Sunday, August 31, 2008

Bring It

A line of severe thunderstorms is moving over Nortern and Central Utah this evening. Strong gusty microburst winds over 70 mph, hail and heavy rain will accompany this "squall line" as it moves through the Wasatch Front and areas to the south and east. Preparations for potential severe weather should be made by bringing in loose items scattered throughout your yard; as well as moving family members inside of a sturdy structure due to intense lighting that will arrive with this line of storms. This surge of tropical moisture has been slower in developing over Central Utah, but will move northward to clash with a cold front, while much of the remainder of the Beehive state will see gusty shifting winds. Some concern needs to be placed on the burn scare areas; in particular the Corner Canyon/Draper fire area for potential flash flooding and mud slides. As the coldest air arrives tomorrow, periods of morning rain will turn to afternoon showers in the Central and Northern parts of the state, while the south will become partly cloudy and rather windy on Labor Day. For those venturing into the high country, there will be periods of morning snow on Labor Day from about I-70 northward above 8,000 feet, including much of the Wasatch Plateau, the Bookcliffs, Tavaputs, Uinta and Wasatch Mountains. Several inches of wet snow will accumulate above 9,000 feet tomorrow morning, but snow showers will be decreasing in the afternoon. Temperatures will be as much as 35 degrees colder on Monday as compared to Saturday, so everyone should be prepared for changeable weather this holiday weekend.

Meteorologist Dan Pope-Live 5 Weather HD. Sunday August 31, 2008.

Anybody up for a Millcreek ride next week? Those trails are going to be sweet in a few days... I haven't been on my mountain bike since the last Solitude race - think I'll remember how to ride dirt?

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Butterfield #1

I can't decide which canyon is more difficult: Little Cottonwood or Butterfield. Little C is relentless from the start while Butterfield starts out deceptively easy. However, once you hit the switchbacks mid-way up Butterfield it's game on until you reach the top. If you think climbing 9% grades is hard do Butterfield. You won't believe how easy it feels when you exit the 16% switchbacks!

I added a poll to the sidebar for you to cast your vote. I'm going to withhold judgement until I've climbed Little Cottonwood again.

Joining me in the fun this evening was Todd, Warren, Kris and Jared. I don't think Todd broke a sweat even though he rode from his house in Pleasant Grove. Does he look tired to you?

Warren made it look easy in his 39x26. Me, I kept waiting for him to sit up and chat but he never did, forcing me to fight just to keep him in sight!

Kris shrugged off the effects of yesterday's gastric distress and finished strong. Jared, after throwing down for a mile in the pool this morning, learned why Tri courses don't usually include bike courses with sections of 16% grade!

All in all it was a fun ride with the highlight being the bombing descent (once we exited the switchbacks) and run into Herriman.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Need a job?

If you have experience with any of this...

- java
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- xslt
- oracle
- bea weblogic

...from either a developer or DBA perspective and are looking for a sweet job shoot me an email using the link in the sidebar. You can check out the company here.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Everybody's Doing It

Well, climbing that is. Especially Todd, who dropped the Nebo Loop twice this week: Once climbing from Payson and again climbing from Nephi. I've never tried the latter and need to give it a shot sometime. Once crazy idea I've had for a killer climbing ride up Nebo: Start in Payson, climb up and over to Nephi, refuel, reverse course and climb up and over to Payson. Both sides in a single day. Has anybody done this before?

Today I met JE and Matt for a ride to the top of American Fork Canyon and back. Being gluttons for punishment we climbed the north side of Suncrest on the way to Alpine. This was my first time up that particular beauty in 2008 and unfortunately I found it to be the same difficult, unrelenting, brute of a climb it was last year! After a quick stop at Chevron for a Coke and PayDay bar we began the climb up American Fork Canyon.

That climb is pure sweetness and thankfully the guys weren't looking to set any personal bests (well, since this was their first time up I suppose it actually was a pb) so I could enjoy the scenery. Unfortunately, JE had to be home by noon so he flipped around to start the descent just after the Timpooneke turn-off. Matt and I pressed on to the summit and as we climbed I tried talking him into extending the ride to Sundance and back.

Luckily (hindsight is always 20/20!) he declined my offer and, when he began to reconsider at the summit, I thought we'd better just head down. After a great descent - interrupted for a few minutes by a super slow RV we had to pass - we again stopped at the Chevron for another Coke (well, I had a coke since Matt hasn't consumed any soda for nearly 3 months!) and to fill our bottles with water. We set out and soon found ourselves fighting a stiff head/crosswind as we began the ascent up the south side of Suncrest. It was at this point that I really begain to appreciate our decision to scratch the trip to Sundance. What should have been a relatively easy climb quickly turned into something a bit more difficult than I wanted at that stage in the ride. However, the climb isn't long and we soon found ourselves cruising down to Draper. 20 minutes later we were back at the house, sipping a V-8 on ice in the shade.

Since JE's Garmin 305 had dead batteries, here are the stats as recorded by my bike computer and Suunto T6:

Ride time: 4:40
Distance: 61 miles
Elevation Gained: 6066 feet

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Tour of Utah: Stage #4

I woke up totally exhausted after arriving home from Boise at 11 pm. Luckily Kate was looking forward to watching the bike race and basically talked me into going. You've got to love it when your 6 year old daughter begs you to take her to a race! We made a quick stop at Wendy's for some chili to go on the way to Little Cottonwood Canyon. Pulling over about a quarter mile past Tanners Flat, we had a little picnic in the back of the Explorer while we waited. About 5 minutes before the lead riders came by Kate scored a cow bell from the Toyota United team van. That was cool and she loved ringing it as each group passed.

Here's the leader, Blake Caldwell of Garmin-Chipotle:

Jeff Louder was in hot pursuit (he would eventually bridge to the leader and win the stage):

After the last riders came by we drove to White Pine for a hike. You see, Kate had packed a granola bar that she wanted to eat in the wilderness. We walked about 10 minutes up the trail before flipping around and returning to the bridge where she ate her snack and threw rocks into the water. And to think I was going to skip the race and stay at home.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Boise Day #5: Heading Home

I'm beat! Today I rolled easy for an hour with Cami before packing the car and heading home. However, before we hit the road I was able to spend some time in the garden and scored the following: Corn, tomatoes, cucumbers, green peppers, raspberries and yellow squash.


Yellow squash and zuchinni:

Corn & Sweet Potatoes:

Corn, Cantoulope & Raspberries:


Homemade Pie Tracker
Friday: Apple (to go!)

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Boise Day #4: Celebrating 11 Years

Today was our 11 year wedding anniversary which Cami and I celebrated with a big 4.5 hour ride, followed by a nice dinner on the town. We rode to Bogus Basin Ski Resort and while Cami didn't have the greatest legs (by her own admission) she did a great ride. As we began the ascent to Bogus Basin (15.6 miles and 3,497 feet of elevation gain according to my Suunto T6) I remarked that the climb would be a type of our marriage: Lots of difficult, tough, hard work rewarded by happiness, satisfaction and a great feeling of accomplishment. Having said that, I'm not sure how to interpret the fact that my average heart rate for the climb was a very low 111 bpm. Perhaps being married to Cami is much easier than being married to me? :)

Dinner was at Barbacoa which, for the Utah readers, is NOT related to the restaurants of the same name in Salt Lake City. Filet for me, cooked medium rare, pasta primavera for Cami, with an appetizer of guacamole prepared tableside and a complimentary flan for dessert. Well, for our first dessert. As soon as I get the kids in bed I'll settle down with a generous slice of pie with an equally generous side of ice cream!


It isn't easy (at least not for me) to take a picture with my Blackberry of my wife and I kissing after a 3,500 foot climb. Even with the tiny mirror on the back of the phone it required numerous attempts, mainly because Cami kept laughing.

Yes, Cami wore a helmet for the entire ride. She just took it off when we stopped at the top. Me, I was too lazy to remove my sunglasses from my helmet so I just left it on.

My gift to Cami was a PayDay candy bar. Sounds lame I know, but after finishing the climb she was pretty stoked when I pulled it out of my jersey pocket!

Homemade Pie Tracker
Thursday: Raspberry

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Boise Day #3: Easy

Cami and I rolled easy today in preparation for our anniversary ride tomorrow (not sure if we'll be riding road or dirt as she is making the call and hasn't decided yet). Plus, my legs were a bit toasty after the hard effort on Bogus yesterday.

In the afternoon we visited my grandparents who live in Caldwell. Wednesday is when they water their lawn and I've been wanting the kids to check it out for years. You see, they don't use conventional sprinklers but rather flood it with secondary water. When finished the lawn is covered with 2-3" of water which my brother, sisters and I loved to run around in back in the day. Well, my kids dialed it up a notch this afternoon and showed me how to really play in the water. Kate was doing gymnastics: front walkovers, back walkovers and cartwheels, enjoying the splashing that accompanied each move. Alder perfected a front slide that saw him covering 8-10 feet on his belly after diving forward at a full sprint. That, and an improvised dance routine that Twitch and Josh of So You Think You Can Dance fame would envy. Dancing is so much better when performed on flooded grass! I'm kicking myself for not having a video camera to capture the fun. As a parent it's great to see your kids experiencing memories you enjoyed as kids. Plus, all of the time they spend with their great-grandparents is a huge bonus in my book. Me, I didn't have the chance to get to know my great-grandparents so I try to give them as many opportunities as possible to get to know them.

Homemade Pie Tracker
Wednesday: Rhubarb

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Boise Day #2: Half Bogus Climb

Yeah baby! I set a new personal best - taking 59 seconds off of my previous best time - for the half Bogus Basin climb to the Forest Service sign today. Of course I had CarboRocket in my bottle. However, the secret weapon today was my Blackberry. How did my super phone help me climb faster? It was pumping out some sweet techno beats! Since wind noise isn't an issue while climbing, I maximized the volume of my speakerphone, started Umpacast #10, placed the phone in my handy iPod pocket in my jersey and enjoyed the high tempo music all the way up. Very cool and suprisingly loud, not to mention safer than riding with earphones.

Homemade Pie Tracker
Tuesday: Cherry

Monday, August 11, 2008

Boise Day #1: Single Speed Warm-up

This morning I picked up a friend from High School and former college roommate for a nice ride on the Boise Ridge-to-Rivers trail system. Ryan is a NASA engineer who is designing the new space suits to be used by the Constellation space program once the shuttle is retired in 2010. He works in Houston, TX and thanks to the rising cost of gasoline bought a bike earlier this year and is now an avid commuter. Living at sea level he was intimidated not only by the elevation of Boise, but also the climbing we would be doing. You see, in Houston when peope - be they cyclists or runners - want to work on their climbing they go to the largest "hill" in the area. Only this particular "hill" isn't what you and I would consider a hill but is instead a highway overpass! Ryan said that on Saturday mornings there is a line of riders and runners going up, down, up, down, etc. doing repeats on the climb. I thought that was pretty funny. Lack of relevant training aside, he did great today and made it up all but the steepest climb when his rear wheel spun out and he had to put a foot down. Other than that he rode everything which was quite impressive considering today was his first mountain bike ride.

Homemade Pie Tracker
Sunday: Apple
Monday: Raspberry

Thursday, August 7, 2008

OutdoorRetailer Show & American Fork Canyon

I applied for a media pass today but fear I submitted my request too late. As Editor of the UtRider blog I feel it's my duty to report on the latest advances in cycling equipment and technology. If anybody can hook me up with a pass it would be much appreciated.

On a different subject, I somehow managed to drag myself out of bed at 5 AM this morning to meet my neighbor at 5:30 AM for a 6 AM ride up American Fork Canyon. Craziness I know. We drove to the mouth of the canyon, rode to the summit, descended, everybody drove to work/home and I rode home, climbing the south side of Suncrest as I made my way back to Riverton. The ride was great and I ended up with 2 hours 50 minutes - all before 9:15 AM!

Kris joined us and, after about 20 minutes of riding, asked how I felt. I responded with the truth and said, "Not good" which looking back was probably the wrong thing to say as he promptly went to the front of our little group, increased the pace and soon rode away with Craig, another neighbor of mine on his wheel. Nice. Not wanting to put my nose into the wind (The stiff headwind blowing down the canyon reminded me why I'm not a big fan of early morning climbs!) I stayed on the wheel of the other two guys. It wasn't long before Mike (another neighbor) took off in an attempt to catch Kris and Craig who had opened up a nice gap. The wind was still blowing and my legs still felt heavy so I watched the three of them ride away while I stayed on the wheel of James. As we passed the road to Tibble Fork the grade increased and I noticed that the wind had all but stopped. So I did what any good cyclist who has been sucking another's wheel for a long time does: I made a casual comment about it being time to "catch those guys", shifted up two gears and rode away. Yeah, not very nice I know but hey, I couldn't stay on his wheel forever could I?

I caught and passed Mike - who, I should note, had finished RANATAD on Monday - as I continued my chase of the others. A few minutes later I caught Craig, who had fallen off the pace, but Kris was still up the road. Finally, after a couple of hard efforts, I managed to claw myself up to his wheel. Kris, for his part, acted as if he didn't know I was there which suited me fine as I was gasping for breath as I struggled to recover. Any attempt at conversation on my part would have betrayed my fragile condition and the last thing I needed at that point was an acceleration. So I stayed quiet, only shifting when Kris shifted, focused on his rear wheel. I managed to hang on and by the time we reached the road to Timpooneke I had recovered. At that point I started to chat with Kris, hoping it would keep the pace civil until we reached the summit. My tactic worked and we finished the climb together. The others weren't far behind and it wasn't long before I found myself in a near hypothermic state as I descended the mountain. Luckily the descent was over quickly and after a quick refuel of cold chocolate milk (thanks Kris!) I headed for home.

A sweet ride for sure but one I don't think will be repeated soon. Getting up that early was brutal and I spent the afternoon at work trying to figure out how & where I could take a nap (with no luck, I should add)!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Solitude Full Throttle Series: Race #7

The race last night was filled with new experiences for me:

- I had a really, really good start. So good in fact that I could still see the front 4-5 crazy fast guys once we entered the singletrack.

- I made it through my nemesis tech section of trail 50% of the time. What was different last night is that I cleaned it on lap #2. This was a big deal because I was working hard to maintain contact with Jim at the time and a bobble would have most likely resulted in my getting dropped.

- I hit my head on a low branch during lap #1. At least I assume it was a branch... I've never seen or hit a tree branch on this course before, so I'm still not 100% sure where or what it was. The impact wasn't hard enough to knock me off my bike but it certainly got my attention. All I do know for sure is that I'm glad I was wearing a helmet.

- Nobody caught me on the lap #1 downhill. It was nice to have Jim's line to follow.

- On lap #2, following Jim's line again after catching him on the fire road (he gapped me at the top of the paved climb), I washed out in a corner and went down. This was the first time I've crashed during a race (I'm not counting tip-overs in technical sections as crashes) and actually consider it a positive since it shows that I was really trying to push it on the downhill. Unfortunately, it also resulted in my getting caught and passed by three guys in my group as I struggled to get up and regain my rythm.

- I finished with my fastest time of the series. It feels good to wrap up with a personal best that could have been even better had I not crashed.

- It rained pretty hard during lap #2. All other races have been bone dry. I would have preferred some rain before the race to calm the dust down but at this point in the summer (and the associated lack of precipitation) I'll take any rain, anytime it happens to fall!

- I continued my streak in the raffle and scored a nice Cannondale t-shirt. Do I need to buy a Cannondale before I can wear it?

All in all I really enjoyed the Solitude Tuesday night series. I completed four races, DNF'd one and skipped the other two due to fatigue and sickness. Many thanks to all of the organizers, sponsors, racers and spectators for making the event so much fun! I'm looking forward to next year.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

AF Canyon is Expensive!

It cost $81 to ride the American Fork Canyon trails today with Matt. That's $6 to enter the canyon and $75 for a parking ticket. Regarding the latter, all I'm going to say is I wasn't in an official parking space but seriously, when I parked I thought I was. A car was backing out as we entered the lot at the Timpooneke trailhead, I scored the now vacant space, and all was good. There were two cars to my right, towards Timp. Surely I was in a designated parking space right? Wrong! Turns out I was just outside of the last marked space. Tons of cars had tickets on their windows as the lot was PACKED when we arrived at 10:30ish. Luckily it seemed almost everyone was hiking the trail to Timp as we encountered very little traffic on the trails.

As far as our ride went we took the standard route to Ridge 157 to Deer Creek South Fork to the summit where we jumped back on Ridge 157 and climbed back up to the main intersection. This time we dropped down Tibble Fork and then finished by climbing the road back to the car. With the exception of a little dust (ok, there was a LOT of dust in some sections) and a hiker who obviously felt he owned the trail (he never uttered a word, expressing his disdain for our kind by taking his very sweet time yielding the trail. Whatever, we were still extremely polite and friendly) it was a fantastic ride.