Monday, December 20, 2010

Feeling good about your bike skills?

Click here to be humbled, you posers. Maybe it's time for me to hang up my lycra. Unbelievable!!! Thanks Heather Clarke for the link.

Friday, December 3, 2010

This is too close to home

Proof that I was at Thanksgiving on November 23rd.

This video is for those of us that are over the top and no longer salvageable. Watch it and be ready to laugh your ass off. If you don't, there's no hope - hahaha. Warning: there are 2 F-bombs so if that offends you, don't click here.

Monday, October 11, 2010

24 Hours of Moab, 2010

Mad Dog #1 - 4 Dog Night. Craig, Brad, Bill & Dwight. Grand Master Division Winner

Hill Billy Haven.

Just a few jumps to get warmed up. That's Keith taking pics.
What do you mean I have to go out now. It's 2:00 am!!!

Check out this link for professional pics of the race - click here. Lots of good "on course" shots.

Another one is in the books, and by all accounts, it was a huge success.

Our Team, Mad Dog 4-Dog Night, pulled off a Division record 17 laps in 24 hours 41 minutes and 18 seconds. We even finish ahead of the 4-Women Pro Team Division winner and wound up in 71st place overall. Last year we put down 16 laps and finished 72nd overall, so the riders this year were faster than in 2009.

Team Captain Bill Dark had one of his most consistent performances in recent years and rode the record 17th lap in a speedy 1:26 which just put us ahead of some 30-something hot shots.

Craig Williams was the new youngster ringer we recruited to the team, and he did not disappoint. He was a low-maintenance, consistent and reliable mate that was fun in camp. On the negative side though, he took a nasty crashed part way through his 3rd lap, broke a rib, and broke his 2 hour old, brand new Light & Motion Seca 1400 and rode much of the lap without it. He came out for a 4th lap and turned a 1:31. Wow!

Dwight Hibdon put down 2 sub-1:20 laps and was very instrumental in our achieving 17 laps. Dwight's become a good friend and mentor and I've enjoyed several fun trips with him. We have plans for 2011 so be ready for some fireworks.

As for my race, I am very happy with it. I felt steady and rode the best I have in 4-5 years. I picked really good lines and found a few new ones. My Ay-Up lights did not let me down and I highly recommend you give them a look-see if you're in the light buying mood.

My 1st lap was uneventful and came in under 1:18. The 2nd lap was a little different. Dinner was late so I just snacked and ate a PB&J before my ride. This was my 1st of 2 night laps so I was a little anxious anticipating how the AY-Ups would perform. I pushed myself early, but not hard enough to blow up, or so I thought. At about 50 minutes I started feeling pre-cramp twitches and went for the E-lyte caps. I was riding with a Camelback and was way behind on my hydration and it was beginning to catch up to me. As soon as I began the climb on the back side of the Butte the full blown cramps hit, both legs. I popped a few more E-lytes and was able to get things under control by the time I finished the climb. My descent down the road was fast and I passed quite a few riders. That felt real good.

Lap 3 came at 3:00am and it was cold. I backed down the pace cuz I just wasn't feeling it and all I wanted to do was get in under 1:35. All was well until I burped my front tire descending a steep ledge and went over the bars. I landed on my feet and didn't get hurt at all. My gps got scratched and my tire had about 5 psi left in it. I fumbled around with cold, gloved fingers and found my CO2 and got back on the bike in 3 or 4 minutes. I wasn't very efficient and was in a little bit of a mental fog. After that I was a little conservative for a while but got back up to pace rather quickly.

While prepping for lap 4 I discovered that I blew my rear shock somewhere on the 3rd lap. It would not hold even 1 molecule of air! Yikes, now what? Oh yeah, I brought my single-speed in case the opportunity arose to ride it BEFORE the race started. Well, now I get to ride it DURING the race! Yikes again. I went out conservatively not knowing what to expect, other than pain, and I found out as soon as i hit the pave'. Those rock beat the crap out of me and by the time I got to the tilting slab an about 1.5 miles, I was hammered. I still had 13.5 miles to go and I was dead already!

I found some relief on the dirt heading to "The Left" turn and found even more when I caught up to Heather Gilbert. Heather knocked it out of the park at the Park City Point-2-Point race and I know she is strong both physically and mentally. And, she's a top notch single-speeder so she's been there before. As we were pushing out bikes up the insanely steep, sandy hike-a-bike, I looked at her and said I was done - no mas - I'm toast - I hate this - I want to quit - I'm such an idiot to do this, etc. She said something that must have inspired, but I can't remember what it was. We continued on and went back and forth for the next 30 minutes or so when she pulled away from me on the flat stretch to the Butte. I finally caught up to her at the top of the last climb, at the sand pit before the slick rock slab, and she immediately pulled away on the flat road and descent back to the exchange tent. Without her, I may well still be out there - lol.

Lap 4 came in just under 1:30 and I was pleasantly surprised, and relieved it was over. As for the future, I don't think they'll be anymore single-speed 24 Hours of Moab laps on these legs. My hats off to those of you that put down multiple laps on those brutes. Amazing!

Like always, this post was too long. Sorry. It'll give my wife something to read at my funeral.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Ay-Up LED Lights

I got the conservative Titanium finish. Probably would get a different color for the helmet since the difference in lens design is difficult to detect in the dark.

I mounted the 6-hour battery under the stem. It seems way solid and is easy to remove. I can still fit my gps on the stem with the battery mounting strap in place. Nice!

Both lights are independently adjustable so I can fiddle with them on the fly when the terrain suggests a change. Nice again.

As you can see the whole handlebar system doesn't take up much space and it's so light I don't even notice it's there. I have yet to take them out on a hard ride, but I did ride around Red Butte Gardens and even with the ambient city light it was very bright. Should be most excellent for 24 Hours of Moab and 25 Hours at Frog Hollow, both of which will be ridden with no moon.

I bought the V4 Adventure Series package.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Great Weekend

I rode my single speed with Craig Carlson and a long time friend Mitch Cocorinis on Saturday and had a blast. We rode 24/7 to Flying Dog and down the east side of FD to Glen Wild. The trail was in excellent condition, although some of the "downhill" dudes were idoits. They have no idea that uphill traffic has the right of way, dude! There should be an open season on those kinds of "dudes."

This morning, Garret & Brittany Kener and I hit the Shoreline trail over to City Creek Canyon. Like yesterday, trail conditions were excellent and the weather could not have been better. We ran in to Shannon, Jen, Tyler and BSaf (and another guy but I forgot his name - sorry) and enjoyed a short recap of last Saturday's P2P race. Everyone was still glowing about the event and were already excited about the 2011 edition. I don't expect them to top this years cuz it was over the top excellent. But I know they'll try.

Yesterday was my 1st day back in the saddle since last Saturday's race, and I felt great. Transitioning to the single speed and hardtail is going to take some time since my upper body is a little weak right now, and my legs to! I was happy that I cleaned the rock garden, switchback and steep climb in Dry Creek and Cardiac Hill (?) on the way over to the Bobsled. I rode behind Garrett and he always knew where I was cuz I was huffing and puffing like a locomotive. Those climbs are steep! Weekend total, 4:13 ride time, 38 miles, 4,820 climbing - not bad for a single speed.

Last weeks race was an epiphany of sorts for me. My gps died about 2 hours before the finish and I had to ride "by myself" without the aid of an electronic device. And I liked it. Both rides this weekend were sans HRM and I liked it even more. So, I'm seriously thinking about riding the 24 hours of Moab and training and racing in 2011, by "feel" and see where that takes me. I reserve the right to change my mind cuz I'm sure I'll start to panic and fall back to my crutch, but at least I'm thinking outside the box right now. Time will tell.

Enjoy the fall riding, it is an excellent time to be on the trails. And Jessica, keep it going :-)

Monday, September 6, 2010

Park City Point 2 Point, 2010

Jane and me after it's all said and done.

Two of my three fans - Dwight Hibdon and up and coming, soon to be endurance icon, helmet hair Craig Carlson.

Me and Brad Sneed.

I'm mixing it up at the start with the Big Boys - Brad Keyes and Craig Carlson.

Dave Harris, Coach Lynda, Fixie Dave and Jane - all living legends.

Sorry this is so long. First of all, thank you so much to the Mad Dog support Team headed by Kendra Clark, and my Grand Masters buddies Dwight Hidbon and Craig Williams for all the support and help you guys gave me. And thank you Jane for your support of my weird addiction. I'm really sorry about that but no matter how hard I try, I cannot not stop :-) Maybe in our next life we can eat popcorn, smoke cigs and take up bowling together.

The race was everything I thought it would be, and more. The weather was perfect, the course was superbly marked, the neutral support was more than ample and the spectators were very supportive and encouraging. I especially liked the Canyons Resort finish along the walkway with all my cheering and adoring fans welcoming me home. I felt like I was on top of the world :-)

I had one goal for this race and that was to finish in good style. My plan was to keep myself under control, zone 2 and low zone 3, until I got to Park City Mountain Resort (PCMR), then let the big dog eat to the finish at the Canyons. I listened to Coach Lynda Wallenfells suggestions and followed them better than I have before, and it paid off. From the results it looks like I may have passed 30+ riders during the 2nd half of the race. And for those of you that are not familiar with the course, the 2nd half is monumentally harder than the first. It felt good seeing familiar, exhausted faces that had blown by me earlier, stopped dead on the side of the trail, unable to move. It kinda made me feel young again - lol.

Back to reality. Almost everybody kicked my ass. I finished 4th out of the nine 50+ guys that started, and 150th overall which was 4 hours 27 minutes behind the young stud that won. The tops guys and gals are all National/World caliber riders so I felt privileged to be in an event with them. Their strength and determination is unbelievable.

Enough of them, back to me. I started with the 10+ hour projected finishers and rode the 10 mile Round Valley loop without getting in to zone 4. I was on plan and feeling very comfortable and confident. The ride on Lost Prospector was uneventful and included two places where I walked to save energy. That was one of the keys to my success in this race. I left my ego behind and did what was best in the long run, and it paid off. Burning matches early in an endurance will come back and bite you 7 or 8 hours later. I didn't get bit today.

Jane met me at Solomere and gave me a fresh water bottle that took me to Silver Lake #1 in about 3:23. After a quick food exchange and pressure correction on my fork, I was off again. Within a few minutes, I was hoofing it again as the trail got real steep and unridable in several sections. I was on and off, mostly off, my bike to the top of Deer Valley and headed down Bowhunter. That's where I almost bought the farm. I had a brain fart and lost my focus for half a second and teetered on the edge of a very steep drop-off only to stop my momentum as my front tire went over the edge. WOW! That got me focused again. I got through BH and hooked up with Tiffany Martin and we finished off Flagstaff and Nail Drive back to Silver Lake 2 together. That lap took about 1:22.

From Silver Lake 2 to PCMR is the crux of the course for me. I pre-rode it a few times and was familiar with it enough that I was not intimidated like in 2009. I walked a lot and stayed in my granny a lot, but I completed the climb from the bottom of Sweeney's to the descent at Shadow Lake in 65 minutes. I hooked up with fellow masters rider and Leadville finisher Tim Fisher before Sweeney's and we rode together until Apex. Tiffany caught up to us at Apex and she and I again rode together to PCMR and got in at 3:06 which was just before the cutoff time of 3:30. I rode this leg in about 3:22. Now I knew we were gonna finish this beast and my spirits were again lifted.

This was Tiffany's first endurance race and she was having issues and challenges that almost did her in. But she is one tough cookie. She got back on her bike and finished the entire ride and earned her finishers socks. Her feet were too sore to put them on, but she finished. Truly amazing Tiffany!

Back to me :-) As I headed out of PCMR I was soon joined by Ben Schmalz (?) and another guy that were both content on letting me pace them up Spiro's to Mid-Mtn where Ben and I dropped the guy and passed several others. Somewhere along this section I ran into Brad Sneed and we rode together for awhile. Sorry Brad, but my mind was foggy about where we hooked up, but I remember we talked. We passed quite a few riders in this area and my conservative strategy was beginning to pay off. With each body I passed, I got stronger. I struggled up the new switchback section (luckily I didn't walk any of it) and kept the pace steady. At the top of the SB's my gps died so I was no longer distracted and limited by it and my HRM. It died at 9 hours 25 minutes and 61.94 miles. I was relieved to be released from it's burden and rode the rest of the way by feel - and I liked it.

The aid station at the Colony was very welcome and I filled up on Coke and Chocolate Chip cookies. Again my spirits were lifted and Ben and I headed off for the last 12 miles to the finish. We chatted a lot and it kept our minds off our sore butts and aching hands and shoulders. I was stronger on the descents and would open a big gap, and he would close back to me on the climbs. He was a very strong climber. We seemed to work well together but he never took the lead the entire time from PCMR to the finish. But that was fine with me cuz I didn't want to blow up trying to stay up with him.

The entire time on Mid-Mtn Ben was asking if we were gonna make it in 10 hours. I said no, but maybe we can sneak in under 11. That didn't happen and I finished in 11:22 with Ben about 2 minutes back of me. When I finished I felt great. I was not a dead-man-walking like last year, but I was relieved it was over. I was greeted by my wife, Craig & Jessica Carlson, Garrett & Brittany Kener, Craig Williams and Dwight Hibdon - my adoring fans - hahaha. They all came in 25-45 minutes ahead of me but hung around to see if my sorry ass was gonna make it. And I did. Thanks for waiting guys - it meant a lot to me.

Afterwards I was chatting with Dwight and he suggested doing the race next year as a duo. That's sounded pretty good at the time, but, amnesia is setting in and I'm feeling like as long as I can still make the cutoffs in time, I'm gonna drag my sorry ass around as a solo. Seeing how hard this course is, next year may be my last solo effort.

Of all the epics I've done over the years, this one was by far the most friendly to my stomach. I kept it simple and ate only Hammer gels and Clif Blocs, 2-half bananas and lots of Endurolytes to PCMR, and I felt great. I also stayed ahead on my hydration and that made a huge positive impact. After PCMR I feasted at the Colony aid station and I was still feeling fine at the finish. Sunday and today have been a little different story as the exhaust is suggesting all is not as well as I perceive.

So, I'm happy. Jay and Shannon ran a spectacular event, all my friends finished, nobody got injured seriously, I'm still married and I met a few new friends. And that's what this entire journey is all about...

Click here for the official results.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Pierre's Hole 50 - Holy Crap!

I think this guy had an issue with me and was following me around all day.

The Grand Teton is in full view coming in to the valley. You can even see it on the drive up canyon to Grand Targhee.

This historical marker tells the story of the area. I'm glad it doesn't say Brad Mullen, RIP!

This was Craig Carlson's first endurance race and he was uber fast. This guys got a future in the sport. Hopefully he can make more than $25 per pop!

Here I am at the start chasing Mad Dog teammate Brittany Kener and another chick that kicked my ass. It never got any better than this.

Garrett Kener was on it today. He's always strong and a great guy to ride with. WTG Garrett.

Eight minutes in to what was to be a 6 hour 42 minute ordeal, I knew it was going to be a long day. A rider in front of me went down on a downhill off camber corner and I went down trying to avoid him. Unfortunatey my day continued but his mercifully end with a broken tailbone. That's how bad my day went!

The weekend started with a relaxing Friday drive through beautiful SwanValley to Driggs Idaho where we checked in for Saturday's race. Garrett and Brittany Kener and I arrived before Craig and Jessica Carlson so we went through the process and headed to their base camp at the Teton Valley Cabins. I checked in with the Carlson's at the luxurious Super 8 just north of town. Actually, it was a nice room, except for the screaming shower. We ate dinner at the Royal Wolf and went back to the motel and got ready for what we thought would be a tough, but fun, well supported event. Were we in for a surprise!

The race began with a 10+ minute "spread em out" lap before a gnarly single track downhill. Like always, the hotshots took off at a XC race pace and us wanna be's followed. Before I knew it I quickly passed through heart zone 4 in to 5!!! Yikes, that was not according to my plan for a day of steady zone 2-3 riding in preparation for the Park City Point 2 Point race in 2 weeks. That high paced craziness lasted a good 15 minutes and I knew I'd pay for it later.

The course was rougher than I expected and lacked the flow of Park City and Deer Valley. Lots of small stumps and roots, rocks, very loose dirt, tight turns, off camber single track, and unrelenting steep climbing. It was advertised that there were 2 support/fueling stations but the first one was an unattended blue water cooler at the back of parking area that nobody saw! That impacted most of us very heavily as the race unfolded. The 2nd station (actually the only one most of us saw) was a well stocked and attended tent that had everything I needed, including very friendly and helpful volunteers. Thanks you very much for being there and your positive spirit. Without you, I'd be dead!

Back to the beginning of the race. After we zipped through the baby start loop we headed for the dreaded downhill, narrow, white knuckle ST trail towards a wooded, rocky section that lead past the unmarked aid station to the first long section of paved climbing. Although the pavement climb went on for miles, it was welcome relief from the pounding we had just gone through. The route hopped back on the ST for more bouncy double track and another loose, white knuckle rocky ST descent before we passed through a beautiful section of private property pasture that lead to the only true aid station on course. At this time I was averaging 10 mph and feeling confident I'd have a 5 hour day. All systems were go and I was in a good place. But that was all about to change.

The difficulty of the course exposed itself immediately after the aid station at the coral - roughly mile 13 - where the climb from Hell began. It was 3+ miles of ST that went as steep as 24% and it was merciless. There was no air circulation, it was hot, and did I mention it was long and steep! I walked a bit of this section on lap 1 and most all of it on lap 2! Afterwards I found out most everybody walked some of it, even Brittany. Except for my initial crash and backtracking about a half mile before the end of lap 1, all systems were still a go as I completed the first 25 miles. But my hopes of a 5-hour race were dashed.

Can you say CRAMPS!!! About 2 minutes after completing lap 1 the cramps began. It was totally unexpected since I was religiously popping E-lyte cabs every 30 minutes and took extras when they were available. I thought I was drinking enough, but I probably fell behind and that contributed to the problem. Without going in to great detail, I must of cramped 50 times - more than I have in the last 8-9 years combined! Whenever the trail headed up, on came the cramps and I turned in to a hobbled hiker. I must have pushed my bike for several miles and my 2nd lap was almost 2 hours slower than the first. All I can say about lap 2 was it was shear will and survival instincts that got me through it. I was a whopped puppy looking for someone to mercifully put me out of my misery. Suicide was an option, but I couldn't find a place to do it and make it look like an accident! So I continued to suffer to the end!

When it was all said and done, I finished 4th from the last (click here for results) of those that completed the 50. Quite humbling and a big eye opener for the PCP2P in 2 weeks time. Rumor has it they are changing the 2011 course to 3-33 mile laps for the hundie, but I don't know what the 50 will bring. I do know it won't bring me back, I think. If you are looking for a very challenging 100 miler, give this some serious thought and a whole LOT of respect. Even with the new course, it's gonna be Big Bite to swallow.

Craig, Garrett & Brittany had good races although Craig and Garrett both battled cramps on lap 2. Somehow Brittany was immune to the cramps and finished in fine fashion with a smile on her face - so I was told. Maybe it was the Friday night beer! Hmmmmm. The four of them kindly waited for me to push across the line and I felt very grateful to finish in the saddle. Craig's wife Jessica was a great supporter and without her being there I may have packed it in after lap 1 (it was a pride thing). Thanks Jessica.

Overall it was a great weekend and one I won't soon forget. The event was well run, the after race "reward" beer and spag dinner were most excellent, the raffle was great and very generous and all the folks affiliated with the event were incredibly friendly and very helpful. The Royal Wolf Bar and the Bunk House Bistro served surprisingly delicious food and the weather was very cooperative, except for the heat. Dave Byers has a race recap that is probably more accurate than what I have written. The course was probably better than I described but I'm trying to make excuses for why I sucked. I still don't think I'll do it again...

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Deer Valley, Sherwood Hills and Mr. Bad Ass

This is kind of long so if you only want to read something funny, skip to the last paragraph.

The June 12th ICUP race at Deer Valley was postponed due to constant rain and muddy trails. We ended up doing the race on Wednesday which was kinda weird. Due to the rescheduling, my week was totally screwed up. I need structure and predictability so this got me out of my comfort zone.

DEER VALLEY. We started at 6PM and a light rain started falling - de ja vu? Nope. It stopped, Ed sent us off and we heading up the infamous, sinister, long and steep Little Stick climb. My group started with the Sport Women and we stayed together for about 2 minutes. At that point Joel Quinn showed his strength, took the lead and we opened a nice gap by the time we hit the top. Joel was about 5-10 seconds in front of me so I was pretty satisfied. He put a little more time in to his lead right after Little Stick but I caught him on the single track descent. We rode together for another 5 minutes and I responded to each of his attempts to put riders between us. On the next long climb he opened a gap and I lost sight of him. I continued to push as best I could knowing I still had a possible chance to catch him on the final descent. I was right. I caught up to him at the top of the 4 short switchbacks before the long straight away that leads to the start/finish line. I followed him for a few hundred yards and made an unsuccessful attempt to pass him on the left. I was stopped by big rocks and has to fall back in behind him. I made a 2nd pass attempt a few seconds later and that one stuck. I kept the hammer down and nipped him by 19 seconds. This was a hard fought and gratifying win and one I was never sure of the outcome. Well done Joel.

SHERWOOD HILLS was run on Saturday and I was not fully recovered from Wednesday. Since my training has been so on and off and sporadic at best, my recovery time is not very quick. I got to SH feeling mentally tired with heavy legs and not a lot of motivation. I got a decent warm up and I'm glad I did because the start was the usual blast off from 80 bpm to 165 in 30 seconds. Oh how that hurts! Joel jumped out to the lead, again, and I got on his wheel and followed with a guy from Arizona on my wheel. We stayed together until the Feed Zone and dropped the AZ guy and took off. I stayed on Joel's wheel for the next 15 minutes, observing, and then passed him on the long double track section after the upper meadow. He got on my wheel at the base of the climb and stayed there till the Feed Zone. I had backed the pace down hoping he'd pass me but he was content following, so I backed it down further and got a little rest on the climb. My HR data showed 160 average for the 1st lap and 166 for the second. About 50 or so feet before the Feed Zone I kicked in to another gear and opened a quick gap on Joel and picked up the pace. Knowing that he's not comfortable on fast descents I picked it up and increased the gap. He would close in on me on the climbs in the trees but he never got back to my wheel. When I got to the upper meadow ahead of him I know I'd increase my lead in the upcoming technical twisty section in the woods, and I did. I got back on the double track and kept the pressure on the pedals. When I got to the top of the 1st climb after the double track I saw he was back a ways, so I upped the pace again. I kept pushing and rode for several minutes above 170 bpm knowing if he was going to catch me he was going to have to suffer more than me. My plan worked and I finished my 2 laps in 59:23, 40 seconds ahead of Joel. Like DV, Joel pushed me hard and I was very gratified with the win.

So as the points now stand, I have about a 83 point lead and a pretty good chance of winning the points championship, something I haven't done since 2005. This will be my last year chancing points since it heavily impacts my endurance training, and I hate the high heart rate thing.

One last thing. I rode Park City Mtn Resort with Garrett and Brittany Kener today scouting out some of the trails for the September Point 2 Point Race. After climbing the Steps Trails we headed to Apex and came across a Sage Grouse in the road. Garrett warned me about their aggressive behavior and how one attached him on a recent ride. Well, I rode up to this bird and as I approached he just stood there facing me, challenging me to give him my best shot. He did not move his position or back down, so I bumped in to him (or her?). That pissed Mr. Grouse off and he came at me with him beak a peckin. I started laughing and jumped off my bike while Mr. Grouse kept attacking my wheel. And he wouldn't stop! Garrett & Brittany we hootin it up while I was jousting with this persistent bad ass Grouse. I was finally able to get back on my bike, but to my surprise, he came after me again. Garrett was downhill laughing and started riding toward me so Mr. Bad Ass got interested in him instead. Garrett and the bird went back and forth with Garrett finally retreating momentarily so he could pick up some speed and safely pass Mr. Bad Ass. When he finally got by I had tears in my eyes from laughing so hard. We looked at each other in amazement that this 5 pound hunk of kick-ass was ready to take us on. It was unbelievable! Well, we left Mr. Bad Ass on the double track and headed up the Apex Trail. After the first switchback I looked back and that damn Grouse was marching up the hill, taking shortcuts, guns-a-blazing on the attack again. We were amazed and picked up the pace, but Mr. Bad Ass kept coming clearing 3 or 4 trails we had already crossed!!! We were marked riders and Mr. Grouse was gonna have one of us for lunch. I looked around to see if there were cameras filming us cuz I could swear we were in a Steven King or Alfred Hitchcock movie. This was surreal. That bird was not going to give up until he pecked at least one of us. We picked it up again and finally got far enough ahead that he disappeared and we were safe. The next 10-20 minutes was filled with laughter and amazement by what had just happened. As a matter of fact, I'm smiling right now thinking back on it. That was one of the most amazing things I've ever seen and one I'll never forget. So next time you see a Sage Grouse, be forewarned - they're bad asses.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Stupid is as stupid does

What's the other one - "you can put lipstick on a pig, but it's still a pig." Well, I had one of those days yesterday.

It started out like any Tuesday. I got up early, was productive at work and was going to finish the day off riding the Mid-week Series XC race in Park City in the evening. All was well until I left for Park City.

I'll make it short.

I left home at 5:10 and headed to Park City for the 6:30ish race. Just before getting to Parley's Canyon I realized I forgot my GPS and called Jane to confirm my realization. She acknowledged my misque so I pulled off Foothill Drive to return home via Parley's Way. Insteading of driving over some stupid weeds I heading for the gravel and immediately high centered my Element on a boulder that came out of nowhere! Even when I was on it, it didn't register what had just happened. I was stuck and my AWD was doing nothing. I called Jane to bring a shovel and dug under the rock for a good 30 minutes before it was loose enough for my car to get free. Once free, I reluctantly headed to PC hoping to get there before registration ended so I could salvage some portion of my evening.

I got to the parking lot at 6:15 and couldn't find the registration table and assumed they had closed up shop. Damn!!! Fortunately Garrett and Brittany Kener directed me to the right spot and I got registered. Finally I'm back on track. Yes! But now there's no time for any kind of warm up so this was not gonna be pretty. I hop back in my car to change in to my Mad Dog kit and discover I didn't have it! I had left my riding clothes at home. Double damn it... I can't believe this. But, what a fitting end to a totally screwed up hour. What else is gonna happen?

But wait! Enter Mad Dog teammate Bruce Lyman and his trusty roll of black electrical tape. That was the answer. I rolled up my Kuhl pant legs, taped them down tight, tightened my leather belt, put my HR strap on under my T-shirt and headed to the start/finish line. NICE! I got quite a few strange looks but that added a nice flavor to what started out as a full blown fiasco. I did the race and had a blast. Bill Dark and I started and finished together and enjoyed a few laughs along the way. One word of caution - if you want to try racing in street pants, keep your belt loose or you won't be able to breathe - believe me.

Well, all's well that ends well. I didn't crash or take anybody out, and I actually had a good time. I've learned a lesson and I'm gonna put an extra pair of riding shorts and jersey in my bike bag so I'm prepared for my next brain fart episode.

And I'm gonna keep an eye out for those jumping boulders. Stupid is ...

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Soldier Hollow ICUP

My daughter and grand daughter at the Sugarhouse Crit on Saturday. I'm slowly converting them to the wonderful world of bicycles.

Gene, Lewis, Joel, me, Bill and Bruce.

May 24th - 2 days after the race!!!

First off I've gotta thank Chris and Jared at Bingham's Cyclery on 300 South in SLC for hooking me up with a new 2010 RockShox Reba Team 29er fork. They pulled some strings with the SRAM boys in Chicago and got my blown out 2008 fork replaced - at no charge to me! And THANK YOU SRAM for standing behind your product. That is way cool.

Along the fork line, I guess I've never had a fork set up correctly, or I've never had a good one because this new Reba was as smooth as butter and very stable. I set it up based on the factory recommendations, no field testing yet, and I love it. And the proof is in my hands and arms. Very little discomfort compared to usual and I don't feel beat up. I'm excited again.

I encountered rain and snow on my drive to Heber Saturday morning, and expected the worse. To my surprise, conditions at the venue were actually quite nice. The course was wet and muddy so Ed was forced to shorten it by eliminating the single track climb to the normal high point. That would have been a mud bog so Ed made a great call. I'm glad too because I struggled mightly today. Like the rest of you, work and bad weather kept me off my bike since last Sunday, and, I did a boot camp class on Thursday that made my glutes and hamstrings tender to the touch! That was so stupid - I can't believe I did that. The fallout was I had absolutely no snap and my legs felt like lead the entire time. Yikes!

My race went like this. Joel Quinn and I separated from the pack immediately and went back and forth for about 17 minutes. The fun thing about where our group starts is all the people we get to pass. And surprisingly this year riders are being more cooperative than in past years. So, if you're one I've passed, thanks for being a sport and moving over.

Back to the race. Joel built up a 50-75 yard lead that felt like a mile. I wanted to quit but decided to gutt it out and see what happened. Maybe he'd get a flat and I could coast to a cheap victory. Didn't happen. He kept that gap for a few minutes and I took it back on the short steep righthand uphill after the slightly downhill fast double track (you know where I'm talking about). We rode together until the course headed downhill and I gapped him. My bike was hooking up on the corners like never before and my confidence soared. And the bumps that usually drain my speed were a non-factor. I built up a 10-20 second lead and I hung on to that till the end. The only time I got concerned was the short steep hill just before the start/finish line. I thought about walking it the 2nd time up but there was a chick at the top watching and my manhood would have been called in to question. Damn women! That hill really hurt me.

The weather stayed nice, but cool, until after the awards and everybody went home happy. On the way home I stopped at Brothers Bikes Store in Heber (520 North Main Street) and cashed in my winnings. Brothers - thanks for supporting our race.

As a follow up, I'm writing this on Sunday and I can report my legs have come back. I rode in PC at Round Valley and Lost Prospector with some Mad Dog teammates and my legs felt like new. And my fork was just as good today as yesterday.

Watch out Dwight and Roger. I'm coming after you at the State Championships!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Sundance Spin Video

Youtube video from last weeks Sundance Spin. Click here.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Sundance Spin ICUP

Mad Dog headquarters at the Sundance Spin ICUP XC Race.

Bill Dark, Cutthroat Ali and me enjoying a delicious, ice cold Pale Ale recovery brew after the race. This is a very important step in the guidebook to successful MTB racing. Thanks Uinta Brewing Company.

The podium boys. My photographer had one too many recovery brews!

Action photo courtesy of Reed Abbott. Thank you.

12 Hours of Mesa Verde photo

Sticking your tongue out is critical when jumping a small bump. Highly effective - I landed it.

Today was a perfect day for racing - cool temp, clear sky, no wind and a moist tacky course. This was the 4th race in the 13 race series, and our first in the mountains. With the fast desert courses behind us, now the pain begins as we hit the ski resorts where the climbing gets much more serious.

I had the misfortune last weekend at Mesa Verde of blowing up the seals in my Reba fork to where the fork was rigid for 2 1/2 laps! Yikes!!! I had no compression whatsoever and got the crap kicked out of me for half the day. I took it to Bingham's in downtown SLC and am awaiting it's new replacement. Thanks Jared for pulling the right strings on that one. In the meantime, I'm riding my Gary Fisher Rig 29er Single Speed and that's what I raced on today.

The initial climb up the pavement went off as usual. Joel Quinn took off like a rocket, and I followed. Usually Bill Dark is up there too, but he took it easy today. I stayed on Joel's wheel to the end of the pavement then moved to the front before we hit the single track. Joel, Bill Peterson and Dark were on my tail as we headed through the trees and winding trail that dropped off very steeply on our left side. I'd hate to fall off that one - Ouch, or worse! I was working my ass off trying to gap the boys, but they wouldn't give in. I was hoping to have a pretty good lead going in to the steep climbs but they were still there.

When the trail headed up, I had no choice but to go hard. Anything less and my bike would come to a halt. That's the beauty and pain of the single speed. It's everything or nothing. I still couldn't shake them by the time we hit the steep double track and thought maybe this was going to be the end of me. I was hurting and the trail was getting steeper. I pushed as hard as I could and then hopped off and ran the final 50-75 feet. My legs were toast! I looked back and Joel and Bill Peterson were less than 50 yards back and there was a lot of hard climbing ahead. Oh boy, I'm in a race now. I didn't look back and just put the pedal to the metal and blasted through the tight S turns and remaining climbs. Somehow, I managed to stay ahead of them when we topped out and I opened a decent gap on the descent. I climbed the pavement the 2nd time and thought for sure they were on my tail so I turned myself inside-out to stay ahead. I kept pushing and looked back at the top of the climb and nobody was in sight. Nice. Now just keep it together on the descent and climb the pavement one more time and I get the glory (hahaha). I did just that and won by a little less than 3 minutes.

This was a fun race that challenged me and pushed my fitness and confidence to a higher level. I didn't think I could pull the win off and was very pleased I did. As always, I race with a fun and competitive group of guys so any podium place is more than welcome. And afterwards we share a brew of two and swap stories. I love this sport. Life is Good!

Monday, May 10, 2010

12 Hours of Mesa Verde

How about this cool custom award. Neat.

The Geezer podium.

The exchange area was inside the fair grounds exhibition hall.

The theme in 2010 was "Pirates." Ryan Miller with Cutthroat Racing was in full gear. Those guys know how to party.

This may have been my 1st lap exchange. This is the only race photo.

Dwight's gash! He rode for over an hour like this. DH, you da MAN!

We just had to look at it when we got back to SLC. I sure hope it heals well cuz it sure looks sore.

The sponsoring bike shop. These guys were real friendly and they closed down the business on race day to support their employees and us racers. You guys rock.

Breakfast Sunday morning was most excellent. I got the Denver Omelet and was not disappointed. I'll definitely hit this place again in 2011.

When in Moab, you gotta stop at Paradox Pizza on the south end of town. Susan and Fred know how to make the manna of life an eating experience.

Just a short post for now and a few pics from the most fabulous race course I've ever ridden - Phil's World in Cortex, Colorado. It was 16.4 miles long and had about 1150 feet of climbing per lap, a millions turns per lap, 2 incredible roller coaster sections that were better than any amusement park ride I've ever been on, technical sections that were nail biting and single track that flowed like a river. I don't have the words to describe how fun this course is. Just go ride it for yourself and experience the ride of you life.

Dwight Hibdon and I teamed up in the Duo Geezer Category, 50 years and up, and came in 2nd place out of 6 strong teams. Race results are here. We got thumped by a couple of youngsters from Colorado. Our goal was 8 laps and we accomplished that. The 2nd place finish was the cherry. Our strategy, if you can call it that was for me to ride the laps 1 through 3, Dwight would ride 4 through 7 and I would finish up the 8th and final one. I rode the 1st 3 pretty steady and Dwight put down 3 strong middle laps and narrowed the gap with this 1st place team. Unfortunately, on his 3rd lap he hit a tree with his right bicep and rode 12 miles with a gaping hole in his arm! Unbelievably, he still put down a really fast time that kept us in 2nd place. I went out for lap 7 thinking it was only lap 6 and I was a little bummed. Then a light went on that I was really on 7 and we had a slight chance to get in 8. I picked up the pace and got to the exchange tent 7 minutes before the cut off and headed out for lap 8. It wasn't a pretty lap and I was one of the last to cross the finish line, but we and the 1st place guys were the only 2 with 8 laps. Nice! Way to go DH for the strong laps you threw down. Without those we would not have made it.

Now for the silly facts for all you anal types, like me:

Lap 1, 1:34:00 (I missed the 1st 7 minutes cuz I forgot to push start), 151 bpm (83%) average, 10.5 mph avg.
Lap 2, 1:38:27, 144 bpm (80%), 10.1 mph.
Lap 3, 1:38:09, 142 bpm (78%), 10.1 mph.
Lap 4, 1:37:05, 132 bpm (73%), 10.2 mph.
Lap 5, 1:50:26, 120 bpm (66%), 9.0 mph. I was fading fast - hahahaha.

Enjoy the pics and I'll try and update later.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


Me, somewhere between Airport and Gooseberry.
Bill Dark at Camp Element.
Beer soaked Brats. Don't look at 'em, just eat!
The Shafer Trail switchbacks.
Murphy's Hogback climb. It's really steep!
Hardscrabble. If you look real hard you can see cyclists under the dark brown band.
The top of Hardscrabble. Several guys made the climb. Wow!

Much to my surprise, I finished the RAWROD (Ride Around he White Rim in One Day) in fine fashion - on my bike. Before I start, a special thanks goes out to Kenny Jones and Eldon Nelson for getting a great group of riders together for this non-event. You guys create a lot of good memories for a lot of people.

Enough about them, what about me? The RAWROD was divided in to 2 days. The faster Rabbits went out on Friday, self-supported, and the slower Turtle group, of which I was a part, rode on Saturday. Let me tell you, if those guys/gals are Turtles, I'm a snail. My ride time was around 8:45 which seemed quick to me, and I was in the middle of the group. Heather Gilbert did 160 miles between the 2 days, on her Single Speed, and Jileen rode both days! I got to ride with Vets Larry Tucker and Tim Fisher as well as Bill Dark and Canyon Kris Nosac. What a pleasure it is to hang with them.

The day went pretty much as planned; I drank & ate less than I needed and I suffered just the right amount. But I did not cramp and did not walk the climbs I was capable of riding. That means I walked Murphy's and Hardscrabble.

Cleaning Horse Thief was one of my goals. That doesn't seem like a big deal, and typically it's not. But, last fall when I rode with Dwight Hibdon, I bonked at the start of the climb, cramped half way up and had to hobble like I was walking on stilts back to my car. Pathetic! This time I fueled up about 30 minutes before the climb and made it up without an issue. I was tired, but happy because beer and salty potatoes chips welcomed my arrival. Just sitting in my cushy chair, staring at anything and everything was one of life's simple and fulfilling pleasures. I started the day with Bill Dark and Canyon Kris, and that's how it ended - together. Thanks guys.

The only downer on the day was the battery on my new Garmin 705 crapped out at 7:50 riding time and 92.5 miles! It was fun riding with a gps, and playing with it took my mind off what was sometimes monotonous riding. That stretch between Airport and White Crack always tests my commitment and fortitude. It seems to go on forever! The gps was a nice diversion. Don't get me wrong, I love this trail, but the gps mades it more loveable :-)

This was interesting. While I did not check the angle of all the climbs, I did look down on one section of Hardscrabble and it said 27%! Needless to say, I was walking at that point, but others were riding it! Wowzers! Next time I'll have to see what the angle dude says about Murphy's Hogback. I'd love to ride that one, but I think it's out of my league. Maybe Hardscrabble.

I also liked looking at the map to see what was ahead. That provided additional relief and helped pass the time. At one point I said to Bill the Green River was just on the other side of the clif and within seconds, it appeared. Cool!

My other goal was to keep my HR in the 135-140 bpm range. Before the ride I looked at my average HR from past endurance races and it seems to average about 138 (my XC average is 163-165). And my typical race starts out way too fast and ends with my a-- dragging big time. This time I stayed in my prescribed range and actually ended up averaging only 131 bpm. That didn't include the last 45-50 minutes and the Horse Thief climb, so it may have been a beat or 2 higher. I must say though that I'm not real fit right now and my effort was probably the best I could do. But now I'm hopeful for the Point 2 Point race in September. With LW's help, I'll kill it.

The ride ended the way it started. Bill, Canyon Kris and I finished together, the sky was sunny and clear, there was no wind, and everything was still working - both body & bike.

On the way home Bill and I were planning our fall RAWROD, unsupported with Dwight. Life is good!