Sunday, August 30, 2009

Performance

This video on Youtube has been going around in cycling circles. I had to post it for the enjoyment of our non-cycling friends and family, and so that you can believe that we are not the only ones with these obsessions. I roll with laughter each time I watch it. Just too close to the truth I guess.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vn29DvMITu4

Thanks, Blackdog, for posting the link.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Steamboat Dreamboat

This past weekend we cashed in on an earlier trade of 4 nights at our place in Moab for 4 nights at a condo in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. Cousin Milissa and hubby Christian from Loveland were able to join us for most of it. What a fun weekend of ridin' and relaxin'.

The drive over was sort of a snooze for Drew.

To get to Steamboat, we drove through Vernal, Utah. Dinosaur National Park is near Vernal, and the local businesses seem to be capitalizing on giant dinosaurs the same way northern Minnesota capitalizes on Paul Bunyan.






The condo in Steamboat was WAY nice and super comfortable for us and the cousins.

Day 1's ride was on a 19 mile loop up Diamond Park Trail to Scott's Run to Cutover Trail to Coulton Creek Trail. Milissa joined us for the first part of the ride, but bailed to go hang out by the creek and "study" while she recovered from a case of possible mumps. Mumps!
It was an excellent long-ish mildly technical, really fun ride.

(Overlooking Seedhouse Road)

(Totally ridable except for the amateur rider up front slowing us down. Ha.)
(Drew and Christian hiking-a-bike over a blow-down area. You can't smell the dead sheep.)
We gorged at Fiesta Jalisco Mexican Restaurant. Muy delicioso!!! Highly recommended.
Day 2's ride was a 30-mile shuttle (Thanks, Milissa, for shuttling us up to the pass so we could cruise down.) starting at Muddy Creek TH to Dumont Lakes to Base Camp to Lake Elmo then Long Lake. This portion of the ride was very high (10000 feet, huff, huff!) alpine meadows and the grasses had started to show spectacular fall colors.


(The tiny specks are Christian and Drew on the trail ahead of me.)

We continued to Mountain View Trail to the top of Steamboat Ski Area where we descended on Pete's Wicked Trail, Moonlight, and Valley View trails. We have forever renamed Pete's Wicked Trail as Pete's Wicked FUN Trail. Valley View was possibly the funnest trail we have ridden since Upper Porcupine Singletrack in Moab.
(Lucy, above, and Christian, below, near the top of the ski hill at the end of Mountain View trail.)
If you click on the picture below you can see Drew's track in Google maps. For a shuttle from a mountain pass down to town, we still managed almost 3000 feet of climbing and 3.5 hours of saddle time.


Here is a video of Lucy rolling along on the Mountain View Trail.
video
When we returned to the condo, Milissa had BLT+ sandwiches, yummy soup, and fancy dessert made for us. NICE!
Day 3's ride was on the maze of trails just across the river from Steamboat town on Emerald Mountain. (View from Emerald Mountain to Steamboat Springs.)
They were really fun twisty turny singletrack with amazingly few people. We lunched at the Boathouse Pub before saying goodbye to M & C until next time we meet in Moab. Day 4's ride was up Spring Creek, a multi-user trail leading from town up alongside a babbling brook. The trail was wide and mostly easy, a decent choice for a quick ride before heading out of town. What was really cool about this ride were the ferns lining the trail. I don't understand why this area gets so much more moisture than our local mountains at the same elevation, but it makes for nice lush understory.


Below is a video of Lucy riding through the fern forest on Spring Creek Trail.

video

What a great vacation!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Will the real Bobke please stand up

We went to the Canyons Resort in Park City tonight to hear The Man, The Legend, Bob Roll tell stories about his pro cycling career, his experiences commentating on pro cycling, and this year's Tour de France. For those non-Tour junkies out there, this 1 minute video is is a sampling of Bobke's style of storytelling. Here is talking about a particular type of spectator/cycling fan, the Schloogs.

video


This is the kinda guy you want to hang out with in a pub in Italy.

We met Bobke afterward and invited him to ride in our Bobke van, but he said he had other engagements. That is a good thing, because Bobke the van does not run just yet.

He autographed a nice photo for us.

The zebras are coming

What is the sort of random thing I love about riding my bike to and from work?



I get to appreciate that a circus is setting up just down the road from my office. After a few days, I'm sure my olfactory senses will be appreciating it too.


Monday, August 17, 2009

Bad photos of wildflowers

My partner in crime headed off to work on Saturday night, so I took this opportunity to do a wildflower ride up Millcreek Canyon. I hate stopping when I'm with other riders to take pictures, but when I'm solo, I can do whatever I want. I wanted to go search for two toxic wildflowers I read about in this guy's awesome blog. If you hike or bike around Salt Lake, and you ever wonder, "what was that cool flower I saw on my ride yesterday?", chances are, this guy will have blogged about it in the last two weeks, and made botany interesting and funny while he is at it.


Anyway, I wanted to see if I could find Western Monkshood



















and Corn Lily

























Western Monkshood is wicked poisonous, so I tried not to touch it as I was snapping this horrible picture, but immediately after I came out of the brush, I felt a serious case of what felt like stinging nettle. I had the stinging/numbness on my leg all night and into the next day. I'm pretty sure it was a real bad case of stinging nettle, but it freaked me out that I had been poisoned by the Monkshood for a while.

The Corn Lily has been implicated in a bunch of births of one-eyed lambs in Idaho. I tried to stay really far away from that one.





Also recognized the Western Coneflower, which looks like it is all dried up and past its prime, but this is what it really looks when blooming (if you can tell from my horrible cell phone pic).



Earlier in the weekend, Drew put up some sturdy shelves for me in the garage to store big pots. Thanks, Drew.








Saturday, August 15, 2009

Gardening in the Northwest?

Is this what it would be like to garden in the Northwest? Utah had a TON of rain this spring and early summer, so plants just grew! This is the result in our backyard. All this vegetative matter is from volunteer plants. We didn't water these until July. Not watering your Utah garden in June (or even May) is almost unheard of. You can see the sunflowers are serious about growing, and in the foreground are a couple of tomato plants, beautiful petunias, and a giant "hybid" winter squash. Perhaps acorn-ish? The squash identity remains to be seen.


Finally, some progress on the fireplace. Biking season caused a hiatus in the home improvment projects. This week, Drew hired a guy to brick in the antique fireplace. We'll be toasting marshmallows in the living room soon.

Bobke update: Bobke has gone to the VW spa.
He needs some pampering at the air-cooled engines mechanic shop.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Ride for MS

You know you have been too busy when you forget to blog about riding your bike for 175 miles for a weekend with a bunch of your best friends. Below is our out-of-chronological order post about the MS150.
(Team Revolution/Peak Fasteners before the MS150.)

The Harmon's Best Dam Bike Ride to raise money for multiple sclerosis research was held in Cache Valley, northern Utah on June 27-28. These MS rides are done all over the country, and Drew has done them in both Texas and Utah. Lucy had not had the opportunity to participate before, but figured it would be good training for the Laramie race and was for a good cause too, so we signed up with the Revolution/Peak Fasteners team. This is our same mtb race team, but we all ride road bikes too. We were honored to be able to ride with and for Sandy P., our teammate who has been diagnosed with MS. Another of our teammates, Gigi A., also has MS, so we rode for her and for a number of other friends and relatives that have this devastating disease.

We arrived Friday evening at the Logan fairgrounds to set up our tent in the team campsite. We enjoyed a fun evening with friends cooking up a nice dish of pasta and chicken. Everybody brought a little something to put in to the pot. We sat around in lawn chairs telling stories and laughing as the sun set.


Everyone retired for the evening fairly early with thoughts of the impending many hours in the saddle. Saturday bright and early we made our final preparations for the day's ride. On day one riders may chose one of several different distances to ride. We as a group decided that 100 miles would be a fitting distance.
After a solid breakfast and cowboy coffee from the organizers, we hopped on our bikes. The temperature was perfect and the sun was out in force. We wish we could say that the wind was always at our backs, but where would the challenge be in that? The organizers had well-stocked aid stations along the way, and our sometimes-15-rider-strong pace line the 100 miles almost seemed easy. We averaged 18.5 mph on the first day. We returned to our campground around 3 PM and relaxed for a bit before we went into town and enjoyed a fabulous dinner at Elements Restaurant. We cannot say enough good things about this place. Great food, up-scale decor and service, and very reasonable prices.
Sunday allowed us to complete another 75 miles of great riding. We had the benefit of the local police closing down part of the road for us to enjoy a traffic free climb in and out of one of the local canyons. The climb up the canyon was into a 20 mpg headwind, but after we cleared the mouth of the canyon and formed up a pace line, it was manageable.
(The team at the top of the climb.)

The best part of the canyon was that we were able to turn around and ride back down. We got in our fast pace line again and Lucy actually had to ride hard to keep up with them on the downhill. Quite a change from her usual coast behind wind foil Drew.
We rode with a really fun group. Travis and Jim (above) kept us smiling even when our legs were tired and our behinds grew tired of our saddles.

(Jim looks dashing in Rhonda's new hat, don't you think?)
Cache Valley is a perfect place to ride, as it has many farms, wide shoulders on the roads, and light traffic. Click on this link to watch a really cool 4-minute video put together by one of our teammates from the ride http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4E-3soMS4Tg
(That is Lucy's behind you see in the first shot, and Lucy and Drew are both in the third shot.)
Thanks to all of you who together donated $650 to the National MS Society in our names. Without your support, the MS chapter in Utah would not have been able to raise more than 1.5 million dollars during this ride!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Laramie Enduro 111 km race report

Did I say these posts were going to be short? Nevermind–I lied. Grab a cold one and come racing with me!


Now finally, the post you’ve all been waiting for – oh wait, it was me that was waiting, no dreading, August 1 ever I signed up for the 70-mile Laramie Enduro Mountain Bike Race in Wyoming since one cold day last February, after all the pain from last year’s endurance races had faded and I couldn’t wait to get back on the bike again. The fact that my husband and a bunch of friends had signed up for it, and the rumors of top notch aid stations and awesome after party entailing free Fat Tire Beer and delicious food made it easy to click the little ENTER NOW button.

However, with the daily deluges in Utah this spring, then work, vacations, and something akin to swine flu, my training was essentially packed into the past two weekends and I was seriously worried. Since Drew and I have been on nearly opposite work schedules, we didn’t get to train together like we did last year, which is one of the reasons we do these things. I was fairly confident I could finish this race, but felt pretty sure it was going to hurt, and hurt badly.

THE LEAD UP

The caravan of Revolution/Peak Fasteners race team members Rhandy, Bob, Jim, Steve, Alison, Jen & Shannon, Jenelle & Ryan, Dick, Greg, Jeremy and even our long-lost teammate Brad from Calgary descended on Laramie. Cousin Milissa from Loveland, Colorado was there to support her husband, Christian, who had an even bleaker training schedule than mine and Drew’s. We all went out to carbo load on pasta on Friday night, and the mood became increasingly apprehensive as the rain came down in buckets outside and the forecast was for record low temperatures. Drew seems to thrive on cold, muddy racing conditions, but I am exactly the opposite, as proven by our race results at Five Mile Pass this spring. I went to bed in our deluxe king suite at the new Fairfield Inn feeling scared and wishing I could just stay in bed the next morning watching HGTV on one of the two flat screen TVs in the room.

RACE DAY

Saturday dawned clear and cold (45 degrees) but we each felt excited that the day had finally arrived. After the moderately crazy surge of 400 riders at the gun, I passed teammate Alison on the first fun singletrack. Alison has been riding strong this year and on our last long training ride the weekend before this race, she was stronger than me. Teammate Dick N. was just ahead of me on this second road section so I got on his wheel. He seemed surprised but glad to see another Revo rider so we hung together until after aid station two. On the second road section the wind, she was a blowin’, and we worked together (me = 10% of the work, Dick = 80% of the work and some other rider = 10%. Yeah, that’s a team player there, Jube.) I also passed the girl that beat me in last year’s American Mountain Classic (AMC) stage race. When I stopped at aid station 1 to get food, Alison pedaled through. I passed her again after aid 1, but never did stop worrying that she was right on my wheel. I lost track of the AMC girl, so I had to keep pushing because I didn’t know if she was ahead of me or behind me.

All my boys were ahead of me:

(Drew)


(Steve)




(Andy [That's one half of Rhandy. Sorry, no pics of Rhonda, but she was there with us.])



(Christian)

After aid 2, I knew I was slowing Dick down and told him to ride on ahead, but I was still riding like a mad woman for about the first 40 miles. I felt great – like I could go all day at just below my lactic acid threshold. I was pushing a heart rate of about 10 beats per minute less than I do in the short races, which I was a little concerned was too high, but darn it felt good to pass boys! The course was a good mix of buff singletrack and Forest Service roads which made the miles tick off quickly. The rain had produced lots of puddles and a fair number of black, mucky, cow pie-scented bogs. Two non-ridable stream crossings, one up to mid-thigh, did nothing to help thaw my feet, but the rest of me was not cold, for which I was extremely happy. My new ESI silicone grips kept the numb-hands demons away, and my awesome mechanic (Drew) had my bike tuned so well, even the mud bogs couldn’t stop my shifting.
BUT THEN...
However, at mile 40 and about 4 hours into it, I started to lose focus and became fatigued. The heart rate I could sustain dropped 7 or 8 beats per minute. As evidence to how tired I was, I floundered around for my flask of caffeinated energy goo at mile 44. Confused by my jersey pockets, (Really, jersey pockets? They are not that hard to figure out.) I thought to myself, “You can get it in a couple of miles at the next aid station.” There had just been an aid station at 42 and there wasn’t another until 54. Good thinkin’ there, Jube. You are a total mental machine.
I got some food and caffeine at aid 4, where I saw Dick again. I stretched a little and took off at the same time as Dick.

I was still very tired and struggling to keep focus. Dick seemed a little concerned. It was sweet of him to be looking out for me, but I felt I really needed to do this on my own, in my own space, so I sort of got a little short with him and told him to just ride his own race. Sorry again, Dick – you are a gem.

ARE WE THERE YET?
I struggled up the big climbs (At least they seemed big. At one point I remember looking at the only slightly uphill trail ahead and thinking, “Wow, this would be a fun, fast middle chainring cruise if I wasn’t so tired.” I looked down and I was 2 gears from granny! Man, perspective changes after 6 hours on the bike.) The caffeine started to kick in and I found my rhythm again. I passed two women who I thought may have been in my category, but who I later found out were in the Open (faster) category or the 20-29 (younger) category.
I pulled into aid 5 almost in a fog. I was greeted by Jim. Jim? What was Jim doing here? He normally smokes me.

(Jim)
“Jim, is that you? I can hardly see you,” I said. When I do long endurance rides, my right eye has a tendency to get blurred vision. I think it is because I dehydrate? The doc doesn’t know either. Anyway, both eyes were quite blurry at this point, severely affecting my depth perception. (This is why, I tell myself, I must stop this crazy endurance racing business.) Dick was there at aid 5 too. I didn’t care, I just wanted to push on and was afraid if I stopped too long I would lose momentum. I grabbed some food and headed out for the last 7 miles, feeling, remarkably, stronger but more delirious with each mile. As I began to hear the wonderfully noisy cars on the glorious highway and I could see the forest opening up to the finish line, I wept a little – I had done it!

THE RESULTS
Perhaps it was my low expectations of finishing in the middle of the pack but wanting to prove myself wrong, or maybe it was catching site of the girl that beat me last year at the American Mountain Classic, or the fast new rear tire Drew put on for me the day before the race, or maybe even my new training formula from Wicked Fast Sports Nutrition, but I pushed hard the whole race and felt like I had probably pulled in a respectable time at 7 hours 30 minutes. My goal had been sub-8 hours and I had achieved it. My stats for the race were: average heart rate = 155, max = 173, 69.0 miles, average elevation 7900 feet, calories burned = 4153.
We were all happy to finish!



As Drew and I were feasting on the super yummy post meal buffet and drinking delicious Fat Tire beer...,


(Alison and I like beer. Especially me.)


(Ryan and Jenelle are WAY, WAY, WAY faster than me. Maybe because they don’t drink double fisted.)

Saffell came back from the results board. He informed me I had placed 4th overall in the Sport women group! I went down later and figured out that I was actually 2nd in my 30 to 39 age category - a finish much, much higher than I had expected, and I had beat the AMC girl by 42 minutes.


(I think it is funny that this is the highlight of my summer and that the third place woman, who I only beat by 2 minutes and 22 seconds [in a 7.5 hour race!], is up there with her kid. Maybe I should chill.)


My podium prize was this nifty gear bag with flames on the handles, a limited edition Laramie Enduro pint glass, and a cheesy medal.

We had a good time with Christian and Milissa. We were all so happy to see Milissa at the aid stations cheering us on and giving us updates. She also took most of these great action shots. Thanks, Milissa!

The mud bogs were something else though. After the race I couldn’t get my shoes off for all the mud gooped in the buckles, the Velcro didn’t work anymore, and my poor bike was barely able to hang on and shift for me. It might take a little work to get it ready for the next endurance race.