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.