Sunday, May 31, 2009

Draper race and Round Valley perfection

On Memorial Day, Drew and I participated in the Stan Crane Memorial Intermountain Cup mountain bike race sponsored by our bike shop and held right here in little ol' Salt Lake Valley. Seeings as how the course received almost a full inch of rain the day and night prior, we were somewhat skeptical that the amazing organizer Ed would be able to pull it off. We took an almost 2 hour delay to reroute the course, but happily, we were able to race and have a grand ol' time. Above picture credit: thanks Theresa. The reason we did not end up covered in thick gooey mud this time, was again, due to geology. Remember the Five Mile Pass race a few weeks ago? There we were riding across shale. Shale is more or less just clay that has hardened into a rock. Wet clay and expensive mountain bikes don't like each other. The original race course on Monday's Stan Crane race would have taken us up Corner Canyon and onto soils formed on volcanic and igneous rock, generally pretty rich in clay minerals. Instead, Ed and the good trail folks at Draper routed us entirely on the lower trails, which are carved into the 12,000 year old beach formed around the shoreline of Lake Bonneville, the humongous freshwater grandmother of Great Salt Lake. Since these trails are on sand and gravel, they were perfectly ridable only a few hours after heavy rain. See, geology really does touch our everyday lives. Kids, pay attention in that earth science class!

Afterwards, the team put on a rockin' yummy barbecue. Thanks to Steve H and Doug K for grillin' up some fine meat products. I also acknowledge our most excellent team mechanic, Ryan. He just touches my bike and it rides like a new steed.

Friday I tried to repeat last Friday's 50-miler (pic above of the Glenwild and Silver Creek area), but John and I got rained out and had to high tail it back through Park City on pavement. There is nothing less satisfying than climbing and grunting along for 28 miles on rocky trails only to be robbed of the reward of going back down all that elevation you gained on fun singletrack. Pavement stinks.

Drew came home Saturday night. We watched Milk, the movie. It is amazing how little the religious rhetoric and scare tactics about gay rights have changed in 30 years!

Today we had a great ride, after Drew found his shorts that is. We were at the trailhead getting ready to ride when Drew realized he forgot his shorts. So off he went to the Pearl Izumi store ($ka-ching$) while I rode through Round Valley. With no companions to slow down, I took the luxury of snapping a few wildflower pics. They were out in force! I counted at least 15 different kinds of flowers, plus the sage brush was blooming too. The temp was mild and the air smelled as sweet as cotton candy with all the nectar around.

I even noticed something I read about in this guy's awesome blog post. See in this photo below the very fine example of Arrowleaf Balsamroot on the right and Cutleaf Balsamroot on the left? The flowers look identical, but the leaves are very different. Kids, pay attention in botany class too.

I met up with Drew and we had a nice leisurely 2.5 hour ride. That will have to hold me for a while for my Drew fix. I just figured out that in the 30 days between May 27 and June 27, we will have exactly 2 days off together, including today. Given our perpetual state of marital bliss, that just doesn't seem right. If we didn't get along so darn well, I might welcome some me time, but I think these next few weeks are just going to be lonely.


  1. Come and play with us! I know we are no comparison for awesome Drew but we do like you :)

  2. Rhonda, OK, I'm up for friend playtime! I guess this post does sound kind of pitiful. I should just be glad I didn't marry an ice-road trucker.

  3. Great post, and excellent side-by-side Balsamroot shot!

    BTW, the soil type/moisture/trail conditions stuff in this post is fascinating. (Geology is a weak spot for me.) I'd be fascinated if you ever did a post (or series of posts!) on Wasatch area trails and soil types.

  4. I can't believe the ultra organized Drew fogot his bike shorts...much less anything. It must have been intentional so he could get a new pair!