Saturday, December 31, 2011

It Is Done

12/31/2011 - Day 9 - The Festive 500 - 54 miles

It is done. I have completed The Festive 500 with today's 54 mile ride. Two funny things happened on today's ride. One I got passed by a guy on a commuter bike while I was riding with a tailwind. Two I rode the last mile with my two daughters around the neighborhood right at dusk. I'm not sure but it seemed like that might have been the happiest moment ever in my little 5 year old daughter's life. I didn't realize how much noise training wheels make so even though it was getting dark you could not miss her there between me and curb.

That last mile was pretty much the only mile of today's ride that I really enjoyed. Today it was freezing again. Literally. The cold came back with the breeze from the north. I could not warm up. My hands were cold the whole ride. I felt sluggish like I needed a day off the bike. I guess yesterday really took a toll. My glutes hams and quads are all sore. My neck is stiff and my triceps are sore. I hate to admit it but The Festive 500 actually wore me out.

The hardest part of doing this was finding the time to ride. I have missed my family while riding and feel very lucky with how generous they have been with my family time right at Christmas. I am lucky to have a great wife who supports me no matter what. My kids are great too. I thought the hardest part would be the weather but the weather cooperated fully getting warmer each day until today when it was freezing again. It hasn't snowed the whole time and it's only been real windy on a couple of days.

The Festive 500 puts the lid on 2011. Tonight is New Years Eve. Tomorrow is 2012 - a new year filled with hope and promise. Looking back at 2011 from a cycling perspective has proven interesting. I logged 2859 miles on the old bike over 194 hours of riding. Old bike average speed: 14.7 mph. I logged 2570 miles on the new(er) bike over 173 hours of riding. New(er) bike average speed: 14.8 mph. That may sound pretty slow but there was a LOT of elevation gain in those miles.

This year I rode up to Brighton in Little Cottonwood Canyon for the first time. I competed in the Snowbird Hillclimb and did not come in last place. I competed in The City Creek Bike Sprint and actually passed a couple of guys. I rode up Butterfield Canyon a number of times but this was the first year I didn't have to stop and rest a moment on the way up. I can't even remember how many times I went up and down both side of Suncrest. I've had more flats per mile this year than I have ever had in the past and my old bike almost made it the whole year with the same handlebar tape. Almost.

It's been a good year on my bikes. I have had a lot of fun and gotten much stronger this year. I have calves for the first time in my life and I like that. I haven't been sick hardly at all and my blood glucose has been under good control. My A1C has been fine all year. I'm not going for a ride tomorrow on New Years Day. I'm going to rest and work and spend time with my wife and play with my kids. The old bike is hanging up on the ceiling and the new(er) bike is perched on it's stand. Their jobs are done for 2011. The year is ticking to a close. It's been a good year. It's been a good year and I'm glad it's done.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Red To Black

12/30/2011 - Day 8 - The Festive 500 - 72 miles

I knew I was going to have to pay the price and I knew that the price would be high. There I was just cruising along at 27-28 mph and it felt like I was just lazily turning my feet in circles while I was attached to the pedals. It felt like I was in a dream. The road was level and I was heading straight north and there was no headwind. I could barely feel any air at all and it was like I was floating along exerting minimal effort while my bike sped along the level road. No more effort than sitting on a couch being fat and lazy. It was huge fun and it felt surreal.

Awesome. For now. I hadn't hit a single red light as I had just coasted for about five miles at 35 to 45 mph while dropping nearly 600 feet in elevation and I knew I was headed to the lowest spot in the valley. I had about five more miles of this magic tailwind on the now level road that was blowing just about as hard as I was riding fast before I had to turn straight west and pedal the ten more miles to the Great Salt Lake Marina. Five more miles of magic. Five more miles of level flight. Five more miles of perfection.

I was not looking forward to the cross wind when I turned left and headed for the Marina. On a windy day that 10 miles can feel like some of the longest 10 miles in the world. But it turned out better than expected. I passed about seven cyclists all heading the other way (to their cars) on the way to end their ride and then drive home and all of them had a grimace on their face as their bikes were blowing all over the road. Mine was too but I was still able to maintain a descent speed and cadence and was still feeling good and enjoying the ride.

Once I reached the barriers on the north side of the frontage road I had to fight hard to avoid the tumbleweeds. They had nowhere to go having been blown up against the barriers and were shooting out in the eddies of wind all over and up and down the road. Some of them got me or I got some of them and I hoped that there was nothing sharp or solid enough on these dead plants that would puncture my tires. I only brought one tube and didn't fancy changing it this far away from home out in this wind.

As I got closer to the marina I could hear the gunfire of the duck hunters. I knew they had to be enjoying this much warmer than normal weather just as much as me and I couldn't tell if there were just that many ducks or if they were just lousy shots. Oddly enough as I passed Saltair to make my way to the marina the wind was really dying down likely due to being diverted around the tip of the Oquirrh Mountains right where they dropped down into the Great Salt Lake. It got downright pleasant.

I took a little break at the marina and took some pictures. There was a sailboat out on the lake and it was peaceful watching it slowly sail around the shallow water. I had a chocolate chip granola bar and hung out for a few minutes enjoying the utter lack of wind that I found so surprising. I had ridden about 33 miles to get here and I knew that I had a few more than that to get back and I hoped it would seem shorter because I was going to take a route that I had never ridden portions of before. Just the same I knew that it would feel like it was all uphill and I knew that anytime I was riding south I would be pushing a super stiff headwind.

I left the calm and comfort of the Great Salt Lake Marina at 4209 feet above sea level and would eventually make my way to 4961 feet above sea level about 15 miles later. It doesn't sound too imposing but it felt like I was riding up stairs. As soon as I crested a hill busting through the headwind with every gear I had I would turn east and head downhill in the crosswind before turning south again shifting up the cogs and busting through the headwind as the road ratcheted up the grade again. It felt like hell. I wasn't dreaming any more. I was paying the price and it was high.

I pedaled up the hill in the wind to State Highway 201 and pedaled up the hill in the wind to Magna. I pedaled up the hill in the wind through Magna grateful that I didn't get run over. I pedaled up the hill in the wind through parts of West the crappy part of the Valley City. I pedaled up the hills in the wind past ATK and Praxair and the Lays Potato Chip factory. I pedaled up the hill in the wind past the water towers. I pedaled up the hill in the wind past the Usana Amphitheater and I pedaled up the hill in the wind past where Wind Ridge Golf Course used to be. My legs were hurting.

What the heck was I thinking with this new route? What was I thinking with this new way of getting home? What was I doing out here with maximum exposure and a mouth full of sand? My teeth were gritty and my lips and face were pasted with sand. The tumbleweeds here were coming at me at 25 mph bouncing crazily straight down the road right at me. Every motorist that passed me going up these hills had them stuck in their grills or scraping under their cars or trucks as they went past.

There's a reason why this side of the valley is famous for wind. There's a reason why that golf course was named Wind Ridge. It's because it's SUPER WINDY stupid. What was I thinking? The only thing that kept me going was that I had no other way to get back home and the memory of that magic ride for 10 miles earlier in the day when this same torturous wind was pushing me perfectly effortlessly down the road. But right now I was climbing the hills and pushing the wind and I was paying the price.

I eventually made it to where the road leveled out a bit. I still had to jump two cogs further up on the cassette than I normally ride just to push the wind enough to get back home. Once back on familiar ground I had to stop at Sonic and get a Super Sonic Cheeseburger. I was beat up and my legs were empty and I knew I needed some food or there wouldn't be much fuel there when I needed to call down to the engine room for the next 22 miles as I tried to get home before it got too dark. And I needed to pick the stickers from the tumbleweeds out of my socks and leg warmers.

I made it home in the dark after sunset. The moon was out. 72 miles for the round trip. I had a blast. I finally felt like I did something harder than actually finding the time to ride the miles for The Festive 500. Now I'm at 258 miles for the eight days. There is one day left and frankly the weather has been so super cooperative this year that actually finding the time to ride has been the most difficult part of doing this.

A big thank you to my super supportive wife. Tomorrow I need to ride 53 miles. My ride will be as flat as I can make it. Right now my legs are sore and my neck is stiff and my wrist hurts and I feel great. For the first time since this began I feel like I am on top of this thing. For the first time since I got my bike dirty on December 23rd I feel like I have pedaled from the red to the black.

9/22/2012 - Dream Small Ride #8 - Nebo Loop

I love the fall colors. They're gone now, but when they're here I love them. Dream Small Ride #8 will pedal through some of the most dramatic displays of God's glory in the fall that can be found on this planet. I'm going to ride the Nebo Loop. I will start and end again at the city park in Mona where it all starts next year with Dream Small Ride #1. I will reach 9400 feet above sea level.

I will climb 3332 feet over 12 miles to get up the hill. I will pedal a total of 5371 feet of elevation gain. I will stop at the Devil's Kitchen and have lunch with my family. I'm sure it will rain. I will fly down 5308 feet of the twistiest steepest descent in the state. This ride will be great. It will be glorious. When I am done with this 72 mile ride I will be done with my 8 Dream Small Rides that I promised myself I would ride in 2012.

I will have pedaled a total of 606 miles just on these Dream Small Rides. I will have climbed a total of 40,479 feet of elevation gain and descended a total of 41,452 feet. I am looking forward to both. I am looking forward to these Dream Small Rides. I'm looking forward to the pedaling the pictures the coasting the memories and the speed. I'm looking forward to sharing these rides with you. Here. I am looking forward to dreaming small. I am looking forward to pedaling from the red to the black.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Fun And Games

It's all fun and games until the road starts tipping up. Then things change. Quick. Or slow rather. I go much slower. Much much slower. It has been a long time since I've dripped anything on my top tube other than little dribbles of snot in the cold but today I was pouring sweat and it all ended up on my top and down tubes and my crank arms and bottom bracket. Yes it was warmer than normal today in the 50s and the wind was pretty reasonable too but today I decided to stop being a sissy and instead be a real man and ride up a hill.

Riding up a hill is probably not the best or smartest use of time when you're trying to get to 311 miles in nine days for The Festive 500. Besides, I'm woefully behind. When I started out today I had managed 162 in the first six days out of the 311 needed by day nine. With 24 more miles today that puts me at 186 miles for the seven days so far. I need 125 more miles and I have two days to do it. 63 miles per day over the next two days. That should be a piece of triple chocolate gingerbread cake. No problemo.

It has been a while since I've ridden up a hill. I know it hurts but I always forget just how bad until I'm doing it and then it's too late. I'm stuck there pedaling slow enough at some points to churn out the big 4 mph and my bike now has a nice matte flame paint scheme where the red turns to black where it used to be glossy. Today I was sweating a lot. Today I rode up to the top of Suncrest on the north side. The fun and games were quickly replaced with something else. Labored breathing and scorching quads.

On paper it doesn't seem so bad. It's only about 5 miles and 1500 feet of climbing. Doesn't sound so terrifying. The problem is when that grade locks in at 8-9% it grabs your legs and lungs by the throat and doesn't let them go until you see the flashing stop sign at the top. I think I surprised my legs today when I crossed Redwood Road and veered right instead of left onto 1300 West because they really did not seem to be ready for that little trick. Turning to the right right there can only mean one thing. We're going up Suncrest.

The only redeeming thing about hitting a whopping 4 mph on the way up is gliding back down at 51 mph. The only thing better than that is hitting the green light on Highland Drive and blasting on through able to carry your speed down Bangerter Highway to 13800 South. Pure joy. It's the main thing that makes it worth whatever you want to call whatever you're putting yourself through when the road tips up. When that road tips down there's nothing better - it's all fun and games again.

9/1/2012 - Dream Small Ride #7 - Mirror Lake Highway

I'm going to spend Dream Small Ride #7 on the Mirror Lake Highway. This is the place where many a motorcycle rider has died from crashing and once a fellow cyclist named Shane Dunleavy was a part of this news report: "The bicycle of Salt Lake's Shane Dunleavy is left in pieces after being run over on the Mirror Lake Highway in Summit County on Saturday morning, August 2, 2008. An enraged motorist ran Dunleavy off the road and then ran over his bike. Dunleavy suffered minor injuries and the motorist was arrested by the Utah Highway Patrol."

Lots of action on the Mirror Lake Highway. I'll be starting after breakfast in Evanston, Wyoming where the road tips up and the fun and games stop and riding 43 miles up to 10732 feet above sea level or a gain of 3427 feet. Then the road will tip down and it will be fun and games again for 29 miles of descending 4185 feet into Kamas. I'm going to have dinner there with my family at The Yolk Restaurant to finish off the ride. Total elevation gain for the ride will be 4147 feet. Not too bad.

I plan to stop and take a lot of pictures on the way up because this ride is going to be gorgeous. There is a lot to see in the High Uintas and when I'm going up a hill I'm going slow enough to see it all. The air will be pretty thin too so I might need to catch my breath. Even though I'm riding up the "easy" side to Bald Mountain Pass, I'll still be hill-slugging along in anticipation of the descent down the "hard" side of the mountain into Kamas.

There probably won't be too many stops for pictures coming down on the descent. I'll be hungry and locked into a relaxed position hanging off the back of my saddle in the drops with my chin about an inch over and behind my stem enjoying the fun and games that make the climbing worthwhile. It doesn't really matter how bad it hurts when the road tips up. It doesn't matter how long it takes. It doesn't matter how much you sweat. When the road tips down it is all worth it.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Garbage Day

12/28/2011 - Day 6 - The Festive 500 - 35 miles

Today was garbage day. So the bins are all out all over the neighborhood sitting in the road by the curb. I didn't see the garbage truck come by but it did and the recycle bin is still out on the curb full so that truck didn't make it through the neighborhood today. I thought I might be tempting fate so today when I was out logging 35 miles toward the 311 needed to complete The Festive 500 I kept one eye peeled for any garbage trucks and the other one on the road in front of me.

I'm happy to report that everything turned out fine. No garbage trucks were spotted on my ride today and everything else about the ride turned out fine too. What a beautiful day. I was surprised that the temps were in the 40s and the wind was calm until it wasn't calm during the last five miles. But what a great ride. I started out feeling very strong - so much so that I thought I might be on the wrong cog. I checked and no it was the right cog. I guess I just had a little extra gas in the tank today.

I even spent some time in the drops. Probably six or seven miles total. Sure makes it a lot easier to be aware of the extra fat rolls that have accumulated this holiday season. Ho Ho Ho Merry Christmas to me and my gut. I averaged 17 mph for the 35 miles and hit a top speed of 36 mph on what I thought might amount to a mostly flat route.

I was surprised to see 725 feet of elevation gain (which isn't much I know, but still) when I mapped my ride. I felt good the entire ride and had great form. On the last turn south for the home stretch the breeze had kicked up a bit and that along with fatigue conspired to slow me down a bit. Once again a beautiful sunset to enjoy during the last three miles and then a hot shower. A perfect end to garbage day.

8/18/2012 - Dream Small Ride #6 - Fairview to Huntington Round Trip

On August 18, 2012 I am going to ride my bike to the top of the world. Twice. Dream Small Ride #6 is planned and on the calendar. It will be a suffer-fest-filled round trip from Fairview to Huntington. 7664 feet of elevation gain. 3614 feet of that over the first 13 miles of this route with no warm-up before the steep grades. Coming back it's a little more manageable at (only) 3893 feet of climbing over about 34 miles. Not quite as steep.

The high point on this ride (twice) will be 9790 feet up. That's high. I'm thinking the air will feel a bit thinner up there and that will add to the challenge. This road is absolutely beautiful and it truly does feel like you are at the top of the world when you are up there. The best thing about all the climbing will be the subsequent descending on some of the smoothest curving roads in all of Utah. This ride is going to be a very fun ride half the time and a very painful hill-slug-esque wondering why I'm doing this type of ride the other half of the time.

I'm thinking that I will either be moving along at 45-60 mph or crawling along at 3-6 mph. There won't be much if any middle ground. It will be one extreme or the other and all based on topography. That's the main reason I want to ride this ride. That and the alpine lakes and the discovery of the mammoth site and the perfect scenery and did I mention the smoothest curving roads in Utah? This ride is going to be awesome. Or painful. Up or down. No in between. Fast or slow. Crawling or flying. Epic. There will be no garbage miles on this ride. This day will not be garbage day.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Biscuits & Gravy

12/27/2011 - Day 5 - The Festive 500 - 26 miles

I'll probably get run over by a garbage truck or something tomorrow for saying this tonight but when I ride around in the winter it feels like I have a force field around me. A force field that is almost visible. I don't know if it's the lights I use both front and back or the extra clothes I'm wearing or the balaclava that makes me look like I'm looking for a bank to rob or what but everyone on the road seems to give me lots of extra room. Maybe there's a little smidgen of extra respect when you're riding out there in the cold of winter.

I'm not sure what it is. I merge in and out of traffic to make left turns. I take the lane when it's appropriate. I take my place in line at stop signs and traffic signals and everyone seems to be giving me an extra six to ten feet of space over and above the normal. I haven't been buzzed or yelled at or honked at or had anything thrown at me this winter. I'm not complaining. I like the margin. I just wonder why it is? I don't have too many problems with motorists out on the roads much anyway but in the winter it is different and in a good way.

Today I'm out logging 26 miles toward The Festive 500 (it's day 5 out of 9) and the ride was just great. Twice I had to look back and scoot back at a stoplight to tell the driver to pull up a little closer or we would never trip the signal. I have mastered some things about riding in traffic that I feel help me avoid problems. First I'm no tiny guy. I'm a full size human. I make eye contact. I signal my intentions. I stop at stop signs and stoplights. I ride predictably and with that I stand up for myself on the road. I'm courteous. I smile or grimace which looks like a smile. And I have mastered the art of the "thanks for not running me over and killing me" wave.

It's been a good five days of riding trying to get to the 311 miles that will mean success in The Festive 500. My wife asked me today what I get if I complete the distance in the nine days. I told her nothing and I could tell that she didn't understand why I was doing it then. I wondered myself. It's not super fun just logging the miles in order to get to the next one. It feels too much like "training" to me. I like riding with a goal or an objective beyond a distance within a time. I like a reason to go somewhere on my bike.

7/28/2012 - Dream Small Ride #5 - Hanna Breakfast Run

On July 28, 2012 I'm going to get on my bike and ride to breakfast except it will be lunch time by the time I get there. I'm going to the little cafe on the west side of the road in the tiny town of Hanna. I can't remember what it's called. I'm going to have biscuits and gravy and a cup of black coffee with Sweet & Low. I'm going to start at the gas station that sometimes has gas and sometimes doesn't in Francis and ride the 38 miles to Hanna over Wolf Creek Pass.

When I'm done eating my breakfast at lunch time I'm going to ride the 38 miles back to Francis and call it a ride. 5620 feet of elevation gain and 5633 (!) feet of descent. There isn't a flat spot on this ride and I've never seen another cyclist up on this road. It's going to be beautiful and fun and hard and painful and slow and fast and the breakfast at lunch time is going to be fantastic too. I like a reason to go somewhere on my bike. Biscuits and gravy is about as good a reason as I can think of.

Monday, December 26, 2011

On The Hoods

12/26/2011 - Day 4 - Festive 500 - 28 miles

The day started with breakfast - the most important meal of the day. Two fat slices of Triple Chocolate Gingerbread Cake sprinkled with powdered sugar and those two fat slices really hit the spot. You can tell how focused I am on my nutrition this time of year and today I was determined to eat right and log some miles for The Festive 500. The weather this year is turning out just about as good as can be hoped for. There was minimal wind today and the temperature was a sunny 35 degrees when I started out. Almost perfect.

Legs feel good? Check. Dressed perfectly for the temps? Check. Almost two hours to get a ride in? Check. Flat course planned? Check. Courteous motorists? Check. The ride was going great. About the time I was fixing to turn and head back south, it dawned on me that I had spent all of the miles I have logged so far for this Festive 500 on the hoods.

I don't know if it's the 8 extra pounds I have packed on over the last two months or the cold temps or the lack of any real climbing and thus descending as well or just my general trend toward sliding into soft and lumpy and lazy but I realized right then that it had been a long time since I had really gotten down in the drops. Frankly, I haven't missed it either and I'm not too sure how comfortable that would be for any length of time right now anyway. Slices of Triple Chocolate Gingerbread Cake aren't the only goodies I've been enjoying this holiday season.

I was cruising along thinking that it just doesn't get any better than this when I felt my bike bobbing slightly underneath me moving slightly up and down with each pedal stroke. Flat. Rear tire. Crap. Fizzle. A quick dismount and push to a nearby Barbacoa to sit on their patio and change the tube resulted in some very very very cold fingers and the use of my last spare tube. Back underway I realized I had lost some time and the sun was quickly dipping toward the horizon.

When I finally got back home I realized I was about 2 miles away from getting to 100 miles toward the 311 that I need to succeed at this Festive 500 so I made the decision to cruise around my neighborhood for the 2 miles to get to 100. It had gotten really cold as the sun had been hiding behind the mountains for about twenty minutes now but the sunset was superb with pink clouds in the western sky. I wondered what the neighbors might think about this crazy guy just out doing circles around the neighborhood in the twilight of dusk in the middle of winter. I didn't care and it didn't matter. I was going to hit 100 miles as I turned circles around the neighborhood enjoying the sunset as I was perched up on the hoods.

7/18/2012 - Dream Small Ride #4 - Guardsman Pass - 60 miles

It's been said that it's the toughest climb in the area. Basically it's a 17.5 mile climb up Little Cottonwood Canyon and then on up to where the pavement ends at Guardsman's Pass. From the base of the canyon it is 4779 feet of elevation gain to the top. It's rated as a ''hors cat├ęgorie'' climb. Sounds painful and it will be.

I'm starting at 9:00 a.m. on July 18, 2012 where the pavement (road) ends at the top of Wasatch Boulevard so I can warm up on the way to the canyon before crawling to the top. After the descent from Guardsman's I will head up to the cafe in Brighton and have lunch before heading back down the canyon and then slogging the 18 miles through the valley back home. 60 miles total with 5279 feet of overall elevation gain.

That is going to be Dream Small Ride #4. I rode up to Brighton last summer from my house and back. It was a good ride for me that day. I thought about going up to Guardsman's Pass then but saw the road ramp up and chickened out.

Besides I had accomplished what I had set out to do that day. I had hill-slugged it up to Brighton. I had reached a goal. I had hit a milestone. Besides I was pooped. And even though I probably spend about 95% of my time on the bike perched on the hoods - at that moment in time I felt like I could finally consider myself a real cyclist. So I turned around and headed back down the canyon and I rode back home and shaved my legs.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Big Mountain

12/25/2011 - Day 3 - Festive 500 - 24 miles

Redemption. Hopefully I can look good while doing it because today I sure felt like crap. It was day three of The Festive 500 today so I took as much time off work as I thought my wife would tolerate and set about to test out my new Gore Bike Wear Balaclava Mask. It was my Christmas present from my wife. It wasn't too cold today at 35 degrees and the wind was only about 5 mph from the South. The sun was out and traffic was very light. It was a perfect Christmas day to go for a ride so I wondered what the heck was wrong with me because I was weaker than circus lemonade out there pedaling today.

I planned a very flat route hoping to average 18 to 19 mph and had about an hour and half of time to squeeze my ride into. Instead I averaged only 17 mph and managed 24 miles. As I was heading back home to the South I was beat. The 5 mph breeze felt like a 5% grade and my quads were gassed. I couldn't manage more that 15 - 16 mph on mostly flat ground. I wondered if my blood glucose was low but I didn't have my meter to check it. I felt like it was. I was spent and shaky so I stopped and had a hot dog to get me home.

Bottom line: I have gotten fat and lazy over the last two months of little riding and lots of eating. I'm sporting around eight extra pounds I didn't have two months ago as the holidays have been very good to me as usual. The more I think about redemption right now the more I think I truly need it right now. 71 miles toward the 311 needed for this ride to redemption have been logged. 240 more need to be logged over the next six days. That's an average of 40 miles per day over these next six days. OK. Wow. Unfortunately redemption is not average. Fortunately neither am I.

6/25/2012 - Dream Small Ride #3 - Pineview Reservoir to Riverton - 88 miles

I have planned Dream Small Ride #3 and placed it on the calendar. On June 25, 2011 I'm going to get dropped off at the little cafe on the south side of Pineview Reservoir and ride back home to Riverton. I'll be slogging up over the hill past Snowbasin and then through Morgan and past East Canyon Reservoir and up the back (north) side of Big Mountain.

Big Mountain. It sounds big. I was checking out a website that was talking about portions of this route which the Tour of Utah raced on over two years ago. That year my kids and I were up on top of Big Mountain as the breakaway and then the peloton crested the summit at the Morgan County line. We had a blast ringing our cow bells and yelling at the pros. At the time I wondered if I could pedal up there on my bike. On this website in the comments someone asked: "Is Big Mountain really what it sounds like?" and the answer was: "From the north it's steep but manageable. From the south it’s a beotch…"

I'll be tackling it from the north on this ride having paid my dues up the south side two summers ago on the old bike. Ouch. This climb up Big Mountain will come at 40 miles into the ride and I'm sure there will be some pain and suffering. I am looking forward to that. The ride will have an elevation gain of 4675 feet and reach a high point there of 7457 feet at the summit of Big Mountain.

After 88 miles I will pull into my driveway and decide if I want to do it again in the fall to take in the autumn colors along the route which are some of the most dramatic in the state. I've heard it said that if men had babies every family would have only one child. Probably true. It's exponentially harder to do something a second time after you have learned the pain and suffering of going through it once already.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Heads Up

12/24/2011 - Day 2 - Festive 500 - 16 miles

Day 2 of the Festive 500 began with a whimper and me sleeping in a lot longer than I should have. The wife was at work and the kids are on Christmas break from school so today was going to be tough to find any time to ride. I did get out there for a bit about an hour before dark and just rode around the neighborhood to log 16 miles.

Nothing exciting or noble. Just pushing my way through one mile to get to the next hoping against hope that I don't get too far behind in the stretch to 311 miles over nine days. There are seven more days to go and I've still got to log 284 miles or an average of about 38 per day. Tomorrow is Christmas and I have an hour window of riding opportunity that I can squeeze in between work and festivities that I'm sure is not on the wife's list of things for me to do. We will see.

6/17/2012 - Dream Small Ride #2 - Bogus Basin Hillclimb - 37 miles

I have planned Dream Small Ride #2 and placed it on the calendar. Sunday, June 17, 2012 I plan to be in Boise, Idaho and will ride up to Bogus Basin ski resort from a little park in Boise's North End. If you want to go plan to be there about 9:00 a.m. The climb is basically 18.5 miles and 4094 feet of elevation gain and then a GREAT descent back to the park. I like climbing hills. I like it when it heads up. It hurts. There is a sense of purpose. Something to accomplish. The views are good and the descents are usually even better.


12/23/2011 - Day 1 - Festive 500 - 31 miles

So today begins The Festive 500. As Rapha puts it: Redemption has begun. I was out there today and logged 31 miles. I wanted to do more and the weather was cooperating and the legs were fine but other things got in the way. Kids. Wife. Work. After today I'm not too sure how much redemption I'm going to be able to turn out during the next eight days. I'm thinking the weather might be fine. It will definitely be cold but not snowy much (I hope) and today was a great day setting the pace at a sunny 30 degrees and no wind. I'm thinking time is going to be the problem. It takes time to ride 311 miles in nine days right at Christmas. It takes time for redemption. Time. Time I hope I have. Or can find.

As part of my desire to "dream small" this year instead of go overboard with New Year's resolutions, I have planned Dream Small Ride #1 and placed it on the calendar. On May 26, 2012 I will be riding from the city park in Mona up past Mona Reservoir and then through Goshen Canyon. I will turn left on Highway 6 heading through Goshen and on up the hill to Eureka.

Twelve miles into the ride the road tips up. The climb to Eureka amounts to 2046 feet of elevation gain over about 11 miles. I plan to stop and take a little break in Eureka about 25 miles into the ride. From there I'm going to follow Highway 6 for 33 more miles down to Lynndyl and turn East heading to Nephi on State Road 132. The problem with this little stretch from Eureka to Nephi is that there's not much there. Most of the towns on the map are towns in name only. So I will have to find out if there's a c-store in Lynndyl or not because last time I went through there I blinked and missed it.

From Lynndyl to Nephi it's another 34 miles of basically nothing but some ramps, rollers, cattle, false flats and hills. Once into Nephi and back to civilization, I plan to take another little break and then head back North on State Road 28 which is basically Main Street South on into Mona to finish up. Total elevation gain for the ride will be 3629 feet over 99 miles. My plan is to average about 16-17 mph. Anybody that wants to come and ride with me is welcome. Plan on being at Mona City park at 7:00 a.m. to start and finish up around 3:00 p.m.