Out On The Water

Went out for sushi with my brother-in-law and his wife last night and they invited our family to go boating with their family today.

We hit Utah Lake around 9:30 am. A good day to be out on the water - clear and sunny, little wind, air not too hot, warm water.

I got to try wake surfing for the first time. The wake wasn't quite big enough, nor I skilled enough, to surf without the rope, but I still had a good time.

Jamie got up and did a little surfing too.

It took Jolene a few tries, but then she got up and surfed.

Rachel got close, but we ran out of time - she'll get it next time.

I also took a turn on the wake board. I used to wake board regularly, but it's been years. I was happy to discover that I haven't lost the skill completely. I even did a few air 180s and some good jumps.

We got home after noon, did some house work then took Jamie for her first real mountain bike ride. We bought her a real mountain bike a few weeks ago (a Gary Fisher Waahoo). We took her on the Big Spring Hollow trail (excellent beginner trail) and she did great. She rolled right over obstacles that many learners panic and stop. She got a bit tired by the meadow so we turned around and went back (plus it was getting dark). She did good on the downhill too. Maybe she'll get into mountain biking after all.

Potpourri Of The Week

Yes, I've watched some Jeopardy in my days.

I've had several things pile up this week that I've wanted to mention, so I'll just lump them all into one post:

New Shoes

I bought some new road shoes at the Pearl Izumi outlet in Park City (Jolene got some new shorts). Fast R2 shoes with a carbon fiber soul (yes SOUL!). They look a bit odd, but they fit well and I needed to upgrade from my first pair of road shoes I bought for cheap from Nashbar (amazingly they have been really good shoes).

Tire Blowout Averted

As I waited for the start of the Utah Velo Club ride Tuesday I happened to check my tires. Front, fine. Back, whoa! And there were 2 other bald spots. I rode gingerly and was earnestly watching for road hazards. I thought for sure I was going to blow out the tire, but the old Panaracer held in there for the 30 mile ride. And my previous ride had been the Sanpete race - I'm sure glad they didn't blow then! I'm going to try some Michelin Krylion Carbons next - I've heard they are a durable tire that performs well. Not as scary as Mark's near disaster, but still made me nervous.

CamelBak Podium Bottles

A month or so ago I bought a pair of CamelBak Podium bottles. Miles likes them and so do I. No plastic taste, no gunk (they have an anti-microbial treatment), and the self-sealing valve (like a CamelBak bite valve) produces good flow by squeezing the bottle or sucking on it with no leaks or dribbles. I'm dig 'em.

Bonus: Belgium Knee Warmers had two very good posts recently. Addiction and Junk Miles - read, enjoy, be enlightened.

Butt(kick)erfield Canyon Ride

Evidently doing a hard climb after having diarrhea the previous day doesn't result in a good performance.

Mark, Warren, Todd, JE and myself set out for a ride up Butterfield Canyon. The pace was pretty quick just getting to the canyon and on the mellow stuff in the canyon. I didn't feel too bad, but that changed quickly. When we hit the steep stuff (probably a 12-13% grade with spots of solid 16%) I started OK, but faded fast and had several gut cramps. I couldn't go straight up so I started weaving to make it easier. JE was close behind me and on a really steep spot he told me he was stopping. I wasn't sure if he was just stopping for a rest or turning around. When I got to the top of the steepest section I called back to him that he didn't have much to go, but it seems he'd gone back down. It was his first time up Butterfield and he's a big guy (big as in tall, not fat)- the harsh facts of physics means climbing is hard on big guys. Next time he'll do better.

After the steepest section I went straight again, but it's still tough at 9-10% average with some 12-13% spots along the way. My back hurt bad and my kidneys ached. At one point my back got so tight I felt it would soon cramp so I stopped and stretched it out then continued on. I plugged along and finally made the top. It felt like I was going incredibly slow and I'm surprised the others waited for me at the top.

About to make the summit (photo by Warren)

Zoom in on the face - pretty much says it all.

Descending Butterfield is not a joy ride. It's fun, but it's steep, has rocks strewn across the road in places, and it has several sharp turns. If you don't pay attention, it could get ugly. After the really steep stuff we flew down mostly in a group. I hit 40 at least once. I did a pull, but tired quickly.

Riding back to Mark's house the pace was hot and after a while dropped - I was running low. I rejoined Mark and Todd (Warren had peeled off headed for his house) and finished with them.

This was my worst Butterfield ride, but I should have known it wouldn't be good. It was still fun, in a strange, masochistic way. I made it to the top, so that's something. I felt like quitting, but I didn't. But there's no getting around the fact that on the toughest parts, I caved and wanted to do better. Well, next time.

Brush Fire Near Corner Canyon

As I glanced out my window at lunch my eye caught the sight of smoke in the distance. I went outside to see this (taken at 12:40 PM):

It's in the foothills of Lone Peak north of Corner Canyon in Draper. I work on 14600 South and the fire is due east. Looks like it's above the fire road and Bonneville Shoreline Trail. It's a bad day for a fire - temperatures in the upper 90s and a constant south wind. If they don't get on this fire quick, it could burn big.

Reminds me of the fire in the foothills of Mount Timpanogos a few years back. It was eerie to look from my house and see the flames - especially at night.

One of the local news outlets has some info.

Update 1:20 PM - Here's what it looks like 40 minutes after the above photo was taken:

The fire is moving up the mountain and the wind is pushing it north. It's creating a big plume of smoke. I saw a tanker plane fly over, but not dump anything - my guess is they're doing reconnaissance.

Update 2:15 PM - The fire keeps growing. It has burned north of Cherry Canyon now and farther up the mountain. Hard to tell how far north the fire is because the smoke is obscuring that area. It's burning south, but very slowly due to the wind.

I saw a small plane fly into the smoke and back out. Probably fire officials having a look.

All of the local news media I checked are now following this fire.

Update 3:00 PM - The fire is still growing, but it's hard to tell where it's burning because of all the smoke. It seems it's still burning fierce because the column of smoke is much bigger and has created a mushroom cloud. I'd guess it has burned over to Bear Canyon by now. But it looks like it has not burned down into the houses - at least I hope so.

Update 4:20 PM - The fire is looking considerably less fierce. No more big column of smoke, in fact the smoke is much reduced overall. In the photo you can see two planes (near the power pole) - one is a tanker for sure, but the other I'm not sure. Along with the fire suppression work going on, my guess is the fire has moved into rockier terrain with less fuel and this has calmed it down.

It doesn't appear that the fire has moved south, so good news for Corner Canyon and Suncrest residents.

The news reported that some residents were evacuated east of the Hidden Valley Country Club (11700 to 12300 South).

The blackened mountain side is ugly, but if the fire can be stopped now I'd say we got off pretty good. Here's hoping.

Last update today 5:05 PM - Looks like the fire is still dying down. Here's hoping it's on the way out.

Update next day 10:00 AM - Not a good picture as it's hazy today. The wind shift over night and was generally coming out of the north, but it didn't seem to push the fire south much, thankfully. The fire line on the north appears to be between Cherry and Bear Canyons, that also seems like good news that it didn't go more north toward Little Cottonwood Canyon. The weather should be cooler today and much less wind. The fire has died down a lot. My guess is they should have it out in a few days.

No more updates unless the fire flares up.

Update next day 12:15 PM - No photo this time. Less fire than at 10 AM. The news is saying that only the lower edge of the fire is contained, but I couldn't see any smoke coming from the south edge where the fire burned. I can see a few spots of smoke coming from the north and top edges. I'm sure there are still some hot spots, but I'd say the worst is over.

Kara's First Mountain Bike Race

My daughter Kara did the Race For Everyone Saturday at Sundance. This was her first race and she had a good time. Big thanks to the The Mad Dog Cycles Race Team for putting on this good event.

She was thrilled to get a ribbon.

Sanpete Classic Road Race

The Sanpete Classic Road Race was today and I raced Cat 5. This was my 2nd ever road race.

I drove down and arrived before 10 am. I picked up my number and got ready. I watched the first starters (Cat 1 & 2) take off. It was a sunny day with little wind.

Cat 3s lining up to start.

Cat 5 starts last so I lined up after the Cat 4s started. There were around 20 of us.I chatted with a few guys while we waited. We got our instructions from the race official then started at 10:30.

We rolled out pretty mellow, but some guys moved up to the front and pushed the pace a bit. On one uphill grade the pace was high and I had my highest heart rate there. I didn't want to get dropped so I hung on. On the downside of this hill I led for a mile. I thought it odd that some riders pushed so hard up the hill then backed off on the down.

For the first 20 miles I mostly hung on the back, just playing it safe and getting a feel for the race, but a few times I was up front or in the middle. There were a few attacks, but they didn't last long.

After Fairview I got dropped on an uphill and rolling section as the route turned west toward US-89. I know it's important to do what it takes to stay with the pack, but the pace was just too much and I gave out. I grouped with two other guys and we pursued. A Cat 4 Ski Utah racer caught us and joined our group. The race official said it was OK for solo riders to jump in with groups of other categories. He pulled quite a bit and helped us get moving. We eventually caught the main pack going down US-89. The Cat 4 Ski Utah racer moved to the front and pulled more. He was trying to catch other Cat 4 racers and was puting out a big effort. I stayed in the back to recover.

We went south through Fairview and Mount Pleasant (again) then turned west heading to Moroni. Not much happened here. I was getting tired of the yo-yoing at the back, but I was out of the wind. The turns always required a sprint to pull back up to the pack, but I was getting used to these.

Moroni was the first neutral feed and being uneasy about how this would go I moved up to the front. I knew where the feed was because I had driven in through Moroni and had seen the tent. I slowed down, tossed my empty water bottle and grabbed one from one of the volunteers. Then I coasted to regroup. Happily, everyone played nice and after we were all together the speed went back up.

From Moroni north to Fountain Green is a 5-6 mile stretch with a mild uphill grade. The pace was brisk, but not killer and I hung in. At Fountain Green we turned south wit ha gradual down slope, but the headwind negated it so it wasn't a fast, easy ride. The pack rode pretty mellow here and many took the opportunity to eat and drink. I was drinking CarboRocket and water and here I ate some ShotBloks. The only other thing I'd taken was an Endurilyte back in Moroni.

Near Whales was the 2nd feed and I emptied my water bottle I'd picked up in Moroni and tossed it before grabbing a new one. To newbie racer me, this was kind of cool. I've seen bike racers on TV or in local events toss their bottles as part of racing, and here I was doing the same. It's a dumb little thing, but it made me feel pro. Like when you pretended to be your favorite sports star when playing with the other kids in the neighborhood.

After Whales we headed east and were rolling down a long slope when a muscular Spin Cycle shot off the front. This was 12 miles from the finish. I was near the front at the time and nobody reacted. It didn't make sense to start a break on downhill, at least not to me. I seem to be able to go faster downhill than others so I took the lead and pulled harder, giving a mild chase. The Spin racer stayed away and as we got to the bottom of the hill I pulled out of the lead to recover. (The Spin Cycle rider was caught by the main pack 1-2 miles before the finish.)

We made a right turn in Chester with around 10 miles to finish. I was still hanging in OK, but was feeling the fatigue. Just before crossing US-89, the pace picked up and I was having trouble staying on. A few hundred yards later I was dropped. The road climbs for 3 miles here and I just didn't have the juice to power up. Plus I was feeling twinges in my legs and felt sure if I pushed hard I'd cramp up and I figured it was better to play it safe.

Near the top of the climb Jonathan Atzet of Porcupine Cycling caught me. I'd look back occasionally and see him gaining on me. I'd been riding near him several times during the race. I pulled in behind him to finish the climb. On the flat we took turns leading and passed some a trio of Cat 4s.

As we neared the edge of town I pulled along side him and pushed the pace. I thought about riding his wheel in and sprinting at the finish, but it didn't seem sporting and I thought there might be a chance he wouldn't be able to hold the faster pace. We rode side by side for a while then he ducked behind on my wheel. I was really rolling now. For some reason my legs didn't feel like they were going to cramp so I was putting some power to the pedals. Jonathan came around and I poured it on. We surged and pushed a sprint right to the finish. It looked to me like our wheels crossed the line at the same time. We coasted to catch our breath, congratulated each other and continued to cool down.

The finish line.

I went to the car and got my ice cold Coke from the cooler and headed over for the included lunch. Pulled pork, chicken, dutch oven potatoes and salad - and peach cobbler with ice cream for desert. As I ate I talked with a few other racers.

A side note, my butt was sore from being in the saddle pedaling hard for so long. It didn't start bothering me on the bike until 50 miles in. On the drive home it was really uncomfortable.

I liked this race. It hurt at times and I had to be vigilant to stay in the pack. I don't think I made any serious tactical errors. I was disappointed I couldn't hang with the main pack at the end, but being my first long road race this was more of a hope and not a determined goal. I'd do this race again - the route was good, it was well organized, the feeds worked and I enjoyed the rural scenery.

22.2 mph Average Speed
73.2 miles
3 hours 17 minutes
2200' climbing

2nd Road Race Coming Up

I've registered for the Sanpete Classic road race. This will be my second road race. The first was Hell of the North this year, but it's more of a circuit race. The Sanpete race is 72 miles.

I'm feeling anxious and uncertain. I've heard plenty of racing stories and advice, but that's academic and not the same as actually doing. Will I get dropped? Will I get dropped early? Will I negotiate the two neutral feeds properly? Will I have the right food and drink? Will I bonk? Will I have bike problems? Will someone crash into me? Some of these questions never go away, but being new to road racing my anxiety is higher. But this uncertainty is also part of the thrill so I'm trying to remind myself that new things are fun.

At least the weather forecast looks OK, now. Cooler would be nice, but I won't complain.

I hope the start is a mellow roll out and not a bolt from the line like mountain bike racing.

I should be OK for the distance, but if the pace is high and I'm working too hard from the start, I may not last.

Well, I guess I'll find out soon enough. I hope it will be a good experience.

Mud Springs, Finally

After reading Brad's post a pang of guilt surfaced - I have not biked the Mud Springs trail. I've been mountain biking around here for over 15 years. I ride American Fork Canyon a lot. I've known about the trail for years. But never rode it - until today.

I met my lovely wife at the mouth of of American Fork Canyon and up we went. Dropped a car at the Tibble Fork fork then started from Salamander Flat camp ground. Yes, it's lame to shuttle and cut the ride so short, but we didn't have much time.

The climb up Pine Hollow and out the Ridge trail were nice, as always. We met (Tall) Steve and Clayton along the way. Then we arrived at the fork for Mud Springs and I was thrilled to be doing a new trail in a place I love to ride.

It started a bit rough and I almost cleaned the logs of the climb (spun out on a tricky one). The climb was good - some technical stuff and a grade steep enough to work me, but not kill me.

At the top we took the spur out to the overlook. Steve told us it gets too rough for bikes so we dropped them at the first rocks, but we should have gone farther. Still, a pretty short walk. It was a nice view.

Back on the Mud Springs trail it descended mellow at first and then got steeper. It was never death-defying, but it had some technical rocky and rooty spots that kept me on my toes. After a pretty long run we crossed with the Tibble Fork trail and up the short, steep climb on the other side. I made the climb, but was surprised when I got over a log step that I was sure I would spin out on.

The trail continued less steep now, but still fun. We came to the Mill Canyon trail and went down. It had a few spicy spots, but still fun - like the 3 stream crossings.

At Tibble Fork Reservoir I suggested we go across the stream, but Jolene didn't want to get wet so we went along the south side of the lake. Bad choice. Some of it was rideable, but a lot was not and the final rock outcrop was a pain to hike down. Unless you're a major aquaphobe, go across the stream.

We zipped down the road, retrieved the shuttle car and headed home.

The Mud Springs trail was a good ride. Very scenic as it's mostly in thick pine and aspen trees - shady and serene. The technical features are challenging, but not frightening. I hear that sometimes Mud Springs is a mess, but it's pretty good right now. Most of the trail was buff, but there were sections of moon dust and loose rock (usually there was a clear path). If I were riding down Tibble Fork I'd often prefer to take Mud Springs over to Mill Canyon to make for a longer ride.

Ride, Watch, Ride

Jolene and I went for a mountain bike ride today up American Fork Canyon and also caught the Tour of Utah going by.

We had planned to do a bigger ride, but we slept in because it was a bad night (the wind was noisy and woke up Kade twice and I couldn't sleep then Jolene couldn't sleep). The revised plan was to drive down the road to Cascade Spring and park where the Deer Creek South Fork trail crosses it then ride up and watch the Tour of Utah riders go by.

Upon unloading the bike we discovered that Jolene's front tire had gone flat so I threw a tube in it and off we went. It's still very green up there and the trail was in good shape - lots of hard-packed sections and the dusty parts weren't real deep. I enjoyed the climb.

Near the top we ran into Steve who was carrying some tools down the trail for a work project next Saturday (sign up and help). We chatted for a while then we heard a siren and knew the Tour must be coming through soon so we rode up the last 1/4 mile and hung out at the turnoff for Cascade Springs to watch.

The lead cars came by with some free-loading press guys - who is that in the black hat?

Soon the first cyclist came up, a Rock Racing guy (I'm pretty sure it's Michael Creed) solo off the front in the big ring.

Several minutes later (maybe even 5), a group came by. Then smaller groups and stragglers. I was surprised the pack was strung out so much - it took at least 15 minutes for them to all go by, maybe even 20 or more.

My fellow spectators - the riff raff these races attract. ;-)

After the racers went by we finished off the last little section of trail and headed out on the Ridge trail. Along the way we saw Team Holley. Then we went down Deer Creek South Fork back to the car. It was a good ride on a beautiful summer day.

Name This Thing

Hint: It has something to do with cycling.

Tour of Utah Crit

I took the day off to go to Hogle Zoo with the family. I'll write about that later.

On the way home we stopped by the Tour of Utah criterium. My wife and kids were impressed by how fast they were moving (I was impressed too). I took these pictures only a few laps after the start on the west side.

We wandered over to Pioneer Park and talked to Chris and KC Holley and Brad Keyes manning the SLC Bicycle booth. I said hello to JE as he was working the race (reporter for the Deseret News).

I got this shot of the Rock Racing motor home for Mark:

And for comparison, the Garmin / Chipotle team vehicles:

The family was hungry so we went over to The Gateway and had some pizza then went home. We left before the end of the race so I don't know who won, and as dug noted, the results don't get posted on the Tour of Utah website real fast.

Hogle Zoo

We went to Hogle Zoo for Kara's birthday. We had a good time wandering around looking at all the animals. If you go, do NOT miss the bird show and get there early so you can sit up front and center to see the birds better and get the full effect as they fly just over your head. I'll let the pictures tell the story.