring without pictures. I'll try to do better next week.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Interview with a Fox

I've only known Fox a short time but it didn't take long to realize that he's the real thing. What you see (and read) is what you get. This dude knows bikes and bike racing like no other. Read on for a peek into the mind of a local legend.

What's the story behind the name Sly Fox?
Fox: Well back in about 1998 I started selling bike stuff on and they wanted a handle so I came up with that. Since I'm an honest guy and don't take advantage of anyone I thought it was ironic. So they started buying stuff from some guy named Sly. I don't disappoint.

Why don't you ride with a helmet?

Fox: I never crash, its a mind game. It builds confidence and doesn't leave you with an out. The mindset goes like this "It's ok if you crash, you have a helmet on" or "It's ok if you break your leg or need stiches cuz you got a helmet on." That's really lame.

So you better pay attention and have 100% confidence in your ability. I can't afford broken bones or cuts, if I have it on I'm still going to be cut and busted up. A helmet might not make me brain dead. That's my choice. It's a free country. You can do what you want and so can I.

You attract your situations to you, good or bad. I don't buy the "other guy running into you" at all. It's a crock. You attracted that guy to run into you. It's not anyone's fault but your own. Mind your thoughts, they are powerful. You get what you think about. So I don't crash, I don't want to get hurt and if I'm hauling ass in traffic, or down some rocky trail and die then that's my problem and you guys can say "well, if he would have had a helmet on" bla bla bla.

I do what I want, how I want.

What's the secret to riding in the big ring?

Fox: I just noticed a big power gain this year. I didn't used to do it all the time. This year something happened and I must have gotten bigger legs. It doesnt hurt to ride the big ring. It's easier, I can ride at lower heart rates. So I guess just do lots of miles and build up some power. I used to watch Tomac and Tinker ride the big ring all over and I thought it was cool so even if it is slower its cool to brag about it, just cuz I can.

Top 3 trails to shred and why?
Fox: Pretty boring but BST cuz it's close. I have it memorized and could ride it blind folded, I like the dh down into City Creek. It's fast and has flow. The switchbacks and rocks are kind of lame but that's mtn biking and it's cut at the right grade so you can just rip it. That's flow.

In the summer I like anything in Park City. Mid Mtn, Crest trail is cool cuz it's fast and the rock spine is always fun if people are walking it and I blast past them with no helmet.

Some sweet 1 track in Fruita and Moab. Same standby. Nothing exciting.

Favorite post-race recovery food?
Fox: I eat mostly at 3 of the same places all the time. One World, Barbacoa and Rubios. That's about it. After the race I dont eat right away unless I'm at a bbq and get a hambuger patty without the bread. I don't eat bread. I eat too many carbs I think. I never bonk, I just go slow from not drinking and draining the power from the big ring.

Best advice for a junior just starting to ride?
Fox: Depends on the age, junior could be 18 and under down to 6. 17/18 year olds need to ride a lot. They go hard all the time so I would have them on a slower pace sked. Also try to avoid burn out.

Younger kids just need to have fun, if they feel pressured into training they won't keep doing it much longer.

What's up with all the fast mountain bikers stuffing bottles in their jersey instead of using a Camelbak?

Fox: For me the CamelBak is hard to suck out of, it's hot and bulky. The plastic tastes bad and I don't want to get sick from having mold in the bladder. I think those are pretty good reasons. I use water bottles only a few times and then I get new ones. I'm afraid of getting some kind of funky mold growing in them. They are nasty.

Why do you ride a Scalpel?

Fox: Scalpel is the best xc bike on the planet. It has been for 5 years. It's lightweight and hauls ass. Simple design. Don't mess up a good thing. I have always paid for my bikes and I pick the best. There are no sponsors telling me what to say. If it's on my bike it's cuz it's lightweight, works good and can take a beating.

Ever get nervous riding the Spine on Wasatch Crest?

Fox: It used to be harder, so ya a few years ago like 1995 I might have been. But anything like that is a mind game. If you are scared of it you will jack yourself up. It's about confidence, you need to tell the spine what's up and then you will conquer it.

A few years ago some jackass went up there with a sledge hammer and busted up all the rocks. Now it's practically a freeway. Leave the trail alone and don't move rocks, obstacles or make it flat. If I wanted to ride a sidewalk I can do that in the city.

What's the hardest race you've ever won?

Fox: In 2003 I went to the Tour of the Gila in New Mexico as a Cat 2 and won Stage 5. It was 100 miles with a lot of mtn climbing. I felt like a super hero that day and everything was perfect. It was a golden day to race and everything clicked so I took advantage and won it solo in about 5 hrs. I have not felt that good in a race since that day.

Hardest race you haven't won but dream of winning?

Fox: I want to win every week. I wish I could figure out a way to do that. All the races are hard, it depends who shows up. Sometimes you can feel like crap and win cuz no one is there, or sometimes you feel 100% and get 4th.

Is it true you're going to start racing a 1 speed?
Fox: I'm just going to do the Solitude race on the Scalpel. I will change the gear to a 34x17 and see how it goes. If I hate it then I won't do it any more.

Do the messengers get pissed when you show up and win their alley cats?
Fox: Probably. I don't do all of them but too bad. They shouldn't be drunk, stoned or smoking if they cared that much about it. Really, I don't think they care that much or they would try harder.

What did you have for breakfast this morning?
Fox: 1/2 of a Clif Builder bar. I don't eat anything when a race is before 11am. I eat a lot the day before and late that night. Sometimes i wake up at 3am and eat some Clif bars then go back to bed.

If it's a normal day I like pizza, Twinkies or Twizzlers. Oh, and Cokes.


Nap Time

Was up at 5 am to get ready for a 6 am ride with Kris at Yellow Fork. We rode it counter-clockwise and basically had the trail to ourselves. Normally I see turkeys when I ride this trail but Saturday I didn't see any. It's funny because the ride seems incomplete without a turkey siting. Well, this morning we ran into two groups of wild turkeys so I guess that makes up for Saturday and brings me back to even. The trail was still dusty but otherwise in great shape. The one drawback to riding the loop counter-clockwise is navigating the section of hike-a-bike as you climb the steepest section of doubletrack before topping out on the ridge. Some day I will ride it all but today was not the day. Think of the Wall on BST and then double the length, throwing in a bunch of medium-sized loose rocks & dust. Normally I don't ride the upper singletrack but since today was Kris' first "official" Yellow Fork loop we did that too. We finished the first lap in an hour so did another 30 minutes as an out-and-back on the north singletrack.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Dirt + Road = Good Saturday

I crawled out of bed this morning at 5:20 am so I could be at the Yellow Fork trailhead at 6:15 am. I rode with my neighbor Phil and a couple of his friends. It was pretty mellow as they are just starting to ride but I wasn't looking to hammer so it was a perfect start to the day. The trail is dusty, but what trail isn't right now? We rode it clockwise which is tougher than counter-clockwise (more climbing) but I don't think the downhill is as fun. It was all middle ring for me which was easy given I was rolling the 11-34 XTR cassette I picked up from Fox yesterday.

As soon as I got home I pounded some food, cleaned the dust from my legs and filled some bottles for 3 hours with Cami. We rode west to Copperton where we refilled at the city park. I'd never been to Copperton before and figured we could get water at a gas station or grocery store. Well, there isn't much in town except for a post office and credit union that I could see. It didn't matter though, as the park had drinking fountains and bathrooms. It's a funny place as it feels like Sugarhouse yet it's out in the middle of nowhere!

After a quick stop we rode to Butterfield Canyon where we made it to the base of the steep switchbacks. Cami could probably make it to the top but given the heat and our need to get back by noon we flipped a U-turn and headed home.

In total I was on the bike for close to 4 hours of base aerobic work. While the pace wasn't high it was a good, solid day of riding and something I need to remember to do at least once a month.

Next week I have a 6 am ride up Yellow Fork scheduled for Monday morning and a Deer Valley pre-ride either Tuesday or Wednesday.