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.