Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Miss you Sharon

Todayt it's been one year since my sister Sharon passed away from brain cancer. I've tried not to dwell on it too much, but there are days where her presence is missed and I can't stop the tears from coming. I think about the family events she's missing or the bike rides she could be coming on. I think about her humor and candid nature. I think about her boys and how much the could use her love and teaching. I think about my parents and how hard it is for them to see their child leave this earth before them. Perhaps my heartache is a bit selfish, but it cannot be helped.

One never expects to lose a loved one, especially at such a young age. I console myself with my certainty that she is happy, safe and waiting for all of us to pass on to see her again. What can I do beyond that?

Today I read Adam's blog which references Fat Cyclist's goal to raise funds for the LAF in 2009 as a team. While I've contributed to this fund in the past perhaps this is a new opportunity to recommit myself and encourage others to help. Help fund a solution to parentless families, the suffering of children and all the pain that cancer brings to the individual and all those who care for them.

For the 3 of you that read this blog, please consider joining the team.

Maybe no solution will be found and this is just a reality of our existence on this planet, but we never know. Just as I never know if I'm going to win any given race I enter, but you keep fighting and pedalling anyway, you just don't know what can be accomplished due to determination unless you try.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Hope is right!

So now we face at least 4 years of a democratic leadership with grand visions of turning America into another European socialist nation. What else can we have Mr. O, but hope. We will all hope that he will live up to his rather vague promises. Yet even in his acceptance speech he started backpedaling about what he could actually accomplish, I find that concerning. Managing expecations he hasn't even attempted to deliever on yet.

I hope that he will be a good president. He certainly looks presidential, perhaps that's why many voted for him. I'm sure he can act presidential, he's been doing that for months. But can he peform as a president should, will he represent the interests of America and not drive our already tenuous economy further south. I worry that the prevalant attitude of entitlement that exists among so many of his supports and is evidenced in his platform will not breed additional complacency.

As much as I care about the environment and the need for alternative energy sources, there's no switch to turn on to simply make it happen, it will take time, innovation, desire, not just government mandates. I really was hoping to start a new business next year, but now it appears that I might have to change occupations (since my highly technical and valuable services will not be needed if the Pres. has his way) and hold on, hoping.

I really do hope that there's some new government grants that will allow me to ride my bike and teach others to do the same, then I can focus on what I love to do and the government can take care of me and I won't have a care in the world! I hope Mr. President, I really do hope.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Mouse House

So I took the family to Florida last week. We had enough air miles to fly at no cost and free lodging on Disney property (thanks to Gail’s father’s DVC timeshare), so it was hard NOT to plan this trip. We ate breakfast in the room and tried to limit eating out as much as possible. We still spent enough money to make me uncomfortable, but we had a great time and it was a welcomed break.

Having my parents along with us was also helpful while managing 3 kids, strollers, snacks, etc. We visited all the parks, rode the rides, saw the shows and had fun as a family. We also lost our camera (Gail did that is), but it was found – I love that people are so honest on vacation, and is being mailed back to us. I did however make a few observations while roaming the parks that have I think are concerning.

1. If we are in a recession, where are all these people coming from spending ALOT of money to visit WDW? They were not all Europeans!

2. Our culture is severely deluded into thinking we need much more food than we actually do.

3. As a result of #2 I saw more overweight and morbidly obese people at the parks than I thought possible in one place. Honestly not all of them could have a glandular problem! (While waiting for the group to get off a ride at one point I counted (15 minutes of doing this mind you, 5 sets of 25 passersby) 1 in 25 males over age 20 was within proper weight range for their age and height, 6 in 25 were not just overweight but obviously obese)

4. The motorized scooter is now not just for aged or disabled, if you are fat and don't/can't walk more than 1 mile without suffering a cardiac incident, then you can rent a scooter and zip around your favorite theme park. I find this phenomenon an eerie foreshadowing of things to come. (i.e. WallE) If Disney is predicting it in their movies they must see the trend as well. Be forewarned! Or get fitted for a hovering recliner at your earliest convenience.

5. I gained 7 lbs in 8 days myself and I didn't eat French fries and a burger every day. I think most people have just stopped looking at the scale anymore or have broken it and thrown it away. Believe me I would like to dispose of mine right now. "Liar" I yell downwards as if addressing my feet, but the truth is there in little digital numbers, staring right up at me, unflinching. "No, this is reality buddy!" they respond. I guess I should feel fortunate I can still see the number over my slowly protruding belly.

Summary: vacations are nice, they are needed, and even Disney is a fun experience despite the worrisome trends I noted. However, unless each individual is disciplined enough to return to normal activity, diet and sleep habits after vacation then it's just a very slippery slope to the bottomless pit of self-deception, health problems and motorized transports. But hey, if they figure out a way to put solar panels on them it will probably be ok, right?

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

24 Hrs of Moab review

The culmination of the mountain biking season is this event held just south of Moab, Behind the Rocks. I look forward to it all year. I plan my entire October calendar around it. If every event were like this it would be very hard to get anything done other than cycling. Honestly it's like the Disneyland of cycling events in my mind.

What a great opportunity to hang with friends, ride your bike and enjoy being in nature. That is of course until Mother Nature turns on you and tries to sandblast you into oblivion. Every year there's some challenge to deal with at Moab, this year it was the wind. A storm front was moving in and for two days the wind blew and blew and blew, tents were ripped apart, equipment toppled and everything we ate had a bit of a gritty texture to it. Nevertheless we remained and talked and raced and staked everything to the ground with 1 foot long nails.

I arrived on Wed morning so I could secure a plot of ground on the front row of the race course. It's something I end up doing every year. It becomes harder every year to get the good locations. But with 6 teams coming we need alot of space. We had over 50 people camped in our little dust bowl, multiple campers, trailer, and tents. A host of kids and at least 5 dogs. It was on the border of chaos, right above bedlam, a great location!

All teams did well with Chris and KC's Single/Rigid team taking top spot in their division and the Grand Masters team winning again by virtue of the fact that there are apparently no other old guys who can tolerate each other enough to put together a team. Congrats to Bill, Brad, Dwight and Mike.

My team finished 4th out of about 20 teams. We might have done better, but this race is all about not having any problems. Paul crashed on his night lap, at least a couple of times and hurt his wrist. Having done this at Moab in the past I know how this can hamper one's ability to race effectively. He couldn't ride anymore, so Jesse, Jeff, Jared and I had to move to the 4 man change over for the last half of the race which is more mentally difficult than physically.

Overall, a great experience as usual. I won't miss all the logistics, coordinating, begging, borrowing and anxiety about organizing a large group for this event, but I will miss the stories, the images, the food (Thanks Abby, Mindi and Marci) and the friends. For now we move into the winter season, where everyone becomes semi-reclusive and riding opportunities are limited. Time to start planning for next year I guess. Something to keep my mind busy on those long cold winter nights.

Monday, August 11, 2008

How not to win a race.

Evanston is the finale for the year, it's a good race, long course and has a fun pizza party to cap it all off. It's a good time going up Friday and staying at the Vizmeg cabin and chatting with the team riders, eating and dreaming of victory on Saturday.

Saturday brings a slow start, since the race doesn't start til 11 a.m., but as the appointed time approaches there's a flurry of activity and we load up and head down the hill to set up our 'pit' and get ready to race. With the finale being a double points race there's a lot of expecations hanging on this one event and a mistake here could disrupt the season long objective of an overall podium place.

Jesse Sorenson wasn't taking any chances and was taking everything but the kitchen sink in the event that any calamity should take place. Winning, or even finishing here, would likely ensure is overall victory in his division.

I was in a similar position, holding 3rd in the points race all season behind Jay and Reed. I figured that's how it would all shake out at the end, as long as we all at least finished. I too was prepared physically and mentally for this race and determined to do well.

The race started as normal with everyone positioning and I while I started fast, couldn't hold onto Reed's wheel or Jay's, Stan's, or Todd's. At least seven guys went out and I tried to stay in contact up Sage Draw. The group was holding together pretty well and when we got to the double track I started to feel better and catching riders. The technical downhill works to my advantage and I was able to get by a few more riders and eventually only had Todd out in front of me. We hit the road and I was slowy closing the gap, the of course, Jay came from behind and passed us both pretty rapidly We were near the top and I got by Todd just in time to chase Jay up the steep climb. I noticed that the wisdom of age helped Jay and I maintain a steady pace while younger riders were burning out and dismounting frequently. I chased Jay over the boardwalk and through the downhill, not until the approach to Deadman's pass did I get by. Finally in first place I hit the backside downhill hard and cruised back up into Sage Draw with some confidence that at worst I'd be in the top 3, I just had to hold off any strong finishers.

I looked back at one point and noticed a revo jersey and thought "it couldn't be", but it was, Jim Harper had come up on me and closed the gap quite nicely. I couldn't hold him off but was determined to make him earn it. I tried to hold his wheel up the double track to Dead Man's, at the sand pit he went right and got bogged down. I was able to slide through and back into the lead, 29ers DO have an advanatge on this stuff I'm convinced. He was right behind me and all I could do was try to hold him off until the downhill. Next I'm down the technical drop on the other side and powering down the road. I caught Justin who had passed me earlier and he followed me down the fast roads back toward Sage Draw and the run in to the finish.

We were flying, hammering as fast as I could to keep a gap on Jim I was feeling pretty confident that I could push hard up Sage Draw one last time and make a race out of it. Then it happened, just before the last climb over to Sage I went from fast to crashed. Oh! I've crashed before, but its usually one of those slow speed, try to avoid an obstacle type deals, where you tip over and fall off. No this was a full on high speed wipeout. I can't even tell you what caused it. One minute I'm in first pace hammering toward the finish line and victory, in a flash I'm airborne, bike gone, the gravity takes effect and I'm tumbling over the rocks and dirt of the road.

Long story short, I fixed the bike, after a few attempts and bumming tubes, air and pump from team riders (thanks Joseph and Paul, I owe you both). Made my way in, finished 12th instead of 1st.Many bruises and scrapes, luckily none on my face. I seperated my shoulder which is both inconvienient and painful. I'm already telling Gail I want to race on Wednesday night. She just looks at me like I landed on my head.

I lost 3rd place in the overall by 3 points. Disappointing, yes, but it could be worse, so I'm just happy to have had a good season with great compeititon and made a few more friends.

Friday, August 01, 2008

On the road in Jackson Hole

Last weekend was Jackson Hole race. I love this race for many reasons. 1. It's out of town and means a road trip. 2 It's in a beautiful place, worth going to even if you aren't riding. 3. The course it technical and suits my riding style.

This year we were fortunte enough to be able to use Jesse's van and take a whole crew to the race. Chris,KC, Brad, Dave, Tim, Scott, and me. We drove up to Jackson Friday night and stayed at Hostel X right at Teton Village. It's cheap, but not cheap and there various reasons for this. It's the most afforadable solution that close to the mountain. We actually had more room in the van I think, but we were each able to find a spot to crash and got some sleep.

Race morning everyone got ready to go and we headed up for a warm up lap. The temps were decent and it was nice to be riding. My division had a decent group of 12 despite the fact that this race, due to proximity to the racer base, is kinda far away. Both Jan and Reed were here so I knew it was going to be challenging race regardless.

The start was another short road to single track at a grade that I can tolerate for spriting, so that's what I did, just like at Snowbird. I went off the front in hopes that I could control the pace on the single track, at least for a little while. I kept the pace as high as I could, while still trying to recover from my sprint. Reed was right behind me and got by in the first passing zone, which was expected. A few more riders got by on the steep climb before heading back into the forest. The key for me is to not panic, but ride within myself and try to keep everyone in sight.

The first lap went well and eventually there we were again, Jay, Reed and me all in a row. Stan was however not far behind in 4th and so there was no room to let off the gas. On the second lap we got together crossing the mountain to the lift and I knew I needed to get by and put a gap on the two leaders or they would likely out climb me on the final grueling rock hill. I went around and up the steep climb behind the lift and tried to maintain an aggressive pace. It seemed to work and I got a little time. I wanted to get to the downhill and not make mistakes so I could gain perhaps a little more. By the time I hit the rocky hill I didn't want to look back but just kept telling myself to attack the hill. I had Erika Powers just in front of me, but didn't have the legs to slip by her on the flat run in to the climb. I stayed right behind her and we both climbed a steady pace in our granny gear and cleaned the climb, riding by those who were walking their bikes up. From here I was pretty confident I'd make it in without trouble. It was a challenging race and I was a little amazed I actually as able to make a pass on Jay and Reed and the hold it. It was a great win.

Evanston is a longer course, and I'm sure the field will be bigger, it will be interesting to see if we can all stay together there as well. Either way it looks like we'll finish the overall in the order we seemed to be racing most of the year; Jay, Reed, Keith. It's been a great season of racing and fun to have such nice guys for competition.

After the race our crew road the course again after some lunch at the Merry Piglets. That hurt! But we were able to do it and got a tour of all the places KC crashed during the race. The next day we road Black Canyon, which was incredible. The Chris/KC/Tim/Brad decided to get lost on the Phillips trail and we finally got home around 10. A long weekend but a great trip with friends. I can't wait til next year.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Single Speed

So I finally have the Rig built up and rideable. There a few issues with it, but it's rideable. So of course the first actually ride I do with it is a race. Wednesday night I brought the Rig up to test the bike and my will power to pedal up the mountain with only one gear.

Thanks to Chris and KC who not only helped me get the bike operational but are also the ones encouraging me to try it. Yes that's a somewhat sarcastic thanks. Adam also deserves part of the credit/blame as it's his old frame and he too commonly rides his SS on our rides.

Nevertheless the inevitable reality of riding a single speed is speed. You simply must go faster, must stand up, must push harder, breath deeper, focus more, use breaks less and ride as smooth and powerful as possible. It's bound to make me a better rider, but oh how it hurts.

I've never had to push myself so hard on the Sundance course. It's so easy to back off, click down a gear and settle into a comfortable pace until you recover enough to up the pace again. Not so with the SS obviously. It's go or no go pretty much all the time. Even the flats you have to spin quick to maintain some speed and not roll to a stop.

It was challenging, my legs feel it, but I'm glad I did it. Now I just have to talk myself into doing it again.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Snowbird Mountain Bout

Domination! Yes, Finally. It only took a smaller field of 12 riders, Reed on Vacation in Hawaii (aww too bad) and Jay having a mechanical (finally someone other than me), and then I can WIN. Hurray! It was actually a good race for me, so I can't discount that I felt good, but in reality results could have easily been quite different. I'll enjoy it while I can. All I know is I have a Blue Ribbon this year.

Here's how it went down. At lineup we got reshuffled again and were behind most of the Sport Men divisons. I was waiting further up and when my group finally got near the line I noticed that there were many more riders that I originally thought, most groups are small at this race for a variety of reasons, but that doesn't deter the 40 somethings from coming out for a nice day of racing. Oh no, a handful less than normal, but still a good group. I did notice Reed's absence and Jay informed me that he was basking in the tropical sun in the islands (sweet, one less adversary to watch ride off the front).

With the short road to singletrack I figured a sprint was going to be critical here. The only thing that makes this possible for me is that the Sprint is not at 10 degree incline but much more moderate. I got off the line first and hammered up the hill determined not to get caught in traffic on the technical singletrack. As I approached the hard turn I looked back to see a bit of a gap to the field which allowed me to let off and relax a minute as we moved into the trees. I bobbled once on some technical rocks, but recovered quickly and got into a rythmn. I knew Jay would be right behind me, but being on the front allowed me to control the pace. Half way of the Bill Bass Highway he came around me and picked up the pace a bit. I tried to hold a tolerable gap but I needed to ride my race. I kept him in sight but wasn't ready to close the gap yet.

Into the second lap I was still close enough through the start/finish to see Jay and knew I'd have to work hard on the single track to get closer. Still in contact, 30-40 yards off, at the top of the climb I turned on the downhill to try to close the gap a bit more before the 3rd lap. Near the lift turns I saw Jay off the bike working on it. I thought "flat" and came through hoping I'd get a bit of a gap before he was going again. Apparently the netting on the ground here got caught in his rear cassette and tangled up. It took a bit to clear the mess and that made the difference. I went as hard as I dared on the loose, dusty, dangerous downhill and pushed throught he base area to start the 3rd lap.

Sometimes you kinda want to know who's coming up behind you. I didn't! I refused to look back just in case Jay was coming up and my chances of actually getting home first would dematerialize. Apparently the gap was big enough and I came around the final lap in a steady pace and really didn't have to push too hard or stress about catching someone.

A good race for me, but not a great race as I didn't have to battle the speedy competitiors (sans mechanicals). I don't know that I'll be fast enough this year, but one little win sure is a great morale boost.

Jackson Hole is this coming Saturday and it's one of my favorite courses. It might be a small field again, but I know Jay and Reed will be there, so it will be challenging.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Trail Day

Today I didn't race, I cleared trail. The Jurassic Park trail to be exact. In actuality it's called the Lame Horse trail, but that name is just plain lame. Even the USFS representative who lead our work crew thought so. She liked our name better.

The trail is actually in great condition for about half of the 2.2 miles that connect the Alpine Loop Summit to the Timpanogos trailhead at Aspen Grove. But the lower half is perpetually rocky and is regularly in need of some attention. Today Bill, Kevin, Joseph, Tim, Scott, Jeff, Jake and I all walked the trail from top to bottom clearing overhanging branches, removing rocks and clearing the scree. It took the morning to get the trail worked and is now in great condition.

After we completed our work some of us rode the trail up and then back down. It was fast, smooth and fun. It still works your hand due to all the breaking, but now is a bit less sketchy on some of the turns. The last section which drops into Aspen Grove is much improved and I rode it faster today than I ever have.

It's alot of work to go rake, ho and clear trail for a Saturday morning, but I think it's important that those who use the trail give back a little. We discussed the involvement of other trail users in trail maintenance with our the Forest Service employee. She said that they are working hard to get moto and horseback groups involved in trail maintenace which is good to hear. However, it's important to note that the most damaging impact to some of the trails in this particular area have come from those groups. Now there's irresponsible usesage from any number of users, including cyclists I'm sure. However it's nice to know that at least our group is one of the few out there maintaining and improving and not just utilizing.

Thanks to those who were able to come out and help today. It greatly improved the trail and shows we care about our access.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Solitude Race

I love this course. I find that I somehow do better on the technical windy trails rather than the long moderate climbs which others seem to just spin up without effort. Mind you this course is not without difficult climbing and starts with a grueling pavement climb which is so steep that it essentially neutralizes the "roadie" types who mentioned above. Apparently I need to work on sustained effort at a high heart rate.

Anyway, I went into this race feeling good even though I felt pretty fatigued after the moderate 2 hr. ride the day before. Mentally I was ready to race and knew this course favored my style of riding.

As one would expect the road ascent thinned the field nicely and put me in 7th after a half mile. I have to keep count otherwise I'll never know if I'm making up ground when my pace kicks in and I start to pass those who can start quicker than I can. By the top of the climb I had worked back up to fourth position and was feeling pretty good about the fact that I could see Jay and Reed, (this isn't very common as they usually disappear within about 10 minutes of the start). Traffic on the course and my downhilling helped me to keep contact with the leaders as we started out Serenity. There were some riders in between us, but I was hoping they'd keep up their pace so I didn't drop back to far. About halfway up the climb on the ski run a rider ahead had problems and the line of 6 of us backed up. Reed told me later the stop and go spiked his heart rate and he had to hold back a bit. So I got by him and was now in 3rd. Close enough that I was determined not to lose Jay and Rich. They kept a steady pace and I was able to close the gap even more on the downhill. As we started the 3rd lap an Expert female who felt she could go faster kept asking to pass, so I let her go on the pavement before the final switchbacks but as we started the climb we were back on her as her pace slowed. I encouraged her not to lose the two guys in front of her as they were my objective and she did a good job holding pace and eventually requested she let her by, so we were all together 1,2,3 but now holding her wheel until she finally let us all go knowing that her pace had dropped off enough that she was holding us back.

I did everything I could but as we approached the upper pavement for the last time I didn't have enough left to match the pace of the leaders. I hit the pavement 30 yards back of Rich and Jay was at least 20 yards ahead of him. On the steep climb I forced myself to hammer and get up it quick and within 5 feet of the top my left calf cramped. Knowing Reed was likely not far behind I kept spinning but at a slower pace. I watched my prey disappear up the next hill. By the top Reed had caught me and asked me how far back we were. I told him we were in 3rd and they were just ahead and I encouraged him to go catch them, he left and I tried to work out the kink and my frustration that I was going to drop the spot I had worked so hard for. On the dirt downhill I rested and started a quick cadence onto the flat to the final downhill. I let it all go and eventually was back on Reed's wheel by the pavement. Then to my amazement he slowed. We entered the last switchbacks and something wasn't right, but his pace was off and I knew he had to know I was there. I took turn inside of him and went around with a couple of quick pedal strokes. I was back in 3rd within site of the finish line. I finished 39 seconds behind Jay, 23 behind Rich and Reed was right behind me.

Overall a great day of racing. I didn't win, but I felt like I was racing and actually being competitive the whole day. I felt good afterwards but felt bad for Reed who would have held the spot had his chain not bounced off on the last downhill, it was the sort of mild mechanical that ever racer dreads, especially when so close to finishing.

Next week, trail building on Jurrasic Park trail (Aspen Grove). So some riding, but mostly raking rocks off a great trail behind Timp.

Rounding the final corner.

Post race delirium.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Outing with Chris and KC

There were quite a few ride options this past Saturday. Fatty's Tri which was very tempting, bike, slide, brats; a unique combination that most cyclist I know would find hard to turn down. There was also the High Uintah's Classic which Brad and a few other team riders opted to do. I however cast in my lot with the Holleys as their desired route was close to home and started early, meaning I'd be home in time to handle the honeydos around the house.

An ambitious ride for most but just a long Saturday for Chris and KC. I left my house at 7 a.m. and met up with the Holleys at Timp Park in Provo Canyon around 7:30. We then headed up the Provo River Trail, then on up the road to Sundance. We were there by 8:30 and there just happened to be a Super D race about to start. We figured we had time and rode up the ICUP race course route, going up the road, out Archie's and through Scott's Pond. Once on top at Speed Trap I suggested we ride on up to the top and ride the Super D course. We arrived at the top before they had started and figured we'd ride clean up, just to see what we could do. We waited for a bit and finally decided we'd just forerun the course ahead of the ten or so racers that showed up. With the exception of Mr. Toad's Wild Ride, the course is entirely downhill, and quite fast. We didn't get timed, but it was fun to pretend we were racing for a moment.

After we topped off our water we continued up the roade to Aspen Grove. We accessed the Jurrasic Park trail by way of the Timp Trailhead, this always rocky start was much worse than last year and could stand some work, it may be our project for the July 12th Trail Maintenance day. About half way up the trail gets much better and we rode more efficently. At the summit we continued out 157 on the normal ridge loop, it was all in pretty good condition, but getting dry already. The "Moon of Endor" descent was fabulous and the climb up SFDC also in great shape, with the exception of the springs area where the motos had ripped a 3 foot deep trench into the earth. It was passable via a new beaten trail on the right and we continued back to the Cascade Spring road intersection. Then down Jurrasic, down to Sundance, more water and back down the canyon.

Chris and KC opted to do the Bridal Veil to Bonneville South spur and I continued home. Almost 6 hours. 5302 calories. If my computer wasn't broken I'd know the vertical and average speed. Oh well. It was fun, left me pretty fatigued but today I feel great, just a bit hungry. It's not often we get to ride like that, but when we do it's a great day. I look forward to more.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


I think it really all comes down to this. If you have it or can learn to master this ability, skill, talent in any aspect of life that might interest you, you will be a success. If you don't, can't, won't then you'll have to rely on luck, the kindess of others or the government. Sadly I sincerely feel that many people simply find it too hard to develop or maintain any sense of self-discipline and so they opt for the easy answers.

Health Insurance too expensive?, let's go socialist and have the government pay for it and we'll all have coverage (uhh, that's workig so well for other countries...NOT!). Lend money to people who don't have the ability to pay? Let's have the taxpayers bail out both the lenders and the homebuyers. (Cause we would hate for any individuals or companies to learn from their mistakes.) Contracted a life altering disease because of your lifestyle choices? Please prescribe me a pill that I can take once a day rather than having me excercise or change my eating habits.

Frankly I'm very dissappointed at the whining, moaning and bellyaching I hear all to frequently both in my occupation and via various media sources. What happened to the America of the self-determined invididual who wanted to live the dream? What happened to self-suffiency that our parents and more often our Grandparents prided themselves on? Has our success, and perhaps excess, allowed us to breed a generation or two of spoiled, slothful, the world owes me a living Grasshoppers?

I am a hopeful person, not because of what I see, but because of what I believe. Nevertheless I am less worried about global warming, rising gas prices, war, gangs, tornados, earthquakes, pandemics, skin cancer and much, MUCH more worried about a growning and ever more vocal culture of taxation, entitlement, apathy, rationalization and zero accountabilty.

It doesn't take alot of discipline, a little will go a long way, it's almost habit forming, but so many people seem to have lost the desire, ability or have never been taught how, that our society is rapidly sliding downward toward the lowest common denominator, "the leach", sucking the blood out of the living and contributing nothing but pain and disease.

Yes, I fear a society of leachs much more than Nukes in Iran or a melting artic snowpack, they are likely to cause far greater damage and pain than the quick death of missle attacks.

What to do? I'm not sure, educate others? work harder? move to Switzerland? Time will tell I suppose.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Sundance mid-week

Weekly races are tough, almost harder than the longer, larger ICUP events. First, I've usually been riding a bit, in this case I rode hard Monday and also rode with Adam, Jared and Kris up at Big Springs Tuesday. So my full power and speed aren't quite there. Secondlly there's a mental hurdle to overcome with a mid-week race. I'm at a familiar location with friends, it feels more like a high-paced group ride than a true race. I don't get butterflies or feel too stressed. It's a fun event....until it actually starts and I watch regretfully as the whole Expert field pulls away from me on the road climb. I don't know that I'll ever be able to blow off the line at the pace I watch others depart with. I think deep down I must have a real fear that my lungs will explode. Whatever the reason I have to play catch up the whole race and hold position behind those who can sprint well, but then slow to a comfortable pace once things shake out. Because it's a mid-week race I don't worry about it, yet, I still want to do my best and catch a person or two.

Sundance doesn't lend itself to frequent passing opportunities, so when they come you have to take them and not look back. I was a little discouraged that some of the Sport riders caught us so quickly and zipped by near Flathead. They really should be riding expert if they are moving that fast. Nevertheless, the race is alot of fun, a superb course and great people. I look forward to doing better on this course in 2 weeks.

Coming in to finish at Sundance, thanks Kris for the photo.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Deer Valley

I'm pretty sure every report on this race will start like this...So, I woke up to rain and snow at about 7000' and figured this was going to be messy. I was already loaded and just needed to wait for Adam to get out of bed, load the bikes and go. Our scheduled departure time was 6:30. I figured I'd get calls and I was not wrong. Jared called wanting to know if I thought the race was going to be cancelled. I told him what I tell everyone who ask such questions about weather related concerns on race day. "Jared, Ed won't call a race unless the property owners say it's too damaging or there's inherent danger, like lightening! I'm sure the race is on. After a another call I called Ed just to confirm everthing was a go and it was of course.

By the time we got to the course the rain was very light and the conditions seemed to improve continually up until and throughout the race. I pre-rode the 12 and under loop just to see how things were and the climbs were fine, there were some puddles on the flat sections of single track, but overall the course was pretty good. I was more concerned with the cold and being able to start strong. This was apparently a valid worry as we took off Reed of course lead out and put a nice gap on the field. As I struggled to find a pace up the dirt most of the field caught and passed me. I recovered a bit on the first single track leading to Little Stick and picked off one or two riders on the steep climb before the top. Once on the single track I was held in check by a line of other sport riders and really couldn't do much but hold on and wait for the bottom to make a move before the town trail. I caught a couple more riders and by the time we approached the gatehouse to do the new Gap Hill section I was in fifth. Jim Harper was still with me though and stayed relatively close up the switchbacks. We started to downhill and after a few turns I could tell something was wrong. I looked down and noticed my left crank arm was loose and after another turn it was off, dangling from my cleat. "#(%#@" I hate mechanicals. After the flat and DNF at Draper I was upset that I might be out again. We got back to the gatehouse. I had to let Jim go by, he was closing the gap quick and I was just hoping I could pull away on the next climb, but it was not to be. I pulled out my tools, fruitlessly as I didn't have a allen wrench large enough to deal with the problem. I put the crank in my pocket and started one leg isolations down the hill. I was doing ok, with gravity helping out, but I had given up all the spots I gained and was likely to give up more. I pushed the right leg isos up the parking lot road and got to the start/finish. Bill and Brad were there and I "requested", nicely I hope, that Bill give me his bike.

We franticlly started trying to swap pedals and bill lowered the seat a bit but we didn't have what we needed to make the pedal swap so I left without the ability to clip into his SPDs. I climbed pretty well and felt strong despite not being connected to the bike, Bill's Paragon wasn't much different in feel from mine, so I didn't have that to deal with, but the no clip thing was problematic. I caught one rider from my category but that was all I was going to catch, the downhill was tricky without full control of the bike and I just worked as hard as I could to make it down without a crash. Overall I finsihed 13 out of 15. I think I would have had 5 for sure and maybe 4th if I made some time on the parking lot and second trip up little stick.

Lessons for the day? #1. Don't be afraid of the weather, it might just be to your advantage (not so for me this time, but it really wasn't as bad as it appeared it was going to be). #2. Never switch bikes on race day without checking everything out completely. I've made two very rookie mistakes this year (not running the tubless at Draper (or taking tube and air) and not checking my gear pre-race at Deer Valley). My Goal for the remainder of the season, Don't be a rookie!

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Sundance Race

There's nothing like the hard effort of racing, it's more than just a mountain bike ride, which in itself is great. But the exertion of raciing just intensifies the experience and gives one a sense of accomplishment that would be hard to achieve on the weekly group spins.

What's more, it's even better when you ride well, or as well as you think you can. The Sundance race on Saturday was one of those days for me. A good sized field of 18 riders in the 40+ Sport Class, so plenty of competition and Jay and Reed were there to really push my limits.

Reed Topham started a row or two back but that didn't slow him down in coming to the front and sprinting up the hill in first place. Jay was close behind and three other riders got by me before we hit the dirt. As we headed downhill to Archie's, Mike Broadbent almost missed the turn and it allowed two other riders, and me trailing, to get by him. There were gaps in the field and other racers mixed in and no way to pass on Archies, so we just had to push the best we could and try to stay in contact with the two leaders. When we hit the road after coming out up from Flathead I went by the two other riders and pushed hard to close the gap on Jay, by the downhill I was on his wheel and followed him all the way to the base, we also got close to Reed, enough so that on switchbacks I was letting him know we were after him, he says "smack talk" I say playful taunting. I knew very well I wouldn't be able to hold on once we hit the road. Sure enough within 30 yard on the pavement the gaps reformed and Reed was off the front with Jay in between us. I kept pretty good contact with Jay and could even see him on the last road climb, but only caught glimpses of Reed. I did my best to make up time on Jay on the downhill and wasn't too far back on the final road climb. I thought I could hold 3rd, but on the downhill I saw Mike making up time. He had been slowing closing the gap the whole 2nd lap, recovering from his early mistake. When we hit the road I pushed, but had to drop into a pace and hope it would be enough. It wasn't. He came up, went around my left side and tried to leave. I jumped on his wheel determined not to give up the spot so close to the finish. As we rounded the last bend the speed picked up even more and it was going to be a hard sprint. I was already tapped out but stood up and pushed hard to get by. I heard Mike shifting gear, but it was too late and I got a bike length on him before we hit the line. Probably the most exciting and hard fought finish I've ever had in a race. I'm just glad I didn't give up and sit down and take 4th place.

Like most things in life it takes effort to succeed, you have to fight just a little harder at times to accomplish your goals. Why this principle is so hard to transfer into daily activites is hard to understand. I guess it's a matter of desire. How bad do you want to win the business, get the basement done, teach your kids to ride their bikes. It all takes effort and sometimes you have to push yourself outside your comfort zone to make it happen. I hope I can do that more often, not just in racing, but in every aspect of my life.

Monday, April 28, 2008


So there are many reports available on the various blogs of the 45 or so riders that participated in this amazing event. I've been hearing about this for a number of years but other things have always conflicted or I've been a bit intimidated at the prospect of riding around the White Rim in one day.

This year was different, both Adam and I had the time, and more importantly 'permission' to go this year. We drove down Thurs. night and stayed at a local hotel. The next morning I dropped Adam off at the Canyonlands turn-off so he could go Time Trail the course with Kenny and Brad (yes riding it twice in two days is crazy, or at least requires amazing strength and determination). I meanwhile worked visiting clients and potential clients.

I got out to the camping area Friday and looked down the Horsetheif switchbacks to see Kenny and Brad just starting the climb. From the speed they were going and the rocking of their bodies over the bikes I could tell it was a hard effort, especially after 98 miles.

After a trip to town for water and supplies we came back to more riders and then Kenny and Eldon cooked up Brats for the group, which steadily grew as the evening wore on. At 6 a.m. I got out of my uncomfortable sleeping arrangements in the back of the Subi and got ready to ride. There were alot of us and the group started drifting off up the Mineral Bottom road around 6:30 to start our day in the saddle.

I met quite a few riders along the trail which is part of the allure of this event I think. You get to ride along with so many people and learn about them a little. It's amazing there are so many good riders that live around Utah County that I've never met. It reminds me that we have a strong group and that more unification is needed to protect our trails and promote the sport.

During the day I felt pretty good , fatigued at times, but never fully blown. The second half of the day I rode with Chris and KC primiarly and they were strong as ever, but kept me encouraged. Despite the fact they were both on Single Speeds the hills didn't slow them down. Chris cleaned everything I think and KC was amazing but had a few steep sections where she had to get off, but so did most SSers. I think they have me convinced to convert one of my rides to SS, just so I can get stronger. Personally I think my lungs would explode. I was happy to clean all the hard climbs in granny gear. At least I made it.

Me, KC, Chris at top of Hogsback

At the top of Hard Scrabble we re-grouped one final time and once we had enough rest and water Chris/KC and I took off ahead of the group. I was ready to be done and too tired to have any more conversations, so we rode off along the river to the bottom of Horsethief Switchbacks. I knew from my observation of Kenny and Brad that this was going to be a tough 30 minutes, it lived up to those expecations. I was fried and it showed. Chris was gone pretty quick and KC clipped along simply because she had to on the single gear. I floated around my bottom three gears depending on the severity of the grade and kept turning the pedals over determined not to stop. 11 Hours 43 minutes total time (with all the stops) 10,870 calories burned, 100 miles. Once was enough, can't imagine doing it back to back. Perhaps next year once my feable mind has had time to forget how demanding it was.

At the top after a quick solar shower, gatorade, pickle, cookie, etc. Others still finishing below, sun setting, beautiful day!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Cholla 08

As usual this desert race was somewhat disorganized and lacking the basic neccesities of an event in the middle of nowwhere. (one lone porta potty made it to the venue) The Friday evening pre-ride was in gale force desert winds which made the already challenging course quite a bit harder. I was a bit concerned about the sandy washes and loose new trail that had been added for this year's course.

Fortunetly, Saturday morning the weather was perfect and the race went off fairly well. The fast start and large group prompted me to hang back for the first few hundred yards. There's plenty of room to pass on this course so I wasn't too worried about being out front. I worked my way through the group as best I could and by the time I hit the hike-a-bike I was feeling pretty good but knew Doug Rock was still out in front of me but wasn't sure who else was. I think I caught a few others from the group on the long steady climb next to the small cliff and from there I was just trying to hold position and look ahead for "the Rock". Roger Gillespie caught me at the end of Lap 1 and I followed him through all of lap 2. I felt pretty good that I could keep contact with him, he must have let off the gas a bit on his second lap for some reason. I also had a DNA cycling rider in front of me with a light blue tag and assumed he was in my group, I paced with him as we followed Gillespie and made my move on the climb again hoping I could hold him off, but at the end it turned out he must have been part of another group, very confusing. Never caught Doug as he finished 3 min in front of me, but I was happy with a second place finish. Guess the spin classess are helping a little.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Neverending Winter

Sometimes it may seem that way in Utah. The snows come, and come, and come and then sometime in March things start to warm up a bit and the storms become more infrequent. The unpredictability of the weather is actually nice, if I needed consistent, predictable weather I would have remained in San Diego. I prefer the changes the only problem is planning your early season riding around the freakish weather. At this time of year you almost have to drop everything and take advantage of 50 degree weather and dry trails because the next day they could be covered in an inch of snow. Such has been the case almost every week here lately.

Just when I think I won't have to go to the spin class at Gold's anymore it snows or rains again. Don't get me wrong I don't mind instructors yelling at me or even the Miley Cyrus tunes so much, but the constant dribble about American Idol, the Bachelor and any number of other current Hollywood gossip stories gets to be a bit too much. Where are the instructors telling stories about their recent ride in Moab or Fruita or their trip last summer to l'Alpe d'Huez. Sure the majority of the class are just there for a cardio work-out and don't actually 'ride' bikes, but I can even see some of them rolling their eyes while trying to give their best impression of a hamster on caffeine.

Oh well, some day winter will end and I can go back to yelling at myself while riding on dirt and actually getting somewhere and won't be home in time for Dancing with the Stars because there will still be plenty of daylight and trail available for me to explore. If I didn't have winter and spin class perhaps I wouldn't appreciate the actual beauty of Utah and the great variety and availability of riding we have here.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

It's a Spring thing

It's coming quick, warmer days, more sunshine, comfortable temps, all which allow for more riding. I'm feeling pretty dedicated to riding harder and longer this year, finding the time to do so amidst a variety of other obligations is quite difficult, nevertheless I'm committed to make it happen.

The trip to Moab with Adam, Chris/KC, and Brad was great. It's hard to explain to someone who doesn't ride the sheer euphoria of being on dirt and cranking up a hill. It took me a bit longer to get warmed up than the others as we worked our way out Sand Flats road, but once we hit Porcupine trailhead I was feeling pretty comfortable and had a great ride.

I did manage to bend my largest Chainring at some point and encountered a near blow-out flat just a mile or two from the river but other than that it was a great day in the cool temps and sunshine of Moab in March.

Consequently another quick trip down is in the works for this weekend and I'm ready to go. Until more trails are dry here, Moab and St. George excursions are just the ticket to get excited about the season. The Hurricane race is in a couple of weeks too, so no time like the present to get riding.

Chris, Me, Adam and Fred at the Rim

Monday, March 10, 2008

Good start, poor finish

So today started great. Banana 105 calories, glass of apple juice 117 calories, mid-morning snack-triple threat bar 23o calories. Then I came home for lunch had a bagel turkey sandwich and deviled eggs, not bad but not great. However it all falls apart this evening since I had a dinner at the Foundry Grill planned with Gail as it was our anniversary. Filet Mignon, au gratin potatos, spinich, Tortilla soup, bread, etc. Ok, so I burned through all of the remainder of todays caloric intact and all of tomorrow's as well. So I suppose I'll just have to drink water tomorrow and dream about the food I had today. That or I can get back on the calorie monitoring and actually work out sometime. Probably the more likely solution.

What I've learned, A. It's not easy to track each calorie, but it's helpful to know. B. Our culture is not designed to feed you what you need, but what you think you want.

Oh well, more spinning, less eating will have to be the key.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

The Beginning

So here I am at the beginning of another season. Next week is St. George and of course, like 99% of you, I'm underprepared for racing. While the 24 Hrs of Old Pueblo went well, despite freakish weather leading into the event, I still don't consider myself as fit and trim as I had hoped or planned on being by now.

The nice thing is I have a couple of months to get in better condition, alot of it depends on the weather AND whether I keep up the indoor training if the snows keep coming. Eating habit sare deplorable and so I have to recommit myself to smaller portions and less sugar at the beginning of every week.

My main focus is getting the team issues sorted out, it always takes more time that I think it will. Not that I'm complaining, I enjoy doing it, it's just that I get so distracted with all the other issues of life. Nevertheless its coming together and we should be up and running by May.

If someone finds a great fat burning diet, that's actually not going to starve me to death, please let me know. I really need to have a full week schedule of meals and make a plan to stick to it. I think that would have a huge impact on my need to shed 5 pounds.

See you at the races.

Friday, February 08, 2008

So. Caribbean Sand or Utah Snow

While each has it's own unique beauty and benefits I honestly have to say I love the snow. It's not bad to visit the beach on occasion. I certain miss living within a couple of miles of the ocean which I did either on the East or West coast for the first 17 years of life, but I can't imagine not being here in Utah with the snow.

1. I know it's temporary, despite so many people constantly complaining about how they've had enough, you think they were in some sort of frozen purgatory. Shut it, there's plenty of open space in Arizona for the whiners, just move.

2. I need the break to get other things done, get fat and hence have another season to look forward to so I can get in shape again. Sure it's not the most effective way to handle my fitness or training, but I'm not as disciplined as the Pros, yet not so lazy that I'm willing to give up biking for a Fantasy Football league or Xbox.

Next week we take the long drive to Tucson for Old Pueblo, my true winter break down ride. As much as I'd like to do some snow riding or take a quick trip to So. Utah to better prepare, work, family, team organization usually prohibit such plans, so I make do with the spin class and feel pretty content with that for now. Sure I won't be as fast as I could be, but the lack of riding dictates that I'll certainly be ready to ride come Spring.

Enjoy the constrast of last week's trip to this week's snow.

Getting ready to go Scuba diving on Barbados

Snowcave on the front lawn

Friday, January 18, 2008

New Year, New You

So I've determined to be thinner, faster, leaner and stronger for 2008. I've started cross training. Yes, that means freeweights twice a week. It's not alot, but it hurt nevertheless. I'm also being pretty consistent with Spin class. At least twice a week. Throw in some snowshoeing and a few hours of Snowboarding weekly and I'm pretty much sore non-stop.

I'm hoping that having a bit more upper body muscle tone and general fitness will translate into a more prepared race body come April or so.

The next test will be the 24 Hrs of Old Pueblo in Tucson, AZ. Only a few weeks away and I have a cruise between now and then. I'm not sure that's the best pre-race training regiment, but hey I'll try anything at this point. I've already committed to myself that I'll get up and spin every morning on the Cruise, do you believe me? I'll report back as to how well I did. I will do some snorkeling and Scuba diving, so it won't all be midnight buffets and margaritas.

Speaking of determination, it's funny how focused you become when reality whacks you in the head. Sure everyone SAYS they want to be fit, healthy, happy. But do we really do what it takes to become so? After losing Sharon I could rationalize that it really doesn't matter how in-shape you are, fate can deal you an unexpected blow, but I know this, Sharon lived her life to the fullest because she was so healthy and active. I don't want to regret not doing my best in anything. So I'm going to sell insurance and thus pay the bills and I'll do it well. I'm going to get in shape and race to the best of my ability, within reason, since I also have a job, family and a half dozen other responsibilities. Ahh reality, so sobering, so forceful in it's method, the only thing to do is embrace it and then do your best not to let it trash your dreams, your will, or your hope.

So it's a new year, hence time for a new you. Are you capable of taking on reality? It's a tough responsibility. New body? reality is, work out, eat better. Money to pay the bills? realilty is, work hard, great customer service. I have many more, but I won't bore you. I wish you luck with facing your goals!