Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Math Test

I got a good, hard ride in yesterday at lunch with the Specialized crew. It got me thinking about solving equations. See if you can work this one out.

Spring-like weather + group with some horsepower + ending the ride with a 25 mph tailwind + Daren on his single chain ring cross bike with a 42 x 11 big gear = ?

It doesn't take advanced calculus to figure out the answer is Daren got dropped. A gap opened ahead of me at 33 mph and I had no chance to close it. I enjoyed the ride anyway. It was the first ride with any real intensity since cross season. I have a feeling the MTB race next week could be ugly.

Sunday, February 22, 2009


I've been a casual skier most of my life. However, Keeping up with Tanner the last few years has forced me to get better or stay home. For awhile, we've been wanting to ski Badly Chutes. It just never seems to be open when we're there. That all changed Saturday.

Tanner and I went on the Porcupine-Specialized / Canyon group ride in the morning. It was nice weather and a big group of about 30. Good times, but I was feeling my low-level cold so we turned for home after a couple hours. We got home around noon and Tanner's friend Brad sent a text saying "Baldy's open, get up here". So up we went.

There she is. A very pretty little bump.

After the 30 minute boot pack on tired legs, we were treated to spectacular views on a bluebird day.

Here's Brad and T with Superior in the background. (We hoped to not need the ski patrol sled.)

The initial drop in is a bit intimidating. Turns out, the intimidation is more visual than real. It was actually fun.

Brad smoothly ripped it.

There was still some soft snow. I failed picture taking and didn't get a good one of Tanner. However, he made the old man look, well old, and this picture did not do him Justice.
I was feeling a little wimpy for bailing on the Soldier Hollow skate race. However, after skate skiing and riding on Friday then riding and hiking/skiing on Saturday, I didn't feel as bad. I just need a little more practice on the skinny skis before my first public humiliation. Maybe next week. Sounds like conditions were perfect and I was happy to see Darrell had a good day. He deserves it.
The Academy Awards just ended. I just don't get why people get excited to watch self-adsorbed, pretentious millionaires congratulate year other on being just a little bit smarter, more compassionate, more talented, harder working and just plain better than the rest of us. Please. Most of these folks barely made it out of high school.
I'm looking forward to another busy week at work. I was hoping to get down South to ride before the St. George race, but it's not going to happen. I'm not complaining though. I'm grateful to have a job that keeps me busy and funds my play.
Finally, my back certainly feels all of its 46 years after a weekend like this one. Again, no real complaints here. It's not fractured like Eric's scapula. BMX will do that to you.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Evening at the Gym

I'm finally getting around to posting an entry. Life just gets busy and the blog takes a back seat.

In a sure sign I'm getting close to actually wanting to ride my bike again, I went to the gym tonight for a spin class. It was an act of temporary insanity, but sometimes you just have to get in a workout somehow. I did stay off my trainer in the basement, so it's still a small victory. I rode before and after the class for a total of 2 hours. I know, crazy.

I haven't done a spin class in years and it reminded me why. The sad fact is, I just don't socialize with others well. I'm there to get a workout, not visit or collectively cheer lead. The instructor was a jovial Brit who keep telling me my heart rate should be at 155 or 175 etc. Apparently, every one's heart rate should be the same in a spin class.

Tangent: Back in the day, I did a lot of spinning. I even had a home spinner for years. I learned under the expert tutelage of the Legend (Glen Adams) and actually enjoy a spin class done right. Unfortunately, I've never been to a spin class lead by anyone other than Glen that was done correctly. A spin class should be carefully planned and matched to music. The rider's cadence should match the beat of the music, either every beat or every other beat. You use the music to direct the effort. This takes some time and effort on the instructors part. The music is an integral part of the workout, not just background noise. I guess this message has been lost over the years. Too bad.

I was seated next to a chatty athlete tonight. The guy was pretty impressive though. Think Gardie Jackson but 3 inches taller and 40 pounds of muscle heavier. During our ride together, I learned: a. He's a pro water skier who just moved to Utah from Florida (not sure why a Pro water skier would make that move). b. He's training for a big tournament in Australia in a couple of weeks. c. He just bought a Fuji road bike that's too "soft". I think he meant it wasn't stiff enough. I think he's strong enough to flex most bikes. e. He asked me if it was easier to ride at altitude. I smiled and said "sure". f. He figured out I raced (being the only guy in a team kit was a give away) and asked if I raced internationally. Apparently, I looked really fast on a spin bike. Even though I general try to avoid any conversation with strangers at the gym, I kind of liked the guy.

Here's a few random items.
This was T on Saturday. The snow was great and the visibility was in fact that bad. Here he's dropping in Gun Sight. At least we think it was Gun Sight. We could really tell.

I skillfully avoided this tree in Supreme Bowl.

I kind of blew this picture, but this is Tanner landing a little cliff jump at the top of a chute in Supreme Bowl.

I'm now an official XC ski geek. I build this waxing bench over the weekend. I successfully waxed for the conditions Monday. In fact, my waxing skills are much better than my skiing skills. I'm getting a little frustrated. Chrispy worked me over for 16K without much trouble. It's teaching me humility.
The big question of the week is what to do Saturday? MTB, road bike, skate ski, skate ski race, Moto in the dirt? Difficult decisions.
I'm also a proud papa this week. Erin found out she's been chosen as the Valedictorian for the School of Humanities and Social Science at USU. She'll get to speak at graduation in May and is a finalist for the top scholar award. She must have good parents.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

More Skating

I getting more hooked on skate skiing each time I go. After skating hard today, I'm completely worked tonight and hurt in places I forgot I have. Yet, I still had a good time. Today reminded me of an MTB race, a even mixure of stuffing and fun.

I guess it's not hard to see the appeal for me. The cross over from cycling is a natural and I'm drawn to technical, gear-intensive sports. I certainly need another hobby that requires specialized equipment, tools, clothes and lots of maintenance. Apparently, cycling (Cross, MTB and road), motorcycles and target archery were not enough.

My buddy Ted gave me my first waxing lesson today and then we toured White Pine and the Farm. Waxing is eerily similar to gluing tubular tires. It is as much ritual as function. However, unlike tubulars, you have to wax every time the snow temperature changes. Ted showed me a brick of wax the size of of a match box that retails for $120. And I thought Dugas tires were bad.

I have officially jumped off the skating cliff. I bought the skis I've been trying (thanks Bart) and I'm ordering my own boots, poles and wax starter kit this weekend. I've been on borrowed boots and poles that don't quiet fit, so it's time to step up.

Oh yeah, one more thing XC skiing has going for it: Cowbells. I've been watching youtube clips from World Cup races and there's lots of cowbells in the crowd. When I eventually get up the courage to do a race, I'll bring cowbells.

Notice the smile on Ted's face and the grimace on mime. Expert vs Novice technique will do that to you. I also soon learned that fresh now is not a XC skier's friend. However, it was pretty.

Tanner came with us for his first venture on skate skis. After an hour, he was dropping me on hills in spite of no technique at all. A big engine and a strong desire to hurt the old man goes a long way. He had a good time, but is planning to stick to alpine skis.

We skied all of White Pine and The Farm today, and some of it twice. The GPS said 23.5 kilometers.
I have a couple weeks to decide about racing at SH. I wonder if my ego can handle gettin crushed?

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Break Through

I am officially no longer the slowest skate skier in the world. Yes, after 8 outings on the skinny, edgeless wonders, I passed multiple skiers tonight and stayed with my buddy and teacher Ted. OK, I mostly stayed with Ted when he didn't go really fast, but it's still a victory. I'm even considering entering a XC race. I need a good whopping now that I'm getting cocky.

Monday, February 02, 2009

United Belgians

The Cottle boys made it up to Deer Valley on tickets I was given by a friend. A good time was had by all on the groomers. It's actually an impressive that DV can groom that much snow each day.

Check out the new ski clothes. I fit right in at DV. They would have kicked me out with the old snowmobile coat.

In a sign that world peace is possible, the Belgians actually rode as a team to score a gold and bronze at the World Championships yesterday. I was actually kind of disappointed. Watching them fight each other is more fun. I watch the men's and women's race on and it was good fun. Albert was impressive. Katie Compton put in a hero's effort but got worked by two roadies. The course was basically a dirt crit. Pretty much every course we raced this year was more technical. I guess cross season is now officially over.
I've managed to avoid the trainer and any semblance of actual training for another week. I got in a few rides outside, some Nordic and Alpine skiing and some core work. Maybe I'll get excited about getting back at it this week. Then again, maybe not. I think the first MTB race will be ugly as I get dropped by everyone. I can live with that. Cross season is still a long way away.