Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Draper Day

Here's the short version of my Draper race. After weeks of congestion, a trip to the doctor, a course of antibiotics and a general lack of sleep, I couldn't go fast. What a surprise. The net result was my worst ICUP showing ever. The sad part is I actually gave it a good effort the entire race and did even lap times. There's just no go in the engine right now. It doesn't seem to matter if I take most of the week off or ride everyday, I just haven't been able to kick the illness. I'm on the verge of just bagging racing for a month or so. We'll see. I'll probably convince myself to line up at Sundance.

Ed did a good job of salvaging a difficult situation with the mud. Everyone seemed to take it in stride and the modified course was actually pretty good for a race. One of the cool things about MTB racing is there are just a bunch of good people involved. The whining would continue for weeks if yesterday was a road race.

Tanner was sick all week as well. He gave it a great effort and led the first lap, but his body said "no" and he faded to 6th. Kevin won his 2nd in a row in the 19 - 29 Expert and the team win streak is at 4. Tanner's young, he'll recover quickly, unlike his old Dad.

Proof that I did at least participate.

The girls were home for the Holiday weekend, so it was a family affair.

Must be pre-race because I'm smiling.

We got to hang out in the sun for a few hours. Probably the highlight of the day.

I really wanted to race the entire Solitude mid-week series this year. However, tomorrow doesn't seem to be in the cards. Maybe next week.
I learned Tim White in my group is an avid backcountry skier and got to talk skiing with him for a while. I've been accumulating gear on year-end close out sales so I'm sure I'll be doing some touring with him come winter. He's used to beating me up the hills on a bike so it won't be a problem on skies.

Saturday, May 23, 2009


Since I bailed on racing today, Chris and I did a dual-sport ride on the Moto's. This is my first true dually ride since I got the machine last fall. I've been waiting for the snow to melt and a Saturday without racing. We headed up Skyline Drive and the Ridge trail from the "B" in Bountiful. I had a good time and I'm beginning to remember how to ride a motorcycle off road. The bike didn't disappoint. It's just what I had in mind, good gas mileage for commuting and lots of fun off road.

We made it nearly to Bountiful Peak before snow covered the road. I did about 80 miles door to door in three and a half hours. Chris did a bunch more miles by looping back to PC via Morgan. Good times.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

A Losing Battle

This should be one of the best times of the year. Temperatures are nice and the trails are opening up and looking good. The race schedule is in full swing and it's time to start going fast. I've finally moved the yard from "bike racer neglected" to merely "normal neglected". In a week or two, it should less than neglected. I got the vegetable garden planted and some plants are coming up. Things have calmed down at work so I can work normal hours and feel less stress. In short, life should be good.

Unfortunately, I'm losing the allergy and sinus infection battle. I actually resorted to a doctor visit Tuesday. I came away with antibiotics and I'm feeling a little better. However, not good enough to race both Saturday and Monday. Too bad, I really like the Sugarhouse crit and will miss racing with Glen. We haven't been able to race together yet this year. I just hope I'll feel good enough Monday to not finish last.

Yet, I still don't have much to complain about. As someone told me today, it's not like the outcome of our races will change the world. Racers have a weird sense of health. For most people, the difference between being 90% healthy and 100% healthy doesn't matter much. But for a racer, it's the difference between a good race and a day of suffering. With the fitness that comes from riding, our 90% is better than most people's 100%.

I did get to pre-ride the entire Draper course on Tuesday's ARMR ride. What a fun ride. I plan to enjoy it Monday.

Sunday, May 17, 2009


Tanner and I raced in Boise to get qualified for Nationals. We both accomplished that goal. However, our races were quite different.

This post-race picture pretty much sums up my day.

This one sums up Tanners.
The course was terrible for me and my allergies were in full force so I suffered like a dog for 2 hours to finish 8th in a pretty good 40+ Expert field. Tanner on the other hand crushed the Experts and a few pros to handily win. Hence my pained look and his smile.
The race was well run and it was kind of cool race where we didn't know anyone. However, the course was just plain awful. It was 85% double track / dirt road through cow-tracked, open pastures. It had no trees, long, long, steep climbs and steep short descents where you just tried to not crash. It was kind of like the "wall" on the Shoreline between Dry Creek and Bobsled, but for 23 miles. I'm not sure you could design a course that would be worse for my skill set. The only way to make it worse would be to race in 95 degree heat. Oh wait, the Knobbie Tire series final is on the same course in August so they've got that covered.
Enough complaining. On to the good stuff. The race was a mass start. They lined up the Pros on the front row, all Experts behind them, Sport next, then Beginners. There was some instruction then it was "riders ready, go". All 100 or so racers (looked like about 1/3 the turnout of an ICUP race) then battled up the first climb. The start was at the bottom of a paved 1/2 mile hill which turned into a 1.5 mile dirt road climb. Fortunately, the only single section of the course came at mile 5 so things were sorted out by then. Starting all together was kind of cool because you could race everyone. However, it just won't work on any of the venues we race here. The fields are too large and the single track too frequent (a good thing).
I was about mid-pack in the Experts on the first climb (I got to watch lots of guys pass me later) and could watch Tanner work his way up to the front (again, no trees on the course so you could see for miles). He quickly bridged to the leading 4 Pros and was actually on the leader's wheel over the top. He hung onto 2nd overall for most of the first hour and eventually faded a little to finish 5th overall and the top Expert. He was only 5 minutes off the winning Pro and had the winner concerned during the first climb. JoAnn overheard him say at the finish "I was worried the kid from Utah was going to kick my ass".
I said last week Tanner had to spot me 30 seconds per year difference in age. Therefore, he had to beat me by 15 minutes to actually "win". Well, he beat me by 15 and a half minutes. So much for that idea.
Tanner's quickly turning into one fast kid. Just 12 months ago, I could still beat him in ICUP events. Now I can stay with him for about 30 seconds. Up until about a week ago, I could always drop him on the downhill. Even that's gone now. While my ego is bruised a bit, I'm one proud Dad.

Tanner looking in control.

The mass start. We're in there somewhere.
Me coming out of the stream crossing, the only fun feature of the entire course.

JoAnn made the trip with us and the enjoyment factor went up a bunch. She patiently sat out in the sun and took pictures.

We looked at lots of this on the drive. That's pretty much what the race course looked like as well.

I've never picked up more bugs in my life.

I had to stop and do this every 100 miles or I couldn't see out.
While the course was less than ideal, the trip was worth it. I kind of like road-tripping and racing different events. Now we can start to plan our trip to Nationals in July.
Congrats to the Caveman for continuing the Porcupine / Specialized win streak in the 19 - 29 ICUP expert. Looked like there was a great turn out at Soldier Hollow. I think I was punished because I tried to skip out on the suffering.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Off to Idaho

Soldier Hollow Hammerfest is usually the Soldier Hollow Sufferfest for me. This year I'm skipping it all together and heading to Idaho to race in Boise. Maybe the Idaho guys won't be as hard on me as the Utah crew. Bob's form seems to kick in at Soldier Hollow so I think I'll just duck him rather than get beat.

The race in Boise is a qualifying race for MTB Nationals. Tanner and I decided over the weekend to give the National Championships a go since his form is so good and Nationals are in Colorado this year. In order to race a Cat 1 National Championship, you have to qualify by scoring a top ten in a qualifying race. The closest qualifying race this year is in Boise this Saturday, so we're heading North. It will be interesting to see how good the field is. I'm secretly hoping that only 10 guys show up so I'll just have to finish to qualify.

In other exciting news, I'm going to the dentist this morning for the 3rd time in 3 weeks. I get to do it again next week. Now that's what I call a good time.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

That Hurt

Tanner and I raced at Sherwood Hills yesterday in ideal conditions. The temperature was cool and the trails were tacky. The turnout was the best since I've been racing at Sherwood and the racing was fast.

I haven't raced the MTB since St. George (because I'm apparently a road weenie) and I was quickly reminded how much it can hurt. Bob did a cyclocross start and we were all seeing stars a couple of minutes in. I couldn't hold the fast pace and settled into 7th. I rode consistent laps from that point and slowly worked my way 5th going into the last of 4 laps. With my allergies and congestion, I was deep in the pain cave at this point and was just going to do enough to hold my position. However, as I came out of the woods I could see Bob and that he was fading a bit, so of course I had to keep going hard. As I caught him on the twisty single track climb I think he said something like "I think I'm going to cry". If I could have formed words at that point, I would have said "me too". As it was, I could only concentrate on keeping moving and not tipping over. I managed to stay ahead of Bob to finish 4th. Given how I've felt this week, I'll take it.

Brad and Tim were long gone and a guy I don't know in tan under armor rode away from me half way through the race. He was struggling in the single track tree sections, but was flying everywhere else. He's definitely got a big engine.

About half way through the last lap, I remember thinking next week at Soldier Hollow is half hour longer and harder. It wasn't a motivating thought. I'm sure Bob will extract his revenge on the SH climbs.

Tanner had another outstanding day to win his second Expert 19 - 29 in a row. He attacked on the first hill and was gone. However, the finish ended up a lot closer than he would have liked. He was getting time checks to what he thought was 2nd and had a comfortable, nearly 2 minute lead. Accordingly, Tanner didn't push it too much on the last lap in order to avoid a big mistake. Turns out, that guy wasn't in 2nd and the actual 2nd place was gaining fast. He caught up to Tanner just as Tanner entered the finishing chute and they sprinted it out. Fortunately, Tanner was able to stay in front.

The 19 - 29 field lined up.

The Kuhl train started things off.

However, Tanner was first up the opening climb.

The finish was way too close for comfort.

The old guys lined up. Good job to sleeveless Brad on the win.

Tim had reason to smile. He was really fast yesterday.

Carl and I were able to smile early on. We had our normal battle for the first half of the race. Kelly Glen was with us as well. Good times with good guys.

Late in the race, no smiles, just the pain face.

Just when you think you are going OK, you often get a reality check. Mine came just before the start of my last lap. Alex Grant lapped me and went by like I was standing still. Next came Bart, then Burke. They were all impressively fast.
On the team front, congratulations to Dave for winning the 35+ State Crit Championship then finishing 4th in the Pro 1/2.
Others on the team were experiencing actual pain, not just effort induced suffering. Greg Freebairn went down hard in the 35+ race and broke his collarbone, a very bad thing for a chiropractor. Heal fast, buddy. At the St. George Tri, Aaron Jordin was flying along at 30 approaching an intersection when a course Marshall stepped out to tell him to turn (the turn wasn't not clearly marked). AJ braked, hit a slick piece of road and launched over the bars. Fortunately, no bones were broken, but he donated a lot of skin from his hands and back.
When I talk with non-cyclists about my racing, they nearly always say something like "oh, mountain bike racing must be really dangerous". In reality, the road is way more dangerous. In many years of riding and racing, my only significant injuries have some on the road. More reason to stick to the dirt.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Sick and tired

I'm sick and tired of being sick and tired. Did the ARMR ride with the boys last night and felt OK. However, I gave DMV a go tonight and only lasted 7 laps before I pulled the plug. The breathing deep wasn't going so well. Hopefully, things will improve by Saturday. I've had this for about 3 weeks and it getting very old.

We rode Bobsled last night. I haven't ridden it for about a year and a half and forgot how much fun it is. The top was had running water but the bottom was buff. The free-ride boys have been busy building stunts and jumps. I may have to borrow a Big Hit one day and get some air. I think the potential for an old guy to get seriously hurt is high enough to get the adrenalin flowing.

Dave won DMV again tonight. This time solo the last few laps. I'm not sure how he can pull off the win at DMV week after week. It's not like he sneaks up on anybody. He's wins about 75% of the time he races at DMV. It's like the Jazz pick and roll in Stockton and Malone's heyday. You knew it's coming, but there's not much you can do to stop it.

Finally, I was reminded tonight about how cool it is to just be out racing our bikes. There was a guy in the C or D flight tonight that clearly hadn't raced many times before. I watched him after I pulled the plug. He got dropped early but kept riding hard the entire race, alone. His wife and two little boys, about 4 and 6, were watching and yelling encouragement. The boys had no clue their Dad was no where near the front of the race. They just knew their Dad was racing his bike, was going really fast and is their hero. He was probably the biggest winner on the night. Pretty cool to watch and helped me remember why I do this. It's about participation more than results.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

More Fatherly Boasting

Yesterday was a good day for my kids.


http://www.standard.net/slideshows/2009%20Slideshows/USUgraduationspring/slideshow.html (picture # 8)


Won the 19 - 29 Expert at the 5 Mile Pass cross/MTB race. He had the fastest expert time by a comfortable margin. (Sorry Bob, but the skinny 16 year old put 2 minutes on you.) He also just scored in the 92nd percentile nationally on the ACT.


One of her art projects was prominently displayed in USU's fine arts building for finals week. She has the most creative talent in the family. She's also on the Dean's list again this semester.

A bunch of over-achievers I'm fortunate to call my own.

OK, I'll stop bragging and go back to regular boring posts about me starting tomorrow.