It all started in St. George the Friday night before the Cholla Challenge. Everybody was hungry, tired and in no mood to wait for a table. Earlier in the day, while in town to register for the race, I noticed Chuck-A-Rama and mentioned to the kids that their great grandpa, former mayor of Sandy, had loved eating there. Curious, the kids asked some questions about the food. One thing led to another and at 8:30 pm I found myself entering the restaurant for dinner. There was no wait, very few people and lots of food. The kids thought they were in paradise and I must admit to feeling a bit giddy myself. Even my wife seemed to be enjoying herself. Having completed a tough pre-ride of the course earlier that evening and knowing that the race in the morning would be the longest event of the series, eating too much wasn't something I was worried about.
Unfortunately, that one innocent dinner has spawned an addiction of sorts. You see, ever since that fateful night in St. George a little over 2 weeks ago, my family and I have returned to Chuck-A-Rama for dinner every Saturday. Conveniently there happens to be a restaurant a mere 5 minutes from the house. And, without a race the following day, I have definitely been eating too much. Should I seek help? Is a counselor in order? Perhaps you know of a 12 step program for people struggling with buffet abuse? Please, share your experiences. I need help!
Alder and I hit Lambert Park in Alpine this evening. He's really made good progress learning how to ride the tight, twisty, rocky trails. Of course, all our time wasn't spent shredding - we had to take a break by the stream to have a snack and throw some rocks!
We started at the bowery and rode Spring to River to High Bench to Spring.
...except we rode down it. Jacob's ladder that is. Not sure who he is or why he's into ladders but today was my first time and I must say it wasn't bad. Not exactly my ideal downhill trail due to the loose layer of sand & rock on top of the hardpack dirt but it was still fun and I made it out in one piece. Thanks to Brad for playing the role of tour guide and Kris for once again serving as photographer. No shots of me riding the ladder but you've got to admit the one of me shredding the stairs is pretty cool. The view from the top was nice too. According to my Suunto T6 elevation gain was a little more than 1800 feet.
This Saturday, April 26, from 9 AM to 1 PM the Mad Dog Racing Team will be performing trail maintenance on the Bonneville Shoreline Trail between Dry Canyon and Battle Creek. Anybody willing to lend a hand is welcome to attend regardless of team affiliation! On tap is hard work, prizes, and Powerbar food for all participants not to mention points for those participating in the ICUP race series. Please come help maintain the trails. This is the first of two trail days planned by Mad Dog this year.
If you would like to participate please RSVP to Jesse Sorenson via email at jesse dot sorenson at nebo dot edu.
When: Saturday, April 26, 2008 Time: 9 AM - 1 PM Where: Dry Canyon trailhead Directions: Take 2000 North in Orem to Dry Canyon Dr. Turn Left on Dry Canyon Dr. and head up until you access the dirt road. Continue to the parking area.
Notes: Please arrive before 9 a.m. Feel free to bring your bike and sample the fruit of your labors afterwards. Please bring good footwear, long pants, hat, water, sunscreen and gloves. Mad Dog will provide Powerbar food and a prize raffle for participants.
Had a fun lunch ride ripping the shoreline with Matt and Sly this afternoon. For somebody who's retired, Fox sure seemed to be rolling good. Here's an example (from my perspective): There's Primetime, riding the big ring, on a rocky climb, talking on his cell, riding with one hand, while I was breathing heavy in the back trying not to lose contact! Good times for sure.
This evening's ride was a big one. According to my bike computer and Suunto T6, Warren and I ended up with 30.5 miles in 3:25 and 3900 feet of elevation gain. Yeah, I really am tired.
We rode from my office near Trolley Square to the zoo (Gilmer Drive is a sweet climb lined with even sweeter homes) where we met Kris and his wife Jolene. After a nice cruise on the bst, we headed up Dry Creek and over to City Creek. East on 11th Ave brought us to the seemingly never ending grind to the top of Terrace Hills where we climbed some more on doubletrack before (finally!) reaching the mouth of the Bobsled (new entrance). We were surprised to soon find ourselves shredding a small, muddy stream that followed the upper trail but luckily it didn't last long and the rest of the trail was dry. The burms were in great shape and I was hitting them high tonight, enjoying the all too quick downhill run. After descending back down to 11th we rode to Popperton Park where we climbed back up to the bst. The section of trail from Dry Creek to the zoo seemed to involve more climbing than I last remembered but we managed and reached the zoo just as the sun was setting to the west. Warren and I immediately started down Sunnyside, letting the bikes rip the paved downhill. When we hit 800 S we really opened it up, hitting 47 mph on the segment between 1300 S and 900 S. Descending on my mountain bike feels so stable compared to my road bike. Gotta love disc brakes!
Today's personal best is brought to you by CarboRocket, the exclusive fuel of UtRider. Haven't tried the mango rocket juice yet? Go get some here.
Originally my plan was to contest the Salt Aire TT this evening. That changed when it became clear I needed to fill in as soccer mom and attend my son's practice this evening. Kris was game for a ride up Emigration so I rode from the office and met him at 4:30 by the zoo. Not wanting to miss out on the pain and suffering inherent to time trials, I decided to do an interval up Emigration Oaks. I started the watch after turning left onto E Pioneer Fork Road and stopped it at the top, just past Bart's house, by the big rock. My previous personal best was 12:15 set last spring. While my time was only 17 seconds faster, today's effort beat my previous best of 2008 by over a minute. Average heart rate was only 180 so in theory I could have gone faster since most efforts are in the mid 180's. Maximum heart rate was 196!
Texting Fox while I waited for my son to finish soccer practice, I learned that a fast time would be in the neighborhood of 7-9 minutes. Apparently some have even completed the ascent in the big ring. Others have done it while towing a loaded child carrier. While I won't be attempting any of those feats, I should be able to further decrease my time over the course of the year.
"Spring? Forget about it! We went from summer to winter in 24 hours. The temperature yesterday afternoon was about 50 degrees colder than it was the afternoon before. For today, winter is hanging around. Temperatures in the 30's and 40's- a bit of sun and passing snow showers. Warming up by the end of the week, but another cold storm for Sunday." - Grant Weyman, Live 5 Weather HD
I need to get some sleep so I'll keep it brief. Let's just say that after my pre-ride yesterday evening I returned to the hotel with every intention of spending the day hiking in Zion National Park with the family. It was not a good experience and accomplished pretty much the opposite of what you hope to gain from a pre-ride. Lucky for me, Bob, Kris and Jesse stepped in to talk me down from the proverbial cliff. Thanks guys. Maybe tomorrow I'll post the text messages Bob and I exchanged last night as they're pretty entertaining taken in the context of today.
Speaking of today, I managed to finish (and avoid a DFL placing) my first race in the Sport category after doing 3 Beginner races last year (5-Mile, Soldier Hollow and Draper). The thought of heading out for a 2nd lap has been gnawing at me for a long time so to finally do it feels great.
Memories from the race: Kris giving me a push as he caught me on the gravel road on lap #1, taking a bottle (filled with CarboRocket of course) from Cami as I started lap #2 (this was her first feed and she did a great job!), riding the sand and rock singletrack climb at the end of lap #2 clean (3rd time's a charm I guess), getting passed by Chris Holley at the end of lap #2 as he soloed in for the Pro win, all of the encouragement and congratulations I received from friends and fellow riders after the race, cold chocolate milk at the Revolution tent, meeting Brad Keyes on the start line, seeing the Dork Bike in all its rigid, singlespeed glory, and entering the slickrock section of lap #1 in last position.
UPDATE: I found this photo of the Sport 35-39 start on Chad's blog. Looking at the picture I can see why I ended up at the back so quickly - next time I need to line up at the front!
Here we are exiting the dirt at the end of lap #1 with Reed leading, followed by the Caveman and myself. I knew the two cyclocrossers would try and mix it up in the dirt so I made sure to stay close. Too bad I didn't go with knee warmers. Is it a coincidence that Reed and Kevin finished 1-2 and both wore knee warmers? I'll know better next year... :)
So what's up with all the flat tires? I've yet to suffer a puncture at HON. This year I didn't even bother with spare wheels. Tempting fate? Probably. But thus far my 25mm Michelin Carbon tires have been fantastic. Of course, having said that, I'll probably flat on every ride for the next month but seriously, what tires are you guys running?
One last thing: Check out the forecast for northern Utah in the sidebar to the right. Is that real? Are we seriously going to hit 79 on Monday? Not that I'm complaining but come on, can't we have a few weeks in the high 60's before jumping to near 80?!
EDIT: KSL has already started their infamous temperature slide. They jack up the long term forecast and then over the course of a few days the high temps are gradually decreased. Nice.
I'm looking forward to the Cholla Challenge on Saturday as an indicator of where my fitness stands compared to my fellow Sport 35-39 competitors. This will be my first race in the Sport category and the first time I've raced the Cholla course. I've read the reports of the new course routing but since I never raced the old course I think the change might work to my advantage in that nobody will have prior experience to fall back on during the race. My current plan is to leave as early as I can get the car and family packed Friday morning so I can ride a lap in the afternoon before driving to St. George for registration and dinner Friday evening.
It's going to feel good to ride in shorts and a jersey. According to the forecast we should be racing in temperatures approaching 80, something I haven't experienced since my week in Arizona last month. Hydration is a concern and right now I'm planning to buy a small CamelBak to fill with water and pair that with a large bottle of CarboRocket. Hopefully I'll be able to grab a new bottle from my wife after the first lap, again filled with CarboRocket. Combined with a gel flask, I should be good as far as fuel is concerned.
Now I just need to figure out how to recover from last week. After lying around the house all day Sunday, taking a nap and sleeping 8 hours last night I'm still dragging. Hopefully the bowl of ice cream and berries I'm about to dig into will be the missing ingredient I've needed for a full and complete recovery!
Finally! After getting dropped in the dirt on lap #2 in 2006, falling off the back in the dirt on lap #1 in 2007, today I was finally able to ride a complete race and hang with the lead group for all 5 laps. In fact, not wanting to finish the race without having done something aggressive, I attacked into the dirt on the last lap. Unfortunately it didn't take long to blow but luckily I was able to jump on the back of the group when they caught me and hang on to the finish.
Reed smoked us all, attacking on lap #2 and riding solo to the win. The racing Caveman also rode strong, attacking in the dirt at the end of the last lap to solo in for 2nd. I didn't have the legs to contest the finish and rolled across in 8th. It might not seem like much, but for me, after my poor performances the past 2 years, it sure felt good to finally be with the guys at the end.
I should also mention that I was fueled exclusively by CarboRocket during the race. If you haven't tried it yet click the link on the right and hook yourself up.
Ouch! According to my computer: 18:20 at an average heart rate of 182. Compared to the guys with real tt bikes that really sucks. But given that my goal wasn't to compete so much as do a killer interval I'd classify the evening as a success.
Though I should mention that I did feel totally out of place without a tt bike, aero bars, deep section wheels, tt helmet, etc. Where were all the other Revolution guys/gals? Talk about feeling out of your element!
I did a quick recon of the Hell of the North course this evening after work. Having done the race the last 2 years I can confirm that the dirt is in fantastic condition. Of course, having said that, the city could dump a few truckloads of pea gravel in the next few days like they did last year. Given my affiliation with the fair weather riding club, if I wake up Saturday morning to rain/snow (my race starts at 9:05 AM!) I'm going back to bed. Cross racer I am not!
Disclosure: I stole the picture from Kris who rode the course yesterday.