Sunday, October 30, 2011

Touring the Waterpocket Fold by tandem mountain bike

We toured the 125-mile loop of Capitol Reef National Park's southern district (link here), which traverses the Waterpocket Fold by way of the washboarded dirt and sand of Notom Road. In the picture you can see the incredible switchbacks.

The multi-tiered plateaus ascending to the Henry mountains were the ever-present panorama on our traverse of Notom road.

On the northern half of the tour, we passed back through the fold, this time through the Fruita apple orchards (this is not the Fruita in Colorado that everyone goes to, but the one in Utah).

Erasing some of the calorie debt of back-to-back 6-7 hours-a-day of riding with ripe October apples---lots of apples. In the shade of the orchard, sitting there was sublime...

The third and last day, over Boulder mountain---a 3000-foot climb and descent----and back to our car. Our legs were strong that day, surprisingly. We dispatched the climb with aplomb. The views from the high plateau of the deserts below were euphoric. I'll spare you any more pictures. I plan to write up a real publication-ready story sometime in the future. Cheers!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Rolling Thunder

Its a big hunk of metal and rubber, rolling down a dirt road in Southern Utah. We call it Rolling Thunder. It will carry us to remote places in the best of fashion. See you on the flip side...

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Foliage on the Rivet

In preparation for our upcoming tour, we keep upping our game.

This time to Big Cottonwood.

That's right. Four hammering legs. About 75 pounds of bike and trailer, and 22 pounds of cuteness in the cargo hold. Going up up up---about 3800 feet---to the top of the canyon.

Oh, and did I mention that the Fall foliage was amazing...

Getting to the top gave us some mega pride. People stopped to take pictures of us, innumerable thumbs-upses happened, and one guy gave us the full Tour-De-France treatment: running along side us wildly screaming encouragement. And we were on the rivet for the top 1/3 for sure. With the lack of good road shoulder, we gear-grinded up the gravel for a few miles for an added sting. 

And for La Lissa von stoker, it was the only Brighton she will see in the near term, while her friend is in the other Brighton. 

Silver lake picnic with about everybody in Salt Lake to join us. We finally figured out why so many people were there: besides the Fall foliage, it was LDS conference week, which meant no church service for, like, millions of people in Utah.

And of course, the foliage was amazing...

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Production value

I snapped some pictures of the Masters' race. The complete album is HERE. Below are some highlights.

I like this one for some reason.

Record temperatures for October---dry and dusty.

The 35+ race leader, I think.

The wide, hard-packed, dry, and flat course suited me. And this style of course has been rare during my time in Ottawa, where the courses were very difficult and muddy, and ironically much hillier than Utah. The state fair park course was fast, and demanded precise cornering. It was more of a race than in Ottawa, where I often felt like I was just trying to survive.

Familiar faces: It was Dr. Cross himself, one back in the Contender kit, who put on a cross clinic up at the U, which was my first introduction to CX about 8 years ago. 

After a three-year hiatus in Canada, I'm stateside. God bless America---racing in the B-category.

I had a great race. I came out from the third row start into a sprint, forming up with a 6-man chase group for 3rd. The chase drove a hard pace, and some were making wide sketchy corners, so I backed off to recover and ride my own race more efficiently. As the chase went away, it broke up. On the last lap I could see a mass of riders bearing down on me, but luckily I was recovered, so I started accelerating hard out of every corner and going into the red. That got rid of all but one, who on the final set of corners tried to make a go of it. I kept my line through the corners, and wound up for the straightaway and flew. The announcers said 4th place out of 36 B-men. I'm not sure if that's my actual result, but its something to build off of...

So it was great to be back, see familiar faces, and race in a group where I felt like there was some real sporting competition. Compared to Ottawa, the production value is much higher (race fees are also higher). There were announcers, sponsor tents, many times more people in an ever-burgioning number of categories, and most warming up on trainers (including me). Now you could go there in the morning and tailgate with a barbecue and party till late afternoon...

As I said before, the course designs in Utah are slightly easier in my experience, and that makes the racing more tactical (for my skill level at at least): rather than just providing numerous ways to screw up, the course also presented opportunities to get things right to varying degrees.

The Utah series has grown a lot in the last three years, with but it still has a really friendly atmosphere. See you next weekend!