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.