Saturday, July 26, 2008

Fireroad 51

Total distance: 28.2
Average Speed: 9.3
Total Time: 3:39:18
Average Temperature: 101°

In an effort to save a little gas and not have to drive up the canyon twice today, I threw my bike on the back of the van and prepped for a long ride before we headed out for the Ward Campout breakfast. (We're not camping with a newborn.)

This was my first long-ish ride and I learned a lot of things.

  • I can drink a lot of water when it's hovering around 100°. I went through close to 5 liters of it.
  • Warm water is nasty to drink and takes longer to be absorbed into the lining of the stomach than cold water does. (That last bit I learned from a book, not from my ride today.)
  • A PB&J sure makes things seem better. I felt stronger after downing a half of a smashed sandwich.
  • Even better than a PB&J is a bunch of Fig Newtons.
  • I need to figure out how to carry more water. I kept myself properly hydrated (I weighed almost the exact same before an after my ride.)
  • Fireroad are boring!
  • Fireroad decents are dangerously fast and include oncoming vehicles. Yuck.
  • Riding up to a single track is a lame. It's hard to be excited to ride the fun part when you know you still have 20 miles of tarmac to push after you're done. (My Dad always suggested we ride the 30-ish miles to the mountains rather than him drive us up. Bad idea then, bad idea now.)
  • Ibuprophen.
  • Sunscreen.
  • Ergon grips.
  • New gloves.
  • Always have something to filter water. Iodine flavored H2O is much better than giardia. (I turned around for my downhill run right as I got close to running out of water. But, I thought how bad it must be to run out of water when you're in the middle of nowhere and there's a clean looking stream just feet away.)
  • I have a lot of crappy music on my Shuffle.
  • Riding up a mountain isn't all legs and lungs. There's a big mental game involved too.
  • If at all possible, I'm going to get up super early next week to ride. 100° heat isn't any fun.

There you have it. I imagine there's a lot more for me to learn when I begin biking in the snow, rain, or just cold weather. I'll cross those bridges when I come to them. In the mean time, this was an educational, albeit somewhat mundane ride.

Though I didn't end up riding the trail I'd set out to ride (another 30 minutes and I would have reached the trail head), it was rather satisifying to hit the summit. There's a great feeling of accomplishment when you reach the top of a pass and know that it was your legs, lungs, and mind that got you there.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Hat's off to you, Felix Wong

I went out for an easy distance ride the other night. Apparently the chain suck I was experiencing the other day had nothing to do with a lack of lubrication. Apparently I unknowingly dinged it on a rock and subsequently weakened the chain so that during a moderate crank I snapped it.

This was a small problem and I had all the tools I needed on-hand. I even had a random paper clip that stood in as a chain holder. (Over the years this poor paperclip rattled around in my bag but every time I dumped out my tools and saw it there I'd think, "What am I going to do with a stupid paperclip." And then I'd quickly answer my own question, "You never know.")

In any case, this was a small matter handled in a town only two miles from home with people nearby that I knew and could give me a lift home if needed. But my relatively small knowledge of chain repair left me stranded for a half hour while I fumbled with my chain repair tool in the waning light. As I made the repair, my thoughts turned to the Tour Divide and how many mechanical problems poor Felix Wong ran into over the course of the race. He battled everything from a broken pump, cyclometer, to multiple flat tires. All in the middle of nowhere with no help even available. I can scarcely imagine the frustration he must have experienced as he fought to keep going despite the setbacks.

After that I thought I ought not to grumble about such a small inconvenience two miles from home.

Monday, July 21, 2008


It's not lack of equipment. It's not lack of motivation. It's not physical ability. It's time.

Lack of time is easily the biggest roadblock for training for this first (of hopefully many) epic rides.

I've got trail prep down to a science. I can gear up and be on a nearby trail in about 30 minutes. Or at least be ready to do some easy distance riding in about 15 minutes. Add an hour for riding and another half hour for bike clean-up and a shower and suddenly it's two hours. If I come home at 7 pm and am training for two hours that completely cuts out any family time. Mornings are out. I've got to be on the road at 6 am or my commute time doubles.

Weekends are usually full as well. This week's supposed long ride ended up being a quick 40 minutes to the store. At dusk.

So when, exactly, am I supposed to work in 4-6 hours of training into my already busy schedule?

While Mike is lucky enough to live within biking distance to his place of employment, I'm 50 miles away. Not exactly biking distance. I'm trying (and mostly failing) to work in a few workouts a week.

The only way I can fit in a regular easy-distance ride is if I can move closer and begin riding to work. I can't tell you how badly I want that to happen.

A demanding job, a 100 mile a day commute, four kids, and a home to sell and my training log begins to show some serious gaps.

Here's to hoping my house will sell and I can begin to do part of my commute on two wheels. Either that or we'll have to change this fall's 1/2 epic to an easy ride around the block.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Bonneville Shoreline Trail — Provo Canyon Section

Two weeks ago I decided to take Saturday morning and ride a trail I'd never ridden before. Instead of parking near the trailhead, I parked several miles down at the mouth of Provo Canyon. The trail guide I'd read gave misinformation but after a little confusion I found the trail and began the mile-long climb. The guide says it's "only 500 feet but it feels like more" and that's the truth. It was a medium-intermediate technical singletrack that eventually turned into a fast sometimes single- sometimes doubletrack with almost no climbing for the other 5 miles.

There was some beautiful lookout points and a wicked downhill to top it off.