How To Be An Actor

Friday fun: This scene from the BBC / HBO sitcom Extras is hilarious. Sir Ian McKellan explains acting to Andy Millman (Ricky Gervais). I had no idea Ian McKellan could do comedy, he's excellent. And of course Ricky Gervais plays it perfectly.

I rode the Draper race course Wednesday with Mikey and two other fast UMB guys. I had my doubts about this new course, but it flows well, has some good challenges and is fun to ride. I was off the back, but still had a good time.

I should get some rides in this weekend. Maybe even break out the road bike, which I have only been on once this year - I'm just loving the dirt.

Jolene is doing the Draper race on Monday and I'll go ride some other Corner Canyon trails while she races.

This And That

Work has been busy, but I got out for some rides, between storms.

Friday was a good one. Mark and I rode the Suncrest loop the wrong way. Started at the equestrian center then up Corner Canyon to the bottom of Clarks, but went west on the BST. Went up the unfinished Oak Hollow trail (orangecicle sighting) - pushing through the roughed in section then up the DH trail wasn't the brightest idea (my bad, Mark). Then took Eagle Crest along the south side of Suncrest, crossed Suncrest Drive, then made our way to Clarks. Going down Clarks wasn't the best choice, lots of people still coming up even after 7 pm. But it was all down hill so hard to complain. Next time I'm going clockwise and taking the DH trail.

Saturday morning Jolene went off to race Soldier Hollow, while I stayed home with the kids. In the evening I headed out for a short ride on the BST. Firing Range to Dry Canyon was OK, not much trail damage and dry, except for a few spots. But north of Dry Canyon got bad after the climb. There was a big trail run in the morning when the trails were muddy. I've never seen the trails so chewed up, except a few times from horses. That trail sections is going to be rough for quite a while.

Watched some Giro. These long stage races are crazy. Italy is gorgeous and bike friendly - I'd love to spend a week or two riding there.

Finally put the Prophet up for sale (and some shoes). That bike has carried me on many rides - a bit sad to see it go. Still rides good. I wouldn't be selling it had I not tasted the 29er Kool-Aid.

Oh, and LOST is over. The first season was excellent, season 2 was still pretty good, but 3 & 4 were too fractured and I LOST interest, 5 got better and had some good episodes, but 6 tried too hard and explaining the mysteries kind of ruined it. The finale episode did some good wrapping up with the characters, but the resolution had lots of holes. LOST was an interesting phenomenon. I'm glad it's over.

Two High Marks

I hit high marks for the year on my two favorite foothill trail systems.

Saturday I went up the GWT past The Altar and took the 051 trail, which put me at the highest point of that trail network. (Yes, I could keep going up the GWT to get higher, but it gets rough fast and not many people ride past 051.)

The climb up the GWT wasn't bad - it's rocky, but not as loose as other times.

The climb up 051 has 3 steep grunts, two are short but one is twice as long. My favorite part of 051 is the "hidden valley" (as I mentioned in this post, which also has better photos than the crappy camera phone shot below). Then the trail tops out with a nice view of the valley below.

I continued around 051, went down Dry Canyon then back on the BST and took the roads to home.

Today I hit the high point of the Corner Canyon trail system, Jacob's Ladder.

The clouds were dark and threatening rain, but I lucked out and didn't get a drop.

I started at the equestrian center (FYI, they are tearing up Highland Drive between 1300 East and the EQ). Went up Corner Canyon then up Clarks. I rode Friday and Saturday and my legs were feeling fatigued. I thought I might have to little ring it at some point, but was able to stay in the middle ring. As I climbed up to Jacob's my legs unexpectedly felt better than on Clarks. There were the usual puddles plus some trickles of water down and across the old dirt roads that seem even more hammered than last year.

I had fun going down Jacob's, although I won't be winning any downhill time or style awards. I was hoping to find it packed and fast like last Spring, but it was somewhat loose.

I finished the ride by going down Ghost Falls and Creek View.

I'm having a problem cleaning that rocky notch on North Ghost Falls not far down from the bridge (by the falls). It's not that hard, but it's gotten into my head. I was committed to rolling it then goofed up and put a foot down. Went back and tried it again, screwed up again. Third time, also bungled it. Finally rolled it on the 4th time. Embarrassing. I'm becoming a klutz / coward on technical stuff. Lame.

Otherwise it was a nice ride. Had to squeeze it in before the weather goes crap again.

DH circa 1992

Some Friday fun: Check out this video of downhill racing from 1992-1994 at the Wurbauerkogel resort in Austria:

My favorite wreck is the guy at 4:40 who endos and flips his bike clear only to get tangled up with it again.

Some interesting bike choices. Not much suspension going on there. Disc wheels?

The variety of mashed-up outfits rocked. Protection gear ranged all over: bicycle, motorcycle, cricket, football. And the colors - my eyes!

Props to those riders for pushing the limits (often too far past).

Mountain biking has come a long way.

(Saw this video over on Bogley.)

More Recent Books

It's been a while since I reviewed the books I've read recently.

Peace Like A River - I was blown away by the writing in The Road, and this book is in the same lofty class. The writing sings and soars, like poetry. The story is odd but the writing is such a pleasure it hardly matters.

Straight Man - One of Elden's favorite books, and I can see why. Well written and liberally spiced with sly humor. The story meanders, but it's a fun ride. I laughed many times. I can see reading more Russo.

Daemon / Freedom (TM) - A two-book science fiction story in the near and possible future. The tech is based on real science. I liked the big idea of how technology can enable a new society. But the story could have been tightened and the writing honed. Still, not bad for a first-time author.

Angels & Demons - An intriguing story based on real places and historical figures. The pace is brisk and the writing solid. It fell apart at the end for me. The Da Vinci Code was better.

New Car Stereo

The factory stereo in my car was OK for radio and CDs, but it has no inputs for MP3 players or other devices. And one of the three lights in the display went out. And the paint is coming off the buttons, evidently due to my caustic finger skin.

So out with the old...

in with the new.

It's a Dual XHD6425 CD Receiver I bought from Crutchfield for $100. Here's a quick review after 3 weeks of use:

It has a 3.5mm stereo input jack that works great for iPods / MP3 Players. Sounds great and no FM transmitter or cassette adapter nonsense.

I have a 4 GB flash drive with over 1,000 songs plugged into the USB port. When I play it on random it's like my own personal radio station. It takes a few seconds to read the drive then it's ready to play. The interface for finding a particular song is cumbersome - it's easier to skip on random until you get close to the song you want, then turn off random and skip to the song you want. Random is the way to play. It supports ID3 tags, but only v1 which is lame. I have the basic song info as the file name so I use that for the display, which works OK.

I read mixed reviews about the HD (digital) radio. It works pretty good on my drive from Orem to Bluffdale. With all the road noise I can't hear the difference between digital and analog radio, but when parked I can. The stations I listen to are rock solid in digital - only once has the digital signal cut out. And I've found some good programs on the digital sub-channels. My favorite is HD2 on KOSY, of all stations, which plays a good mix of New Wave. (The photo shows the digital radio playing.)

The controls are a bit odd, but I'm used to them now.

The display is easy to read and looks pretty good. A bigger, higher resolution screen would be nice for more info, but for $100 I'm not complaining.

The install was about 1.5 hours. For my car it was pretty easy to get the old stereo out. It took some time to connect the two wiring harnesses. Installing the new stereo went OK after a few modifications to the plastic adapter, which includes a pocket under the stereo. (Important note: remove the library's audiobook CD from the old stereo BEFORE removing it. I had to take the old stereo apart to get it out. Doh!)

Overall it's been a good upgrade and a fun new gadget to play with.

Storm Riding

OK, not a storm but we did get rained on a little. Jolene and I took a ride idea from the lunch crew and went up the water tank road, down Dragon's Back, up the pipeline, down by Nun's Park, out the Bridal Veil BST, then down the Indian Hills trail and home. A nice 17 mile ride with no one on the trails.

Mother's Day Ride

Saturday, as part of Mother's Day weekend, Jolene wanted to go for a ride, so up into the foothills we went. We rode for about an hour and Jolene wanted to head home, but I wanted more and she graciously let me go.

(When I got home she told me she ran over a snake that was stretched out across the trail and it's tail or head flip up and hit her on the shoe. Gave her the creeps.)

So I went back up to the 051 trail and took it over to Dry Canyon. I thought about going down Dry, but I wanted a little more riding.

So I went up Dry a short ways then took a trail over to Curly Spring. (I've only ever come down this trail, it was nice going up.)

Then, since I've never gone up Curly Spring (come down it a few times), I decided to ride up it a ways to see what it's like.

And I kept going. And going. Until I came to where the trail starts descending into Battlecreek.

There was a trail spur heading west to an overlook. I've never done it either so I went. The view was nice.

As I laid my bike down I noticed a small bunny under a Juniper and decided to walk away and let it be. Good thing because looking up there was a hawk circling overhead.

I reversed course and enjoyed the run down Curly Spring.

It was a splendid Spring day and I enjoyed wandering the trails. I was also happy my legs felt good and I was climbing OK.

I sure love mountain biking, but I love my dear wife (and mother of our children) more. How sweet it is that we both like mountain biking and riding together.

Give Me Another CC, Stat

Rode Corner Canyon with Mark after work. Lots of other people had the same idea, most cars I've seen at the Equestrian Center this year.

I felt pretty good going up, until half way up Canyon Hollow when last weekend's riding caught up to me and my speed dropped dramatically. Still a good climb. And everything is turning green now.

A bunch of new signs for Clarks and Rush (aka / formerly Jamies). And the top of Clarks got a reroute.

Saw dug in the parking lot - he'd just finished his ride. Noting the mud splatters on his leg he told me Rush had some wet spots up top but was otherwise good. He neglected to mention the multiple muddy crossings down in the gully section, but no biggie. The trail was pretty rough from deer and one or more horses that went right up the trail when muddy (spite?). Still, even rough it has it's charm.

Went up Clarks and was humbled. Did it get steeper over the Winter?

Down Ghost Falls and back to the cars. Good ride. Except the weather was supposed to be warmer, and less windy and not looking like it's going to snow again. Oh, well, I got my ride in.

Now I'm home and don't feel like moving. And when I stand up I get light headed. Is this normal?

A Salad By Any Other Name

I don't think the word "explosion" should ever be used on a menu.

Mesa Weekend

Drove south Friday afternoon for a weekend of mountain biking with Mark, Alex and Chris.

We arrived with an hour of daylight left so we did a quick out-n-back on the JEM trail along the Virgin River Gorge. Felt good to stretch the legs.

We camped near JEM. It was windy all night. I didn't get much sleep. Saturday we got up, ate breakfast (Alex's breakfast burritos were tasty), and headed to Gooseberry Mesa.

The weather was nice - cool with bright blue sky and scattered puffy clouds. We all enjoyed the riding. I botched a few stunts in Hidden Canyon, but since we did a figure 8 I got a second change and nailed them all on the second run through. Such good flow and variety on Gooseberry, I really enjoyed it.

(A few times we thought of Elden, Lisa and Fish doing the Ironman just to the west.)

After Gooseberry we took a break, then drove down and made a loop of upper Goulds and JEM. Some sweet single-track and the fast flow of JEM put smiles on our faces.

Next we drove to Little Creek Mesa* to camp and met up with Cory and Jill. Mark did tinfoil salmon with butter and lemon slices - it was beyond delicious. Chris' potato salad was the perfect side. We circled around the campfire and ate and talked as the wind howled as it bashed against the rim 20 feet away. It was breezy and gusty at camp, but not bad and I slept better.

* Yes, it's Little Creek Mountain on the map, but come on, it's clearly a mesa with steep sides and a flat top.

The morning was cold - even a skiff of snow. It got a little warmer by the time we headed out to ride.

I enjoyed Little Creek, but the wind and cold dampened our spirits.

Here's Cory punching up a steep and tricky climb. I happened to be on and made it up.

We went part way out the North Loops, but when the little snow flurry hit we decided to cut it short. We'd had some great riding so didn't feel too bad about it. My wife was happy to see me home before dark.

Today I've got that tired, worn feeling that reminds me I had a good mountain biking weekend. Big thanks to Alex, Mark and Chris for a fine, fun time.