Sunday, September 30, 2007

Bettini gives Stuttgart the finger

"So many people shot at me this week that I wanted to do the same when I crossed the line" he said, explaining his gesture. "So I was shooting at everybody. It was not to anyone in particular but if anybody had a feeling that it was directed at himself, maybe he had a reason."

He then clarified further. "It was not directed to Pat McQuaid. When we have things to say, we do that between us. This was something that I did with my own instinct. It was directed to people who made declarations against me but know nothing about cycling. They are appearing sometimes in cycling solely for economical reasons."

--- Paolo Bettini as quoted on

Saturday, September 29, 2007

What Fall?

So this is my second season of mountain biking and just like last year it looks like my fall riding is already coming to an end. Everybody says that fall is the best time to ride a mountain bike in Utah but based on my experience I'd have to disagree. Sure, the lower elevation trails will be rideable for another 1-2 months but cruising Corner Canyon in Draper, Yellow Fork in Herriman, the BST in Salt Lake or Lambert Park in Alpine - in my opinion - doesn't equal the best riding of the year. No, for me the best riding would be Mid Mountain, upper Millcreek, Blackhawk or the Wasatch Crest in cool temperatures surrounded by the brilliant colors of the changing leaves. Unfortunately, due to early mountain snowstorms, those trails seem to once again be shut down before fall even had a chance to begin. According to my count, the fall of 2007 only lasted 6 days...

Thursday, September 27, 2007

The New Ride

Well, it's taken me a while to post pics of the new frame but today I finally snapped a few. The kids wanted to be included in the photo shoot and as you can see my daughter focused on striking poses while my son tried to look tough. Gotta love the differences between girls and boys!

So far I'm still amazed at how smooth the ride is given the frame's stiffness. With more time on the bike I'm sure I'll get past smooth & stiff and begin to appreciate/recognize the frame's more subtle attributes but so far that's what stands out. For those who are wondering, the bike (as pictured) weighed in at 16 pounds 10 ounces on Contender's digital scale.

Since Trek won't offer the Madone frameset for sale until 2008 this may be one of the few bikes built with SRAM Rival you'll see for a while. I would have used my SRAM crank too but Trek is only producing Shimano compatible bottom bracket bearing assemblies (I'm not sure what you call the new bb since it's no longer external but rather fits directly into the bb shell of the frame). Eventually they'll support other brands but right now only Shimano cranks work with the new frame.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

And the winner is...

Sorry it has taken me so long to tally the points and announce the winner of my inaugural Vuelta de Espana podium contest. After careful analysis and calculation I am pleased to announce that Kris in the winner of a 6-pack of his choice in beverage! Congratulations and let me know what you'll be drinking.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Back in the Saddle

Sorry for the lack of substantial updates or sweet pictures this past week. Once the vacation got flowing it was hard to think of doing anything that remotely resembled work or required any real effort. There's something about spending time on the beach that just puts my mind and body at ease. Someday I will learn to surf but until then I'll continue to enjoy diving through the waves and just letting myself float with the rise and fall of the ocean. Even though there were riders everywhere along the Pacific Coast Highway I never really missed the bike. Ten days later and I'm ready to hit it again. Amazing how that time off thing works wonders for your physical and mental state.

Seafood is a family favorite and we totally fell in love with a small fish market/cafe in Carlsbad called Pelly's. Their fish sandwiches were amazing (I had sea bass one day and sword fish another) and the kids loved the fish and shrimp tacos. Speaking of fish tacos, we also ate at a California chain called Wahoo's Fish Tacos in La Jolla a couple of times. The interior was covered with skate/surf/snowboarding stickers and they had skate and surf videos playing on multiple TVs in the restaurant. After watching a few good wipeouts my daughter made me promise that I wouldn't do any surfing on the trip! In-N-Out Burger is also a family favorite and we found time to eat there three times: Twice in Barstow for lunch as we were beginning and ending our trip and once at Oceanside. I'm getting hungry just thinking about all the good food we ate!

Luckily the week of indulgence doesn't seem to have negatively impacted my waistline as the scale registered 162 Monday morning which is my normal just-out-of-bed after using the bathroom weight. Of course between the San Diego Zoo and the two days at Disneyland and California Adventure I logged quite a few hours of walking. Also, since the ocean wasn't particularly warm I think my body was forced to burn a fair number of calories to maintain my core temperature when I was in the water.

Speaking of the Disney parks, we absolutely loved our time there. My kids are 7 and 5 years old and just couldn't get enough of the whole Disney experience. We started each day around 9 am and finished at 10 pm and even though both of them were completely exhausted by the time we left each night they never once complained, whined, or expressed frustration about anything. It was seriously amazing and makes me think there really is magic at Disneyland! The lines were mellow (we never had to wait longer than 30 minutes) and we were able to ride everything we'd planned to ride in both parks multiple times. My personal favorite was probably the California Screamer roller coaster in California adventure followed by The Tower of Terror, Soarin' Over California (both in California Adventure) and the classic Space Mountain. The kids' favorite was Thunder Mountain Railroad at Disneyland which at one point we did four times in a row (there was like a 3 minute wait in between rides). They also liked the 3D shows at California Adventure.

Since returning home Sunday night after 10.5 hours and 662 miles in the car I've been playing catch up at work and sneaking out for quick 1 hour rides in the evening. I'm not thrilled with the weather since I returned to snow in the mountains and morning temperaturs in the high 30's but after a week in southern California I knew that I was setting myself up for disappointment. I need to get out on the mountain bike as it's been nearly 3 weeks since my last dirt ride.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

For Kris

Note the strategically placed son to hide any gut that may have been visible!

The ice cream is gone so tonight I had to do one set of 5 oatmeal chocolate chip cookie intervals with skim milk for recovery between efforts. That after a hard workout at In-N-Out Burger where I completed 2 burgers (animal style baby), fries and a few diet cokes. Vacation is the best!

Tomorrow is Disneyland so I'll be walking, standing and waiting in between 2 minute rides all day. The kids have never been so it will be fun just watching their reactions to the spectacle.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Rest Week

This time I'm doing it right...

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

City Creek

Finally! I was beginning think that I was somehow cursed as each attempt to ride City Creek has resulted in a problem: Snow/ice on the road, no bikes allowed on odd holidays, a friend's rear hub blowing up, etc. However, yesterday after work, with the help of Kris and my neighbor Craig, I was able to finally do the entire ride. My initial impression is that City Creek is a deceptive climb. Initially it doesn't really feel like you are climbing at all, then you encounter a few short, steeper pitches followed by more easy climbing. I had thought that once the road narrowed after the water facility it would kick up but even then it continued mellow. I should note that I allowed Craig and Kris to open up a gap on the slight downhill in the middle of the climb so from that point on I was basically climbing alone. I figured if it ever got steep I would catch back up and, as luck would have it, I eventually did, but it wasn't until the last 1/2 mile when the road really kicks up.

Yesterday was also my first hard effort on the new '08 Madone Black frame and I must say that the bike performed quite well. I don't feel like I've ridden it enough to make any definitive statements as to how it rides. However, my initial impression is that the frame is both smooth and stiff. Noticeably more so than my previous 2003 OCLV 120 frame. Remember that the wheels, tires, bar, stem, saddle, etc. came from my old bike. The only changes are the frame (with the associated fork & seat mast) and the Ultegra SL crank. I knew the bike would be stiff based on the published tests but had assumed that the stiffness would come at the expense of comfort. Well, as is often true, reality once again proves the invalidity of assumption! Not a bad combination of attributes.

Monday, September 10, 2007

One more picture of Saturday's ride

Here's a high level view of the route we followed this past weekend. I should state that I copied this image from Kris' blog. He has some mean skills with Google Earth.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Timpanogos Perimeter

Today Kris and I rode from the Timpanooke trailhead (American Fork Canyon) to his home in Orem via a myriad of trails. We probably spent more time on the Great Western Trail than any other as we worked our way around Mount Timpanogos to Provo Canyon. I'll let him fill in the details of our route (his ride description is excellent) which saw us hiking almost as much as we were riding. Well, maybe the ratio wasn't really 50/50 but it sure seemed like we spent a lot of time pushing our bikes up steep, rocky trails! Don't get me wrong, it was a fantastic ride and the next time Kris says the route is a bit "rugged" I'll know what to expect. Enjoy the pictures as they tell the story in more detail that I could produce with words. They're in chronological order but not necessarily directionally accurate (i.e. I took quite a few shots looking back over the trail we had just covered).

Thursday, September 6, 2007


Normally I only ride the BST on Salt Lake's north bench in the spring and fall. However, with the arrival of a cold front yesterday our high temperature today was only in the mid 70's. Funny how that's all it took to put me in the mood to ride the BST. My choice turned out to be ideal as I wasn't able to leave the office until after 6 pm so by the time I hit the trail there wasn't a lot of daylight left. Ten miles and a little over an hour later I was back at my car which I'd parked along 11th Ave. I went up Dry Creek and came down City Creek. As far as the scenery goes this ride is much better in the spring. Besides the dry grass and bushes there were TONS of little gnats in the air. The trail was rockier than I remember and I even saw a Tarantula. Yet, I loved the ride. It was perfect for the time I had available and what's not to love about hammering The Wall in the middle ring while 3 other riders finished their walk up!

Oh yeah, I also picked up my road bike from Contender after a small upgrade. Tomorrow I'm planning to head up City Creek and get to know my new 2008 Madone Black frame. Look for pictures in the near future. It's probably one of the only '08 Madones built with SRAM Rival on the road right now.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Sprint finish?!

Well, my hopes of Fantasy Cycling glory are probably over after today's stage 5 of the Vuelta. Here's the profile of the stage:

Am I an idiot or does that not look like a stage to be contested by a breakaway or the GC riders? I guess the former is true and I'm an idiot since I picked my GC riders for the stage only to discover that it was contested by the sprinters! Here's the top 10:

1 Oscar Freire (Spa) Rabobank
2 Daniele Bennati (Ita) Lampre-Fondital
3 Paolo Bettini (Quick.Step - Innergetic)
4 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Française Des Jeux
5 Erik Zabel (Ger) Milram
6 Leonardo Duque (Col) Cofidis
7 Xavier Florencio (Spa) Bouygues Telecom
8 Josep Jufré (Spa) Predictor-Lotto
9 Rene Mandri (Est) Ag2r Prévoyance
10 David Garcia (Spa) Karpin-Galicia

Of those I have Freire, Bennati, Zabel and Duque on my team but didn't select any of them for today's stage. So not only am I a poor DS but I probably lost any hope of placing in the overall competition this year.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Park City Sweetness

I'll let the pictures speak for the quality of today's ride. I will say, however, that Park City singletrack rules. 35 miles of trail shredding equals tired yet happy legs. In a nutshell we rode Spiro to Mid-Mountain to the Ridge Connector (to see Todd onto the Crest) then back down to Mid-Mountain for an out-n-back to Pinebrook followed by Rob's and the bike path back to Park City Mtn Resort. Many thanks to Kris for the sweet pics.