Thursday, April 30, 2009


I did the Anti - RMR (ARMR) again this week. Tanner, Team Rico, Caveman, AJ, Greg and Zane Freebairn hit the dirt in Corner Canyon. We successfully avoided the rain and had a good time. I believe ARMR's will greatly out number RMR's for me this year. Good times with good friends.

I'm head congestion has moved to my chest and I have a full-on cold. I feel crappy and have been off the bike for a few days. I'll probably stay off until next week. Of course, this is just in time for good weather.

We're off tomorrow to Logan for Erin's graduation. I'm excited for her.

Tanner's racing 5-mile pass. Should be interesting to see how he does. He's going pretty good right now.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

East Canyon and such

Since I began racing years ago, I have started every event I signed up for. I'm not sure why, but I've never bailed on a race. I guess I figure if I signed up, I'm committed. I can also think of only four races I haven't finish. On two occasions, I was sick but gave the weekday crit a go only to get dropped and call it a day. At 5-mile pass years ago, I broke the linkage in my rear suspension and had to walk in and 3 years ago, I pulled out of LoToJa after 80 miles.

LoToJA was the last snow year and I was near hypothermia at Montpelier. I was having absolutely no fun by that time. We stopped and I retrieved some dry, heavy gloves from our support car. As I was getting back on my bike, I looked up at my nephew Adam and saw his thin, wet gloves. In a moment of clarity, I pulled off my dry gloves, handed them to Adam, got off my bike and called it a day. In 10 minutes, I was changed and eating a burger at Artic Circle. One of the better decisions I've ever made.

All of this is to point out I taking starting and finishing races seriously. Accordingly, it was a little strange that I spent most of the week convincing myself to: A) not start East Canyon if it was raining / snowing or B) turn around and head to back to the car if it started to get ugly during the race. I've had a cold all week and maybe that played into my thoughts. In any case, I wasn't exactly stoked to race.

The drive to the race didn't help. We rallied the Element across the muddy road from Jeremy and set up camp at East Canyon in the rain / hail.

I pretty much decided to drive a wheel car for Tanner's race when the clouds broke and it began to dry out. As it turned out, the weather during the race was fairly benign.

My race turned out better than my frame of mind. I felt OK and made it over the first climb with the lead group. With Canyon and Bountiful Mazda comprising 12 of the 16 or so in the group, it was pretty clear nothing was going to stay away. So we settled in for a parade lap out and back from Henifer. On the climb out of Henifer, it got hard, I got dropped and rode back to East Canyon with 5 other stragglers. We sprinted up the finish climb for 10th - 14th and with nothing left, I finished 13th. Probably about all I could hope for this week.

Tanner was the Cottle hero for the day. He finished 2nd in a strong Cat 4 field. He rode smart and got away with 2 others on the climb out of Henifer. The three of them worked hard to the finishing climb and Tanner just barely missed the win. He was very excited and built some road racing confidence. His time was faster than the Cat 3 winner, so they were going fast.

Saturday night, Chrispy and I went to Supercross and the U. Good times for sure. I wish I had that kind of skill on a moto. Makes me want to sell a bicycle and buy a full-on MX bike.

It was also really good people watching. Not exactly a bicycle race crowd.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

It's been a while

I've had many great blog ideas lately but just haven't got around to writing. I need about 3 more hours in the day. I've also forgotten my great ideas. Most of them come in the night while I'm not sleeping (something I do very well). However, since I'm old, I don't remember them in the morning. In another ten years, I'll be lucky to find my way home on rides. I'll need a GPS system with a homing mode to ever make it back.
So instead of something witty and insightful, you'll get some random thoughts and pictures.

I've pretty much decided to become a backcountry skier next season. I've already resisted buying some bike stuff to save money. I've been spending lots of time looking at the mountains for skiable lines. I have a spotting scope for bowhunting that gets more use on my front porch looking for tracks and avalanches. (The spotting scope's for sale, by the way. Should pay for bindings.) The good news is I have months to accumulate gear. The bad news is I have months to wait to use it.

I sat out DVM tonight. I have bit of a cold and I wanted to save whatever I have for East Canyon Saturday (unfortunately, there's not much to save). I must admit, watching is much more relaxing than racing. I didn't get crosseyed once and didn't want to throw up when it finished. A new experience at DMV for me. Glen's magical bike powers were on display once again (he's in this picture). In the parking lot on the last lap, Glen was in position to put the 45 year old's hurt on the main field of A's when someone slid out and went down in the South East corner. This guy took Nick, Sam and a couple others down. Glen was in the middle of it but somehow managed to unclip, step off the bike as it went down, run a couple steps into the grass and safely roll. He's got Chuck Norris like skills. It was worth the price of admission just to see that save.
Speaking of East Canyon, what's up with 70 + and sunny all week then cold and wet on Saturday? If it's really bad, I'm turning around on top of the first hill and heading back to the car. It's one thing to get cold and wet on a cross bike in December. That's somehow acceptable if not down right desirable. In April on a road bike, not so much.

Made it out to Draper with Tanner, AJ, Chrispy, Zane and Greg last night. A good time for sure. We rode Ghost Falls, Jacob's Ladder and some of Shoreline. As usual, I have the pain face on at the top of a climb. However, ripping the down (with some caution due to the number of folks on the trail) was well worth it. So much more fun than riding circles at RMR. Memo to self: more MTB, less RMR.

Here's Dave winning at DMV tonight. The guy is a machine. The last couple of years, I bet he's won more than half of the DMV's he's raced. Last year he won 6 or 7 in a row at one point. I know some people discount DMV because of small fields. However, DMV is HARD every week and you have to give it up to him for his domination.

Here's Tanner mixing it up at DMV tonight. He was aggressive and on the front a bunch. He just faded a bit the last 10 minutes to finish in the pack. Last year, he'd get dropped early, so this was a big improvement. He's be challenging for wins at DMV soon enough.
In other news, I'm no longer a fugitive. We live in a subdivision with a homeowners association and covenants. One such covenant is your Christmas lights must be off your house no later than March 31st. I was making a stand and refused to take mine down. However, fear of arrest and torture got the best of me and I took them down Saturday. (If you saw my neighbor the "Enforcer", you'd understand my fear of torture was real.) Who knows where my life of crime would have led. I'm sure shoplifting, gambling, ponzy schemes and of course drug abuse were not far away. With EPO, HGH and anything else I could get my hands on, Brad, Bob and Darrell would have been in serious trouble. However, they can continue to work me over on any hill with more than a 1% grade.
Yard work is finally calling my name. I managed to get in 2 hours the other night. Another 10 or so and I'll have the basic spring maintenance complete. Too bad it will be fall by the time I get it done. I just call it being efficient. This way I can completely skip over the summer and fall work. I'm beginning to lean heavily to zeroscaping the front. I hate my grass. It's ugly, uneven, takes too much water and is a weekly pain to mow. The weeds are far more determined than me. However, I do have to get my vegatable garden planted. I can't live without some fresh goodies in the summer and fall. Maybe I'll just make the entire back yard into a garden like Doug.
So much for a short post.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Killing Time

I in my office killing time waiting for Erin's flight to arrive so I can pick her up. She's coming home a little early from DC to attend an awards ceremony at USU Saturday. She's nominated for Scholar of the Year and it's a black tie formal affair. Should be fun. It will be good to have her home.

I've been thinking about epic MTB rides lately. 15 years ago when I first started riding the dirt, Glen took me on many all-day adventures. The downside of racing is you just don't have time for getting lost in the mountains. I hope to change that a little this year.

My first big, all-day ride was with Glen and Skylere Bingham. Nothing like starting out with two former Pros. Guess who was off the back all day.

We started at Glen's house in Sandy and rode up Little Cottonwood to Alta. From there it was the summer road all the way to the top of Supreme. A 5,000 + climb out of the gate. From Supreme, we headed toward Brighton and got on Great Western. We dropped off the top of world to the South and eventually ended up at the top of American Fork. I seem to remember one hike a bike in there somewhere, but I was semi-coherent at the time. From there is was about an hour of sweet single track descending to Timble Fork. Down to Apline, over Hog's Hollow to Corner Canyon and back to Sandy to finish up the day. I remember something like 6 hours total time. A hard ride, I had a great time.

I've done that loop a couple more times with Glen but Great Western off the top is now open to ATV's and the trail was super-sketcky and not much fun the last time we went. However, maybe I'll give it a go again sometime.

Before I did this big loop, I didn't think something like that was possible. It opened my eyes to the limitless loops available on the Wasatch. Now, I'm disappointed if I don't get into at least two canyons when I'm able to make it up. Once again, I'm grateful to live in this remarkable place.

The next month + is the most frustrating for me in the mountains. Since I don't backcountry ski (yet), my ski season is done. However, we're a long while away from riding the high country. I guess that's what lower elevation trails are for.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Tooele Part II

The rain held off for the circuit race and it was pretty uneventful. Tanner and my races were about the same. Lots of attacks, but the hill wasn't steep enough to split the group. In my case, this was good. In Tanner's case it was not good. I was able to comfortably hang on and pretty much avoided the front. Tanner drove the pace on the hill, but couldn't enough help to make it stick.

The finish was a slight downhill grade that resulted in a fast sprint finish. I was in very good position coming out of the last corner and gave it a go. However, my 50 x 12 wasn't close to enough gear. I spun out at 43 mph and finished 12th. Tanner was even more under geared. His junior 48 x 13 had him at about 150 rpm in the finish and kept him in 20th.

We had no crashes and a good time hanging out with our team and the Canyon Draper guys. Time well spent with my son.

Tanner in the Cat 4 group.

Me with the 45+. You can tell it's a Masters group because everyone has expensive carbon wheels.
Dave rocking the new team skinsuit on the TT bike. It seemed to be a hit and got lots of comments.

We even had the cool start ramp and countdown clock. A first for me and Tanner.

Makes you feel pro-like.

This is Tanner's wheel after RMR Tuesday in the oval. He managed to keep it upright after breaking two spokes in the rear D of the guy in front of him. Neither went down. A good show of riding by both.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Mid race update

I'm sitting in the parking lot of a park in Tooele. On a whim, I searched for a wireless network and what do you know, I found one. We are killing time in between the TT and circuit race at the Tour of Depot. The rain has held off so far and the temperature has not been too bad.

The TT this morning was a 9 mile adventure with a couple mile climb and decent. Tanner did well in his first real TT effort. He finished 8th in the a good Cat 4 field and was only 1 minute off the winning time. He averaged a little over 25 mph on a course not suited for junior gearing. Tanner was completely spun out on the decent and could have gone a little faster.

I haven't been feeling so great the last few days and it showed. My goal was to not be last in the 45+ and I reached it with a few spots to spare. I held off Dirk who started 30 seconds behind me until the last 2K, which was better than expected. Too bad I completely blew the last K and lost at least 30 seconds. Tanner reached his goal of smoking the old man by finishing a minute 23 faster than me.

Well, there are now rain drops on the windshield of the Element. I sure hope it doesn't rain hard in a couple of hours.

Sam Keirge and Chase Pinkam finished 1-2 in the Pro 1 2 field only a second apart. They both averaged just over 29 mph. I'm not sure how you can do that. They play a game with which I'm not familiar.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Skiing, not racing

Rather than bike race, Mark and I made the trek to Snowbasin Saturday. It was a good choice and lots of fun. I hadn't skied the Basin in years and we explored most of it. The only down side was Snowbasin missed the Little Cottonwood big dump. There was some powder up high, but not much down low. I guess you can't have everything. On a true powder day, Snowbasin would be epic. For a dedicated Alta skier, the other refreshing aspect of Snowbasin was no lift lines at all. We pretty much had the place to ourselves.

It was good to get to know Mark better and gain another cycling friend. He's quickly picking up skiing and will be shredding like Tanner soon enough.

Sounds like the new Cholla course was great. I'll get it next year, assuming it's not snowing like this year. Mark and I stopped at Hell of the North on the way home and saw a lap of the P12 and Cat 3 race. Epic is all I have to say. The cross racer in me was a little jealous. Good job to Ali and Darrell on full cross rigs and tires. 1st and 3rd say a lot for the conditions. Sohmy had a solid 2nd in the P12 for the team.

I signed up for the Saturday portion of Tour of the Depot next week. I've never done a TT other than a couple Salt Aire's. Given my lack of fitness and time on the TT bike, I could be embarrassingly slow. However, Tanner's going to go nuts if he doesn't get some racing in, so we'll be spending the day out West.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

A Skier?

I have skied for years, but I didn't considered myself a true skier. I enjoyed spending time in the mountains and liked the feeling of floating in powder, but I could kind of take it or leave it. However, over the last couple of years that has all changed. I now think I am officially a skier. Here's some of the evidence:
  • In the last 8 days, I've taken two days of vacation on short notice for no other reason than it snowed a lot in Little Cottonwood.
  • It's early April and I'm thinking about making turns rather than riding my bike.
  • I have a wax bench in my garage.
  • I bought an iron just to melt expensive wax.
  • I'm bummed Mt. Dell and Park City Golf courses are once again golf courses instead of hard, fast skating courses.
  • I can now actually ski difficult terrain rather than just get down it.
  • I'm starting to look at drops and little cliffs as opportunities rather than something to be avoided.
  • New ski equipment looks as cool, if not cooler, than the new S-works Epic to me.
  • Ski equipment takes up more storage space in my house than golf, camping and archery equipment.
  • Using my two free passes to Snowbasin this Saturday sounds much more fun than racing my favorite road race, Hell of the North. (Tanner's taking the ACT and can't go. Any takers for the other pass?)
  • I've watched "Steep" 6 or 7 times and felt true sorrow when I heard the news of Shane McConkey's death this week. I've come close to buying some K2 Coomba's because Doug Coombs inspired me and I'd like to help his family.
  • I used the last of my Alta Powder Card today and I'm already wishing it had more.
  • I really enjoy watching Tanner ski and marvel at the quick progression he's made. It also irritates that he's better than me and knows it.
  • At 46 years of age, there's not many physical activities that allow me to improve. Skiing is one of the few.

I'll be back to being a bike racer soon enough, but here's a couple of shots from today in the mean time.

On a different note, I get to brag a little more about my daughter Erin. I've mentioned she's the Valedictorian for the School of Humanities, Arts and Social Science at USU this year. She and the 6 other Valedictorians made their pitches to speak at commencement today (Eric via teleconference from Sen. Bennett's office in DC). Erin was selected by the committee to be the student speaker at graduation. So it will be Sen. Bennett and Erin. Yep, I'm a proud papa.