Friday, November 28, 2008

Half Bogus

I fell asleep with the kids this afternoon (why is it that I always seem to take a longer nap than the kids?) which resulted in a much later than planned start to my ride. Leaving the house around 3:30 PM - after verifying that the sun would set at 5:08 PM - I headed towards Bogus Basin Road. Given the short amount of daylight remaining and temperatures in the 40's, climbing seemed to be the best option for burning as many calories as possible in the least amount of time. You see, my mom was preparing another turkey dinner since our family had missed out on most of the leftovers due to the Thanksgiving dinner being held at my uncle's home yesterday. I wasn't complaining, but this did mean I was faced with my second turkey dinner with all of the accompanying sides (potatoes, rolls, salad, pie, etc.) in two days, another good reason to suffer on a climb!

The only logistical problem with riding up Bogus so late in the day was the descent. If I climbed until sunset I would be descending in low light conditions, not to mention much colder temperatures. The problem was quickly solved when Cami agreed to drive up and meet me on the road. She took the kids to Camelsback Park to play before starting the drive to retrieve me at 4:45 PM. It worked out perfectly, as she met me at the big pullout about a half mile past the Forest Service sign just as the sun dipped below the western mountains. The sunset was spectacular, which she enjoyed, and I was able to maximize my 90 minute ride with some great climbing followed by a warm descent in the car.

It should be noted that my time to the Forest Service sign was a full 6 minutes slower than my PR set this summer. Initially I felt really good, and actually entertained hopes of recording a good time. However, my legs faded after 25 minutes and I had to shift into my 24. I guess that's to be expected given the probable 6 extra pounds I was carrying up the mountain!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving Day Shred

I had to dial back the food consumption slightly due to my only riding 1:47 before dinner. Of course, since I was on the single speed I imagine the total calories burned were higher than if I'd ridden the BMC. Regardless of the exact number, and whether I ended the day with a deficit or surplus (I'm pretty sure the latter applies), it was a sweet ride.

My cousin Brian and I hit the trails by bike while our wives headed out on foot. We had a two hour window in which to ride and managed to cover quite a few trails: Corrals, Trail 4, Sidewinder, Crestline, Red Cliffs, Chickadee and Red Fox were some of what we rode. There were a ton of folks outdoors and everybody was friendly and smiling. It was a nice way to prepare for the gluttony that would soon follow!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Bonus Time: Draper's Corner Canyon

It's hard to believe we're still riding sweet 1-track 2 days before Thanksgiving but I'm not going to complain. I met Kris at the Equestrian Center at 3 pm and we made our way over to Ghost Falls. While climbing up the lower section I snapped this shot of Kris:

Sometimes the pictures I take while on the bike turn out great while others are nothing but a blur of color & motion. Luckily this was one of the former.

As we climbed the road we decided to continue on the doubletrack up to Jacob's Ladder where we were caught from behind by one of the DNA strongmen riding a rigid 29er single speed. As we chatted for a bit and then watched him effortlessly (at least that's how it looked from behind!) climb away from us as the grade steepened towards the top, I wondered if I'd be doing the same thing had I chosen my ss for this ride. Once we started the descent, however, I was glad to have my full suspension bike.

Looking down on the haze in the valley:

After dropping out onto the road we climbed back up to the top of Clark's and bombed down. If any of you cross racers who still have some good form haven't done the Clark's TT now is the time to get it done. The trail is in fantastic condition for a run on your cx bikes. Go do it while you can.

Kris wanted to ride the steps so we did a quick run up to the Gas Line Trail before hitting the jumps and descending back to the cars, finishing with our traditional drop of the stone stairs.

I think 29" wheels are required to make it up these things:

Monday, November 24, 2008


Hello, my name is Mark and I am a dessertaholic.

After consuming 4 cinnamon rolls with cream cheese frosting today at work and leaving the office with a slice of chocolate cake to eat later tonight I am beginning to realize I may have a problem.

For as long as I can remember I've been a recreational user of desserts. However, this past month I have become a full blown junkie. Looking back I realize the problem was largely one of my own making. You see, by his own addmission Mark A. is a ski and bike junkie, but what he doesn't tell you is that he's a dealer for one of the region's most accomplished suppliers of edible controlled substances. Offering products such as chocolate chip cookies, chocolate brownies, chocolate cake, chocolate pie, cinnamon rolls and cinnamon cookies it's easy to understand how I moved from recreational to hardcore user so quickly.

I'm so far gone that instead of redeeming his offer of a free supply of diet coke for a year, I renegotiated for a year's supply of free dessert.

I need help...

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Top 3 Reasons to Ride a Rigid SS

Well, at least the top 3 reasons that came to mind after this evening's ride up Dry Creek and down Bobsled (starting and ending from the office):

1. Counterintuitive as it may be, climbing can actually be easier on a rigid single speed compared to suspension and gears (this is a manifestation of the "magic" of my single speed that I can't quite figure out). Case in point being the switchback at the top of Dry Creek and the subsequent 100 yards of trail and The Wall. I had my doubts that I'd be able to get up either of them with 1 gear but somehow I made both.

2. It's fun to say "On your left" as you pass a guy riding a geared bike while climbing The Wall.

3. Dropping into the Bobsled on a fully rigid single speed after nodding to the two downhillers resting on the bench.

29 & Single

And no, that doesn't refer to my age and marital status but rather the sweet jersey Rick designed that I was able to wear on my lunch ride yesterday. In fact, if not for the jersey I would have brought my full suspension, geared BMC. However, knowing that I couldn't possibly wear the new jersey while on a geared bike with 26" wheels without constant heckling I manned up and chose the single speed.

I had been told that we would be riding the Bobsled and while the thought of descending on a fully rigid bike wasn't as appealing as ripping the dh on my full suspension, I knew I could make it down ok. What worried me, however, was when I learned of the route we would be taking to the Bobsled: Up the Bonneville Shoreline Trail from City Creek. For those unfamiliar with this stretch of trail it was a great ride down and a killer ride up. I did the latter for the first time this fall on my BMC and can ride it without putting a foot down (most of the time - I'm about 50% on the tight, steep corner with the retaining wall). Of course, that's in my 22x30!

So with some trepidation I followed Brad, Bob, Doug and Mark up 200 S to South Temple to State Street to Memory Grove to City Creek. Once we hit the singletrack I knew I was in trouble as it doesn't take long for the trail to get steep. I managed to ride to the corner with the retaining wall where I had to step off and walk. I had to do the same at each of the two rocky corners farther up but other than the final 10 feet of the last steep, loose climb by the water tank the magic of the 1-gear kept me on the bike and I was able to ride everything quite well. Of course, I wasn't riding particularly fast, but by continuing on solo when everybody else stopped to regroup I was able to avoid their having to stop and wait for me to catch up.

The weather was fantastic and the trail in great condition. The Bobsled was still fun on a rigid bike and after 1:09 of riding I was back at the office. Hopefully the weekly lunch ride out of SLC Bicycle becomes a regular event as it was tons of fun to ride with the group.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

It's all the rage...

...Mexican Coke that is. After reading about the magic elixer on a few blogs this past week I found myself at Costco and couldn't resist buying a case to try. I also picked up a box of Izze so I have a backup if it's no good. I'm grilling filet for dinner so a Coke over ice should pair up nicely.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Bike fitness is not ski fitness

Ouch! I managed 5 runs at Brighton yesterday on my way in to work and now my legs and neck are totally wrecked. My neck because I took a couple of minor tumbles that must have strained it somehow and my legs, well, apparently they just aren't used to moving in a horizontal plane!

Can you believe that I'm actually disappointed in the current forecast? Tomorrow will mark 2 weeks since I've been on a bike and all I can think about now is how we need more snow!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

I'll be there, will you?

Western Conference Final
Real Salt Lake vs. Red Bull New York
Saturday, November 15th @ 7:30 PM

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Yellow Fork

This morning marked my first - and most likely only - ride on the Yellow Fork Trail in 2008. I know most people dislike the area because of this:

Green mud aside, I have yet to encounter a group of rude, mean, offensive or impatient horseback riders. In fact, I'd go so far as to say that all have been pleasant and friendly - much nicer than many hikers I've met on the trails.

Warren and Raul joined me for a quick loop which we rode clockwise. In a nutshell the ride is a big climb followed by a big descent. There isn't a whole lot of rolling terrain - you're either going up or you're going down. I like to bypass the last section of technical (for me) singletrack and finish the climb on doubletrack:

The views from the top are nice. Here's the south end of the Salt Lake Valley:

And here's the view looking north towards the copper mine:

When we started riding at 8:30 there was only one horse trailer in the parking lot. Ours were the only other cars. At 9:45 we returned to a bustle of activity. Luckily we only saw one group of riders on the horses the entire ride. Other than a deer and a couple of chipmunks we had the trail to ourselves.