Third Tri's The Charm

(I added some zazoosh photos, but I should have some better ones soon.)

I finally completed a full triathlon Saturday. Not that I couldn't have completed the previous two - one was canceled and the other was shortened to a swim-run, both because of bad weather. I was starting to believe I was tri-cursed. But yesterday it all came together at the Salem Spring Triathlon.

We arrived around 7:45, got our gear laid out in the transition area, picked up our packets, got our timing chips and numbers and age written on our arms/legs. Scott was in the wave ahead of Matt D. and I. We were casually making our way to the water's edge and suddenly we hear the start countdown, 15, 14, 13... We hustled into the water, put on our goggles then GO.

I always hang back for the swim start. I have no interest in getting beaten up by swinging arms and kicking legs. I'm just in this to finish. I started with the forward crawl, but switched to backstroke after 100 yards. I don't have the swimming fitness and I get less water splashed into my mouth. I had the usual bumping into other swimmers. And I ran into a turn buoy. Otherwise it was just a grind it out ordeal.

I'm in the background - I would hope that's obvious.

Coming out of the water my legs didn't seem to know how to run, but they got going enough for the short jog over to the transition area. It took a while to peel off my wetsuit and get dressed for the bike. My jersey got stuck to my wet back and I struggled to pull it down. The gloves were also a hassle to get on (I won't do gloves again). All this added up to a 5:41 transition time - that ranked 596 out of all 639 racers and the worst time of my 45-49 division.

I trotted my bike over to the exit then got on it and hit the road. Instantly I felt so good to be on the bike. I know the bike. I know how far I can push it. And I felt fast. I passed a lot of other riders. On lap two I passed my neighbor who started in the wave 5 minutes before me. I had a respectable 20.9 mph average. I could have gone faster, but I didn't know how much I need to leave in the tank for the run, better safe than sorry.

I was so fast even a professional photographer couldn't keep me in the frame.

My transition from bike to run was 1:33, which was also slow. But I did remember to double tie my laces (they came untied last time).

I started running at a moderate pace and felt OK. I tried not to run too "springy" since my calves felt tight and I didn't want to risk cramps. Plus a more conservative pace seemed wise. I got passed by better runners, but I caught and passed a few myself. And for only having run once this year, my legs were feeling OK. From all my cycling my aerobic capacity is good which means my running muscles are the limiting factor. I was surprised and happy to to see the 1.5 mile mark - half way. On the downhills I lengthened my stride to go faster with the aid of gravity. I was happy to see the pond and know the run was almost over. I trudged up the last little hill. Since my legs were still feeling OK I kicked in a bit more speed for the final 150 yards. I passed a few runners, one of them a big guy dressed in white and black. With the finish line is sight I picked up the pace another notch. I was surprised when the big guy came by me, but I was almost done and didn't care much. Near the line the announcer said "here comes Chad Lewis followed by Kris". Yes, that Chad Lewis, the formed BYU and pro football player (who now lives in utah valley and is neighbors with 3 guys I work with).

Chad Lewis almost to the finish with me right behind him.

Running to the finish.

After finishing I ate some watermelon, orange and banana slices. I turned around and there was Fisher. It was good to see a friendly face. He said he couldn't find his legs at first on the bike, but they came around and he finished well. I chatted with Scott for a few minutes, he did pretty good. I looked for Matt but he was still out running so I went out to wait and cheer for him. He had a rough run but finished.

Overall I had more fun than I thought I would. having all the gear ready and doing the transitions is kind of a hassle, but it is a worthwhile experience to do three events back to back. I might do a tri or two per year, but I'm so addicted to the bike I don't see myself really getting into triathlons. It was a nice day and good to finally do a full tri.

Overall time 1:31:56.7
Swim 16:25.9 (1:52.8 / 100m pace)
T1 5:41.6
Bike 40:10.1 (20.9 mph average)
T2 2:21.9
Run 27:17.3 (9:05.8 / mile)

Placed 10th out of 18 in my men 45-49 division, 278th out of 639 overall.

Full results

Graduations Big And Small

Today was graduation for two of our children - the oldest and the youngest.

Kade "graduated" from Kindergarten. Yes, it's meaningless, but it was fun to see him sing a few songs with his fellow kindergarteners. Here's Kade with his teacher, who is retiring this year.

The main event was our oldest, Jamie, graduating from high school. It still feels weird that we're old enough to have a high school graduate.

The commencement exercises were held in the Marriott Center at BYU. Over 400 students from Timpanogos High School graduated.

Jamie sat on the stand - there she is:

She has loved choir and got to sing the national anthem with an octet (she's 2nd from the right in this shot off the jumbotron):

Afterward she wandered around congratulating friends and getting photos.

Here's us and the next generation.

She's smart (I wasn't going to say gifted), a hard-worker, loving and happy. I could go on, but I've gushed enough about her already. She'll most likely go to UVU in the Fall and is seriously considering becoming an ultrasound technician.

Full Throttle Round Valley & Big Boy Big Wheels

This year the Full Throttle Midweek Mountain Bike Series added Round Valley as the venue for the first 4 races, then it moves back home to Solitude. I've never mountain biked Round Valley so I decided to race, figuring if nothing else I'll get to ride some new single-track.

After changing clothes and registering I warmed up a bit and got in line by Andy who gave me a good idea what the course would be like - thanks! Mark N. and Mark A. were two rows up.

I did my usual slow start up the gravel road. Nearing the end of the road section I looked back and discovered I was dead last. My pride kicked in and I passed two riders before the single-track started. I passed a few more riders on this flat-ish section then settled in behind a racer going my speed.

At the switchbacked climb I was surprised to see Mark N. up ahead. He went out so fast I thought he must be having a good day and I'd never see him again. We sat on his wheel for a while and then passed him when there was room.

We climbed over the top and then hit the swoopy, mostly banked downhill. It was good single-track, but the combo of my lack of downhill boldness and not knowing the trail meant I was cautious and slow. The rider in front of me opened up a gap. Half way down I gained some confidence and started gaining on him.

We passed the lap junction and now back on the flat-ish section I slowly caught him and hung on his wheel. I needed a rest. At the switchbacked climb I decided I better pass and hope I could open up a good gap up the climb because he did better on the downhill on the first lap. It worked, but that push hurt.

I did better on the downhill on the 2nd lap. I'm still a wimp, but I took the corners faster and pedaled hard out of each one. I was sure he was going to catch me. I almost blew past the left trail fork. I kept the speed up and headed down from the lap junction. Blew the first sharp corner and almost the 2nd. Finally I could see the finish and gave one last push.

Mark A. was there. He had a pretty good race and finished 4th.

Mark N. rolled in and explained how his fast start had taken it's toll and he'd blown up. Done that, not fun.

After the race I chatted with other riders and hung around for the prizes (didn't win anything this time). Loaded the bike in the car and headed for home via Heber and Provo Canyon.

But that's not the end of the story.

Elden (Fat Cyclist) recently organized a 100 mile ride to nowhere. One of the participants, Ryan, is an old friend of Elden's and just for fun he rode his Trek Mod (a Big Wheel for big kids) for the final lap. Intrigued I read Ryan's blog post and commented about a video I found on YouTube posted the day before of some guys riding down Squaw Peak Road on Mods. He knew the guys in the video, and informed me they were having a group Mod ride tonight and they'd set me up with a Mod if I wanted to give it a try. So tempting, but I'd committed to the Full Throttle race.

But on my way down Provo Canyon I saw a truck with a big trailer and I was sure it was the Mod riders. So I flipped around and pulled along side.

"Is this the Mod ride?"



"Are you Kris?"


"I'm Ryan."

"Have a good ride guys."

And they were off up the road. Must have been more than 10 people piled in the truck. I'll bet they had a good time.

Here's the video I mentioned. At 10 minutes it's kind of long, but it's worth watching the whole thing to get the flow of the ride. Some highlights to watch for: lots of drifting, a battery added to the back for extra weight, a few blown corners, oncoming cars and cyclists, 360 spin, banking up high on a dirt sidehill, blowing a rear tire near the end. It looks way fun and reminds me of MarioKart.

This just in - another video. Shot in high def. (Saw it on Ryan's blog.)

Cycling Holiday

Yesterday morning (Memorial Day) I mountain biked the Bonneville Shoreline trail (BST) with some neighbors. It was a beautiful morning and the trail was damp and tacky with only a few puddles from the nearly non-stop rain from the night before. This wet Spring is keeping the foothills lush and green.

(Note: these 3 photos taken with the new digital camera.)

Afterward I changed shorts, got on my road bike, and rode from my home in Orem up over Suncrest and down to the venue for the Draper ICup race. My legs were far from fresh, but I timed myself anyway for a south Suncrest TT. My hamstrings were twinging with cramps so I didn't dare push hard, but still had a better-than-expected time of 25:02. Having 3 "carrots" (other riders up ahead of me) to pass helped.

When I arrived at the equestrian center (start/finish of the race) Jolene had already finished. The start had been delayed an hour, then delayed more as they rerouted the course to avoid the upper, muddy trails. She started around 11 am and had a pretty good race. She took 6th.

The stream was running pretty high.

We hung out and talked to people. It was sunny and not too hot, and a good vibe with everyone enjoying the day.

I met Andy H. to look at Rhonda's old road bike for Jolene. At first it seemed a bit too small, but Ryan K. (works at Revolution) watched Jolene ride it and said the fit is pretty close. So we bought it. When I got home I swapped in the original, slightly longer stem, raised and slid back the seat, and it fits her pretty good now. It still feels weird to her, but road bikes take time to get used to, especially coming from a mountain bike. I'm looking forward to some road rides together with Jolene. Thanks to Andy for working with us to see and test ride the bike.

2005 Schwinn FastBack Pro - Full Ultegra, Aluminum frame with carbon seat & chain stays, Rolf Patent wheels (full specs here).

Pre-ride, Honors, Rock Climb, Foothill Ride

Yet another catch-up post, but this is stuff I wanted to log.

Tuesday I rode the Draper race course (the race is tomorrow) with Jolene and Kendra. It had rained earlier in the day producing excellent riding conditions - cooler air and tacky trails with no dust.

I TT'ed Clark's and got under 15 minutes (14:53) to beat my old time - still not fast, but good enough for now.

We had a good ride, especially rolling down Ghost Falls.

(thanks for the photo, Kendra)

Thursday was honors recognition at the high school. Our daughter, Jamie, received gold cords to wear at graduation for being in the top 25 of her class. She has worked diligently all four years and has straight A's except for one A-. What's most amazing to us is that she's managed her class-work and time herself. She's taken some AP classes and also participated in choir, one year of volleyball and a year of track. And worked part-time the last two years. Obviously we're pleased with her accomplishments and feel lucky to have her as our oldest child. We can't believe she will be graduating this Thursday - she can't be that old and we can't be that old.

(Jamie is on the left)

Saturday morning I took Jamie and her friend Kristee rock climbing in Rock Canyon. We did three roues on Red Slab: Mr. Cornflakes (5.7), The Mantel Route (5.8), and Red Dwarf (5.9). They climbed and I belayed. The wildflowers were still going strong so on the way down I snapped photos.

Check out the weird bug perched on the flower.

This sure looks like a Yellow Salsify that Alex talked about it on his blog.

A snapdragon?

hey, I know this flower. It's a Tufted Evening Primrose. Because it's on the calendar in my boss' office.

Saturday afternoon Mark and his friend Raul came down and we did a tour of the foothill trails near my house.

We went up the Water Tank road, up Betty, up Lament, up Area 51, down the GWT back to the Altar, down Frank, Down Dragon's Back, west on the Union Aqueduct road, up the Race Course and back up to the Water Tank road, then up Betty again, half way up Crank, then down Ireland and Water Tank road then city streets back to my house. (More info on the trails here)

This route covered 2/3 to 3/4 of the trails in with 2500' climbing in around 2 hours. The trails were in good shape and the scenery was nice as it's still green up there.

Mark took some photos and did a blog post. Here's my favorite photo - the top of Area 51:

P.S. I got so fed up not being able to take photos that I bought a new camera yesterday evening. I picked up a Canon Powershot A470 on clearance at Walmart for $80 - hard to beat that. Seems like a good camera - it will be for biking. So expect more photos from now on.

Giro Killer

Photo: Graham Watson, from Velo News

If you ask me, Danilo "The Killer" Di Luca has been the star of the Giro d’Italia. He's in good form, hungry and is racing smart.

He's held the maglia rosa (pink jersey of the overall race leader - like the yellow jersey of the Tour de France) for 5 stages after winning it by coming in 2nd to Menchov in the short but tough climbing Stage 5. Being the leader adds stress, but Di Luca seems to be handling it well. He's used his team wisely and hasn't wasted energy fending off false attacks or chasing non-threats. But he's not boring - he's got fire.

Yesterday's Stage 10 was a classic. I watched the evening coverage on Universal Sports (digital broadcast TV channel 5.2 in my area, also available on some cable and satellite TV). It was a long 262 km (163 mile) course over 3 categorized climbs. Six and a half grueling hours on the bike.

Stefano Garzelli went off on a solo break before the first major climb (dreams of Fausto Coppi glory?) and stayed in the lead until caught by Giovanni Visconti and Andriy Grivko of ISD after they managed a long bridge up to him with 20 km to go. It looked like the 3 breakaway riders would make it stick, but the peloton ramped up to an amazing speed and closed the gap before breaking into several packs up the last climb. Di Luca was in the lead group of very capable riders like Menchov, Sastre and Arroyo when he put the hammer down with 3 km to go and rode hard to the finish to take the stage win (see photo above).

Watching Di Luca take that stage was exciting and impressive. He timed his move right and rode strong. He didn't need to take the stage to remain the race leader, but the win and time bonus increased his lead and makes a strong statement. And it was just plain gutsy and cool.

I'm glad Universal is covering the Giro, but as usual it's a mixed bag. The commercial are lame and in big blocks (thankfully I have a DVR to deal with this). The announcers are green and frequently babble on about silly things, but I give them some slack because they're obviously trying to reach out to the non-cycling-fans. And they focus on Lance too much, but they're just appealing to national pride and the only cyclist name many Americans know. The camera work is very good with lots of helicopter and motorcycle shots that give a good feel for the race. The views of the Italian countryside are stunning - makes me want to go there.

Along that line, the Giro appears to be a good race to spectate - way fewer fans than the Tour de France, awesome scenery, and good racing. The announcers noted that the Giro is much less controlled than the Tour de France with fans being able to mix with the racers much more freely. The Devil (or very good look-a-like) made an appearance. Put simply, the Giro is a great race.

So thanks, Killer, for making this 100th anniversary Giro already one to remember.

Salt Lake Century 2009, Etc.

I apologize for the lack of pictures. The camera I usually have with me for riding photos is lost. Hopefully it'll turn up soon. If you want more pictures, check out my report of last year's Salt Lake Century.

Yesterday I rode the Cycle Salt Lake Century for the 4th time (consecutively). It's a tradition with the people I used to ride with at Linux Networx (a company that is no more) - this year Dave, Kevin, Jason L., and Kepler were there. Joining Jason L. were his brother and some friends and co-workers.

My back was tight and sore Friday, but Saturday morning I felt OK so I decided to give it a try. My back felt OK the whole day.

The weather was excellent with cool but warm temperature, no real wind and sunny skies. A beautiful Spring day.

I won't bore with the travelogue, but just mention a few highlights.

Going out across the causeway to Antelope Island we were on the back of a nice paceline, but I got tired of the yo-yoing so I moved to the side and cruised at a pace I liked (20.? mph). As the pack's speed varied I slowly moved up until I was at the front. A few of my friends tailed me and I think the other paceline latched on, or maybe just some jumped ship. It probably wasn't smart to push that hard, but the pace felt good so I kept it in the 20s until we hit the island. Just before the marina a few riders came around and thanked me for the pull - I appreciated the comments and thoughtfulness. I like the comraderier amoung cyclists.

After the last rest stop I followed some of Jason L.'s friends. Strong riders, they were riding at 23 mph. It was fun to go fast. I stayed in the pack until the end where I took one pull then the traffic lights broke us up. I went pretty hard at the end even though I had twinges of cramps. I felt like burning up as much energy as I could - why not?

I enjoyed talking with everyone. For a lot of these guys I only see them once a year for this ride. Fun to catch up and hear what's new.

After the ride we had the traditional burgers at Squatters. Just Dave, Kevein and myself, but we had a good time reminiscing and talking about all sorts of things.

Another good Salt Lake Cenutury in the books.

Draper Race Course
Tuesday I brought my mountain bike so I could ride after work. I read about the Draper ICup race course on Rick's blog and had some concerns about the route, but dug and Rick assured it was good. So I decided to ride it and see. I bypassed the construction and the closed lower Corner Canyon trail by taking the Creekview trail. I made a half-hearted attempt to time-trial Clark's (had to pass 5 other riders, ended up with 15:12). I rode down Ghost Falls better than last week were I felt off. The course had been marked and it went differently than I assumed - turns out I'd misread the map in a few places. I retracted my erroneous objections, but still feel the course may be not-so-fun to race with hundreds of racers on it. Regardless I had a good time riding that route and plan to ride it a few more times - just for fun.

Lambert Park
Thursday I met Mark for a ride at Lambert Park. We could have joined the Bike Peddler's scavenger hunt, but we just felt like riding. 2.5 laps on Rodeo, 3 down Ruin, 2 up Spring, 1 down Wildcat and bunch of other trails. We had a good time.

Soldier Hollow Race
While I was riding 100 miles on the road, Jolene was racing on dirt at the Soldier Hollow race. She was happy to make all the climbs and come in 3rd. I've said it before, but I'll say it again: I love that my wife likes bikes. This photo does it for me.

Bike, Bike, Rock

Road Ride
Saturday I joined the Utah Velo Club for a ride up Hobble Creek Canyon and back. I met them at the mouth of Provo Canyon and the riding down to Springville was a good pace but not hard to stay in the pack.

Heading up Hobble Creek the climbers let loose and I dropped off the lead pack quickly. I tried to catch some other shelled riders but couldn't do it and rode to the end of the pavement solo. At least no one else caught me.

The ride down was fast with some attacks once out of the canyon.

The group was going back to American Fork via Geneva Road, but I went back to east Orem with Adam and Brent on University Avenue. I thought I might be solo so it was nice to have them to ride with.

Mountain Bike Ride
After noon Jolene and I went for a short mountain bike ride up Big Springs Hollow - that's where she wanted to go for Mother's Day. It was a nice ride - the trail was in good shape (except one short muddy section). It was very green with grass lush and the trees leafing out.

Eagles Concert
In the evening we went to the Eagles concert at Rio Tinto Stadium (where Real Salt Lake plays soccer). This was on a whim - my brother called on Friday with the idea. The tickets had been discounted (still on the expensive side) so we went for it - my wife, Dad, brother and myself.

As we walked in it was interesting to observe the people. The average age was in the 40s, I'd guess. Most were dressed up a bit. I did see more than a few middle-aged women stuffed into too-tight jeans and obviously trying to look good (and younger).

Michelle Branch opened - just her and her producer on acoustic guitars. She has a good voice and the songs were OK.

The Eagles took the stage and played a few songs from their new Long Road Out Of Eden album. First impression: they looked old - I mean grandpa old. After the few new songs they dove into the older, well-known songs (Eagles and some solo songs, mostly Joe Walsh). Crowd favorites were Hotel California (with a stellar trumpet intro), Life's Been Good To Me So Far, Long Run, Lyin' Eyes, Boys of Summer. Their voices cracked a few times, but over all they played well.

Jolene and I like the Eagles. Back when we were dating we'd sing Eagles songs together, so it's kind of "our" music. This made the concert meaningful and more enjoyable.

The Desert News has a review of the concert if you want more info.

Update: The Daily Herald has a better review with a set list.

Weather's Good, No Time To Blog

The weather has finally been nice for a few days so I've been outside instead of inside blogging. Oh, and work has been busy. And it's the last crazy days of school. Yada, yada.

I had a tongue taco for Cinco de Mayo. It was delicious.

I've been on the road bike twice this week, after months of neglect. Felt good.

Tuesday was a ride up Squaw Peak and South Fork with the Utah Velo Club. Just 6 riders started out, we picked up two more along the way. Mike set a strong pace up Squaw Peak and I felt like it pushed me to the ragged edge. My legs felt tight and I was panting like a big dog. But I hung on. Half way up I started feeling better. It's such a relief when that happens because what happens more often is feeling worse and dropping off the back. I felt good enough that in the last 1/4 mile when the grade pitched up a bit and Mike slowed a bit I eased around him and finished solo. Not trying to show off, I just felt I could go a little faster and I wanted to see if I could. The climb took 37 minutes.

I didn't do as well up South Fork. The rollers chewed me up. When Mike and Drew would accelerate over the top of a roller I'd eek it out. I kept dropping off but kept the gap kinda small. But it's such a good climb I couldn't help enjoy it anyway.

Today I climbed Suncrest for the first time this year. I pushed the pace in an attempt to time trial it. Mark A. setup a Suncrest TT website a while back. I did OK. Made it from the Chevron to the stop sign at the top in 25:51. After a little rest I did the last climb, looped through the houses then took it easy on the downhill. Lots of gusty crosswinds throwing me around. I didn't even break 40 mph. But such a nice day, I didn't care.

Addendum: I also had Five Guys burgers and went to a Real Salt Lake soccer game with Mark. It was my first time attending a major league soccer match and I enjoyed it (would have been better if Real would have played better - the game ended in a 2-2 tie which Real should have been able to win).

We had the "rabid fan" club in the upper level above us banging drums, chanting, throwing streamers and confetti and lighting smoke bombs the whole game - added to the ambiance. We were also treated to a rather crude chant about the referee 5-6 times from some dudes behind us - it was kind of funny that they liked this chant so much or didn't know any others. Soccer fans are a bit wilder.

The stadium is nice and the evening weather perfect for watching a game.

Looks like I'm headed back there Saturday for the Eagles concert.

Castelli, What Were You Thinking?!

Jolene was thumbing through the Performance catalog that arrived today and spotted these Castelli Velocissimo shorts:

This is a joke, right? Please tell me this isn't an actual product but simply an April Fools gag that Performance fell for. Sadly, the fact that these shorts can be found on the Castelli website and ordered from Performance leads to the horrifying conclusion I'd rather deny: they're real.

When is innovative styling not avant-guard? When it produces an abstract but unmistakable image of genitalia on your crotch, that's when. Even more disturbing, is it male or female? As if cycling clothing isn't freakish enough, these shorts will make you look like a pervert too.

Speaking of how the general populace views cyclists, witness this comic from yesterday's newspaper:

Back to the Velocissimo shorts - Maybe they look better as bibs?

I've just gouged out my eyes.

The red adds contrast, and thus more attention to the crotchal region - and makes the unfortunate arc of the chamois stitching more noticeable.

Another feature of the red shorts is the white side and belly panels making it look like you're wearing a Vee-"neck" thong.

Castelli is an Italian company, and I know the Italians are sexier than us, but I can't believe even Italian cyclists would go for these shorts. And I'm trying to picture the designer who came up with this design, his/her manager who saw it, and the marketing manager who approved it, and many others at Castelli who saw the design for these shorts and gave it the green light. Didn't they make prototypes? Haven't they heard of focus groups? Really, how does a product this obviously flawed make it to market?

And is a scorpion a good logo choice? Maybe it's too late to change that now, but does it have to be angled up so it looks like it's going for your privates? Isn't this a common fear - that there's a poisonous creepy-crawling climbing up your leg? And yet there it is printed boldly on the shorts.

Perhaps the market for gag cycling gifts is quite lucrative. It's the only logical answer I have.

P.S. I'm 45 today. I have mixed feeling about it. I don't feel 45, it's hard for me to believe I've lived that many years, but the calendar doesn't lie. I'm pleased I have good health, a good wife and kids - in short a good life. OK, I'll try to be happy about it.