Friday, December 17, 2010

Womens Ski Recommendations?

My wife had her first ski lesson last week at Brighton and (thankfully!) loved it. Note that the lesson was administered by Brighton Ski School instructors and not by me. After 13 years of marriage I know better than to try and teach her myself! Plus I really don't know what I'm doing given that I've never had a lesson myself. Anyway, she had so much fun that she almost immediately began asking when she could go up again. Yesterday we made it back for lesson #2 and as before, she had a great time. Speaking of lessons, early season is a fantastic time to go as there are few - if any - other students. In fact, both days she was the only person in her respective group ("First Time" last week and "Learning to Turn" yesterday) which resulted in a 1 hour private. The first time she even had two instructors - how cool is that?!

Last night she asked when she could go up again which tells me that I need to stop renting her equipment and buy some gear. Honestly I wasn't sure if she'd enjoy it, but now that it's clear skiing is something she'll want to continue doing, I need to figure out what to buy. My problem is that I'm inclined to get a mid-fat ski (85-95mm waist, something like the Bluehouse Spark or Line Celebrity 90) and let her grow into it, which I'm guessing isn't the best option for a beginner trying to learn proper technique. In that case should I just go with a lower-end frontside (aka, groomers) ski and then upgrade to something more versatile next season? If so, what is that ski?

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Friday, October 22, 2010

Souq Waqif

These two guys were amazing. In the office or out, Ibrahim and Medhat were a pleasure to be around. Many thanks!

Here are three pictures from inside a "sweets and snacks" shop. Ibrahim bought nuts for his family, I purchased candy and figs for mine.

With Ibrahim acting as negotiater, I paid 200 QR for seven bracelets from this vendor, 120 QR less than his asking price of 320 QR.

Check out the shesha pipes these people are smoking. They were everywhere in the souk, as well as the Egpytian restaurant where we had dinner earlier this week.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Pictures of Doha

I can't post pictures of Doha without including a few skyscrapers!

Toyotas are by far the most popular car in Qatar. This color is a favorite:

A little different than the bike shops back home:

I didn't realize Toys R Us was a global brand:

Turkey Central Restaurant served one of the best lunches of my life today:

Hidden under this bread is some of the tastiest chicken I've had the pleasure to eat:

Mixed grill of beef and chicken meat and kafta:

Assorted salads. The Hummus was amazing:

This bread was made to be dipped in hummus:

Looks a little different but tastes the same:

Avocado "juice" for dessert:

Monday, October 18, 2010


The view from my hotel room looking to the right:

The view from my hotel room looking to the left:

The restaurant where we picked up lunch:

Burger King sign:

Doha is full of crazy skyscrapers:

Looking at my hotel across a sand parking lot with the building where I'm working reflected in the glass:

Two Mustangs parked in front of my office building:

Check out the license plate:

The appetizers at dinner tonight:

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Upper Millcreek Canyon

It's going to be a while before the upper Millcreek Canyon trails are ready to ride. However, there is a very short south-facing section of the Little Water trail that is dry. Five minutes of riding probably doesn't justify the effort to get there, but if you're desperate here are some pictures.

Looking at the Little Water trail from the upper parking lot:

Looking down the new Little Water Bypass trail at the point we turned around:

Kris hiked a bit farther after it got too wet to ride responsibly:

The north facing slopes still have a lot of snow:

The meadow at the top:

Thursday, May 6, 2010

The 2010 Clark's TT is open for business!

The 2010 Clark's Time Trial is now open for business. Be aware that the top of the Clark's trail has been rerouted by Draper City. While I don't have GPS data at this time, after riding it last night I can say it feels slightly longer. I wouldn't expect the 2010 times to differ significantly from previous years, but keep the reroute in mind when comparing results.

Another slight change is the finish line. Now that there is a new fence at the top it makes sense to use that as the line. The start line is unchanged. To summarize:

1. Start the clock when you leave the bridge at the bottom of Clark's.

2. Stop the clock when you reach the sign that says End Clarks TT just before the wooden fence at the top.

Will anybody challenge Bart Gillespie, who for the past two years has posted the fastest time? I can think of a few potential candidates to assume the top position in 2010, but the only way to find out is to get out and ride. Good luck and have fun!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

SLC Restaurant Recommendations?

What are your favorite SLC restaurants?  I've been to a lot, but can always use a good recommendation.  In the last week I've eaten at Tsunami, Wild Grape, Frida's Bistro, Sage's Cafe, Tin Angel Cafe and Vinto.  

I like Trio, Em's, Metropolitan, Market Street Broiler & Grill, Takashi, Mazza, Cucina Toscana, Bambara, Faustina, Acme Burger, Bombay House, Tandoor, Red Rock, Settebello and Squatters.  

What hidden gems am I missing?

Monday, April 26, 2010

Back in the Saddle

Dang, it's been a while! Close to 5 months, in fact, since I last rode a bike. My full suspension BMC is still at the shop, getting some much needed TLC (can you believe in 4+ years I've never had the cables replaced?), so the choice I had to make was whether to ride my road bike, or single speed mountain bike today. And the bike I chose was ....... the single speed mountain bike. Honestly, it wasn't much of a choice. With temperatures in the mid-60's and the Bonneville Shoreline Trail a 20 minute ride from my office, it would have been wrong to not ride dirt for lunch today.

Climbing E Street made me second guess my choice because it hurt. A lot. But I made it up to 11th Avenue, where I turned east. 11th was fine, until I crossed Virginia, passed Popperton Park, and started to climb through the neighborhood below the U. That hurt. Thankfully it didn't last long and I found myself on dirt as I dropped down to Dry Creek. Lower Dry Creek was fine, except for the technical rocky section which forced me to put a foot down. From the switchback at the top on up to the overlook, however, was quite painful. I made it up though, and didn't even stop at the top to take in the view. Until I hit the rocky section a bit higher up, at which point I again put a foot down. Dang rocks! My tech skills are minimal on the BMC, and close to non-existant on the rigid single, so a little dab here and there doesn't make me feel too bad.

I was feeling good as I approached the Wall, so hit the bottom of the climb with a bit of speed. It didn't last long, but I was able to make it up ok, though I'm sure my heart rate was at the highest level it's been in a long time as I went over the top! I kept going, albeit at a drastically reduced pace, as I recovered from the effort. From that point on I felt great, as the trail was mostly downhill as I descended into City Creek. I felt a bit squirrely on the loose descent, but am blaming that on the rigid bike and not any real or perceived lack of dh skills.

All-in-all I'd say it was a good first ride, and I'm looking forward to a repeat tomorrow. My legs felt good, with most of the pain related to the high intensity cardio efforts, so I'm hopefull it won't take too long for my bike fitness to return.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Good, but could have been great

This morning at Brighton would have been amazing had I only made it up Big Cottonwood Canyon before it closed at 8:15 AM. Here's the first text sent by the Sheriff's Department at 6:30 AM:

Both BCC & LCC will be closed this morning for avalanche control.

Given that Little Cottonwood Canyon (LCC) has been closed since Tuesday night, I interpreted this message to mean that both canyons were closed. Previously I had planned to meet a friend at the mouth of Big Cottonwood Canyon (BCC) at 8 AM to carpool up. I forwarded the above text to him and assumed I would stay at the house a bit longer before driving up. At 8:06 AM I received the following text from the Sheriff's Department:

Big Cottonwood will close at 8:15 AM - 9:00 AM for avalanche control

I panicked, quickly packed the car, and took off without eating breakfast to try and get up the canyon before 8:15 AM. Unfortunately I reached the canyon at 8:20 AM which, after hearing on KSL that BCC would close at 8:30 AM, I thought would still be ok. As is often the case, however, the news report was incorrect and the canyon had closed on schedule. I didn't realize this until I came to a stop 3 minutes later. So, for nearly an hour, I sat in my parked car (turned off mind you, unlike many others who kept theirs idling the entire time) thinking of the powder turns I was missing in the Milly Bowl (which never opened yesterday). Not helping my mood were the following texts my friend (who had, when he received my first text about the canyon's being closed, immediately driven up BCC since it was still open at that point) sent:

I got up early, I was going to wait for you but not if it's closing

I'm going to be first in line today

The latest says they are closing bcc from 8:15 to 9:00 so you can still make it up if you hurry

Me: Son of a $!&. I'm screwed

Sorry man, I'm already in the parking lot

Me: I'm stuck in the canyon. Save some pow for me!

No way

I pulled into the Brighton parking lot at 9:31 AM. Looking up at Milly Bowl I could see a lot of tracks, but still plenty of fresh. The session was good, but I had a tough time enjoying it as I knew I'd missed out. Listening to my friend talk about how the first 5 runs were some of the best in his life each time up the chair didn't help my mood. Even now, at 6 PM, I'm still bitter about getting caught by the closure. At least now I'll know better for the future.

Happy 50th day on skis this season to me!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

A day that did not suck


Looking back I think the conference call I had at 8 AM this morning was a stroke of luck as it got me to the Brighton parking lot early enough to 1) Get a front row parking space in front of Milly Express, and 2) Participate in the call (if you call listening silently, muted, to 45 minutes of arguing participating). What surprised me was the fact that when I arrived - nearly an hour before the lifts were scheduled to open - there were at least 10 guys standing in line. Note that the temperature was in the high teens, the wind was blowing (effectively dropping the temperature below zero), and it was snowing quite hard. I don't know about you, but if I stood around in weather like that for more than 10 minutes I'd be frozen solid! Those guys certainly deserved the first chairs.

So after catching the last 10 minutes of the conference call from a private stall (I just couldn't wait any longer...) I was finally able to get my gear and go stand in line. Luckily the call ended before the lift officially opened so I was able to get my headphones put away before the real business started.

Let's just say that 3+ feet of new snow ridden on big, fat, rockered skis does not suck. In fact, it made for an extremely enjoyable morning. So much so that I'll be back tomorrow morning for more. I rode the lift with a group from out-of-state who were in Moab yesterday, but decided last night to drive up and go for a ride in the white room. Spring riding in Utah rules!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Bikes for Kids Utah Hosts First Annual Omnium

Bikes for Kids Utah Hosts First-Annual Omnium With
University of Utah Cycling Team

Proceeds from the event's time trial will benefit the Bikes for Kids Utah mission to give bikes to second-grade students.

SALT LAKE CITY - Feb. 25, 2010 - Bikes for Kids Utah today announced details of the University of Utah/Bikes for Kids Utah Omnium, the first of its three annual fundraising events. This series of three bike races will be held Friday, March 26 and Saturday, March 27 throughout Salt Lake County, and produced in partnership by Bikes for Kids Utah and the University of Utah cycling team. Proceeds from the Hill Climb Time Trial on March 27 will support Bikes for Kids Utah while proceeds from the Criterium and Circuit Race will support the University of Utah cycling team.

"Developing our annual time trial into a three-stage, USA Cycling-sanctioned event is a great opportunity to draw more cyclists to the Bikes for Kids cause and for local cyclists to compete against each other in multiple racing disciplines," said Debbie Reid, founder and president of Bikes for Kids Utah. "We're working hard to make this a quality event that draws amateur and collegiate cyclists from around our conference."

All USA Cycling, Utah Cycling Association (UCA), Intermountain Collegiate Cycling Conference (IMCCC) and cyclists who like riding in charity events are invited to participate in the three-stage omnium events to earn racing points and to raise money to buy new bikes for Utah children. Descriptions of the stages follow below:

Stage 1:
Electric Park Criterium
Friday, March 26 at 12 p.m.
Starts in Thanksgiving Point's Electric Park at 3003 Thanksgiving Way in Lehi, Utah
The criterium race track consists of an 11-cornered, closed loop through Electric Park and the surrounding roads. Each lap of the spectator-friendly course is approximately 1.3 miles (2 km) that ends in front of the Electric Park pavilion. Riders will race between eight and 35 laps depending on their category, taking about 20 to 75 minutes to complete the race.

Stage 2:
Hill Climb Time Trial
Saturday, March 27 at 8:30 a.m.
Starts at the intersection of Bangerter Parkway and 13800 South in Draper, Utah.
The climb travels up Traverse Ridge Road and finishes at the intersection of Traverse Ridge Road and Deer Ridge Drive. The four-mile (6.4 km) time trial course has an elevation gain of more than 1,300 feet (396 m) with 10 percent to 12 percent grades in some locations.

Stage 3:
Circuit Race
Saturday, March 27 at 2 p.m.
Starts at Early Light Academy at 11709 S. Vadania Dr., South Jordan, Utah
Starting and finishing in Daybreak Utah, the race loop is 12 miles (19.3 km) and includes one 600-feet (188.8 m) climb. The route will take competitors up to the Kennecott Copper Mine, past Butterfield Canyon and through the Herriman area back to the finish. Riders will race between two and seven laps around the circuit depending on their category.

Registration for these events opens February 25 at and closes for the Criterium and Time Trial on Friday, March 26 at 11 a.m. and for the Circuit Race on Saturday, March 27 at 12 p.m. Please register in advance, as there is no on-site registration at any of the Omnium events. The registration fee for each race is $25 and $65 for the entire omnium before March 1. Collegiate cycling discounts are available with collegiate cycling license. Any Bikes for Kids Utah supporters that want to make a $5, $15 or $30 donation to the organization can do so at

"We have really enjoyed working with Bikes for Kids Utah the past several years and are glad to increase our commitment to the organization's mission," said Brad Duncan, race director of the University of Utah cycling team. "Together we're planning and promoting strong events that will help get more Utah kids on bikes and strengthen Utah's cycling community."

For information about joining USA Cycling, UCA or IMCCC teams and participating in rides sanctioned by the governing bodies, please visit

More information about Bikes for Kids Utah is available at

More information about University of Utah cycling is available at

About Bikes for Kids Utah
Bikes for Kids Utah is a non-profit organization formed in 2006 that provides bicycles for underprivileged children throughout the Salt Lake Valley. It generates support for its cause through its event registration proceeds, auctions, and private and corporate donations. Bikes for Kids' annual bicycle fundraising events, including casual road rides, timed road races and a dinner auction, raise money to provide 1,000 underprivileged children with new bicycles each year. For more information about the events, please visit or call 801.656.0472.

Details about the Bikes for Kids Utah Fundraising Rides, held in conjunction with its bike giveaway on Saturday, May 8, 2010, and its fall dinner auction are forthcoming.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Saints to Sinners Bike Relay

Salt Lake City to Las Vegas
July 30th & 31st, 2010. Ride the Saints To Sinners Bike Relay. Over 500 miles of racing from the heavenly heights of Utah to the infernal heat of Las Vegas. Make the cycling trek in teams. The team with the fastest time to Sin City wins.

Ride through the heavens of Utah to the depths of Sin City, dropping 9,000 along the way. Click on the map for more details of each leg of the Saints to Sinners Bike Relay.

Friday, February 12, 2010