Doesn't that rich, dark, earthy, ammonia & nitrogen filled mulch look great in the above photo? Ok, Kate looks cute, but come on, that mulch looks good in the flower bed don't you think?
I'm wasted. If I didn't have a lingering cold I'd be wasted from racing at Sundance. Because I do have a cold that seems to enjoy hanging around, I spent the day at home. Luckily, I did manage to get out on a ride this morning. The problem, however, is that the ride totaled a little over 20 minutes and consisted of my riding to & from my daughter's soccer game (she scored 3 goals). Not much of a workout, but given my current condition it actually felt like a decent ride.
Looking back on my day. I probably should have stopped at that point and focused on rest and recuperation. Instead, I phoned a friend who owns a truck and asked if he was available to help me pick up a load of mulch for the yard. You see, at the soccer game earlier that morning, I had talked to another neighbor who gave me the inside scoop on where I could score a full load of high quality, equestrian-based mulch on the cheap. What's cheap? Five dollars. Yeah, crazy cheap and a sweet deal like that could not be passed up. My other neighbor was free, so we jumped in his truck and headed over to 10600 S and State.
The equestrian center is completely hidden from view with the only indication of its existance being a small dirt road and a big, steel gate. We drove in and after a few minutes of searching located the huge pile of compost. I walked over to a nearby trailer and asked if this was the place to buy mulch. An older, rail thin man smoking a cigarrete nodded yes, directed us to back the truck up to the pile and said he'd be over in a minute. He then hopped in a small tractor, drove over and dumped three full scoops into the pickup bed. I gave him $5 and he drove off, leaving us to cover the rich goodness with a tarp, rope it down and marvel at our good luck. What's crazy is that he charges $5 regardless of how big or small your pickup or trailer happens to be - it's $5/load and you determine what defines "load".
Upon returning home the real fun began. Shoveling the mulch into a wheelbarrow, we carted it around to the various planting beds, dumped it out and returned for more.
With two of us working the unloading probably didn't take longer than 30 minutes. What took a lot of time was the subsequent work - which I performed solo - of raking the mulch in the beds or, in the case of our soon-to-be garden, working it into the soil with a shovel. You see, in its previous life our garden was devoted entirely to roses and thus has a network of sprinkler pipe just below (probably no deeper than 3") the surface. Because of this a rototiller was out of the question, leaving me with no choice but to turn over the dirt by hand. Needless to say this was a long, hot, dirty job that took the better part of two hours to complete. Now I just need to dig some furrows for watering and buy some vegetable plants. I'm planning to focus mainly on tomatoes and squash, with maybe a few peppers, carrots and potatoes just for fun.
My back, wrists, arms, shoulders and neck (which I should add got sunburned so I'm now an authentic redneck) are sore and all I want to do now is lounge around the house, drinking water and consuming large quantities of ice cream. How's that for a solid day of training?
It all started with the cancellation of the Draper ICUP race this morning. That resulted in my sitting at the computer browsing eBay, killing time while I waited for the incessant rain to stop. One thing led to another and before I realized what had happened I was the proud owner of a new bike. Do I have a problem? My wife says yes. I say only time will tell. Now that the temporary insanity has passed, I find this staring me down each time I enter the garage:
At this point the only question I need to answer is whether I have enough courage to take it for a ride...
...but today it was an enjoyable, conversational climb thanks to the fact that He-Who-Likes-to-Poke-Fun-at-My-Limited-Racing-Schedule isn't a morning person and was content to roll easy. I really like the first half of the Draper ICUP course - I've ridden down Clark's enough that I can actually go somewhat fast (if you ride early in the morning it's rare to run into - pun intended! - any uphill traffic). The second half of the course, however, is another story. One of these days I expect to develop some mountain bike handling skills but thus far they have proven elusive. Unfortunately (for me), the latter half of the course is filled with narrow, sandy trail riddled with lots of tight turns. Needless to say, that combination doesn't result in very fast riding on my part.
It should be noted that the switchback (near the Red Rock trailhead, just before you drop onto Mike Weir) to which Team Revolution applied some TLC last night was much improved. My wrists, shoulders and back are sore thanks to the 2 hours of manual labor, but the end result made the suffering worthwhile.
...but rather my soon to be 6 year old daughter who dealt with the nerves and butterflies of her first gymnastics meet. In fact, she seemed to handle the stress of competing much better than me! And while she didn't place in her group, the experience was positive and she's excited to do it again next year. Plus, she was awarded a cool medal. This year was more of a learning experience anyway as her instructor asked last week if she wanted to perform a more difficult routine. Of course she said yes, and while her legs need some straightening on her back handsprings (which she just recently learned to do), she was able to finish the routine and complete all of the required elements. Very cool.
After the competition I asked her to choose a restaurant for dinner. Take a guess where we celebrated. Yep, it was CHUCK-A-RAMA! Even with Bart'sprevious comment about germs in my head I managed to enjoy my meal, starting with a deluxe mixed green salad and finishing with a slice of carrot cake (minus about 75% of the cream cheese frosting - why do they use so much?). After dinner the kids and I saw the new Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian movie.
I also managed to ride my bike. Earlier in the day (7:30 AM to be exact) Cami and I met another couple from our neighborhood for a sweet ride to the Morgan County line at the top of Big Mountain. We started at the zoo, which meant it wasn't a huge ride in terms of hours or mileage but the weather was perfect, company excellent and pace conversational. And while my race results are still a work in progress, rides like this are a good reminder that the top secret training plan is working - quite well in fact - since this was the first time I can remember that climbing Big Mountain seemed easy. Sure, the pace was mellow, but the fact that I could get from the bottom to the top at a low perceived effort was a nice surprise. All in all it was a great ride. For those who may be wondering, the road is still closed at Mountain Dell and the road surface is in great condition.
I need to learn how to ride my bike! Yeah, riding with Fox can make a guy feel like that. However, as I mentioned to Matt after we'd finished Jacob's Ladder and were climbing back up to Clark's, last year I probably would have walked the dh so improvement is being made, albeit slower than I would like. Speaking of slow, I apologize to everybody for my slow pace. Even Kris, who was on the bike for the first time this week after suffering a few days with a nasty cold, was smoking me today. In my defense, Bob has given me grief before for screwing up mellow days by riding with fast guys so today I made sure to stick to the plan and take it easy on the climbs. I felt lame bringing up the rear, and that feeling was compounded by the fact that the guys up front didn't seem to be working very hard, but I was able to stay within the parameters I'd set for the ride so will call my effort a success.
Probably the best thing about today was finally meeting Elden, aka the Fat Cyclist. As everybody who has met him already knows, he is probably the nicest guy you'll meet riding your bike. He'd just finished descending Jacob's Ladder and decided to ride up with us for another go. Watching Sly drop in to Jacob's Ladder for the first time and post a 3:32 was pretty cool too. Not to mention descending Clark's in his wake and seeing all the guys riding up stopped on the side of the trail waiting for the freight train to pass. Pretty funny.
Bob wanted me to race Expert so I could do the full ICUP course but I chickened out at the registration table and signed up for Sport. I don't know my exact placing but it wasn't DFL so that's a good thing. My average heart rate was 180 for 40+ minutes of racing. Not a bad workout!
I have created a new blog devoted to the Clarks TT. Click here to check it out and submit your results. So far I'm on top - I wonder how long that will last? Please note that the current list is based on times recorded in 2008. Now get out there and ride it!
Ever since I rode Jacob's Ladder with Brad and Kris a couple of weeks ago and heard about the official Clark's TT I've wanted to give it a go. Today after a solid 1 hour and 45 minute warm-up I hit it. I started the watch when I rolled onto the bridge and stopped at the last sign on top. So how did I do? Well, I'm not even close to Brad & Co. but nevertheless I was pleased with my effort. My time was 14:08 at an average heart rate of 185 bpm. Yeah, I was going full gas. And yes, it hurt. But no, I didn't puke. So yes, I suppose I could have gone harder.
Kris and I took a short off trail detour to check out the action at the Draper Flight Park. Unfortunately our route took us right through the middle of Goathead City. Both of us emerged with 5-10 thorns in each tire. This is when the object lesson began. I plucked the thorns out of both tires, spun around in circles for a minute or two and was ready to go. Yes, I was running a tubeless setup with Stans. Kris, on the other hand, was not. I'll let the pictures tell his story. I should note that since I started riding a mountain bike in 2006 I have yet to experience a flat tire - and I ride a lot. That's nearly 2.5 years without a single flat tire. Why would anybody run a traditional setup with tubes? I have no idea...
Originally I was going to ride the SLC shoreline trail this afternoon but at the last minute Kris asked if I'd like to meet him in Draper and ride Corner Canyon. The lure of company and Clark's trail was hard to resist and it wasn't long before I was driving south. Departing from the Equestrian Center, we took the BST to Bear Creek where we flipped a U-turn and rode back to Corner Canyon road. We climbed up the road to Ghost Falls and headed down, connecting to Clark's via the Silica Pit trail. Up Clark's to the road, another U-turn and back down Clark's to the BST and we were back to the Equestrian Center. As is our new tradition, we dropped the stairs at the bottom before crossing the road!
Along the way we encountered two snakes: One Gopher snake and another that I couldn't identify. I remarked to Kris that after hearing about the snakes Alder (my son) would be super excited to ride with me in Draper (he loves reptiles). It turns out, however, that he had already caught a snake of his own and was busy setting up an aquarium for his new (temporary) pet. Every spring for the past 2 years he has caught a Garter snake, kept it for a few weeks and then released it.
Five Mile was tough. I felt like I rode well - my 1st and 2nd lap times were nearly identical - but I just didn't have the strength to hang with anybody else in my class. Maybe I'll race the Sport 30-34 group at Soldier Hollow to ensure this doesn't happen again (you are allowed to race "down" a category). My group is strong, strong, strong.
Congratulations to Todd for winning his first (but certainly not his last!) Expert 30-39 race. And to think he considered staying at home!
Even though the actual Salt Aire TT was cancelled this evening I went out and raced the course on my own. There were a handful of other guys too, most on tt bikes. I'm not sure if they missed the announcement or just wanted to get in a solid effort but it was fun seeing other riders on course. Bob was also in the neighborhood, though he chose to do his interval into the wind instead of doing the official out-and-back. Good thing too because it would have been depressing to know how badly he would have beaten me!
I actually feel good about my ride and rate it about equal to my previous attempt where I did an 18:21. Without a cone at the turnaround I had to slow down well in advance of the marker to be sure I didn't miss the spot. I also had to start myself which isn't a big deal, but having somebody hold your bike allows you to have both feet clipped in, as well as adding a PRO feel to the amateur tt experience. My average heart rate tonight was 177 which is 5 bpm less than before. After a couple of days off the bike due to life and weather it felt good to suffer tonight.