Thursday, June 19, 2008

Credit Crisis

I try to stay away from political, religious and other sensitive topics cuz going there is the fastest way to get people pissed off, and that's not the point of this blog. I'm a happy guy and want everyone to be happy too.

That said, I ran into a podcast on NPR that artfully, and in my opinion, correctly explains how the Credit Crisis, aka the Sub-prime collapse was born. It's not a conspiracy theory, self-serving scarce tactic piece, nor does it blame Democrats, Rebublican's, or the President for the mess. Ira Glass and his talented This American Life staff in Chicago expose the Global Money Market, Alan Greenspan, large and small banks and mortgage brokers, among others, as a willing group of aggressive, self-serving "business" people looking for a quick buck, at the expense of you and me, the little guys.

Since I work in the Real Estate industry, and have seen first hand the pressured, unethical and down right wrong, look-the-other-way tactics of the mortgage industry, this piece really hits home. It should be required listening for everyone because there is a lesson for all of us to learn. Do yourself a big favor and click here to listen to the online podcast. It appears in the May section and is titled "The Giant Pool of Money". The podcast runs one-hour long, it's free if you listen to it online, or $0.95 if you download it to your MP3 player.

On a lighter note, last night was the Wednesday night series XC race at Soldier Hollow. That sure is a fun race that is getting more popular and is a great mid-week interval workout. The course is about 4 miles in length with about 380 feet of climbing, nothing too serious. I rode my Fisher Rig SS and had a blast. And, I didn't finish DFL!!! There are no age group clasifications, just experience levels. I'm riding in the Expert B group so I get to race against the 2nd level hot shots. Most of those guys are pretty fast. I planned to ride only 2 of the 4 laps, but I was having so much fun I did all 4. KC Holley passed me about 12 minutes after the start (I had a 1 minute head start on her too), and I got chicked by Erika Powers and 2 others, but what-the-hey. They're FAST!

My race went well and my legs feel like they are coming back to me. I finished a 3 week training block last Saturday and spent the next a day and a half on my back due to exhaustion. A few days of rest seems to have done me good and the "lead legs" are gone. I'll recover the rest of this week and get ready for the ICUP XC State Championship race at Solitude on July 5th, and then it's on the Leadville. I also started another 5-day "boost" IHE session Tuesday in hopes of topping off my red blood cells so I can have an Incredible Hulk performance in August. We'll see...

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

I'm not so sure the high price of gas is a result of the oil companies, as this symbol implies, but the artwork is right on. Ouch!!!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Single Speed Sunday

Since the weather's been so good, and I've been having such a good time riding, I decided to take my Fisher Rig single speed on a five-hour trip yesterday. The right of choice was around Glen Wild, Flying Dog, and my favorite, Round Valley. I did the same route last week on my gear bike, and with this week I rode it in a different direction with my Mad Dog teammate Bill Dark.

Although it was a little on the chilly side, the weather couldn't have been more perfect. The skies were sunny and there was a breeze, but not stiff enough to hold you back. Although the Glen Wild trailhead parking lot was jammed with cars, the trail was not as congested as we thought it would be. We left the parking lot around 10:45 a.m. and headed towards Jeremy Ranch and up over the top the traditional way to the Cobblestone turnoff. The trail was smooth and dry and pushing the 32 x 21 felt real good. About a third of the way from the top we ran into water and mud on the trail, which was significantly greater in volume than last week. Instead of coming back down the way we came up, Bill suggested we take the Jeremy side down and connect to the 24/7 trail. I've never done this variation before and it turned out to be spectacular. We got back to the Glen Wild trailhead in just a little under two hours and refilled with water. We didn't hang out very long and headed on the paved road over to Round Valley. Bill and I did a half lap together and he broke off at the National Ability Center and headed back home. I finished up a traditional lap on the E-100 12-hour course and did a second lap finishing up with a steep and sustained climb up Somewhere Elks. During the climb I hit the 4-hour mark of my ride and started to feel a twitch and cramp coming in my right quad. I popped couple enduro-lytes, backed the pace down a bit, and made it to the top cramp free. Somebody has cut a new swooping trail on the northwest face of the Round Valley Loop that provides a fun variation. It's still pretty new, and the horses have left some nice pockets in the surface, but it's well worth the ride. I took the variation and hooked back up to the main trail and finished off on the main trail to the RV trailhead. I finished up on the road riding to the Glen Wild trailhead, into a stiff headwind, to a waiting ice cold coke (compliments of Ironhorse) and Power Bar recover bar. Ah, life is good!

I seem to have recovered from my funky slump of a few weeks ago and feel stronger and more motivated. I've giving myself more recovery time and picking up the intervals, so maybe that has had a positive effect. The snap is coming back and so is my confidence. I'm still hooked on the data, I'm riding with my Polar HRM, I'm blocking the HR with tape during my races, but I'm not stressing like before. I guess somethings will never change, I like data ;-) What's the old saying - you can put lipstick on a pig, but it's still a pig! I'm always going to be hooked on data. It's my destiny!!!

When I got back to the car I saw Bob Safel and his wife Lyna who just finished their Sunday ride. Ah, nothing like family time on a Sunday... After talking to them for a while, I got all excited about soloing the 24 hours of Grand Targhee. They did the race last year and said it was an excellent event, and solo friendly. Now I just need to find a pit crew and I'm going to go for it, I think... It's 2 weeks after Leadville and the same weekend as the Brian Head stage race. What to do!

Ride recap: total time was 4 hours 45 minutes, 45 miles, 4800 feet of climbing. This was a zone 1 and 2 ride with very little time in zone 3, which makes for a pleasant recovery ride after a Saturday race. Interestingly, I did the same route last Sunday, with a slight variation on the Flying Dog section, 4 minutes quicker and my total caloric expenditure was only 25 calories more this week. I have to say, it was a lot more fun riding the single speed, and having someone to share the experience with.

Each time I ride that 29er I'm more convinced that I want to go to 29 inch route when I buy my next bike. The question is, what bike?

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Deer Valley

This must be the year where snow and rain want to get into the MTB scene. Ed Chauner was able to pull off the DV ICUP race, barely, in temps that ranged from 42 to 46 F, on a revised and shortened course. Because of all the recent rain and snow, the course was fast and tacky. We encountered a few water and mud obstacles, and a small patch of snow in one spot, but overall the course was in excellent shape. What was surprising was the large number of racers that showed up. It shows how popular this series is and is a testament to the excellent courses Ed designs and how well he runs things. Kudo, Ed.

My race went well with no missed turns or major mishaps. Since my group was cut to only 1 lap, I didn't have to worry about missing the 1/2 lap turn-off. I did see it when I passed it, so that made me feel good. My rear tire started loosing air with about 10 minutes to go, so I had to nurse my Element back to the finish, but I was able to hold on to 1st place over teamamte Bill Dark. Between Bill, Dwight and me, one of us has topped the podium in a 7 ICUP races so far this season. That's good...

After the race Team Mad Dog went to Paul Moote's home in Jeremy Ranch for a BBQ put on by Paul and his wife Judy. We had a fun time, ate burgers and dog and planned out the rest of the summer. What a fun bunch of guys and gals I get to hang with. They sure love to ride!

Monday, June 2, 2008

Sundance ICUP

Saturday was a spectacular day for mountain biking in the Wasatch. Particulary, Sundance Ski Resort in Provo Canyon. That was the scene of ICUP XC race 6 directed by Ed Chauner and sponsored by my team, Mad Dog Cycles.

After a week of fatigue, little training, a heavy work schedule and a lot of self doubt, Saturday came together for me and I felt great. I'm still missing the snap I'm looking for, but I wasn't tired and did not make any wrong turns. And, Dwight Hibdon and Bill Dark both joined me on the podium for a Mad Dog podium sweep. OK, there were only 4 of us in our group, and Dwight beat me by 4 minutes, but Bill beat the 4th place guy by 12 minutes.

The team did real well with lots of podium finishers and no injuries. I'm writting this after the fact, and can't remember anything else, so that's it. It's time to go for a ride.