Photo Pun

This photo is a visual pun. If you figure it out, give your answer in the comments.

I'm not sure why my daughter had that word painted on her forehead. Something to do with Halloween festivities at school.

Hints (the text below is white - to see it highlight it)

1. You need to know my daughter's name.

2. She is my youngest daughter.

3. You're looking for the name of an animal.

4. An animal the size of an elk.

5. The animal lives up north.

6. The animal is known for it's migration.

7. I'm out of hints.

New Stuff

A quick night ride up in the foothills tonight. Up the Water Tank road, up Betty, went up past the Altar 20 yards then took a left on the new, roughed-in trail that goes west and generally follows Lament (very fun ride!), up Crank then took 051 (Lament) west/north, down Dry Canyon then back on BST. I had sunlight until Betty then turned on the bike lights. Dry Canyon in the dark looks scarier - over the edges it appears bottomless due to the ink-black shadows.

(Hey Sham-wow, why do I forget you live so close to me? We need to get together for some night rides, unless my slowness would drive you nuts.)

OK, on to the new stuff (sorry, no new bike stuff).

Last week I watched a 5 minute presentation about remote control flight on the cheap (presentation slides). I got so pumped I ordered the parts the next day. I picked up the airplane kit locally and built it Sunday (while I stayed home with my son who was acutely constipated, but I won't go there). I'm waiting for the radio, motor, batteries, servos and other bits to be shipped from a discount hobby store in Hong Kong.

The airplane I bought is a GWS Slow Stick. It's a cheap beginner plane that flies slow and steady. Years ago I flew R/C gliders at The Point. This plane is powered by an electric motor and it's docile and quiet enough I can fly it at the local park. I'll let the kids fly it too.

It was pretty easy to build - most of the parts are ready to go, just needed some assembly. I put the stickers only on the right side so when it's far away you can tell which way it's facing (trust me, it can be hard to tell from the ground sometimes).

CD in photo to show scale

Here's a Slow Stick (outfitted with pontoons) taking off from Lake Powell with a camera attached to show the bird's-eye-view:

Once I get comfortable flying this plane I'd be happy to let people take it for a spin. Let me know if you're interested.

This should make Mark happy:

I'm guessing I'll be eating In-N-Out burgers in November. This store is on State Street just north of 123rd South.

Finally, my old Moab sticker was dying.

So out with the old, in with the new Watcher sticker.

Will people think I belong to some new-age mason cult? I hope so.

Saturday A Bust

If I would have known it was going to rain Saturday afternoon I would have gone for a ride in the morning. But work first so I bought new tires for my car and got it (and the van) inspected and registered. Oh, joy.

We were planning to attend the Bike Peddler season-end ride and BBQ. The rain nixed the ride for us and most of the others, except these two die-hards:

When they rolled in they were both so cold they could hardly talk and were shivering uncontrollably.

It rained off and on (and even a bit of hail), but the burgers were good and the fire was warm.

Josh (photo below far right) ran a little point series and the frozen mud man (photo above right) took the glorious trophy (next to Josh below).

But tomorrow looks OK and I'm going to try a mountain bike ride. I hope Corner Canyon isn't muddy.

Corner Canyon Double-Up

Rode Corner Canyon again tonight - this time with Mark. Still good conditions.

A little different route: from equestrian center up Creekview, up Clarks, down Mistress, up Canyon Hollow and Brocks, down Brocks then up the upper part of Canyon Hollow, down the dirt road, down Ghost Falls (amazingly fast and fun), down Stairs and down Canyon Hollow.

The photos are from Mistress (Jamie, you better name that trail before Mistress sticks). The trail is settling in nicely. Still a bit rough, but that will smooth out. A few turns are wicked tight, maybe just need some tweaking. Already flows nice and will only get better.

Chatted with Brad in the parking lot. He was rolling a secret weapon cross bike that he'll unleash Saturday. And Brad's facial hair is full in - it would be rad if it were part of his Halloween costume.

Fallen Corner Canyon

Changed clothes and left work at 5 to ride Corner Canyon.

The low 50s and blustery wind had a little sting to it.

Rode from the equestrian center up Corner Canyon, BST, Pipeline, South Ghost Falls, Canyon Hollow, Brock's Point.

Then up the old double-tracks to Jacob's Ladder.

It has been months since I last did Jacob's. Unfortunately the trail has taken a beating. Way more washboards (especially before the turns) and a few deep grooves. Hey, sKids, knock it off! It was still fun, just not as sweet.

I continued down Ghost Falls - wow!

Last week Jolene rode it with the girls and most of the leaves were still on the trees. Now most of the leaves are fallen, but the leaf carpet is fantastic. I think I slipped into a psychedelic trance a few times as I watched the technocolor trail. The trail was perfectly hard and tacky.

Ran into a UMB buddy, Jake, on the way down and we finished off with a run down Creekside.

Some good color in the sunset as the finale.

Saw a few PsychoCross guys doing laps - getting ready for the Draper race this Saturday. No way I would have traded my ride for that. I did the race last year on my mountain bike - felt pretty much like an ICup race, meh. The cross addicts tell me the bike makes a difference so perhaps I'll finagle a real cross bike and try again. I dunno, hard for me to give up the trails while they're still not snowed in.

Glenwild / Flying Dog Loop

In case you missed it Friday, Andy Hampsten is my new hero!

Mark and I rode the Glenwild / Flying Dog loop Saturday afternoon. Comfortable temperature and sunny under a bright blue sky.

We rode clockwise (first time going this direction for me) and I liked it. The climb from Sagebrush up into the Aspens of Flying Dog was just the right effort I was hoping for. I enjoyed rolling down the switchbacks on the east side.

The trail was in good shape (except for a few wet spots). Plenty of people out riding, but spread out enough it didn't feel crowded. A sweet 2 hours of Fall riding with the musty smell of fallen leaves in the air.

My Hero Andy Hampsten

I'm not into celebrities. There are a few people I admire and think it would be cool to meet, and I take note of the news enough that if a name comes up in conversation I will sometimes know who it is, but that's about it.

(Tangent: Asking for an autograph seems lame to me. And don't get me started on kids at Disneyland hounding "characters" [aka teenagers in costume] for autographs.)

But yesterday I found a reason to like Andy Hampsten. A lot. In fact, he's a hero to me. Why? Because of this photo I saw on FatCyclist:

Those are Andy Hampsten's legs in the foreground left. And you see why I got excited, right? No, not his socks or shoes.

Andy's legs have hair!

That's right, a pro cycling icon is not shaving his legs! Finally, a big name in cycling is taking a stand against the vain and emasculating practice of leg shaving.

I can feel it, this is a milestone in cycling history similar to when Rosa Parks refused to give up her bus seat. With Andy's bold stand the winds of cycling fashion are about to change in favor of au natural. Free from the bondage of the razor!

Thanks to Andy, when some girly-legged cyclists makes a snide comment about my leg hair I will just tell them cycling legend Andy Hampsten doesn't shave, and if leg hair is OK with him, it's OK with me and should be OK for every cyclist.

Stand tall, Andy! The hairy-legged cyclists of the world stand with you.

That's why Andy Hampsten is my new hero.

24 Hours Of Moab

When I arrived at Mad Dog base camp, Jolene was still out on her pre-ride. I talked to some of the folks at camp, ate lunch, then wandered around the booths and HQ.

When Jolene came in she was a little concerned. We expected a mostly flat course with sand being the biggest obstacle. Not so. The first 5 miles featured a lot of broken rock and ups and downs with tricky technical challenges. After that it is mostly flat, hard pack with sporadic sand traps to keep it interesting.

Saturday I went out and rode the course before the race started. I was also surprised how tough the course was. I walked many technical spots. The last 2/3 of the course were easier going, but I cutoff the loop beyond Prostitute Bluff because I didn't want to miss the the start. I made it just in time. Check out the costumed dude who sprinted for all he was worth to lead the run. (Reminded me of Wez from The Road Warrior.)

That start was quite the spectacle. The runners churned up a big cloud of dust. The poor runners in the middle and rear must have been choking on it.

After the start it got quiet. But an hour later in came the lead group and Chris Holley was in it. Thereafter riders kept streaming past camp which was on the edge of the road leading to the finish.

At evening we were treated to a nice sunset.

Jolene and I retired to the van but we didn't sleep much. At 1 AM we got up and got ready. At 1:45 we set out. Jolene hasn't done much night riding so I rode the night lap with her.

Riding the course at night was familiar yet strange. Everything looked different but recognizable. Surprisingly I rode a few of the technical spots I had walked during the day. I liked the night lap but Jolene not so much. She doesn't see well in the dark and she'd crashed in the sand on her 1st lap so she was tentative.

With 3 miles to go we could see the lights of the encampment. But as we went down in a depression I lost sight of it, got turned around and didn't recognize it went we crested the rise at the west end. It felt good to be done.

We ate some soup (both of us had been hungry since half way into the lap) then went to bed and got some sleep.

In the morning we ate some breakfast, talked, sent racers out, watched racers go by and welcomed them back after a lap.

This group cheered, waved the flag and had music going as they escorted their racer in.

Dorothy came in at 10:30 AM and it was time for Jolene's last lap. I was a little worried about her. She doesn't do much endurance stuff and I wondered if her fatigue would cause her to crash or just be too tired to enjoy the last lap. So I was glad to see a smile on her face when she came in.

The Great Dames had a good time racing and came in 2nd.

All in all it was a good experience. I can see that doing this would be fun, but I was happy with my for-fun laps and spectating. Given a choice I'd rather be riding some of the incredible trails in Moab, but this event is good for variety.

Rant: I was disappointed to see all the garbage on the trail as the race wore on. Especially after the technical stuff where it flattened out the ground was heavily littered with empty gel pouches. Come on mountain bikers, we're better than that. On a positive note, I was pleased to see everyone at camp Mad Dog cleaning up the campsite before leaving.

Moab Road Ride

This weekend we went down to 24 Hours of Moab and I squeezed in a road ride on Friday.

Around 2:00 PM Jolene dropped me off at Castle Valley to ride up and over the La Sal Loop Road then out to 24 Hours of Moab. I was a bit apprehensive to go solo, but I've wanted to ride the "reverse" direction ever since I did the Moab Century in 2006.

Jolene took this photo of me before she drove off.

Starting up the road I caught sight of Castleton Tower (climbing it in 2004 was one of the best experiences of my life).

The road is flat at first but then climbs at a mellow 3-4% for a few miles which was a good warm-up. Then the steeper climbing begins. Fortunately it rolls enough to give some breaks, unlike The Big Nasty on the other (south) end which is always steep or steeper.

Part way up the climb looking back into Castle Valley with Porcupine Rim on the left and Castleton Tower to the right.

Up ahead I could see what looked like the summit. My legs wanted it to be, but my brain said it couldn't be high enough. Sure enough after climbing the switchbacks and cresting the saddle I could see another small valley I had to cross and more climbing on the other side.

There had been a fire in this valley recently. All the trees were burned black, but new growth was coming up. Here the road had patches of loose, gravel (perhaps caused by the fire) and I went slow to avoid a crash. On the other side there was this pleasant forest of conifers and Aspen.

A few miles later I reached the true summit. I could still see Castleton Tower off in the distance.

After the summit I was treated to some nice descents and a few short, mellow climbs.

As I went south I could see the La Sals above me.

I had one major drainage to cross. Descending into Mill Creek was bitter-sweet knowing I'd have to climb back out. The creek was still running. The bridge was new - put in 1-2 years ago. Climbing out was not too long or hard.

Part way down the real descent off the mountain I could see encampment for 24 Hours of Moab.

I really enjoyed coming down and it seemed to go on and on. Eventually the grade dropped to 2-4% as I headed north toward Moab but it was still fun as I could lightly pedal in my highest gear and zip along.

I took a road that connects over to highway 191 and started south again. This was only 4-5 miles, but it seemed longer. My legs were getting tired. When I rounded what I hoped was the last bend I was not happy to see a hill. I ground up it and there was the turnoff.

My wife had left me a message on my cell to tell me the road in was dirt but hard packed. Cyclocross time. It wasn't bad on the road bike except for a few spots of loose sand that the skinny tires dropped right through.

I got some looks as I drove through the temporary mountain bike mecca and found the Mad Dog camp. It was a good ride of 43 miles and just under 5,000' climbing. My legs did OK, but not having been on the road bike much this year my back ached on the big climb. The scenery was amazing and the cooler Fall temperature was perfect for the ride.

Tomorrow I'll post about 24 Hours of Moab.

Prepping For 24 Hours Of Moab

Jolene is on a 4 woman team for 24 Hours of Moab. I'm going down to spectate, crew a bit and do a few rides. We've been getting things ready for the race / trip.

I replaced the headset in both Jolene's Sugar and my X-Caliber. The X-Cal had a little slop that turned into bigger slop. I tried to snug it up, but the slop remained - that usually means bad headset. And it was bad. The inner race had been worn in two. The Sugar was still on it's original headset from 2004. It actually looked pretty good, the grease wasn't filthy, but I couldn't tighten up the slop so I figured it was time for an overhaul.

I have worked on almost every part of a bike, but not a headset. I did the X-Cal at the UMB shop with Mikey. With the right tools it's an easy job. Knock the old cups out, press the new ones in, remove the old crown race from the fork and install the new one, install the fork with the new bearings in place, snug it up and lock the stem down.

I borrowed Mike's tools and did the Sugar at home. Went fine except I broke Mike's cool plastic pipe crown race setter and had to run to Mad Dog to giterdone.

The new headsets are nothing fancy, Cane Creek S-1 and S-3, but they are sealed with cartridge bearings and should last a long time.

I enjoyed learning something new about fixing bikes, and it was pretty easy.

We've also been getting stuff together we need to take down to Moab. Packing is so much fun.

I'm thinking I'll do a road ride Friday. Here's my plan: Have Jolene drop me off at the Colorado River bridge and do the Moab Century route in reverse. Up along the river, ride up Castle Valley, across the foothills of the LaSals, then down, 3-4 miles south on the highway then turn off and do 1.5 miles of cyclocross on the dirt road to the 24 Hours of Moab mobile city. Looks like 60 miles.

Not sure what I'll do Saturday. I've heard such good things about Upper Porcupine I may have to go give it a ride.

Or I may be lazy and hang out at Burning Moab the whole time. Maybe do a lap with Jolene. Sneak over and do fake live blog posts while Elden is out doing his lap ("Fatty attacked by swarm of scorpions and viciously stung - he's swollen and looks like the Michelin Man, but he continued riding."). You know, general goofing off.

But I've been feeling my oldness lately so I may just sit and eat, talk and read (I'm enjoying Big Bang - another good recommendation, dug).

Foothills Ride

Got in a little ride tonight up in the foothills. First ride for the X-Cal in a few weeks since it was out with the bad headset. I went up to the Altar to find the new trail that parallels Lament. Last time I went looking for it I went too far up GWT and found some other new trail.

I liked the trail. It's "rustic" and feels like I'm blazing trail. It connected with Crank not too far from top where it Tees into Lament (051).

Then I cruised down Crank and Ireland as the sun set and the light faded. It was dark when I got home.

Dutch Hollow

Saturday Jolene and I spent a few hours riding up at Dutch Hollow State Park near Midway. The trails are pretty good and we enjoyed connecting up routes. This was Jolene's 4th time riding Dutch Hollow and my first.

The weather threatened, but we didn't get rained on and the leaves had some good color.

(Dutch Hollow brochure PDF)

From the parking lot we went up Cottontail and out to the Heber Valley Overlook. Then we went up Sage and down Aqueduct to take my first run down The Barrel which goes down a gully banking up on the sides (similar to Rodeo at Lambert Park but bigger). Next we went up Dutchman Way then down Aqueduct and The Barrel again. Looped back up Sage and Aqueduct to hit The Barrel the 3rd time. Finally we went up Sage and Aqueduct and descended Dutchman Way.

Jolene riding down Aqueduct

Taking a big bank on The Barrel

Riding the upper line after the big bank

Catching some air on the lower half of The Barrel

Jolene passing a bright red maple as she comes up Dutchman Way

Ruddy red Gambel Oak lining Dutchman Way

Hearing dead leaves crunch under the tires - one of the joys of Fall riding

I liked riding Dutch Hollow. The trails are mostly buff cruisers with moderate climbing/descending with a few technical features. There are enough trails to keep things interesting as we connected them together to make up routes on the fly.

We skipped all the higher trails because Jolene feels they aren't very good. Burnt Ridge is an old double-track that's not very interesting - better to take Cottontail and Sage. 1000 Turns and Enchanted Forest are overgrown and don't flow due to all the sharp turns. Gobblers Gulch is a trench. Boneyard is OK but isolated.

I managed to crash. Operator error on a sideslope coming down The Barrel. I slid out. It did burp the front tubeless tire - that's a first for me. I added some more air and had no issues for the rest of the ride.

From Orem it took us 1/2 hour to get there. It was worth the drive to try some new trails. The trails aren't much different or any better than those in the foothills or Corner Canyon, Lambert Park or Glenwild so it I can't see myself riding Dutch Hollow more than once or twice a year. But if I lived in the Heber Valley I'd ride these trails a lot.

Matrix Glitch

Driving to work this morning I concluded there's been a glitch in The Matrix. What else can explain this?

Or this?

(Full disclosure: The above photo was reused from this post, but I really did see another one of these W'04 stickers on the bumper of a Ford pickup truck this morning.)

Or the pigeon that tried to fly into my car?

Perhaps the humans have sabotaged The Matrix to try and free more of us plugged-in minds. The machines will fix the anomalies soon and I'll be back to blithely enjoying Fall again.