Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween!

I have yet to eat a piece of candy today although the tempation has been great. My plan is to hold out for the homemade pumpkin cookies that are currently in the oven. After all, pumpkin is a super food right? And these particular pumpkin cookies also feature oatmeal and raisins so I figure it's almost as if I'm eating a few servings of vegetables!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Family trip to Arches

Every time I visit one of Utah's National Parks I kick myself for not taking advantage of the world class, family-friendly recreation that's so close to home. On the drive to Moab Sunday evening I explained to the kids how people travel from all over the world to visit Arches while it only takes us a few hours (this in an attempt to help them understand that 4 hours is quick & easy and nothing to complain about!) which made me realize (yet again) that I really should go more often myself. That realization was further emphasized after the fantastic day of hiking we enjoyed Monday. We started with the hike to Delicate Arch followed by the short trail to Sand Dune Arch (which, I should add, was the kids' favorite because of the tall, narrow walls and abundance of sand) finishing the day with Landscape Arch and the full Primitive Trail. In total we did close to 8 miles which was far more than I had expected to complete with a 7 and 5 year old!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Millcreek Pipeline

If all had gone according to plan I would have ridden with Uhl in Boise today but since the trip was cancelled at the last minute yesterday I found myself faced with a recently unheard of situation: It was Saturday and it WAS NOT raining! Amazing. We made arrangements to drop the kids off at Grandma and Grandpa's and headed over to Millcreek. Parking at the Gate, we headed up to the Elbow where we transitioned from pavement to dirt. We rode the Pipeline out to the intersection with Rattlesnake Gulch at which point we flipped a U-turn. Retracing our route we dropped out at Birch Hollow where we jumped on the road to return to the Gate.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Ya rip it

Name the author of that famous three word phrase. The first person to get it right (enter via comments) wins their choice of either an old Hutchinson Python UST or Conti GP4000 tire I have collecting dust in my garage.

Kris and I did our best to rip the Bobsled, dropping in twice to carve the burms and hit the smaller jumps. We drove up and left the car at the park on the intersection of Terrace Hills Dr and 11th Ave. Riding along 11th we jumped on the dirt at Dry Creek and rode over to Bobsled. Kris had never been down before and had so much fun we climbed up Terrace Hills Dr for another go. That climb sucks but passing a few groups of downhill riders pushing their bikes (after a shuttle to the top of the pavement I might add) provided motivation to keep the pedals turning.

Next time I ride I may pass on the climb up Dry Creek and do laps up Terrace Hills and down Bobsled instead. It took us 30 minutes to complete the loop so I figure at lunch I could get 2 runs in and if I was riding after work I could do 3 or 4. Pretty fun stuff.

Kris enters the Bobsled in style:

It may not look like much air but to a XC wimp like myself it felt pretty big!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Good Times

Do you ever wonder why everybody you ride with is faster than you? I do. Quite often in fact. Sometimes I wonder if I'm riding with the wrong people. More often than naught, however, I feel that I'm riding with the perfect people. I guess the answer to the question really comes down to perspective. If I want to get faster I need to ride with faster people. At least some of the time. This weekend (and it will be a long weekend for me since the kids don't have school Monday and Tuesday next week) I'll have a little of both, riding with Uhl (who will be stronger than me) and my wife (who, for the time being at least, isn't). Should be a good time. Which, while on the subject of good times, brings me to my ride this afternoon. I called Contender (side note: check out their new website - it's pretty cool) to ask if anybody had been up on the BST this week and received an invite to ride with a few guys from the shop. Not wanting to miss out on the chance to ride with some new guys (new in the sense that I hadn't ridden with them on the dirt before) I quickly changed and rode over to the shop. Ryan, Jim and Gary were ready to go and we started the climb up to the zoo. It didn't take long to realize that I was the slow man in the group. However - and I should note that this has been my experience with all of the stronger guys I've ridden with - they were totally laid back and stopped every now and then to regroup. I had a good time chasing them over to Dry Creek then up and around to the Bobsled. Today's ride is what led me to pose the original question that started this entry and now that I'm back at the beginning I think I'll end on that circular note.

Monday, October 22, 2007

You have got to be joking...


Iban Mayo was informed by the Spanish Cycling Federation on Monday that the testing of his B sample from the Tour de France positive test on July 24 has come back negative. The Saunier Duval - Prodir rider was originally declared positive for the blood booster EPO from a sample taken on the Tour's second rest day, but has now been cleared for a return to racing.

According to AFP, the federation confirmed that there had been a mistake in the testing of Mayo's A sample, which was carried out at the Châtenay-Malabry anti-doping laboratory in Paris. The B sample was tested by a separate laboratory in the Belgian city of Gent, and was confirmed by another test done in Australia.

Speaking on Spanish radio station EFE, Mayo said: "During these months I have felt very bad. My professional career was a wreck, but everything has turned out as expected.

"I have not stopped training during this time, although I didn't feel good," he added "A lot of people gave me support to carry on."

Mayo had been temporarily suspended by his team, pending the outcome of the B sample, but is now expected to see out his contract. "I have signed [with Saunier Duval] until 2008 and I hope to finish with them," he said.

Saunier Duval manager Mauro Gianetti told Reuters that the team was yet to receive official confirmation from the UCI. "We have read stuff on the Internet and it seems that this has happened but it is too early to make any comment," he said.

Courtesy of Antonio J. Salmerón for


Why wasn't Floyd's B sample allowed to be analyzed at a different lab? Mayo's A sample was declared positive by the Châtenay-Malabry lab yet his B sample came back negative after being tested " a separate laboratory in the Belgian city of Gent" which was then "...confirmed by another test done in Australia." Say what?!

Does it upset anybody else that Floyd's B sample - not to mention the additional testing performed on his other controls per USADA's request - was tested by the same lab - Châtenay-Malabry - that declared his original A sample positive? Why was Mayo able to have his B sample tested elsewhere while ALL of Floyd's subsequent tests were handled by the same lab that produced the initial positive? Makes absolutely no sense to me. What's even more maddening about the situation is the fact that USADA declared the original test to be both flawed and inaccurate yet still found him guilty based on the subsequent tests. If those subsequent tests had been entrusted to a different lab Floyd most likely would have been exonerated. What a joke! This news must come as a huge slap in the face to Floyd and only serves to illustrate how totally and completely he was screwed.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

As far as outdoor recreation goes...

...I'd have to say that Forrest has it dialed in pretty good. Balance for all seasons and weather conditions. After more than 5 years away from the resorts I may need to strap on the skis and make peace with the white stuff this winter.

Any recommendations for the best ski school for young kids? I'd like to take my 7 year old up with me and want him to learn from somebody who knows what they're doing.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

So be honest and tell me if... really enjoy riding your bike in the rain/snow, mud and freezing temperatures. Personally, I don't like riding in the rain no matter how warm it may be outside and the same goes for mud. Maybe I'm just lazy but the whole post-ride maintanence issue is a big turn off. Also, I worry about getting sick as it seems like I'm either over or under dressed, both of which lead to my getting chilled. I can see how riding in poor conditions may not be an issue for a PRO who can simply hand his bike off to a mechanic and head directly to the showers after a race (or ride, if you're big time) but for me it just seems like a hassle. Putting my clothes on, taking my clothes off, hosing mud off my clothes, washing my clothes, waiting for my cycling shoes to dry, trying to get the mud off my bike and body, frozen fingers and toes, trying not to get the inside of my car dirty, etc., etc., etc. I'm not a PRO so why should I feel guilty for not racing 'cross or staying indoors when the weather sucks? I guess I'm just looking for some self-justification but come on, is it really fun to ride your bike in crappy weather?

If you can't tell I'm really struggling with the seasonal transition from summer to fall/winter (in Utah you really need to lump fall & winter and winter & spring together).

The cross racers must be giddy with excitement looking at the current forecast for SLC:

More than a foot of snow at Alta from yesterday's storm! And in the wake of that storm, we're still seeing lake-effect rain and snow showers southeast of the lake. Cloudy today as warmer air pushes in above us. With a south wind, we could go above 70 tomorrow- but it won't last. Another cold storm in the works for the weekend. -Grant Weyman, Live 5 Weather HD

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Monday, October 15, 2007

Modified Big Dog Loop

I rode a slightly modified version of the Big Dog Loop in Park City this afternoon. I say modified because my computer reported 18 miles while the online trail description says it should only be 16. The weather today was amazing: Sunny skies with temperatures in the mid-60's which made the decision to ride a no brainer. Given that rain is forecast for the remainder of the week (I watched the weather report on KSL 5 this evening and Len Randolph said that this will be the 5th weekend IN A ROW that it has rained - crazy!) Ed and I slipped out of the office around 2 pm. A short 25 miles later and we were at the trailhead.

True to the name of the ride, we ran into a herd of sheep being managed by a big sheep dog. Ed was in front of me at the time and said the dog initially took him for a threat and started chasing. When I reached them the dog was hanging out in the road (I'm guessing he was keeping an eye on Ed) while Ed waited for me to catch up.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Raining outside? It must be Saturday...

The first day of the 2007 fall season was Sunday, September 23rd. Since then it has rained every single Saturday as follows:

Saturday, September 29
Rain in the valley, snow in the mountains
Precip (in): 0.35

Saturday, October 6
Rain in the valley, snow in the mountains
Precip (in): 0.46

Saturday, October 13
Rain in the valley, snow in the mountains
Precip (in): 0.04

And while Saturday, September 22 was technically still summer, it also rained in the valley and mountains. Precip (in): 0.38

So after four consecutive Saturdays of rain you can begin to understand my frustration with the weather. However, with my brother in town do you think I let a little rain keep us indoors this morning? Well, the smart answer would probably have been YES but in our case we responded with a resounding NO!

Our plan was to ride the Deer Creek South Fork loop, starting and finishing at the Timpanooke campground in American Fork Canyon. Due to poor weather we cut the ride short but still managed about 90 minutes in the saddle. To say conditions were wet would be a gross understatement. At times we were riding through extended sections of trail filled with 2-3 inches of water. There wasn't much of the traditional oozing, sticky, gummy mud but rather just lots and lots of wet, slippery, soupy dirt. Initially I felt a little guilty about riding in such conditions but after we were passed by two guys riding motorcycles and a group of 4 horseback riders I quit worrying about any damage we might be causing on our bikes.

Looking back on the ride, after a warm shower and tasty lunch, I can honestly say it was a lot of fun. However, a few hours earlier, with cold fingers and toes, feet soaked and sloshing in my shoes, mud splattered on my face, I might have expressed a different opinion. The pictures really don't do the conditions justice. Finding officers from the Utah Sheriff's Department, members of Mountain Search & Rescue and a film crew from Fox 13 News at the Timpanooke trailhead debating whether to call in a helicopter to extract a group of hikers from the mountain only reinforced what we already knew: Our ride today was one to remember.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Late Fall Millcreek Ride

My brother from Arizona has been staying with us the past few days while he attends a Dental Continuing Education course in Park City. His class ended at 3:30 this afternoon so our plan was to ride to Dog Lake afterwards. However, the drive up Millcreek wasn't filling me with optimism as there was a lot of snow to the side of the road about 1 mile past the elbow. I was tempted to flip a U-turn and ride the Pipeline but my brother wanted to give it a go so we continued on. That turned out to be the right call as the Big Water, Little Water and Great Western trails were in good condition. We did have to navigate a few soupy sections but overall the trails were either dry or slightly damp and tacky. A few trees were down across the trail and there were a handful of slushy sections but overall it was a great ride. What really amazed me was how quickly the leaves had fallen from the Aspen trees. With snow on the eastern hills and the barren Aspens, combined with the dark clouds in the sky, it felt a lot like winter. Thankfully the temperature was still seasonable otherwise it would have made for a cold descent!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Piotr should race mountain bikes... he'd totally kill it in the 40+ Intermountain Cup categories. Open up a huge gap on the ups and manage his losses on the downs.

It was fun to finally meet Piotr after commenting on each others' blogs for the better part of a year. I had the impression that he could climb and while he may not have been totally comfortable riding the dirt this morning - not to mention the fact that the release tension on his pedals was so light he would pull out after any hard effort - he sure didn't have any trouble making me suffer on the way up! For this being his first day on the trails he also descended very well. Clarks was so much fun that after climbing up on the road and ripping down we decided to flip a U-turn and climb back up Clarks for another shot at the dh. The trails were in great shape with Clarks showing particularly fine form.

We're hoping to talk the Hornet into joining us next time!

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Back-to-back BST Part II

If you haven't been out on the SLC section of the BST do it soon. The weather this week has been amazing and the recent rains have left the trails in excellent condition.

After watching ROAM over the weekend I had to do the Bobsled on Monday. And while I certainly wasn't going big, I did enjoy carving the high, banked turns. Oh yeah, and I want to learn how to ride a wheelie. Anybody out there want to teach me? Those dudes in the video were riding wheelies down everything. Looks like fun.

Today I headed out at lunch with Ed for a Tour de BST. We rode up to the zoo and jumped on the trail. We did a couple of the side loops on our way to Red Butte and then turned up the gravel road to ride the high trail along the ridge back to the main BST. Up Dry Creek then over to City Creek we finished by bombing back through the Avenues. One notable event of the ride was that I finally rode the last switchback descending into City Creek (the one with the wood fence on the left side of the trail) without putting a foot down. I should note that I still unclipped my right foot as I went around the corner but I kept if off the ground. Now I need to follow Fox's advice to "just stay in my pedals."

Tomorrow morning I'm meeting Piotrek at the Draper Equestrian Center at 8 am for some more dirt riding. Anybody is welcome to join us so if you're interested give me a call, leave a comment or send me an email so we know you're coming.

Note: The photos were taken by Giant Warp who also rode the BST from City Creek to Dry Creek today. Hopefully he doesn't mind...

Sunday, October 7, 2007


Kris loaned me his copy of ROAM last night and all I can say is Wow! Normally I'm not a big fan of downhill specific riding/racing/videos but this work is absolutely amazing. Combine incredible scenery with big, smooth, epic angles of the camera and the result is one very beautiful and entertaining film. My kids couldn't get enough and even my relatively conservative, risk averse wife enjoyed the show. Very, very cool. You can buy the DVD here.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Back-to-Back BST

Yesterday was the standard lunch ride up Dry Creek over to City Creek then back to the office via the Avenues. Fox was on his cyclocross bike which I assumed would level the playing field a bit and enable me to stay with him. Nope, that didn't happen. The guy can shred on a rigid frame with carbon tubulars too. Unfortunately carbon wheels aren't too friendly when faced with 50+ mph gusts of wind on exposed ridgelines! As we dropped into City Creek the wind was seriously crazy. He got blown off the trail and I most likely would have joined him if I hadn't put a foot down when I came around a corner and saw that he was stopped up ahead. I don't know if I've ever experienced wind that strong while on the bike before.

Today we extended the ride by heading up to the zoo and jumping on the BST across the street. As we're climbing the first dirt section a kid cruises by me and Fox comes around too. 30 seconds later and I'm riding solo. On the ride up we had talked about taking a right off the main trail and riding some of the higher sections so I dropped down and climbed up Rattlesnake which turned out to be a different route than he had taken. After sorting things out via a quick cell phone call I met them at the gate where I was introduced to Dave, who decided to extend his ride and hang with us for a while. I say "with us" but really he was riding with Fox. Dave is only 17, (strange to think that's half my age...) and has some talent. He hasn't raced but was definitely interested in giving it a go after Fox told him about a few of the local options. The kid was strong and I was hitting everything hard in an attempt to keep the time gaps between us respectable. However, having those two rabbits up the trail to chase made for an excellent workout.

The Scalpel Fox rode was incredible. I didn't have a chance to ride it but just picking the thing up was amazing. It's hard to imagine a 4" travel full suspension bike can be so light. And can easily be made even lighter. I thought my BMC was respectable in the 25-26 pound range but the Scalpel made my bike seem like a DH rig in comparison. Not that the light weight caused Fox any issues when the trail turned down as the man was absolutely flying.

My ability to ride a mountain bike has improved tremendously compared to last year but spending time with Fox is an object lesson in how much more I have to learn. However, what's great about riding with him is that he takes the time to observe how I ride difficult (for me) sections of trail and provides constructive feedback. He's done that a few times over the course of the season and as I work to incorporate his suggestions I can see my skills improving. Riding with guys who are stronger than you can be frustrating at times but when you consider the long term benefits it's really one of the easiest and quickest ways to improve on the bike. Many thanks to all of you who have taken the time to share your experience with me this year.