Sunday, November 22, 2009

November in Utah

Rick S. and crew on the trail

A beautiful day in the mountains

November isn't exactly considered to be THE month for mountain biking, but typically we enjoy some nice high dessert dryness here and hence the opportunity to continue riding through Thanksgiving most years. Of course there are some days of snow or rain, but many of the trails dry out quite quickly.

This day probably wasn't as dry as we would have liked and most of us were splattered with a good amount of earth during this "lunch meeting" but it was worth it. Temps great, trails fast and a whole group of great riders to follow.

It's days like these that help me regain focus and realize it's about more than simply punching the clock and paying the bills.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Hell-o-ween Ride

It was an interesting night on the foothills of Mount Timpanogos. An eclectic group of costumed cyclists gathered to ride the local trails. About 25 riders showed up to brave the cold and ride the route (Water Tank Road to Bettys to Kennys Beltloop to Frank to upper Belt to Dry and back on the BST. The costumes were funny and some were a bit freaky. Overall it was a great experience riding with the motley crew while listening to Motley Crue thanks to Dee "Aaron" Snyder who hooked tunes up to his handlebars for our riding enjoyment. This ride is one of those unique experiences that is a "Must Do" for anyone who owns mountain bike, a good headlamp and a gorilla suit. Hope to see you next year. Thanks Rick S. for organizing the event.

Moo Moo Gorilla and Rick "Madoff"

My Precious

Aaron as Dee Snyder

Danielle the nurse explaining to Kenny the size of buckle?

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Fall Riding

I love riding in Autumn. I'm confident I'm not alone in this. The weather is near perfect, the cool, crisp air makes the efforts comfortable. The scenery is amazing with the various trees and shrubs redressing for the season creating a rainbow of color that contours the earth. The high peaks have a dusting of snow which tell of the winter soon to come.

Most of all I enjoy riding with friends, the pressure and obligations of race season are over and we can just ride to ride. If I could have it my way I would just take the whole month of October off and spend it on my bike, with my family or visiting the amazing National Parks here in Utah and in the region.

KC on a photo stop while climbing the Great Western Trail

Monday, August 10, 2009

Almost new bike for sale, 2009 GF HiFi Supercaliber

This bike (stock version) would retail for over $3,800. This bike with SRAM components and Rock Shox Race fork with remote lock out is HOT! It's smooth, fast and down right sexy! Upgraded brakes (Avid Juicy 7), Carbon handle bar, lighter saddle make this one sweet XC bike. It's been test ridden by a couple of team riders (less that 50 miles total on this bike). If you or someone you know wants it, just drop me a line. $3,100 and it's yours. That's right, save 800 bucks and get a better bike in the process. I'm sticking with the 29, so here's your chance to take advantage of my addiction to bigger wheels.
Oh - Medium Frame size.
Maxxis Larsen TTs on it - Tubless setup
Ignore the pedals, unless you really want candy Sls, we can work something out.
Questions, let me know.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Jackson Hole 2009

Me trying to recover after the sprint finish with Reed.
Jackson Hole race recap:
Reed's account of this race is great, so I don't need to go into too much detail. This was by far one of my favorite race courses and events in general. The fields are smaller, the trail technical and the competition this year has been exciting.
I didn't realize I had won this race the past two years. What's even more interesting is that I've shaved time off each year for the past 4 years. 1:26, 1:23:31, 1:21 and now 1:16. Having someone pushing you like Reed makes you ride as hard as you possibly can, then following him on lap 2 I was determined not to lose contact, which I started to do just before the big road climb. I forced myself to push hard enough to close the gap within 10 yards by the top of the climb and that made the difference, otherwise Reed would have been gone and I'd be coasting in for 2nd place. We both made mistakes on the downhill after the oxygen sucking climb but his was worse, although he was up quick and apparently ok after his crash. I was finally able to get by on the road with a hard kick which was critical considering the technical nature of the finish run-in (it has a hard left that's off camber just 40 yards from the finish). I was just able to hold him off on the sprint into the line and felt great, not so much because I won, but more because I raced my best and didn't make too many mistakes.
The whole trip to Jackson was a great experience and one I look forward to each year. It's a beautiful area to visit, I get to spend time with good friends and just relax and ride bikes. This year we also got to ride some amazing single track that we didn't even know existed in years past. Putt Putt to Cache Creek to Game Creek, then West Game Creek to Ferrins back to Cache and Putt Putt. 25 miles of amazing trails in the mountains of Wyoming. It's a MUST do circuit.
I already am looking forward to next year.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

'09 Snowbird Mountain Bout

Me, Brad, Jason and Reed going off the line.

Brief Recap:
WA state weather again today, rained on the pre-ride but course was in good condition. New trail very nice, much more suited to my climbing style, technical, but at a decent grade. Not the granny gear crank of the Dick Bass Hwy of years past. Eventually the Snowbird course will be one of the best. Next step, eliminate the treacherous gravel road downhill.

This year turned out pretty good. Reed and I sprinted off the line and went 1,2 into the single track. We were able to control the pace on the technical, rooty, rocky first section. This gave everyone a chance to relax I think, instead of cranking up a bill hill and blowing up. When we hit the new trail which eventually dumped us on a dirt road for stretch, the attacks came. I was able to only lose a few spots and we were back on single track. I got by Reed and then took some risks and snuck by Brad on the downhill, then it was only Kevin and John to try to hold on to. Kevin flatted, and, although I expected him to, didn't come back. So my goal was to try to stay in contact with John H on his FS setup and hold off Brad and Jason who I could see not far behind me. By the third lap however I couldn't even see J.H. anymore and I had a comfortable lead on the boys behind me, so I focused on keeping a steady pace and not making any BIG mistakes on the wet roots and rocks. More rain came on the final lap. It helped pack the downhill road a bit, but made other areas a bit tricky.

Overall a fun race and I finished 2nd. Best result this year. We'll see if the new Solitude course is also as friendly.

It's been a great race season this year, simply because the top 6 or so riders in our group are all pretty well matched and the time differences are very close. The determining factors are more how good someone is feeling that day and the type of course we are on. Then there's the ever present risk of mechanicals. (just hoping I don't have any) Overall, I'm really enjoying the racing this year.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Mid Season Break

So we had a bit of a break for the last few weeks in the ICUP racing series. But this coming Saturday that all changes with the Snowbird race. I would like to say I'm ready for it, but I'm thinking it will depend on alot of variables which I have yet to determine. A. Diet for the reminder of the week - can I avoid the sweets and backyard bbq hamburgers? B. Which bike I ride - The Fly is reliable and known but the new 26 HiFi (even after 30 miles in Park City on Friday) still seems iffy, yet having the suspension would be nice. C. Sleep - I'm getting up early and staying up later than I should because of Le Tour. Can I limit my exposure to what is certainly an addiction and get enough rest or will my weakness hamper my ability to perform well on Saturday.

All shall be answered come Saturday when I show up and try to put the hammer down on the new and improved course at the Bird. I fear that no matter what I do however, Kevin is just too fast this year. I hate to resort sabotoge Kevin, but would you like to come over for a BBQ on Friday night?

Sunday, June 21, 2009

New Wheels

So finally all the parts arrived and I was able (with help from Dave D., James, Spencer, Dave) build my new bike. I didn't want to burden just one person with the work so I spread it around and everyone was quite helpful in showing me what to do to make this thing functional. We ran into a few glitches, which is part of the deal when your bike is sent to you in pieces from all the various parts manufacturers and you have to put the puzzle together, hoping everything fits.

It's pretty, looks fast, but I haven't been able to take it out to the dirt to see how fast it really is due to all the rain. That's right I don't want to get it muddy just yet. Afterall this isn't a horse and I'd like the trails to remain smooth instead rutting them up with my selfish behavior.

It's fairly light: 24 lbs 12 oz. I could shave a bit of weight off by swapping the pedals for the Ti Eggbeaters, but for now it's ready to go. The Superfly is right at 24 lbs, so it's pretty good considering I'm adding suspension but going to the smaller wheels.

My greatest hope is that it will strike fear into the heart of my fellow competitors when I line up at the next race. Psychological warfare may be my only hope.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Deer Valley 09

Kohl on his first race

Despite being under the weather all week I showed up to race Deer Valley this morning. I knew I wouldn't have quite the power and speed I needed to contend with the fast guys in my group, but I did my best.

The other reason I was anxious to go was that my oldest son (5) finally started riding without his training wheels this week and so instantly thinks he's ready to race, who am I to say no to a budding young cyclist? So we went, despite the seemingly gloomy outlook for good riding weather and despite my persistent hacking cough.

Sometimes you just have to take a chance and not dwell on the 'what ifs'. This is what we did and it turned out to be a great day. Kohl finished 1 lap of the 3 expected for the 9 and under category, but he was happy with that, he crashed no less that 5 times, but got back up every time and continued. His two key observations from his first race experience: 1. This grass is bumpier than our grass at home AND 2. I need gloves for when I crash so my hands don't get all muddy. Wisdom IS gained through experience!

So while Kohl is learning the subtleties of mountain bike racing I'm more concerned with the harsh reality of climbing ability and trying to stay with the leaders. True to form they took off hard and, while Little Stick kept the pace methodical for the first 10 minutes or so, it still put me 11 spots off the front. I had to battle my way through six category riders to get to my final spot, about a minute back of Brad and 2 minutes behind the leader today - John. It was some good racing in good conditions on a tough but fun course. Geno and I spent most of the race swapping places until I finally put enough time on him on one downhill section that he didn't come back and slide by me again.

I felt ok, not 100%, but ok and I'm content with the result. Now a few weeks to get healthy and do some training for the July races.

Downhill back toward the finish

Monday, June 01, 2009

It's the simple things

Simple things are really the basis of happiness in my opinion. My kids funny little quips, going on a bike ride, a piece of fruit when it's just right, and so on. Ironically it's also the simple things that can most easily be our downfall. For instance, this evening I went on a nice ride on the SS. It was nice to get on the Purple machine after racing 3 times last week. It's simple, one gear, just stand and go, no thinking, no shifting, just pedal. I met Chris and KC above the race course and we proceeded to do the normal loop up Betty's to the Altar, Betty's lament to Dry and back around on the BST. I had to walk a loose section or two but otherwise felt pretty good, pushed hard to catch up with the Dynamic Duo when I spun out on the loose stuff and handled the technical sections, albeit a bit slower than I would have on the "Fly". Not sure why, but the SS just feels less stable after riding the Fly so much.

So we finally make it around and we are at the shooting range, which requires the log ride attempt at least once, especially when with the Holley's, (which is why I enjoy about riding with them, because they both are always encouraging me to try new things or push a little harder, even when it's not verbalized). So I pass on the first attempt due to the high grass it was hard to see the approach. KC made an attempt and I circled back up to go again. I approached, braked, as always, rode up onto the log and when I was about 1/4 of the way the bike slid off the left side, however my balance was to the right and so I went down and rolled, twice I think, hitting the outside of my right knee on the rocks. Besides being itchy from the roll in the grass and onto the pavement. I also realized that this seemingly simple task of riding the log was now going to leave me with a painful, but hopefully temporary, reminder that some things that seem simple can also be painful.

So now I sit here, stretching and rubbing my leg hoping I didn't do anything too drastic that would slow my riding and progression on the season thus far. Ahh the simple things, so fun, yet dangerous enough to really screw everything up.

Sundance ICUP 09

Monday, February 16, 2009

Blog weary

I enjoy other blogs, they are entertaining, witty, interesting, informative. But somehow I find it so hard to work on mine. Beside half the time I do anything worth reporting about, someone else is doing it with me and they write about it. So it almost seems redundant to post my own musings about the events of the day.

However I feel the need to share a bit more, a bit more often. So I will endeavor, once again to provide some updates.

We'll see how it goes. For now you can read about my day Snowboarding at Sundance with Mr. Lisonbee (a skier).