Saturday, November 29, 2008

That was Hard

Tanner and I seem destined to finish 6th at Wheeler this year. We both did it again today. The course was really fast and hard. Tanner got another great start and established the 6 man front group. Unfortunately, he went down a couple of times on the off-camber runup and was gaped off the lead 5. He gamely chased the rest of the race, but the course had too many fast sections for a solo rider to bridge to a good sized group. He was bummed, but put in a solid effort.

I was good off the line and followed Art and Matt into the first corners. Sam got around me and I could only hang about half a lap. I road solo for a while but Iltis, Mckone and Greg soon caught me and Iltis put the hurt on. Over the next couple of laps, Sam, McKone and I battled some, but then I had a spectacular washout near the pond. I fell hard on my upper back and after recovering a bit, road in alone for 6th. I dug deep and I'm feeling it tonight.

Art, Matt, Iltis, McKone, those guys can motor on the straights. It's impressive.

By the way, Cross is hard.

Thankful Indeed

  • Having my girls home from College for the weekend.
  • The best wife in the world and celebrating 25 years of marriage this week.
  • Riding and racing with Tanner.
  • Children who consistently exceed my high expectations.
  • The greatest parents and siblings one could hope for.
  • No worries about having enough to eat or shelter from the cold.
  • A good job and good co-workers.
  • The health and means to ride bikes for pleasure.
  • The mountains.
  • Faith and hope.
  • More friends than one deserves.
  • Love and being loved.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Two Weeks

Two weeks from now, we'll be on the road to KC for Cross Nationals. We'll be rolling in Rico's personal RV (just like Sven) and one car. Should be a great time. Caveman, Tanner, Rico and I will be representing Porcupine Specialized and Utah and enjoying all to cross craziness. However, before the journey begins, we have two more races in here. I'm happy they are both close to home and courses I like.

I did my second to last threshold interval workout of the year today at lunch. It was a bit of a struggle. I'm looking forward to a break from the bike after Nationals. Maybe there will finally be enough snow for good skiing by then.

Glen and I took the long way home Friday night on the moto's. We took a detour up the mountain to overlook the Bingham Copper Mine. It was the moto's first venture on some dirt. I haven't been on dirt with a moto for a number of years and I'm rusty. The dual sport tires are pretty sketchy in the dirt as well. Even so, I had a blast.

The only problem is I haven't figured out how to keep my hands warm yet. My fingers are still cold from today's commute. Getting about 66 mpg.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

3 Golds and a Silver

A great day at the races for the Cottles and Porcupine Specialized. The team came away with 3 State Championships and a 2nd. Eric was the hero of the day winning the Single Speed then doubling up to win the A's State Championship by finishing 2nd to Idaho Sam. Eric was due for a big day and it came in spades. I'm really happy for him.

After flatting out of the 45+ State Championship race in the first minute last year, I'd been thinking about this race for a year. It couldn't have gone better for me. I got the hole shot and lead the entire race. I got a gap in the first technical section and just TT'd after that. I had good legs and built a pretty good lead by the end. Unfortunately, the Claw fatted on the first lap, so we couldn't battle. I have no illusion that I'm the fastest guy in the state over 45 (McKone, Glen A, Chris B, etc. didn't line up for the race), but I'll take the win. It's definitely the biggest win of my modest cycling career and is the culmination of many years of slow, steady progress.

The 45+ raced at the same time as the Men's B's (we started a minute after) so I got to kind of watch Tanner. He finally got a great start and was on the front early. He and Tyler Fought established a gap in the first lap or so and were gone. T put in a huge effort and pulled pretty much the entire race. Tyle make a really good move on the last log crossing just before the finish to get by Tanner for the win. T was pleased with the effort and not too disappointed. It was fun listening to Bruce and Gardie announce the race so I could hear how Tanner was doing. It was pretty cool to be part of a father / son duo having a good day.

I was pretty worked after the 45+, so I took a pass on the 35+ race. It was kind of fun to watch the guys I do battle with each week. The effort from all the guys was impressive.

T and I got to do the post race interviews.

I did the winners salute for Bob. Too bad the picture didn't turn out.

T on the front all day.

Finally, off to a good start.

Eric on (well, actually off) his SS. He and Eric Flynn had an epic battle that went to the line.

Eric and Sam Kreig were off together after some crashes behind them
I owe Bob a picture of him on my blog. Here you go. Have fun in Hawaii.

Kevin's always stylish. He had another strong race to finish 7th.

MK, Greg and Darrell were together the last bit of the race. The Doc looked good all day.

Art and Matt had to work to keep Iltis from catching them on the last couple of laps. The Train got the win.
Just 3 more races. Two in Utah and then Nationals. I can't wait.

Sunday, November 16, 2008


Another nice day for racing Saturday. Not true "cross" conditions, but I'm getting used to not having to clean my bike for hours and staying warm. Looks like we'll get more of the same this week.

The course was a classic Wheeler with all the features thrown in. Bart helped lay it out and had something for everyone. Tanner and I both finished a solid 6th place after battling in small groups for 5th - 7th. However, I started out with leaders but fell back a bit while Tanner was caught in a tangle at the start, was about 15th out of the gate (again) and worked his way back. He had a good battle with the brothers Glenn and just got nipped at the line for 5th by Kelly. Scott, Krachty and I had a good battle the last half of the race with Scott getting me just before the line.

The one sour note of the day was Dave's hard crash in the last lap that resulted in a broken clavicle. It's about the only thing that can keep the Hardman down.

I really enjoyed the competition and had pretty good legs. I would love to be just a hair faster to hang with Art and Matt the entire race, but I'm happy with how things are going. It makes me appreciate the times that I do make to the finish with them.

More pictures from a long day at the races.

Some of the crew waiting for the start.

T Man in the barriers.

Kelly just getting Tanner at the line.

Caveman had another solid result and an even better one today in Magna. Way to go Kevin!

After a year off from racing, Greg's slowly finding his form. (My back's looking forward to seeing him tomorrow.)

Dave going strong before his unplanned dismount.

Scott and I saw a lot of each other.

Ben's figuring out cross and getting better each race. When his skills catch up to his engine, we're in trouble. Dr. X was sporting the stylish DZ argyle leg warmers. Always good to have the Doc in the house.

More of Scott and me. This is just how we finished.
I'm looking forward to State Champs this week in Ogden. I'm planning to race the 45+ in the morning and then see if I have anything left for the 35+. I've never doubled at a cross race. I'm not sure it is a good idea.
Finally, good job to Eric and the Cutthroat crew for putting on an new race today. Sounds like it was a success.

Friday, November 14, 2008


I've ridden the moto to work a few times now and I think I'm going to like it. My prior moto experience has all been off road, so riding on the road in traffic has taken some getting used to. However, my 20 years of road cycling has given me an awareness of cars that really helps. The most difficult thing to deal with so far has been getting over the feeling of being blown off the bike at highway speeds. Getting a road helmet without a visor has helped a bunch. I don't feel like my head's going to be ripped off any longer.

I'm noticing some slight differences between moto riders and cyclists. Waving is one of them. While most cyclists I approach coming in the opposite direction wave to you, every motorcyclist I've come across so far has waved. In addition, the method of waving is a little different. My natural cyclist wave is to take my left hand off the bars and wave above the bars. However, this apparently is not the proper moto wave. Every wave I've gotten so far is with the left hand below the bars. I'm going to need to practice.

On the cross front, I'm really looking forward to Wheeler tomorrow.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Heber Suffering

Saturday at Heber, I was reminded yet again that riding at your limit for an hour seems to hurt more when you are battling for 6th or 7th than when you're battling for the win. I was happy with my effort, but just was a little off. The 35+ A group has gotten deeper and faster this year, so I have to be on a great day to smell the front. Still a good time on a great course.

Tanner was racing near the front again in the B race but a couple of small mistakes relegated him to 4th. He fully expects to win now and anything less than that is a bit disappointing for him. However, he's now a marked man and the other top guys work really hard to get away from him. He's going to have to earn his next win. There won't be any easy ones. The highlight of the day for me is still watching him race. It's good to be a Dad.

It was great to see MK get a solid 4th today. I think it was the change to the black skinsuit.

Sohmy rode well for a top 10 result.

Ali and Bart were off the front again.

Kevin superman'ed his way to a solid 8th for his best result of the season.

Team Rico didn't have his best day, but still finished 6th.

The course had really dried out by the time we raced, but the run up was still nice and slippery.

The lead 3 hit the run up early in the race.

Got to love cross, going hard and bleeding.

The horse race track was a mud bog for the earlier races but a nice tacky single track developed for the A's.
As always, the best part of cross is the people. The Porcupine Compound had Ali and Mona Vie for neighbors. I love the racing part of cross, but it's the people I see each week that keeps me coming back.
Dr X inspired me to offer some mid-season equipment observations. The Easton EC90 Areo have been a very good investment. They are light, stiff and have super smooth bearings. The Challenge Grifo tubulars have proven to be a very good all around tire. I've used them in all but one race with disappointment. I broke out the Dugas Rhinos for the Heber mud and they rule. I had to sell one of my children to afford them (no deals on these) but hopefully, they'll get me through muddy races for a few seasons. My backup wheels continue to be Mud2's on clinchers with Stan's rim strips. No problems at all with them. Stan's sealant is in all my tubulars and clinchers and many, many goat heads later, they all still hold air.
After years of internal debate, I went to a single chainring set up about 3 weeks ago. I'm sold. Removing any worries about chainring shifts in nice.
The S-Works Carbon Tricross is worth every penny. Light, solid, fast and comfortable. With the Easton wheels, SRAM force drive train, standard Avid shorty brakes and mid-level Egg Beater pedals, my 58cm checks in at 16.1 pounds on the digital scale. Throw on some road tires and it's the second best road bike I've ever had just behind my Tarmac.
Still trying to find the ultimate brake pads that will work well on carbon and aluminum. The first pair of cork pads I had lasted about 45 minutes in the muddy Draper race. I now have some Swiss Stops. They work much better but are a little grippe at times and too expensive.
I'm looking forward to Wheeler this week. A 5 minute drive to race is much better than an hour.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

My Mid-life Crisis

60 - 70 miles per gallon commuting starts tomorrow.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Questions Answered

As I write, my cross brethren are racing in true cross weather. It's raining and the wind chill is 38. We got home from church a little while ago and I miss racing with my buddies. However, with my head cold, it's better I'm not out getting soaked and chilled to the bone.

With rare exceptions, I decided long ago not to ride or race on Sundays in order to spend the day with my family. This is my personal decision and I don't look negatively on anyone who does ride on Sundays. However, taking one weekend day off from the bike works well for me and helps keep a little balance in my life.

My RMR questions were answered. First, we did get to race on the Motocross track. It took me back to youth spent on BXM and Dirt Bikes and I had a blast. I think you either loved the course or hated it. Not much middle ground on this one. The BMX / motorcycle guys really liked it, the pure roadies hated it. The only part I didn't like was the section through the rock parking lot. It was like riding deep sand but with more serious consequences if you crashed. I would venture to say more than 75% of all racers hit the dirt or rocks at some point. I'm happy to report I kept it upright and came home without spilling any blood.

Second, my health was just OK. I had a pretty good first third of the race, but my power went away about half the way through and I SUFFERED the last 20 minutes. I usually try really hard to not get lapped by Bart. However, I was very happy to see him coming by me in what turned out to be my last lap. I battled Scott for 4th but bobbled in the rocks near the finish and ended up 5th. I'll take it. I still have congestion today but I'm no worse than Saturday, so I should be good to go this week.

Tanner had a rough day. He good only a so-so start but was 4th by the end of the first lap. He then got a puncture that sealed but not before the tire lost nearly all it's air. So he had to ride about a full lap on a flat before he could change bikes. I pumped up the tire and he change bikes again, but he'd fallen way back in the 50+ guy field. To his credit, he battled back to 17th and was doing the same lap times as the leader.

One benefit of Tanner and I riding at different times, is we can take lots of pictures. Here's some for you viewing pleasure.
Scott Allen, me and John McKone on the steep hill.
Eric flying through the tunnel.

T going into the rocks.
T on the run-up before the steep hill.

Tanner in the lava rock parking lot.

One of the table tops.

The banked corner after the steep downhill. You could fly through this.

Bob's smiling. There's no smiling in cross racing.

Matt got the win again today in my group. He's really going good right now.
Bob, this is the face you should have.

See, Dave's is even better.

Bart gets the $100 1st lap prime from Madam Fox.

Through the rollers. The second one was the cause of some unplanned dismounts.

The A's through the whoops on the 1st lap.