Thursday, January 31, 2008

Best of 2007 - Pictures: Part III

I decided to summarize 2007 by creating a series of posts around my favorite images of the year, one for each month. The process has brought back a flood of memories and served as a nice reminder of how lucky I was to have discovered mountain biking 2 years ago!

May 10, 2007 (Thursday) - Clark's Trail - Draper, Utah

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This day marked my first experience with Clark's and, while I had fun, I had yet to appreciate how much flow this little section of trail offers on the way down. That appreciation grew with each pre-ride of the Draper ICUP race course when, in the week leading up to the race, I rode the course four times! The Draper trail network keeps getting better and better with new trails cut each season, but in my opinion none will ever surpass Clark's. If this trail doesn't leave you with a smile on your face I don't know what will. It's that much fun.

Note: I'm going to take some creative liberty and include two pictures from June. And while I rode some incredible trails this month, the shots I have chosen are of my kids. Riding with the guys is great fun, but there's nothing more enjoyable than spending quality time with your family on the trails. It doesn't matter if we're riding, hiking, spectating an event or just messing around having fun looking for bugs or cool rocks, it's all good and all time well spent.

June 16, 2007 (Saturday) - Deer Valley - Park City, Utah

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This was on our way back to the car after watching the Pro Mens XC race won by JHK. Kate scored the free hat at the Subaru dinner we attended after the race. She's a poser and definitely not shy of the camera!

June 29, 2007 (Friday) - Draper Equestrian Center - Draper, Utah

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This was taken on the west side of the gully near the Equestrian Park. To be honest I was a little nervous encouraging Alder to ride this short, steep section of trail. I told him to keep his butt behind his seat and stay low so he didn't pitch over the bars when he dropped into the steep section. He followed my advice perfectly and rode it with a big smile on his face. Many of my most memorable moments on the bike came on recovery rides with Alder.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Best of 2007 - Pictures: Part II

Note: Originally my plan was to cover a quarter (3 months) with each post in this best of 2007 series. However, my thoughts on the April 2007 picture resulted in a much longer post than expected. So I'm going to just go with the one picture today and post May and June tomorrow.

April 7, 2007 (Saturday) - Hell of the North Road Race - Salt Lake City, Utah

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It's funny that the only photo of my road bike in this best of 2007 series is one where I'm racing on the dirt! What that means, if you havn't already guessed, is this picture was taken at the annual Hell of the North road race. This marked my second attempt at racing HON and like last year my goal was to stay with the lead group. Unfortunately any chance of realizing my goal rode away from me near the end of the first lap of five.

Up to the moment when I lost contact I thought I was riding a solid race. Situated near the front of the Cat 5 pack, I entered the dirt among the top 5-7 riders, and was pleased to find myself on Chris Sherwin's wheel. For those of you not familiar with Chris, he possess pro-level mountain bike skills and seemed to present the perfect wheel to follow through the deep gravel I knew was coming. Everything was going great until the rider in front of Chris hit a section of deep gravel, fishtailed, and reacted by hitting his brakes (all of you mountain bikers know that brakes are not your friend in the soft stuff)! I could tell Chris was a little annoyed as we too applied our brakes and then accelerated back up to speed. The effort hurt but I hadn't lost my position and was hanging on. That is, until it happened again. I could tell Chris was ticked this time but as before he was able to slow down and then reaccelerate to maintain his position with the lead group. Sadly, I blew up trying to regain my lost momentum in the deep gravel and lost his wheel. Then, to add insult to the injury of falling off the lead group, I watched the main group ride by me seconds after I turned off the dirt as I struggled to find my legs.

Crossing the start/finish to begin lap 2 I was hit with the reality that in a single lap I had gone from feeling strong and confident to being filled with frustration and embarrassment. As I rode by my wife and kids for the second time I hung my head and muttered that I was wasting my time. At that moment I just wanted to pull over and get off the bike but didn't want to do it with my family watching. So, I kept riding. Luckily it wasn't long before I regrouped with another Cat 5 rider, we picked up a third, and soon we started passing shelled riders. I wasn't making huge progress but at least I was moving up instead of going backwards. In the end I stuck with it until I'd finished the race (much to the excitement of my kids who asked if I had won!).

After riding back to my car, changing my clothes and loading my bike onto the rack I decided to head home before results were posted. Since I hadn't been in contention I wasn't worried about not sticking around to verify and confirm my official placing. However, when I later checked the results online I saw that I had been given a DNF. What?! That really pissed me off, especially since I had wanted to quit after that first lap but overcame my negative thoughts and finished the race. Unfortunately the time to protest had been after the race when the results were first posted so by the time I realized the mistake there was nothing I could do. DNF and all I was still pleased at how I had negotiated the race. One of these years I'm sure I'll realize my goal of hanging with the lead group but for me, this picture represents a good ride regardless of what my official result may say.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Best of 2007 - Pictures: Part I

I decided to summarize 2007 by creating a series of posts around my favorite images of the year, one for each month. The process has brought back a flood of memories and served as a nice reminder of how lucky I was to have discovered mountain biking 2 years ago!

January 3, 2007 (Wednesday) - Trail 100 - Phoenix, Arizona

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I started 2007 in the desert - literally as the family and I rolled up to my brother's home the afternoon of Dec. 31st. This was my first ride on Trail 100 and with the exception of a low speed, climbing tip-over into a pile of jagged rocks the ride couldn't have been better. What's amazing about this trail is the fact that it sits right in the middle of Phoenix (which, I might add, is not a small city) yet looking at this picture you'd never know.

February 22, 2007 (Tuesday) - Secret Trail, McDowell Mountain Regional Park - Fountain Hills, Arizona

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Those of you who have followed my blog know how much I love riding the trails of McDowell Mountain Regional Park. On this particular day I was cruising solo and stopped at a junction to consult my map. An older couple riding from the opposite direction that stopped to say hello proved to be a fun and detailed source of information. They owned homes in Bend, Oregon and Tuscon, Arizona but were spending a few days at McDowell for a change of scenery. After talking for a while they shared with me the location of the Secret Trail. You'll note that it's a much tighter, more meandering single track than the other McDowell trails, owing to the fact that it receives much less use. This picture is currently set as my desktop image at work and each day tempts me to head south. As much as I enjoyed the riding on this trip I'll never forget the drive down for the massive winter storm I endured between Salt Lake City and Beaver, Utah. It took me just over 14 total hours of solo traveling to reach my brother's house but man, it was worth it!

March 19, 2007 (Monday) - Bonneville Shoreline Trail - Salt Lake City, Utah

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Springtime in Salt Lake City for me is all about lunch rides on the BST. This time of year the surrounding hillsides are just beginning to wake from their winter dormancy with the grasses showing the first hint of green. The trail dries quickly owing to the fact that it faces south and is exposed to the sun, making it a popular early season ride/run/hike for many. Less than a 20 minute ride from my office, I spend a lot of time riding the BST in March and April.

Friday, January 25, 2008

2008 Winter Outdoor Retailers Show

Cruised the show with JE, checking out the goods and scoring a bit of swag. My best freebie was a tube of Nuun which I've been wanting to try for a while. We charged the generators by laying down some watts on the Delta 7 Arantix and then refueled at the Clif booth. Fatty would have thought he'd died and gone to heaven with all the free Clif Blocks available for consumption. And how could I pass up the chance to take a picture of the Peace Frog himself for my son? Yeah, there was lots and lots of variety amongst the merchants.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Afternoon at Alta

This afternoon I spent 4 hours at Alta enjoying the snow, blue sky and sun with my brother-in-law. He's a Lieutenant in the US Army who, after 10 months in Iraq, is enjoying the last week of his 20 day leave. All of his ski gear is at home in Washington so he's renting equipment and shredding in his Army issued foul weather camo. And when I say shredding I'm being serious which was a surprise as I'd figured that after close to a year of living in the desert he'd be a bit rusty. Speaking of which, my skills were lacking today and I spent most of my time on the blue squares accessible via the Sugarloaf, Supreme and Collins lifts. As much as I dig Alta, one thing their lifts lack are the foot rests so common at other resorts. I'm sure that wasn't the reason my quads were burning mid-way down each run but man, being able to take the weight of my skis/boots off my legs on the lift would have been a welcome relief!

Monday, January 21, 2008


Set a new personal record this morning on the trainer: 2 hours. Yeah baby, that is crazy long for me! When I jumped on my plan was to do 45 minutes in this morning and 45 minutes in the evening. To be honest, I'm not sure how I went from 45 minutes to 2 hours but hey, the top secret training plan called for more bike hours this week (apparently I've been doing a little too much cross training lately...) so why not see how long I could go? At one point I actually thought I might go for 2.5 but the time between 1:45 and 2:00 was torture so I called it good. Tomorrow is strength, Wednesday is a downhill ski day, Thursday is a xc ski day (most likely Mountain Dell after work) and Friday is more bike. Saturday will probably be a little bike followed by strength. Not a bad week. Having the option to ski has made dealing with all the snow and cold temperatures much easier to manage. Not to mention providing another winter training opportunity: Snow shoveling. It took a solid 45 minutes to clear my driveway this morning! No snow blower for me.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Millcreek by Moonlight

My xc ski boots were delivered yesterday so Kris and I did the logical thing and headed up Millcreek after work. Originally we'd planned to ski Saturday morning but I was worried about crowds and, more importantly, I wanted to use my new Petzl Tikka XP headlamp! We started skiing from the gate at 5 pm and between the remaining daylight and the moonlight that followed we reached the upper parking lot at 7 pm without needing to turn on our headlamps. It was a fantastic night and I'm always surprised how, once you leave the light pollution of the big city behind, the moonlight is strong enough to cast shadows. The scenery was spectacular, our surroundings quiet save for the sound of running water from the nearby stream, the air cold and fresh, the sky clear and the moon shining. It's funny to think that just 2 weeks ago I was seriously down on winter.

Thursday, January 17, 2008


Today's assignment is to read this article and create an intelligent, thoughtful 1-2 sentence response (to be submitted as a Comment to this post) on whether or not a member of Slipstream-Chipotle will win a stage of the 2008 Tour de France and if so, who it will be and why. Flahute earns a bonus 10 points for posting an excerpt and link to the story on his blog. It's a little long but come on, it's dark and like 22 degrees outside so what else were you planning on doing this evening?

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

In search of good karma?

Look no further. Whoever drops the first greenback into this jar is going to hit the karma jackpot. If you want some it's yours for the taking at the Avenues Bakery on South Temple.

The veggie quiche is good too.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Skiing Can Be Cold

Well, maybe it isn't all the time but today at Alta is was FREEZING COLD. And no, I'm not exaggerating. Kris' car thermometer read 7 degrees when we started at 3:00 pm and 5 degrees when we finished at 4:45. Add to that the gusting wind and it was downright frigid. My core temperature was great, the problem was with my extremities. My toes, fingers and face all suffered a bit but in the end I survived to thoroughly enjoy my first time back on the slopes in a long, long time. All told we managed to get in 7 runs which seemed pretty good given that a fair amount of skating and poling was required to keep moving when the slope mellowed and the wind was gusting in your face. No pictures as it was just too cold to take my hands out of my gloves!

You can read Kris' report here. Don't let his post fool you. He had a great time and can't wait to do it again!

PS - I also fell once and yes, it was the snow's fault too.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Not sure how they do it...

So I was doing a bit of surfing this evening, checking out the latest goings on in the world of Utah cycling, when it struck me: I really, really suck at riding my bike indoors. In the space of a few minutes I read about guys going for 2, 3, 4, even 6+ hours. Such behavior is just plain crazy in my book, but if you're into that sort of thing check out the details below:

- Todd does a "hard" 2 hours
- DH grinds for 2.5 hours
- Sohm knocks out 3 hours
- JE spins 4 hours
- Fatty brings home the gold with 6+ hours

What's the secret guys? Though, to be perfectly honest, I'm not sure I really want to know...

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Almost There

My downhill skis are tuned and the bindings adjusted for my current weight. All that remains is to pick them up and head up a canyon. Maybe tomorrow afternoon but probably not until Tuesday (ski free at Alta after 3 baby).

This past Friday night I picked up some new gear:

- Ski goggles
- Petzl Tikka XP headlamp
- Downhill ski poles
- XC ski poles
- XC skis
- Socks
- XC ski boots (on order)

Hopefully my xc boots will arrive this week so I can do another night run up Millcreek.

On Saturday I messed around on my mountain bike, riding some canal roads and the Riverton/Bluffdale section of the Jordan River Parkway trail between 12300 South and 14400 South. Surprisingly most of the trail was clear of snow which was a bummer as I was looking forward to riding on the white stuff. I must admit to feeling better about winter now that I'm actually doing something with the snow. Of course, that doesn't keep me from wishing I was down south logging the big hours with the participants of Camp Lynda! Of course, I'm kidding myself to think I could be pounding out 50+ mile days on the dirt in January.

Thursday, January 10, 2008


While I have yet to venture out and ski at a resort I did take some baby steps tonight by putting on my boots and stepping into my bindings. I also verified that my ski bibs still work even though they are size XL. Thank goodness for velcro adjustment at the waist and shoulder straps! One issue I did have was getting my feet into the boots. The problem may have been caused by their temperature (they have been stored on a shelf in the garage so were cold) but whatever the reason it took me a good 2-3 minutes to force my feet in. Is it normal to struggle putting boots on? I remember having the same difficulty years ago when I skied with some regularity. Once my feet are seated in the boots everything feels great but getting there is a royal pain in the !#$. I've been unable to locate my old poles and goggles so those items are now on my shopping list. On the way home from work tonight I popped into the Sandy REI where a salesman showed me the new style of trigger straps which looked very cool. Another thing I should probably do is adjust the release setting on my bindings since I'm probably 30-40 pounds lighter than when I last skied.

Has anybody tried Alta's Ski Free After 3 deal? You only have access to the Sunnyside chair and all of the available runs are either green or blue but since it's been so long since I last skied I'm thinking it might be a good way to start.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Making Peace with Winter

This evening, with Kris' encouragement, I extended an olive leaf to Old Man Winter and went cross country skiing up Millcreek Canyon. Given that this was my first experience with xc skis I'd have to say I did quite well. Kris, I'm sure, thought otherwise and was probably wishing he could open it up, but graciously stayed with me. I didn't fall and while my technique was lacking and my borrowed boots were too tight, I kept the skis moving forward for 1 hour and 20 minutes. Needless to say we didn't make it to the upper lot but I figured it was best to leave something for another day to ensure I returned. Also, my right foot was killing me. Tonight was also the first time I used a head lamp, also courtesy of Kris. Seeing as daylight is currently a rare commodity the thought of being able to ski after work is appealing. I can see myself doing this at least once a week.

Let me know if you have any specific recommendations as far as skis, boots, bindings and poles go. Right now I'm planning to stick with traditional cross country gear as I don't see myself doing much (if any) skiing off groomed trails.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Mandatory Helmet Law?

There seems to be a growing movement aimed at encouraging Fox to wear a helmet when training (he wears one when he races because the promoters require it). Personally, I'm all for it. He's a good, loyal friend who's gone out of his way on many occasions to help me out. I'd hate to see something bad happen to him on or off the bike. However, that being said, he's also an adult and as much as I'd like to see him in a helmet every time he rides it's not my call. This reminds me of a conversation I had last month with my brother. You see, my sister-in-law's dad owns a Harley Davidson dealership in Scottsdale. He's loved motorcycles his entire life. But guess what? He doesn't wear a helmet when he rides and is firmly against mandatory helmet laws. Does that make his family rest easy at night? No way. They'd like nothing more than to see him wear a helmet. Yet, it's not their decision. So they continue to love and spend time with him hoping that one day, he'll change his mind. In situations like this we can encourage, educate, promote and advocate the use of a helmet with the understanding that the ultimate decision isn't ours to make. It sucks, but that's the way it is.

Anyway, Fox asked me to re post the interview I originally published in June 2007 where he addresses this issue. If you'd like to read the entire piece click the link below.

Interview with a Fox

Why don't you ride with a helmet?

Fox: I never crash, it's 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 stitches 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 any one'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.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008


So a few days ago I was tagged by Bob to post 5 things people don't know about me. Since then I've been trying to come up with something relatively interesting and, while I've probably failed, this is the best I could manage:

1. I speak Portuguese. Well, at least I did 13 years ago when I served a Church mission to Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil.

2. When I was a teenager my friends and I had a thing for mooning. Once we climbed to the top of a local McDonald's and mooned the people driving by. I also recall an on-the-bike moon I performed for an older couple out for a leisurely evening ride. Pretty juvenile I know, but I'll bet that's news to everybody but Goat (who participated in both events).

3. I have a BS in Conservation Biology from BYU and have worked in the software industry since graduating in 1998.

4. My final winter semester at BYU I had a season ski pass to Sundance. My last class was a 1 credit hour Organic Chemistry lab. I knew that I had enough points for a C grade regardless of what I scored on the final exam which was to be adminstered in the testing center. So, upon waking to a powder day, I took the test in my ski clothes, marking the multiple choice selections randomly, scored a 0% and was out the door and on my way to Sundance less than 5 minutes after I entered!

5. I made a deal with my wife that if I could purchase a mountain bike I'd be agreeable to our having another baby. Those of you with wives will recognize this as more of a favor granted to me than anything else. One thing I have learned after 10 years of marriage is that when my wife decides that she really wants something, she inevitably gets it! So far it's been 2 years and she has yet to cash in my promise. However, it's looking like 2008 could be the year...

Alright, let's see if Kris, Goat, JE, Piotr and RB can come up with anything good.