Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Hey, a blog update

Summer's finally here and lots of good stuff going on. I have these great ideas for blog posts, but don't seem to make the time to write them. Maybe someday I'll get more dedicated. However, here's some highlights from the last week.

Tanner and I made it up the upper Millcreek with the road closed and had the place to ourselves. Pretty cool.

I made it out to Draper to help build the initial section of Jamie's trail. My abs are still sore but it was rewarding to see a trail take shape. I'll be back for more work. You should join me. This section of trail will likely be the best descent in the Corner.

Got to hang out with Brad. That's always good. The hat made it through the trail work OK.

Some of the team have been able to spend the last three days acting as tour guides for Specialized's 2010 product line global press launch. The big S brought in about 75 journalists to hear about the bikes and play on them. Here's our small group of 60 + unloading on Guardsman Pass.

The altitude made Puke Hill live up to its name.

Here's trail boss Glen giving last minute instructions to our group of 41 today. We got in about 34 miles with 2,000 up and 7,000 feet down. Good stats.

The rental box van had some pricey cargo. On Saturday, we had another level stacked on top. No bikes were hurt in the making of this picture.

Here's the MTB compound at Snowbird. There's another one just like it in the upper parking lot for road bikes. Dealers come in the next couple of weeks to do more of the same. They will be there during the Snowbird ICUP race. We make get a few out of town fast guys giving the race a go.
It was a pretty unique opportunity to ride with guys from around the world and some celebrities. I got to send some quality ride and discussion time with Ned. Also, I tried to follow Hunter and Berrecloth down Mill D and Millcreek, life threatening but fun. I realized today I was riding in between a world champion gold and bronze medalist for a time. I doubt I'll get to do that again. I also got to catch up with a couple of good guys from my time at Specialized I haven't seen for a time.
It's interesting how we just take for granted the quality of trails and scenery we have here. To a person, everyone was incredibly impressed. These are people who have ridden all over the world and could not get over the quality and quantity of our trail system. I was directing traffic near the bottom of the Desolation to Mill D trail and got to hear "This is awesome" in about 8 languages. The smiles were very large. A number of the guys said it was if not the best, one of the best trails they've ever ridden. A group of German journalists went back up today for more pictures for a feature in their magazine.
Even with all the visitors, the quote of the weekend came from a local. On our way down the closed road in upper Millcreek down to Pipeline, a guy riding up yelled at us because we were spread too far across the road and came close to him. Later, as we were gathered in the parking lot at Rattlesnake Gulch the same guy pulled his minivan over to apologize for swearing and to lecture us about how to ride. His final words were "I hate to pull rank on you, but I've been riding bikes for 16 years and have ridden all over the country so I know what I'm talking about". Too bad he didn't realize he was talking to a world champion and riders from 10 countries. We said thanks and managed to hold the laughter until he left.
One final note. While the out of towners struggled with the altitude, they had some serious skills. The Euros can descend with speed and style. I got out of my XC racing conservative DH mode and let it rip following these guys. What a blast. The 2010 S-Works Stumpy I rode today wasn't bad either.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Cold, Wet Fun

Yesterday was the Glen Adams Epic Father's Day ride. Tanner's been calling it the GLEPIC all week and was pretty excited about going. He's heard my GLEPIC stories, but has never actually been on one. It turned out to be epic, just not as long as planned.

This was the view from the Car as we started. We decided the weather would get better. It didn't.

Here I am contemplating the line I didn't ride. Leif the downhiller took this line at speed on an Enduro. It was impressive.

Here's Glen on the line I did ride.

Rather than riding the Crest (by the way, it's in good shape with only a few snow patches left) to Millcreek and dropping into Park City, we decided to drop to Desolation Lake to get off the mountain. At this point, it was about 35 and raining hard. Everyone is smiling but me. I'm the skinny old guy shivering uncontrollably. The Las Vegas Jim's were loving it, even with the adverse weather. One flew in just for the day to do the ride.
The ride down to Mill D was in running water and slick conditions. By the bottom, my fingers no longer worked. You'd think we would have been complaining and regretting doing the ride. It was just the opposite. Everyone had these big grins (the white teeth showed up great against the muddy faces) and crazed looks in their eyes.

Fortunately, Rosie (not sure if that's a real name or nickname) from Specialized had the SBCU 15 passenger van with 15 bike racks to get us warm and take us back to Guardsman.

While the ride was only an hour and a half, the conditions made it feel as epic as a 4 hour big climbing day. Good times with good guys.
Eric was coming up Millcreek to meet us on the Crest. Apparently, a kitty made him change his mind.
I couldn't help but wonder about the High Unitas road race. If the same weather system was on Baldy, it must have been ugly. Hopefully, everyone made it OK.
I seem to have turned a bit of a corner with my health. I've been able to put in some efforts this week without putting myself down for a week afterward. I was able to do a respectable time up Temple Quarry Wednesday. My fitness still has a long way to go, but there's hope.
Today has been a great Father's Day. I've had pleasant memories of my Dad and all my children around me. Life is certainly good.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Selective Memory

Depending on your point of view, bike racers are blessed or cursed with extreme selective memory. Take Saturday for example. My congestion and general fatigue was finally on the rebound so I was looking forward to racing at one of my favorite venues in nearly ideal conditions.

I started conservatively (at least as conservatively as possible on the Little Stick climb) at the back of the group with a plan to work my way up to mid-pack. Unfortunately, my body didn't sign up for this plan and I spent the entire race at the back suffering in a big way.

The last lap was not "I'm hurting but racing guys" kind of suffering. No, it was "I'm all alone, going to die before I make it back to the car" kind of suffering. I was sure my entire body was going to cramp a couple of times and I was going just fast enough to keep from tipping over on the climbs. It was the last two hours of the E100 kind of suffering. Without encouragement from my wife and the good Doctor, I would have bailed after two laps.

After a good start and a building a solid lead, Tanner and a similar last lap experience.

Near the end of the 2nd lap, he moved off the trail into the grass to pass a lapper and hit an unseen rock resulting in a hard face-plant. He moved his lower front teeth, chipped his upper front teeth, cut his lip and bruised some ribs. He gamely carried on but due to the crash effects and his lack of eating and drinking during the race, he bonked hard on the last climb. He was passed by the guy in 2nd and lost 3 minutes in a short distance but hung on to 2nd.

Needless to say, we weren't a pretty sight after the race. Me wondering around cross-eyed and incoherent and Tanner with an ice bag on his bloody lip. The entire last lap I kept thinking things like "why do I race and do this to myself?"; "this is stupid, I'm never racing again"; "I'm way too old for this kind of self-inflicted pain"; and "I actually paid money to do this".

Normal, sane people would remember these painful experiences and move on to something else. However, after a couple of hours and some food, Tanner and I were talking like this: "You know, that really wasn't so bad." "If I'd have eaten more, I could have won even with my crash." "I really suffered, but I think this is a turning point and I'll get competitive after a few solid weeks of riding." "Man, the single track descent was really fun." "Snowbird should be a good race for me."

I had decided that I'm not racing any crits until I feel better. Instead, I plan to do more bike commuting to get some base fitness back. So today, I rode to work but spent all day debating with myself if I should race RMR on the way home. I even threw my crit plate in my commuter bag. Why? It's a sickness. How can the painful memories go away so fast? I settled on taking the long way home, but it was close.

Tomorrow, I'll be lining up at Round Valley and will probably be suffering at the back again. However, I remember the good results from last year's series and I'm sure I have it in me somewhere. Why not, I'm a bike racer and that's all I'm capable of remembering.

Sunday, June 07, 2009


I'm now on my 4th day off the bike in an attempt to get healthy. So far, I'm not sure of the result. I plan to take at least one more day off before I give riding a try. I guess we'll see at that point. I've also started using a Neti pot to cleanse my sinuses (a very weird feeling to say the least) and eating local honey. Seems everyone has a home remedy and I'm giving a few of them a try.

I did make it out Saturday for a ride on the moto. I went up Mineral Fork in Big Cottonwood. I was really nice. The trail is technically challenging and the scenery spectacular. I manage to keep it upright and do no damage to the bike or me. This is the kind of ride I had in mind when I purchased the dual sport bike. The ride was lots of fun and just an hour and 15 minutes door to door.

Lots of rocks and some water thrown in to keep things interesting.

Things are very green.

It will be a few more weeks before the trail's clear to the top. But I did make it to the old mine.

The view down the canyon.
I spent the rest of the day cleaning out the garage and making a trip to the DI and landfill. By not riding the last two Saturdays, I've gotten a normal years worth of projects done. Once I do get better, I've built up some goodwill on the honey-do list.
The other benefit of not riding is I've avoided the rash of crashes among family and buddies. I'm not sure crits sound like a good idea anymore.

Monday, June 01, 2009


I'm now a couple of days into my second round of antibiotics for sinus infection. I still feel about 75% of normal, so very little riding and no racing since the Draper ICUP. If seems my spring / summer racing season just isn't meant to be this year. I have an appointment with an Adult ENT Doc in a few weeks to see if I can get things figured out. In the meantime, riding and racing is a day to day thing. Today, no riding. Tomorrow, maybe. Once I do get back to racing, I'll have no fitness, so I'll be roaming the back of the pack. Worse things will happen.

Things like yard work. Since I'm totally incapable of just resting, I spent all day Saturday working in the yard. I felt much worse than if I'd raced. Tanner told me a while ago that I'm "annoyingly productive all the time". He's right. It's a sickness. I have long mental lists of things to get done and I just can't sit around. I begin to feel guilty that I'm wasting time. Since most of my free time is spent riding or racing, my current mental to do list is very long. Therefore, no rest. And I wonder why I never seem to get over being sick.

Here's some evidence that my sore back is legitimate.

All of this...

Came from trimming all the bushes..

cleaning out the overgrown flower bed...

thinning out the Honeysuckle...

and weeding the garden.

Our washer and dryer of 20+ years finally died so we went 10 days waiting for the new ones to arrive. T and I go through a lot of cycling clothes, even when I'm not riding much.

I've also been shopping end of winter closeouts hard and have accumulated this. I guess you'd say I'm now committed to backcountry skiing next winter. I was please to discover Voile is a customer of ours at Easton and located here in the valley. It's nice to pick up your skis from the factory. Backcontry.com has become a black hole that sucks all my money. I've discovered the retail storefront where you can try stuff on for size. It's also less than 15 minutes from my office. Not good.
I might be at the mid-week MTB race this week or I might not. We'll see how I feel Wednesday. Thankfully, no race this weekend. I'm not sure if I could have stayed away another Saturday, regardless of how I feel.