Wednesday, September 4, 2013

No Saddle Time

Its been almost one year since I have turned a pedal on my bikes. I have gotten lazy and fat. Frankly, it has felt good to have the time off. No saddle time. No sore legs. No stories to tell. I'm moving to Austin, Texas in less than a month, so the hills as I think of them (mountains) will be no more. Will I get back on the bike? I think so. Will I get back to the blog. I don't know. I have made the choice to try and sell the new(er) bike and only take the old bike with me. I won't need a "climbing machine" where I'm going. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

What time is it?

Its almost time to clean up the bikes and find the packed up cycling gear. It has been quite some time since I've been out riding and frankly, I hadn't missed it. But now I am starting to. The weather needs to warm and the snow needs to melt and my resolve needs to firm. I'm looking forward to my next ride.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

New Kit?

Thinking about ordering up this custom kit:

What do you think?

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Describing Climbing

I've been doing a Crit race in the D flite every week and I have found out that I am really slow. I always seem to find myself in a solo break off the back and basically time trialing around the course to the finish. I am having fun and it is improving my cycling ability and for me I guess that was the point anyway. A couple of races ago, I hung with a group until about the last two laps so that was encouraging. I also touched the wheel in front of me and almost went down, but somehow saved it and stayed on the bike. That was fun.

In addition to the racing, it is that time of year when most of the snow has melted on the mountain roads and it's time to start heading uphill. I was going to try and write something about climbing. Something that could describe climbing on the bike. For me climbing is hard. It take a lot of effort and it hurts my legs. Also, just as with racing, I am very slow. But again, I am having fun and it is improving my cycling ability and for me I guess that is the point. Its hard to describe, however, so I will just post some pictures and maybe you will get the point.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Razing The Bar

I spent 2 hours and 15 minutes out on the bike yesterday carefully cultivating my tan lines. It was a bright and sunny Easter afternoon and I can't remember the last time the weather was that perfect for a ride. The wind was magic too. It seemed to push me around most of the time changing direction as I did to push me on the flats or push me up the hill. The only time I had a headwind, I was heading downhill so it really didn't matter. I was going to take it real easy but I felt good so I decided to work a little harder than I had planned and ending up dripping sweat all over my knees and top tube on my way up the hill out to Copperton. I had decided to head up the New Bingham Highway and ride out to the old Ore House Saloon.

On the way out there I had a lot of time to think. I thought about why I am spending money and time racing my bike this year. I read somewhere once that the only reason you should race is if you believe you can win. I've been thinking about that a lot over the past month. Mostly because I don't believe I can win. I don't know what I was thinking when I decided to race this year. I knew I was slow but I didn't know I was this slow. I'm really slow. And so I've been wondering what exactly I am trying to accomplish and I tried to lay it all out for myself.

First I'm trying to be a stronger rider when the road goes up a hill. When I first got on a road bike I could barely make it up an overpass. The first time I did the City Creek Bike Sprint I was the very last road bike up the hill. After that I decided to ride up any hill I thought I could make it up and some that I didn't think I could. I figured that racing would help me get up the hills. Second I'm trying to make my longer rides more enjoyable with less fatigue and more hills. I have a series of 8 Dream Small Rides planned on various dates from May to September. All of them are long enough and all of them have a good amount of elevation gain. I figured that racing would help me with those.

And I think racing will help me with those things. In fact I know it will. And I know it will also help me improve my time in the Utah Tour de Donut and the Snowbird Hillclimb. And I know it's going to get me up the hill faster at this years City Creek Bike Sprint. So, is it worth it? Suffer more to suffer less? Does it make sense? I think it's worth it. And I know I'm having a blast doing it. A slow blast. I think it does make sense. Mandatory V. I may not win a race. I may not even finish with my group. But I know it will harden me up. I know it will make me a stronger and faster kind of slow.

It had been a long time since I had rode out to the old Ore House Saloon and I had never ridden there on a bicycle. Usually when I pedal out there I just take the turn and loop around onto the Old Bingham Highway before I actually get into Copperton, so yesterday I was surprised that the hill kept tipping up all the way through town right up the mine where it dips down at the end of the pavement. And when I got to the end of the pavement I was surprised again.

The old Ore House Saloon was gone. Someone had razed the bar. So I parked my bike next to the big chunk of ore that was still there and took a picture of what used to be. I chomped down a chocolate chip granola bar as I thought some more about suffering more to suffer less. I decided that it's OK to race. It's OK to be a faster kind of slow. It's OK for me to raise the bar. I figured that that is a win and I turned around and headed back down the hill and back toward home and Easter dinner as I continued to carefully cultivate my tan lines.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Humble Braggadocio

photo courtesy of AFP
Today Tom Boonen won Paris-Roubaix. He has now tied Roger De Vlaeminck's long-standing record of four wins in this race. In fact Tom Boonen has won every northern classic in the last two weeks: the E3-Prijs Harelbeke, Gent-Wevelgem and the Tour of Flanders. He has also become the only rider to win the Tour of Flanders and the Paris-Roubaix double in the same season twice. Today he won by riding away solo at the pavé section of Auchy-les-Orchies à Bersée with around 53 km left before savoring victory alone on the velodrome in Roubaix. For Tom Boonen it has been a few weeks of super strong performance.

Yesterday I raced in the Hell of the North circuit race. This was my first ever circuit race and my first race that hasn't been a crit or a hill climb. It was a little cool with a slight breeze and sunny skies and the dirt and gravel section was fast and perfect. I came in last place. From the gun, the rest of the Cat 5s just kind of slowly rode me right off their wheels and I couldn't catch my wind or push the pedals fast enough to stay on. So I slowly faded off the back and changed my race tactics from trying to stay attached to simply not getting lapped. For me it has not been a few weeks of super strong performance.

photo courtesy of Graham Watson
“Today was one of my best days in my career,” Boonen said. “I wasn’t really thinking about these records and victories." (Quotes are courtesy of Brecht Decaluwé and He also said "If I look on these past two or three weeks it’s been amazing. It’s my second double. Now I’m the only guy that ever did this double two times." Apparently caught up in the moment of his greatness he went on: "I realize now that I’ll probably be one of the best, maybe the best, guy on the cobblestones that ever rode on these roads." Wow. Talk about your braggadocio.

photo courtesy of AFP
In contrast, after Hell of the North, I thought "Today was one of my most embarrassing days spent on the bike." I didn't even make it to the first corner with my group. "I wasn't really thinking about records and victories. I just wanted to hang with the group. Any group. And failing that I just wanted to stave off being lapped by my group." I also thought "If I look on the past two or three weeks I haven't been very amazing at all. I've been spit off the back in every contest I've entered and been left to solo off the back as the only rider that appears to be pedaling in quicksand." Apparently caught up in the moment of my mediocrity I went on: "I realize now that I'll probably be one of the worst, maybe the worst, guy on these crits and climbs and races that ever rode on these roads." Wow. I'm slow.

And you know what? That's OK because I'm having a hell of a good time being slow and spit off the back and apparently pedaling in quicksand. I'm having a hell of a good time being one of the worst, maybe the worst, guy that ever rode on these roads. A hell of a good time.

stinking it up at the Hell of the North

Monday, March 19, 2012

On Like Donkey Kong?

"It is on like Donkey Kong." I'm not sure what that means, but Marek said it and I believe it and it sounded cool. I can't remember what year that was when I read that, but right at that moment, I decided that I would race in The Hell of the North circuit race one day and that one day is coming up in a couple of weeks. I have got my Maxxis Re-Fuse 700X25s and I am waiting on my puncture resistant tubes with the 48mm presta valves to get delivered to me soon. I have been pedaling my bike around in circles, mostly by myself, in the RMR Crit Series and even though I am still slow, I am in the best cycling shape of my life. Basically I am ready.

Every time I come back from a race my wife asks me "how did you do?" The answer is always the same. I hang in there for a lap or two or three and then I slowly peel off the back and the elastic snaps and I end up pushing the wind all by myself as I ride as fast as I can to the finish alone. Then I usually get more words of wisdom from my wife: "Did you have fun? Did you do your best? It is what it is." Perspective I guess. And I'll be bringing that perspective into The Hell of the North with me and my new(er) bike. I am ready to have fun and do my best. It is what it is. The Hell of the North - it is on like Donkey Kong.