Sunday, December 27, 2009

Ski Tour #1

Well, after months of anticipation and buying lots of gear, Tanner and I made it out for our first back country tour. It was all I'd hoped for and I'm hooked. We sent some quality time in Bear Trap in BCC. We found some nice, creamy snow on some fun, low angle slopes. Can't wait to get back at it.

Big thanks to Kendall for being our tour guide and answering all our stupid questions. We learned to get skins off without taking skis off from the start. Now there's only about a hundred more tricks to learn.

Kendall and Tanner heading up for lap #2.

I'll take the view.

Kendall and Tanner with Raymond and Gobbler's Knob in the background.
Christmas has been great with the family all together. Too bad it ends too soon.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Bend Pictures

Here's some pictures from Cross Nationals. Unlike my wife, you don't have to look at all we took.

More people than I've ever seen at a bike race.

Eric ripping it in the Elite race about ready to pass the She/Man.

Even the top dogs suffer in cross.

Tanner getting dirty.

John Burton and Tanner on the icy stairs.

Must be a cross race if the Fox is in uniform.

The Doctor made the ice look easy.

I actually managed to pass someone on the 23 steps of pain.

I managed to not fall in a tricky section for a change.

Depending on the temp, this hill was easily ridable or icy with no chance in traffic.

The Utah Compound.

Big Brother on the podium.

Tanner on the stairs yet again.

Days Inn in Burns OR. minus 12 outside, 45 inside.

Art, Trisha, Doug and Kelly taking it all in as Eric warms up to race the with the big boys.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Bend #4

Day 4 of Cross Nationals had the best racing so far. The Utah crew came away with 3 more podiums with Ali, Eric and John Burton and some other solid results.

Tanner raced hard but had some bad luck. Three riders got off the front and Tanner was in the next group of 5 or 6 for the first few laps. He was feeling good but crashed pretty hard in a slick section. He crashed yet again and lost a bunch of positions but hung on to finish 14th. After the race, we discovered one of his rear brake pads was fully engaged on the rim after the 2nd crash. So he basically rode the 2nd half of the race with his brakes on. It was muddy enough that he just thought it was some mud making noise so he didn't get a bike change. Another learning experience for us. John Burton,, who won a number of UTCX single speed races this year, had a great ride to finish 5th. It's a bummer Tanner didn't have some better luck or we could have had two Utah Juniors high up. I was proud of Tanner's effort and was a nervous wreck during the race. It's much worse watching your kid than doing your own race. I'm not sure I could take it all the time. Even with bad luck he had two top 15 finishes in National Championship races this year.

Ali put on a great show in the best race of the day. He was off the front for a few laps then with a group of 3 and then 4. The group included 2 former National Champs and a top Elite racer. In the end, Jonathan Baker and Justin Robinson got by Ali who held off Brandon Dwight for 3rd. A great race and a great effort. Bo Pitkin was equally impressive turning his 108 call up spot into a 17th place finish.

Eric had a super race as well. He was solidly in the top 5 for the first half of the race then flatted coming down a steep off-camber hill. He rode the falt for about a minute to the pits and lost a number of places. After a bike change, he chased back to 5th and held off former National Champ Ryan Leech to make the podium.

Dr. Cross, got things rolling with a 22nd in the 50 - 54 this morning followed by Art and Jon G breaking the top 20 in the 40 - 45 with Art having bad luck as well. Matt Ohran finished in the top half as did Mike Kracht after starting near the back of 150+ guys. Kelly Glen was just ahead of Mike when he flatted and had to run about half a lap.

The crowds were larger and louder today and the weather warmer. The slick ice softened up to a thin layer of mud making the course much faster. Another good day to be at the races.

We're on the road tomorrow as soon as the Elite men's race is over. I'm looking forward to getting home but not looking forward to the ride.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Bend #3

Today didn't go as well as yesterday for the Cottle crew. The only race on tap was my 45 - 49 National Championship race. After killing time all day waiting for my 3:30 start time, I was called up 37th and started on the 5th row. Exactly the same spot as yesterday. There was "only" about 115 starters today. As expected, the big hitters were all present and accounted for today and the pace was wicked fast. I was hoping for a top 25 finish but it would be a challenge since everyone ahead of me was a Cat 1 fast guy.

The first few laps went fairly well and I was in the mid to high 20's. Just like yesterday, the course was fast in some sections and super icy in others. With some cloud cover, it was basically dark most of my race and the temperature dropped the whole race making it icier each lap.

I actually liked the slippery conditions and kept it upright through all the difficult sections. Ironically, I managed to hit the deck on the pavement. Coming into the finish with 3 laps to go, there was gaps between all of us so you could relax a little on the pavement. As I crossed the finish line I was on the right side of the road up against the fencing. For some reason, the only guy near me tried to pass in between me and fence when he had the whole road open on the other side. There wasn't room for the pass and we both ended up in the fence and on the ground in the fastest section of the course. I wasn't hurt too bad and got going again but had to change bikes. By then I dropped back to the mid 40's and didn't get really going again until the last lap. I did finish strong to get back some places.

All in all, I'm happy with the effort and how I rode. Without the crash, I could have challenged for a top 25 and I felt good both days. I probably had the best form of the season, so I can't complain about that. Even though the Nationals races are harder than anything I do all year, I love the atmosphere and the large fields full of the best competition. Just a little slip and you lose 2 or 3 positions. If you make a solid move through a difficult section, you pass 2 or 3 guys. Having large crowds yelling for you and giving a big cheer if you ride a difficult section is a blast.

On a more positive note, Kris Walker repeated as the 45 - 49 women's National Champion in a photo finish. Very cool and another podium for the Utah related crew. Tomorrow, Tanner races the 17-18 Juniors in the morning and Eric has the 30 - 34 in the late afternoon darkness. Just about all the other Utah crew including Ali, Art, Dr. X, Kelly, Krafty and Bo race as well. I'm looking forward to sending 8 hours just watching. The forecast is calling for snow and/or freezing rain so it should be interesting.

I've got a bunch of pictures I'll post at some point when I'm not as tired.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Bend #2

Pretty good day for the Cottle's at Cross Nationals today. Doug had the National Championship race in the 60 - 64 and made the podium with a hard fought 5th! He was a stud and it was cool to watch. He made a pass late in the final lap to make the podium. He made his little brother proud with a huge effort. He rode well in tricky conditions and gave Utah it's first but hopefully not last podium.

Tanner was 6th in the under 30 "B" race. He didn't really push it hard because he was just practicing for Saturday's Junior race. He got a good feel for the course, road all the slick, icy stuff well and had a good time.

I raced the 40+ "B" race and it was crazy. They did a random number call up based on the last digit of your bib number. With 141 starters, the luck of the draw played into the results. I was the 3rd group called up and was on the 5 row of 8 riders. Kelly Glen was not so lucky and was the next to last group called up so he started back about 12 rows. However, he rode very well and passed about a 100 guys to finish 37th.

The race went well for me and I managed to move up to finish 10th. I had a good battle with the guy who lined up next to me the entire race. It was really fun and a pretty hard effort. The conditions were very difficult for my group. We started at 3:30 and the sun went below the horizon with about 15 minutes to go. The temps dropped and the course turned into an ice rink in many sections. At the same time it turned more icy, we started working through lappers. It was more than a little scary in some sections. I heard there were 4 ambulances called in to cart off those unfortunate to hit the deck hard. I managed to keep it upright but had many close calls.

Most of the locals are now here and our base camps are close to each other. Bob Walker was doing well in the 55 - 59 until a guy put him hard enough into the fence to break the post. He toughed it out a finish, but it was really unfortunate.

More fun on tap for tomorrow. I'm the only one of our crew with a race with my 45 - 49 group starting at 3:30 again. Should be another ice rink at the end only with a lot faster guys. If I go as good as I did today, I have a chance to move up a little from my 5th row start position.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Bend #1

We made it to Bend for Cross Nationals without any trouble. It was almost like cheating after our drive to Kansas the last two years. No stress and or near death experiences.

We've got a pretty sweet set up here in Bend. We're sharing a condo with some of the Utah crew that's about a mile from the race venue. We were also able to stake out a prime spot for our warmup compound. We only had 9 bikes this year in the trailer. Again, much less stress.

The course is interesting and not what I expected from watching the video posted on line. It's in a pretty small area and the lap is relatively short, probably in the 7 minute range for em in today's conditions. There's lots of turns and twists and tricky sections. There's a staircase with about 20 steps build out of wood that is pretty sketchy with the snow and ice. There's about 2 - 3 inches of snow on most of the course and with temperatures below freezing, it's not going anywhere for a few days. They did clear the snow from the grass section so it's pretty open.

With no super fast, power sections the course is all I could hope for. However, with the snow, ice and tight turns, passing will be difficult. With my start positions 4 or 5 rows back, it will be next to impossible to to make a big move up. Things will come to a complete stop in many spots on the first lap. With the Cat 4's at the back of a 150+ Masters fields and a fairly short lap, guys will be getting lapped quickly. That sucks. The organizers should be required to make a long lap so racers at the back that made the effort to get here can actually make it most of the race.

Tanner, Kelly and I have the "B" race tomorrow and Doug has the 60 - 64 National Championship race. Lots to report on then.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Coming to an End

The cross season's just about over. A week from now, I'll be done. The season hasn't turned out like I wanted, but it's still been good to hang out with the best group of people in cycling. About this time of the season, I'm reminded that cross races are just plain hard. With my injuries and sickness this year, an hour at full gas has been a challenge. Even though I haven't been going as fast as I should, the suffering is on track.

The highlight of the season has been the growth of the Utah cross scene. It's great to see significant increases in the number of racers and the level of competition. It's not just one or two categories, the increases have been across the board. The Cottle family (other than me) has had a good year with Doug and Tanner making big improvements. Ali, Eric and Alex have stepped up their game so that Bart has to have a good day to win. It's good for everyone.

Bend should be a good time. Looks like we'll be racing in mud or snow. The Utah contingent should be strong with Ali, Eric, Art, Tanner, Doug and others having solid shots at the podium or the Jersey. I love the atmosphere of the Cross Nationals and like watching the racing as much as actually racing. I can't wait.

Hopefully, there will be snow when we get back. I've got lots of new backcountry ski gear screaming to be used.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Doug's a Champ

I'd pretty much sworn off blog posts. It's not that I don't like blogs or posting. I just don't seem to make the time. With all that goes on in normal life, writing a blog post seems to fall to the bottom of the list. Maybe I'll get inspired to write more often, maybe I won't. I compose many posts in my mind, but the execution is lacking.

The Utah Cyclocross State Championships were yesterday. We had plans of Cottle domination. Doug got it rolling and help off Dirk for the 55+ win. Not bad for his first season in the pain cave. He's gotten faster each week and could make some noise at Nationals.

The smiling Champion post race.

I got off to a good start in the 45+ and held a good gap for a couple laps. Steve Briley bridged to me and we worked together for a lap of so. Then I followed my '09 pattern of race mistakes and hit the ground in a low speed corner. I got tangled in the bike and Steve was gone. The funny part is I actually thought I had won for a minute. Steve's brother was racing the 35+ B in the same kit, on the same bike and is about the same size (kind of like me and Doug). When I got going after the fall, I could see who I thought was Steve ahead of me. I caught and passed him in a couple of laps and thought it was all good. Too bad it was Steve's brother. However, no excuses. Steve was going really well and I'm not sure I could have beaten him. I gave it my best effort and I'm happy with that.

It would have been nice to win though. Doug's son Brady did his first cross race of the year in Eugene and won the 30+ Masters. 3 Cottle wins would have been cool.

The State Cross swan song for Porcupine / Specialized turned out OK. A win from Doug, 2nd from Eric and me, top ten for Zane and just out of top ten for Tanner isn't a bad last championships. We need to send the team out in style at Nationals. Podiums for Eric, Doug and Tanner are not out of the question.

Here's my good start, not so good finish.

Tanner's plan was to work on a strong start to practice for Nationals. He got off the line well and hung in with the first chase group for a while. A flat, non-technical, fast, power course is not well suited to the boy but he managed a solid 12th.

I decided to give the 35+ race a go as well. I soon learned that my body doesn't respond well to a 2nd race, particularly with 3 hours in between. I was off the back early and eating lots of humble pie. Darrell and I had an epic battle of guys who raced the 45+ race earlier in the day and were hoping to not get lapped by Art. I did get lapped by 5 A's. Disappointing, I wanted to make it the entire season without getting lapped. However, I took the view that the race was a nice 60 minute threshold interval and gave it all I had.

Overall, the quality and quantity of racers has gone way up this year. Last year, in the 45's I just rolled off the front and rode alone for 45 minutes. This year, 5 guys were all pretty close and a guy I've never met, Briley, won. I talked with him after and he's a fireman with my neighbor and a good guy. He's doing OK for his first year of cross.

I'm also a big fan of the race venues Matt and Jon have been able to line up the last two years. They each their strengths and weaknesses, but I'd have to say Heber is my least favorite. Bumpy grass isn't that much fun and I'm not a fan of 180's right into closely spaced barriers. I think barriers should have some speed to them so that some skill pays a dividend. When everyone basically has to stop before the barriers, everyone pretty much goes the same slow speed through them.

Finally, it's official, I'm going to join the Revolution MTB crew next season (I know my decision on a team for next year has been keeping you up at night). I'm pretty excited actually. I'm buddies with many of the riders and the shop is a 5 minute ride from my house. Thanks Bob.

Tanner and Eric will be racing with Kuhl next year and Doug's weighing a couple invites from teams. Other than the 1/2's that went to Canyon, the other guys are undecided on next year. However it turns out, it will be strange to have all of us in different colors. Porculized has been a good gig.

One more thing. JoAnn has found a new hobby. Her friend has some horses in Dimple Dell that need to be ridden frequently. She's ridden the one below a few times now and loves it. Her friend says she's a natural. Must be all the country music she listens to.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Just Call me Crash

It's been quite a year for me. I was pretty much sick all summer and now I can't keep from crashing in cross. Saturday, I was in good position in the first chase group when I decided to see how far I could slide across the gravel. Turns out I made it about 30 feet. The good news is my injured wrist made it out OK. The bad news is my knee was bruised and sprained. I've been hobbling around all week and not doing much riding. Just when I was able to stop icing my wrist, I'm now icing my knee. After six weeks, I'm getting immune to cold.

I do think I'll be able to race Saturday. If my knee improves, I might even race the 45+ as well as the 35+. I've been planning to do a race with my big bro all year, but it just hasn't worked out.

I finally got my skins cut for my backcountry skis. I'm getting very excited to give it a go. I've been reading about avalanches all summer and realize I don't know jack. Thinking about the risk is a bit overwhelming, but I'm eager to learn. Fortunately, a number of knowledgeable backcountry skier have offered to teach me the ropes.

I finally signed up for Facebook this week. I generally avoid texting and social networking but so many of the cycling community are on Facebook, I decided to join in. Now if I just need to figure out how to use it. Looks like it could be a colossal time waster if you let it.

A highlight of this last weekend was an explosion in our pantry. A friend of JoAnn's gave her a jar with homemade apple pie filling in it. The idea is you just add the filling to a pie crust and you have a pie. A few days ago, Tanner and I heard this strange sound coming from the pantry but didn't investigate. Saturday night JoAnn heard a bang in the pantry and opened the door to discover the apple filling had been fermenting and the pressure blew the lid off the jar and the filling all over the pantry. A nice trick or treat surprise.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Bike Transport to Nationals

The Porucpine / Specialized crew (Eric, Doug, Tanner and I) will have some room to transport bikes to Cross Nationals again this year. First come, first serve at $50 per bike. I'll be arriving Wed afternoon or evening and leaving after the Elite race on Sunday. Let me or Eric know.


Sunday, October 25, 2009

Daper Down Pour

All is right in the Cross world for me again. My wrist allowed me to race after two weeks of no racing, it rained for Tanner and my race and I suffered as much as any race I've done. Life is good.

Doug had another solid outing with a very close 2nd in the 55+ and a good start in the 45+ before destroying a tire and running for half a lap to the pits.

Tanner and I always have fun warming up. It's was nice and dry prior to the start, however, I was riding through hail down to the start line. Felt like Belgium.

Tanner had his best race with a solid 8th in the A's. The run up felt like a walk up for me by the end.

Bryson decided to see if his helmet would work as a sled down the muddy hill. Apparently, it didn't work out so well.

Like father like son.

The pain face took a while to go away post race. I couldn't form words for several minutes.

The wet conditions were very cross-like. However it added a new level of nervousness to my race. My taped up wrist felt good while riding but a crash would have been very bad. Therefore, I was a little freaked out each time down the muddy hill and was very conservative. Fortunately, I managed to keep it upright.
On a less positive note, the Porcupine / Specialized team is gone for 2010. It's been a great run with great guys. Things just weren't lining up for next year, so I'm soon to be out of the team manager business. With the help of Eric and Glen, we almost pulled it off, but in the end it didn't happen. Maybe we'll be able to put something together for 2011. In the meantime, I'm not sure what I'll do for next year. Maybe I'll join the Brother's Glen Team Black. Tanner has something lined up so he'll racing on a different team than Dad for the first time. For me, I'm not going to worry about for awhile. There's too much cross racing left to do in the red skinsuit.
In all seriousness, thanks to all who have sponsored and race with Porcupine / Specialized. It was a great four years with lots of wins and lots of memories.

Monday, October 19, 2009

More Cross Racing

Here's some random pictures of guys in red from Saturday's cross race in Heber and one picture for which I have no explanation.

Looks like I'm a go for this week's race in Draper. The wrist is feeling better and I'm completely impatient. Sprinting from a start puts the most pressure on my wrist so I might be the last guy up the hill the first time, but at least I'll be out there. Getting dropped on hills is something I'm pretty good at anyway.
I'll be re-opening the gluing factory in the basement this week. My Dugust mud tires were glued last year and I thought they'd be OK for another year. However, at least 3 people I know have rolled tires with year old glue this season, so I'll be pulling them off and regluing. As I was reminded today, the last thing I need is to roll a tire and crash on my hurt wrist.
Brother Doug was the family hero Saturday. He raced the 55+ and 45+ back to back with solid results in both. He's making me feel like a slacker. Maybe I'll try the double when I'm back to full strength. It would be cool to be in the same race with my big brother.
Finally, Eric and Ali put on a great show Saturday. Watching it unfold was a lot of fun. It turned out to be the most exciting finish to a cross race I've ever seen. Good stuff from two good guys.

Friday, October 16, 2009

More Watching

I got to watch the cross races last week. It was kind of fun to watch all the guys I normally battle. It's a much different perspective than actually in the race. Everyone went hard and was suffering as it should be. It's much easier to watch. However, it's also very frustrating.

Looks like the frustration will continue for another week. My wrist is coming along really well and is close to race worthy. I've been riding and it's holding up fine. If I could eliminate the risk of crashing and re-injuring it, I'd race tomorrow. However, I can't eliminate the risk so I'll give it another week. Doing intervals rather than racing is not much fun. At least the weather's been nice for road racing.

Speaking of frustration, registering for Nationals was a mess. I feel bad for Dirk that it all blew up on him, but I was among the unhappy campers. I eventually got in, but not nearly as fast as I hoped. Looks like I'll be racing some locals in the 40+ B race. For those of us who have no realistic chance in our Master's age group race, the B race is a blast. Kelly will be on the front row and will give me a good target to come after. Should be a great time.

Congrats to Chase for making it to the big time next year with Trek-Livestrong. He's had a great year and deserves to race with the big boys. I wish him the best.

Friday, October 09, 2009


I'm killing time until registration opens for Cyclocross Nationals in an hour and a half. I've done well in the registration race the last two years. I've gotten a 2nd row call up both years for my age group race and a 1st row for the B race last year. This year, I won't be 2nd row because the call up is based on race category (cat 1, cat 2, etc) and order of registration. Since I'm a cat 2 in cross, I'll be behind all the cat 1's. The change in the procedure is probably good. The guys with a chance to win are all probably cat 1's and should be up front.

I've also spent plenty of time waiting in doctor's office waiting rooms this week. I've been to an insta-care, an orthopedic surgeon, an MRI facility (I was sent to the wrong place) and the hospital (the correct place). The orthopedic surgeon's office had the best magazines.

In this process, I've had x-rays at two different offices and a CT scan. Most of this was precautionary because there's so many small bones in the wrist and the surgeon wanted to make sure there were no chips floating around. (I also think he was hoping to find something to remove surgically.) In the end, the process shows what's good and bad with our health care system. I was able to get high quality care quickly. I also ran up a substantial bill that me and my insurance company will be paying. Had I not had good insurance, it would have been a much different story.

In the end, the news was good on the wrist. There was a chip, but it remained attached to the bone. It appears that the chip won't cause problems, but only time will tell. So, I get a brace instead of a cast and just have to wait for the soft tissue to heal. I just have to take is slowly and do only as much as my wrist will take. At this point, my guess is I'll will miss 2 to 4 races. Probably the best outcome I could hope for. I was able to ride the cross bike on the road today, so I'm a much happier guy than a few days ago.

I'll be ringing a mean cowbell tomorrow.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Good and Not So Good

The 1st Utah Cross race is in the books. For the Cottle's, it was a day of good and not so good.

First, the good:
  • The turn our for the races was great and nearly all the fast racers were present and accounted for.
  • In only his 2nd cross race, my brother Doug won the 55+. Doug, Tanner and I have now all won at least one UTCX race. I'm sure Doug has more wins in him. Good job bro.
  • Tanner had a solid first race with the A's to finish 11th. He held his own and had a good time. He'll get better as he gains more race experience and gets better at tatics. For now, he just likes to go as hard as he can all the time, even if that means doing way too much work on the front of a group. However, I'd rather he be aggressive than just following wheels.
  • Eric had a great start to the season with a 2nd to Bart.
  • For the first time all year, I felt really good in a race and finished 6th in probably the best 35+ field in UTCX history. I was in a good battle for 4th through about 8th early then was with John Iltis the rest of the way. We worked well together then raced each other the last lap or so. He gaped me going into the infield the last time and I just couldn't get back to him. It was very hard, but super fun with John. It was a relief to be able to ride hard again.
  • After months of waiting, we were able to put the red skinsuits to proper use.

It's hard to miss us this year.

I have the required cross pain face on.

Now the not so good. In warm ups, I successfully bunny hopped the log on the South end of the course using an aggressive line on the far inside of the corner. I filed that fact away without any real plan to take the line during the race. The log is at it's highest on that line and the angle difficult. Here's a picture of Tanner running the log on this line during the race: (Ali, notice the socks.)
In the race, I got a good start and was in the top 3 coming into the log for the first time. For some unknown reason, I took the aggressive inside line and went for the bunny hop. As they say, "I missed it by that much" and performed a very stylist endo. I was up quickly and lost only a few spots and didn't think much of it. However, after the race my wrist began to hurt and was pretty uncomfortable by the time we made it home. No problem I thought, a little ice and Ibuprofen and I'll be good tomorrow.
Unfortunately, this morning brought a very swollen wrist that didn't want to move. A visit to Instacare this afternoon revealed a fracture to one of the small bones in my wrist. I need to visit an Ortho Doc to confirm, but it looks like anywhere from 2 to 6 weeks in a cast once the swelling goes down.
Not exactly the way I wanted to end a great day at the races. Hopefully, I'll be on the short end of the recovery timetable and only miss a few races. Looks like the trainer will be my friend for the foreseeable future.
I also re-learned what I've know for a long time. Planning what you're going to ride or not ride in a cross race and sticking to it is a good idea. Maybe ski season will not have the misadventures of the MTB and Cross season. I hope so.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

It's Almost Here

Only a few more days and we get to do this:

I'm a little jealous of the locals who have been racing the GP's in Washington and Wisconsin. Congrats to Ali and the others on some solid results.
The training's been going well and I should be able to go hard. Maybe not fast, but hard. Chrispy's been helping me get ready and for the first time all year, I feel good.
I'm thinking of doing a few doubles early in the season. With the new schedule, I can race 45+ early then the 35+ A later. Sounds like some serious suffering but fun in a twisted way. Could pay off in the long run. I'll like give it a try this week and see how it goes. Is that completely crazy?
Might even be some rain with weekend. At least cooler temps will be nice.

Sunday, September 06, 2009


I haven't exactly been a blogging machine lately. Just can't seem to channel my energy to the keyboard in the evening after working with one all day. Apparently, a few friends continue to check for updates, so I'll continue to put something up from time to time.

September is a great time of year. The weather is nice and hardly any racing for me so there's time for fun rides and hikes. It's also time for most of my thoughts to turn to this:

And this:

The "Pit of Despair" as Tanner likes to call the basement is up and running. After finally putting together a few weeks of solid riding without getting sick, threshold intervals are once again on the agenda. As much as I complain to Chrispy about the computrainer, it is the most efficient way to get some quality work in. However, I learned a trick from TeamRico to make the Pit a little less desperate. Do your warm up and cool down outside and only the intervals inside. With my mediocre engine, I have to put in some quality training time to keep the fast guys in sight. As usual, my goal each race this year will be to avoid getting lapped by Bart or Ali. With Tanner racing the A's this year, I'll have watch for him as well.

Speaking of fast guys, the Cross bar will continue to go up in the 801 (or 435) this year. The old guys will be growing in numbers and quality this season. Guys like Sam, John Iltis, Rich C, Kelly Glen, Ohran, Greg and especially the good Cross Doctor have stepped it up this summer and will be flying. McKone is also planning on a full cross schedule along with the rest of regular crew. Should be a good time getting beat up by all these guys each week.

Porcupine / Specialized will be back with a solid crew this cross season. We've already made reservations for Nationals in Bend and will likely have a couple of trailers to transport Utah bikes for paying customers. We've been waiting all year to break out the skinsuits we designed with cross in mind (OK, the guys have been using them in TT's all year so they won't be a surprise but they are still cool).

I watched a bunch of the Tour of Utah this year. I sat by the start house for the TT and watched all the riders roll out. All the local riders seemed to appreciate the word of encouragement from a familiar face. Captain America got the loudest cheer as he rolled out. I enjoyed watching him do some intervals in the final crit in preparation for his National Championship TT ride.

Tanner and Keegan won the Park City Point to Point relay yesterday. I got to support rather than ride (I'm still permanently scared from my solo E100 a few years ago). I enjoyed the day and watching lots of friends put in impressive rides. Maybe I'll get inspired next year to give it a go.

The race seem to go off well and was a big step up from the E100, even in the first year. The event was low-key, but well organized with lots of prizes and actual cash for the open divisions. The division winners each received this nice 3 season tent:

Tanner and Keegan were impressive as usual. Bod and I were lamenting that their combined age was not even close to his age and 14 years less than mine. They are both probably thought of as strange, skinny kids in High School when in reality they are better at their sport than anyone in their school. If they had the same talent in football, they'd be BMOC for sure.

Small guys who go really fast.

Off to hike in Big Cottonwood with my daughters tomorrow. I'm looking forward to it. They are home from Utah State for the Holiday and it makes the family complete. As the kids get older, I treasure the times we're all together. It's the payoff for all the years of parenting.

Finally, the backcountry ski gear is complete. The skins came in this week. All I need now is to cut them to size, get my boots thermoformed and wait for the snow. Maybe a little cross racing in between.

Good luck to the family GCConnection crew at LotoJa this week. I've done it a couple of times but it never quite took hold of me. Family is the most important thing in my life so if it's important to them, it's important to me. I'll be thinking of you all day.