Kade, Costume Designer

I need a good costume for Rick's Hell-o-ween ride. I've been searching the internet and asking friends and co-workers for ideas. Turns out I have an imaginative costume designer right here at home - my son Kade.

Not sure what this is, but somehow it works for Kade (being 6 may have something to do with it).

Of course, the guns should go on the hat.

The club med pirate.

Dracu-beatnik. "Give me some blood, daddy-o."

It's just a bike helmet to me, but to an unfettered mind it's an alien mask.

Recently overheard while Kade was playing: "I am a boy who can survive dangerous things."

Thanks, Kade-boy, for the spark and happiness you bring to me and our home.

P.S. Tonight we went out for ice cream as a start-of-school treat. It was fun to hear each of the kids talk about their classes and experiences so far. This has been a fun tradition I recommend.

Crest - MidMountain Loop

Mark and I set out to do a Crest - MidMountain loop yesterday. We started at Park City Mountain Resort. Spiro is the usual route up, but we took Crescent Mine Grade, Apex and Keystone instead (thanks to Alex, Rick and Paul for showing me this route). I like Spiro better, but variety is good and Crescent is a decent trail. Saw two dead chipmonks and one dead mouse on the trail - rodents too slow and/or bikes too fast?

View from Crescent Mine Grade trail.

Keystone trail.

At Shadow Lake we climbed up to Scotts Pass and up Puke Hill.

Up on the Crest we each had a mechanical at the same time - I had a rock-punctured tire and Mark had a broken spoke. Eventually the Stans sealed the puncture, but it wouldn't hold full pressure so I ran low the rest of the ride. We removed Mark's broken spoke and were riding again.

A fair amount of traffic on the Crest, but not bad. We saw a handful of riders twice as they were doing the loop the other direction. Came across a woman who had just gone down on an eroded spot. Fortunately she was OK.

I rode The Spine for the first time (after years of wimping out) - thanks to The Spine getting easier over the years, the confidence-inspiring 29er wheels and Mark's encouragement and pointing out the line down the crux. I also cleaned the rest of the Crest and the two tight switchbacks going down the connector to MidMountain. Felt good.

Mark on the Wasatch Crest trail.

Going down the connector I had some critter run across the trail only 1-2 feet from my front wheel. Suicidal rodents?

MidMountain was good. Mark broke another spoke near Red Pine Lodge. Strange coincidence? I told him to back off on the massive watts - his wheel can't take it.

Heading up the long traverse climb heading over to Park City Mountain Resort I was fading. The last half mile before the top I wanted to stop and take a nap in the grass. Good thing Mark was in the lead so I could follow his wheel. At the overlook we stopped for a snack. My back and arms were tired so I laid down to stretch out - that felt so good. After a few minutes we headed out. It helped to know it was essentially all downhill from here.

Riding down MidMountain and Spiro was a blast. Excellent chunk of trail.

Almost to the end of MidMountain.

Spiro has some lovely scenery.

I turned off on Silver Spur for a little more single-track, over some good-natured protests from Mark.

An excellent ride. The trails were in good shape, not too crowded, the weather was mild with a lot of overcast to keep it cooler, we did well on the technical stuff, made all the climbs, Mark saw some new trail, lots of splendid scenery, and we got worked over enough to feel good about the effort not so much it was a death march. 32 miles in 4.5 hours.

P.S. Good finish at the 2nd stage of the Vuelta today.

Night Ride And Shrimp Nigiri

I had to work late, but look at what was waiting for me when I got home!

Jolene had been been craving the fantastically delicious Upside Down Spicy Shrimp nigiri we had at Simply Sushi a month and a half ago. (I learned about it from dug.) The shape of the shrimp isn't quite right (but we've got an idea for next time, or perhaps we need return to Simply Sushi to study them), but it tasted very good. Simply Sushi was better, but 90% as good is still mighty tasty. I got three and savored each one. We'll probably make more tomorrow - we're addicted.

The entree was beef broccoli. Yeah, it was a good dinner.

Then Jolene went to book club and I got ready for a night ride (the first of this Fall / Winter).

I really wanted to ride the Cottonwood Creek / Fifth Water loop with Shammy and Ciclista, but I was concerned about how late I'd get home and I was having a little trouble getting my lights setup (I haven't run lights on the X-Caliber before and the slightly swept-back bars were making it hard to get the light to point straight).

Then I thought about joining the Corner Canyon night ride, but again I was concerned about my lights.

So I just did an out-and-back on the BST up in the foothills. I saw a small tarantula and 3 other night riders on my way back. The breeze was pleasant and the half moon added some soft light.

I like how the riding feels different at night. I am less distracted by the scenery and more focused on the spot of light-up trail. I swear I go fast chasing the light - it's like a carrot I'm always trying to catch. But maybe riding in the dark just feels faster.

The lights worked OK, but the bar-mount light was off to the right and the helmet light needed to come up a bit more.

Last year I had been using two velcro mounts for the helmet light, but weren't as secure as I'd like and they'd often tip down as I rode, especially if it was a rough ride.

Tonight I went with the LiveStrong band mount. It's simple and works great. If the vent pattern of your helmet allows it, I recommend it. I put one foam ear plug under the front to tip the light up, but it wasn't enough so I've added a second one which should do it.

For the handlebar mount I've got a shim idea that should get it pointing straight ahead.

On the topic of lights, my LED flashlights have been working fine for biking, but I noticed that DealExtreme now has a very bright LED bike light (manufacturer claims 900 lumens, but users are saying it's more like 500-600 lumens which is still a lot of light). $80 buys the light, LithiumIon battery pack, charger and handlebar mount. Brand-name lights this bright cost $200+. The beam pattern is good and it will last 2.5-3 hours on high, 4-4.5 hours on low (low puts out so much light it's more like medium). Most cyclists are happy with it, according to this MTBR forum thread (and the DIY crowd likes it, with some reservations). I may buy one of these - if I do I'll review it here.

LOTOJA Transfer Clamp-Down

I've expressed my bewilderment at the continued popularity of LoToJa despite its high cost (this year it's $180), no transfer policy, and heavy-handed control and enforcement.

To be fair, the route is scenic and tough, and the organizers and volunteers put on a good event. I must also acknowledge the marketing skill which keeps LoToJa as the most recognized ride/race in the state.

But evidently the LoToJa folks are still unhappy about transfers, despite previous steps to curtail the activity (showing ID at check-in, wrist bands, etc.). This year riders/racers must receive a stamp on their left calf and have it visible at the start and throughout the race. Here it is straight from the event guidlelines under "all cyclists":

20. Cyclists must have a frame number on their bicycle, wear a timing chip on their ankle, and receive an official LOTOJA body stamp on their left calf before they will be allowed to start and participate in LOTOJA. These items must be worn/visible throughout the day until arrival at the finish. Event personnel and course marshals will be located at the start and throughout the course to remove participants without these three items.
In a KanyonKris exclusive, I present the LoToJa leg stamp:

You better have your mark of the beast or it's off to the gulag for you. OK, I'm exagertaing for effect, but come on, really, a stamp? If I didn't find this so funny, I'd find it sad and insulting.

Wouldn't it be better if the LoToJa organizers spent their energy handling transfers instead of enforcing a bad policy? Either they are really entrenched in the mindset of no transfers, or they count on racers dropping out.

I don't understand why cyclist keep flocking to LoToJa. Surely these draconian policies are a turn-off. I guess the allure of LoToJa is stronger than the risk of losing $180 that you have to ante up months before the event and hope you don't get injured, have to work or attend a wedding/birth/funeral, etc.

Fellow cyclists, there are other double centuries. Right here in Utah we have the Desperado Duel run by a cycling club, fully supported and it costs less than half of LoToJa. I did STP and enjoyed it - and they handle transfers even with 9000 riders.

I just don't get it.

P.S. I find it amusing that my rants are the top results when you search Google for lotoja sticker and lotoja transfers.

Sandwich Meets Salsa

I eat a sandwich for lunch 2-4 times a week. I mix up the ingredients, but it's still a sandwich.

Today I needed something new. There was a bottle of salsa in the fridge and since it is the #1 condiment in America, I gave it a shot.

I debated whether to use mayonnaise or not. I went with mayonnaise and believe that was a good call. I was concerned mayo and salsa wouldn't go well together, but they do.

Overall, not bad. It definitely added a new flavor, but the whole wasn't greater than the sum of its parts. Still, I will probably add salsa to my sandwich again - just for the sake of variety.

Alpine Loop: Tour Of Utah And Mountain Biking

Saturday Jolene and I went up American Fork Canyon to mountain bike and watch the Tour of Utah.

We parked at the Timpooneke trail head and started up the trail. When we finished climbing Pine Hollow and arrived at the Ridge trail it looked like we wouldn't have enough time to go out the Ridge and down and up Deer Creek South Fork, so we took the Ridge trail back to the Alpine Loop summit. It was a nice ride, but the trails are getting dusty from the Summer heat, and the fun, rocky descent on the Ridge trail was tough to go up.

We arrived at the summit. Spectators were already gathered there to see who got the king of the mountain points. We decided to watch at the Cascade Springs turn-off like last year so we took the trail down.

We visited with some other spectators and soon the lead police and tour cars came through. They were giving out swag and I scored a cowbell (good thing because I forgot to bring mine) and two $1 bills (I also picked up a discarded water bottle after the race went by).

2006 cowbell on the left, 2009 on the right.

JE came by in a media car and announced Burke had gone off the front. A few minutes later the lead group came by, evidently Burke was caught. I missed getting a photo of the lead group; here are some photos:

After the racers went by we rode down Deer Creek South Fork. I haven't gone down this trail in a long time - it was a blast.

Then we rode up to the Ridge trail. This trail is a gas to come down, but it had been a long time since I climbed it. The grade isn't that bad and I enjoyed the climb.

Then we came back on the Ridge trail and down Pine Hollow. I enjoyed going the opposite direction that I usually ride these trails. They felt familiar, yet new.

After the ride we used our two dollars to buy us a big watermelon icee. It tasted sooo good.

Juvenile Male Response To Flatulent Auditory And Visual Stimuli

Dr. Dug has hypothesized that most juvenile males respond to PBF* stimuli. I conducted an experiment to validate these claims.

The test subject is a 6 year old male. The stimulus is the following segment from the 1974 movie Blazing Saddles.

The reaction of the test subject was as predicted: Laughter, inability to stand, involuntary and erratic arm, leg and head movement.

The potency of the stimuli decreased only slightly with time and multiple exposures, as can be seen in this video of viewing #4 recorded 24 hours after viewing #1:


- The sound volume is low, turn up volume to hear the subtleties of the reaction.

- The older juvenile male recording the session was also affected by the stimuli.

- The dark substance in the mouth of the test subject was a cookie being eaten as the test commenced.

- The reaction of the females is of typical indifference, disgust or bewilderment.

* Poo, Butt, Fart


Two great recreational activities that go great together? Not as good as a Reese's peanut butter cup, but at least an amusing concept. The photo gave me a chuckle.

The camper bike can be ridden, but as an art piece the camper is probably just a shell. I saw this on BoingBoing.

This reminds me that I have not done any bicycle touring, mountain or road, but the idea intrigues me.

I know a group that rides a three day road loop down in southern Utah each year. A spouse drives the support car and they stay at a hotel each night. Every year I either miss the date or can't get away. But it's defiantly something I want to try. Anyone else interested in this? Maybe we could get a group together this Fall. I've driven these roads and the route and scenery are spectacular.

Look BEFORE You Leap

Everyone's heard the saying look before you leap. It's one of those common sense things. The key is the order established by the word before. It doesn't do any good to look during or after, you need to look before to avoid a disastrous leap.

So Jolene and I are in a Chinese restaurant in Steamboat Springs and we've ordered the Sweet and Sour combination to share which includes a wonton and spring roll. Jolene takes the wonton and I take the spring roll.

We've been given some dipping sauces.

I recognize the red one as sweet and sour sauce for the wonton, so I deduce the yellow sauce is for my spring roll.

Spring rolls can be hot from the deep-frying so I checked the temperature. See, check temperature before putting in mouth and scalding tongue. I'm following the pattern.

I've never had a spicy spring roll. They are mild - stuffed with veggies and covered with a grain-based shell. So isn't it reasonable to expect the sauce for a spring roll to also be mild?

So I take the spring roll and plant the end of it square into the yellow sauce, which covers the entire end, then I bite off the end. And chew it. Then it hits me.

A blast of flame shoots into my sinuses and out my eyes.

I stupidly keep chewing and get a second, equally power blast which feels like it's boiling my eyeballs.

My face involuntarily contorts into various expression of surprise and pain. My eyes are watering almost to tears. My mouth can't decide weather to spit out the napalm or swallow it. My brain completely believes the inside of my head is on fire and will burn through my skull at any moment.

And what is the reaction of my dear, been-married-20-years wife? She busts up laughing. She said it was just too funny how my eyes went red and bulged out and my face was all twisted and also red. All that was missing was steam coming out of my ears (this may have occurred, the lighting was dim).

After what seemed like an eternity of misery (the fire and brimstone imagery of hell is a lot more vivid to me now), the flame subsided.

I asked the waiter, what is this yellow sauce? Hot mustard, was the reply. The Chinese either have a gift for understatement, or something was lost in translation to English. In the original Chinese it's called Lava Acid.

How could I have avoided this torment? By simply smelling the sauce BEFORE I ate it. I must have a learning disability.

Steamboat Springs Day 4 - Spring Creek

Saturday morning it didn't look good for riding. It rained hard during the night, the ground was wet and the sky threatened more rain. (We thought of all the people we know doing Leadville this morning and hoping the weather was OK.) We looked at some trails in Vernal as a plan B, but the weather forecast didn't look good there either.

We packed up, checked out and went out for breakfast. The sky was clearing so we stopped by Orange Peel Bicycle to ask if any of the trails would be rideable.

I must show a picture of the Orange Peel Bicycle building:

The guy at the shop told me it was an old scrap wood incinerator used by a local saw mill. Kent Eriksen, founder of Moots, moved it to the present location and sprayed the exterior with cement. This was the original Moots shop (Moots is still in Steamboat Springs). Kent now builds custom frames in a shop attached to the left.

It instantly reminded me of a Dalek from Doctor Who (anyone else remember the Dalek game?).

Pardon the geek-out, back to the ride...

We wanted to ride Spring Creek and were happy to hear the shop guy assure us it would be fine. So we drove the few blocks to the trail head.

It didn't start off promising as a dirt road that turned into a double track. The scenery was nice with a stream and lots of trees, but it's single-track we crave. Happily it didn't take long before we reached trail. And what a sweet trail it was!

We passed through stands of Aspen and conifers and numerous clearings loaded with a profusion of ferns like I have never seen before - in several places they were shoulder-high.

The trail crosses the stream 13 times over bridges like this:

And there were plenty of wildflowers in bloom.

What am I picking?

Thimbleberries! Yum.

The trail climbs 1272 feet at a comfortable grade (except for one short, steep grunt) over 5.2 miles to arrive at the Dry Lake trail head where we turned around to go back.

The trail is in good shape and the ride down had outstanding flow. Here I am catching a little air off a bridge:

And Jolene off the same bridge.

We slowed down a few times for hikers or other riders, but it was still a very fun downhill romp.

Back at the car we were glad the weather cooperated just enough so we got one last ride in Steamboat Springs.

We drove home for hours through wind and rain and were happy to see our children when we arrived home. We enjoyed Steamboat Springs and would go back again.

Steamboat Springs Day 3 - Fish Creek Hike

Today we went to see Fish Creek Falls. Not far from town and just a short drive.

We walked to the overlook and the falls looked pretty nice. They are more impressive with higher water flow (see photo at the bottom of the page).

We walked down to the creek bottom then decided to hike a ways up the trail to Long Lake. Along the way I saw a few of these flowers which I haven't seen in Utah.

We intended to go up to the bridge that crosses the creek, but we kept going to the upper falls.

The trail is open to bikes, but we didn't see any riders. It's a burly trail. A guy at Orange Peel Bikes said he cleaned it and now rides it on a rigid single-speed - crazy.

After the hike we feasted on nachos and fish-n-chips at a bar and grill downtown.

We considering riding but it rained. Instead we drove out to Hahn's Creek Cafe by Steamboat Lake and had dinner while listening to some music by three local guys.

Tomorrow (Saturday) is our last day in Steamboat Springs. We may squeeze in a ride before we head home, if the heavy rain this evening didn't turn everything into mud.

Steamboat Springs Day 2 - Wyoming Trail

This morning (Thursday) we got up when we felt like it (ahh), had breakfast at the hotel then loaded up the bikes and headed out for the Wyoming Trail (#1101).

We took highway 40 up into the mountains to Dumont Lake. The trail head is past the campground, turn left at the monument. We started out on a service road to the left then veered right at the carsonite sign that said TRAIL and followed an old canal. At the old diversion dam the trail crossed the stream and climbed north.

Looking back at Dumont Lake.

The trail went through meadows, snaked through forest and crossed a few streams. This is high country (10,000 feet) and it reminded me of the Uintas.

After climbing up to Base Camp trail head we descended down a section of trail sprinkled with technical rock gardens. At the bottom we crossed another stream and headed up to lovely Fishhook Lake.

We skipped the out-n-back to Lost Lake and continued on. Very nice riding, check out this bend in the trail.

We stopped at scenic Lake Elmo and ate lunch.

The trail was pretty easy to follow, but every now and then I'd break out the map to see where we were. (The Sky Terrain map of Mount Zirkel was excellent. You can borrow mine if you're heading to Steamboat Springs.)

At "the four way" we continued on the Wyoming Trail. This section is open to motorcycles and ATVs, and while still nice, it wasn't single-track. We planned to ride out to Buffalo Pass and back, but when we arrived at Grizzly Lake we decided to turn around.

The ride back was fun. I'm pretty sure we had slowly been gaining altitude on the way out as it sure felt like the downhills were longer and the uphills shorter going back. Climbing back up to Base Camp was the only steep climb and it wasn't too long.

The Wyoming Trail was a fantastic ride. For a high mountain trail it's flat, but out-and-back we did around 3000 feet of climbing over 23 miles. With all the trees we rode over a lot of roots and it is rocky in spots, but overall it's a good mix of buff and technical - highly recommended.

Steamboat Springs Day 1 - Emerald Mountain

Jolene and I arrived in Steamboat Springs this afternoon. We stopped by Steamboat Ski & Bike Kare to ask for trail recommendations. They suggested the Emerald Mountain trail network with the trail head a few blocks away. We changed, drove over and started riding.

At first we weren't impressed. The trails were OK, but the grassy hills had no shade and it was 90 degrees. But as we climbed higher it got better and better.

We climbed up Larry's Trail then up Lupine to the quarry where we took this photo.

We started up the Lane of Pain, but got tired of the steep jeep road and didn't want to fry our legs on the first day, so we turned around and backtracked a ways.

This boardwalk was fun.

Back at a junction we went west and climbed up through some gorgeous forest.

The trail turned steep so we took another trail down and ended up on MGM trail and took it all the way down to the access road.

We had our doubts about trails right next to town, but Emerald Mountain was good.

After the ride we checked into the hotel, showered and ate dinner in town.

Tomorrow we'll probably do part of the Wyoming trail - it's supposed to be one of the best trails in the area.