Friday, October 31, 2008

Throwing Away the Crutches

Today, I'm going to hand in my parking pass (the crutch) and make the move to commuting by bus and bike. I've done it intermittently, but the parking pass was always my crutch that allowed me to go back to the car when I wanted. Recently, my work generously offered to pay for the entire bus pass. Although gas is cheaper, it's still not cheap and I finally committed. The real reason for the change is that Niterider came out with a sweet new light that you can recharge from a USB port. I figure commuting by bus is as good an excuse as any to pick up some new gear.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

My Cindy

I read Elden's post today over at I'd suggest reading it, but only if you have a door to your office or your in a place where other people won't freak out when they see you cry. It made me think about how much I appreciate my wife. Those of you who know us know that I married way up. My wife is the only one who could put up with my combination of pessimism and sarcasm. And don't forget her tolerance of my bike obsession. When I haven't been out to ride for a long time, she'll issue orders that I go for a ride and that I don't return until I'm happy. She also makes the best out of situations that would drive many to frustration if not outright resentment. One example that comes to mind happened last year over the holidays. I was burning the candle at both ends to catch up at work before year's end. It involved spending several days straight at the office. I'd work until dinner, take a break for an hour and return to the office to work until 2-3 in the morning. I'd sleep on the couch in my office, wake up at 7:00, and do it all again. The third night I was there was Friday night. I told her that I would be staying over again. She commented how she and the kids all missed me. Then she decided that they would head up to visit. They arrived around 9:00 p.m. with sleeping bags and videos in tow and spent the night on my floor as I continued to work. Instead of the home-office (where I get nothing done three days into a burner) she'd arranged for an office-home. Her enthusiasm had the kids excited for an adventure and they passed the time coloring and watching videos. That's just one example. She's always willing to help not just me, but anyone who needs it. She's watched dozens and dozens of kids for any number of people, has run errands for people, and has done it all with a cheerful disposition, turning what would otherwise be a tedious task into an adventure with the kids. She's a joy to be around and I'm grateful that she's my Cindy. Sorry if this has been a cheesy post, but Elden's post had me a little emotional.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Beautiful Weekend for a Ride

Friday night we had an early Halloween party with Lani and Patrick. The kids had a great time - the highlight was the kids getting their grooves on in an Abba video dance party.
Saturday was time to ride. Another brother was up this weekend to look at houses and for a long bike ride. It was surprisingly cold to start out - I dressed with a long sleeve jersey, tights, and booties. At first, I thought it'd be too much - until I started moving. The only times I was even really warm was when I was on steep climbs. For our ride, we headed from my house along the backroads of AF, PG and Orem to Racer's shop. From there we headed south around West Mountain into Payson. Then we headed back toward home via Provo and the Provo River trail so my brother could get out to look at houses. By the time we got back, it had warmed up considerably and I was overdressed. The ride to that point was 99 miles, so I changed my jersey, refilled the bottles, and headed back out.
As I rode from Cedar Hills toward Highland, I saw this.
I finished up the ride at 112 and ran for 10 minutes before we headed to the ward's chili cookoff. Our recipe won the vague title of "meatiest." That was a gimme as the recipe includes, various sauce components, bacon, beef sirloin chunks, and no beans.

I limited my chili consumption so I'd be able to eat with my brothers at the Sushi House, off the 5th East exit in American Fork. It was awesome. I'll definitely be going there again.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Game Plan

This is for my own benefit – I figured I’d post this now during training and before pre-race overconfidence sets in during my taper. It's also for Dug, Bob, and Brent. I've seen or heard each of them wonder about how long it would take to fake an Ironman. Well, I figure this would be a good guide for these fellas - in my trained state I'm only slightly less fit than those guys are just walking around. And I'm not just saying that, I've seen it in action over the years. So, here’s my plan/estimates. Swim: In a race simulation swim on the long course this week, I did the distance in 1:25. I’m hoping the race day adrenaline cancels out the extra time due to open water wandering. Swim the first 800 swimming every other stroke until I find the tower at ASU, then switch to bilateral breathing for the remainder. A bad day would be 1:40 Bike: The bike course is three loops. The out portion is flat for the first two thirds and then climbs gradually for the last third. Drink Lap 1: In an effort to recover from the swim, I plan on limiting my wattage to between 150-175 on the out section as I refuel to replace losses from the swim. On the ‘descent’, I’ll still hold the same wattage. At two hours, take the first dose of Vitamin I. Lap 2: Increase wattage to 200-220 watts. At the turn, drink an Ensure and let it settle on the in section. Lap 3: Maintain wattage at 200-220 watts. Continue drinking as scheduled. Take an extra gel and water at the turn. Estimate: 6:00-6:20. I’m sure I could do it faster, but don’t want to come undone on the first lap of the run. Run: The run is also three laps along the Tempe Town Lake. After the first lap, I plan on taking another Ensure and another dosage of vitamin I. This is the big variable – I could realistically end up anywhere between 5:15 with my one mile jog/one minute walk strategy or as much as 6:40 if I fall apart and have to do a lot more walking. An average combined transition time is around 15:00. I figure an extra 5:00 for changing clothes to be more comfortable. So - 1:25 + 6:00 + 5:15 + 0:20 = 13:00 or 1:40 + 6:20 + 6:40 + 20 = 15:00. Somewhere in the middle would be 14:00. Afterwards, I’m planning on a bacon double cheese burger, fries, and an Oreo shake. That is if I can talk some people into carrying my stuff to the car (and if I can hobble that distance).

The Crashing Continues

A friend of a friend was single a few years ago and was part of a group discussion of other single guys several years ago. As the discussion ended, he (I don't remember his name) gave one last bit of consolation: "Remember guys, no matter how hot a girl is there is somebody somewhere who is sick of her crap." And so it was with my Ibis. It was a beautiful bike - a creamy green with a fork to match. Shiny silver accessories including silver King Hubs and XTR components. Yet, as Mr. Flynn pointed out in the comments yesterday, my Ibis and I had a love/hate relationship - in that I loved to look at her and she loved to hurt me. As with any relationship, it wasn't entirely her fault. I was relatively new to single track. I was also riding with people whose descending abilities far outpaced my own. She was just too twitchy, too finicky for me. The summer of 1998 was a magical one. I worked at the shop and went to school. My buddy Red was also a student. We had just started exploring the trails up AF Canyon and the weather conditions were cooperating. It was a relative wet summer in that it often rained lightly in the evening and was cloudy during the day, making the trails tacky without being muddy. It also kept it from getting too hot while we rode. So, one day we parked at the summit trail head and started along the Ridge Trail. We climbed until we were tired and then turned to head back to the car. As we made our way along, the Pine Hollow cutoff trail/Timpanooke trail beckoned. Red wasn't the biggest fan of climbing, so it was only after I promised to climb back to get the car that he agreed to go down. We had no idea what the trail had to offer. Quickly, we were flowing through the curves and dips that those who've ridden this trail have come to be familiar with. The trail generally follows a smooth back and forth path as it winds along the hillside toward the road. I became too comfortable with the flow and went too hot into a corner. If you've ridden the trail, you may remember there used to be a smooth right-hander a few hundred yards from the road crossing toward Timpanooke Campground that opened up into what felt like should be a smooth left-hander. The only problem was a large hole where the line should have been so the trail went sharply left and then sharply right to get around the hole. As I came in hot, I realized there was no way I was going to make the corner, so I tried to bail off the back. The Ibis continued on into the hole - as did I. As the bike went down, my momentum carried me into the seatpost. The bike then planted on the far side of the hole. I was back on the bike - so to speak - as my crotch was crunched against the seatpost. As a result, I followed the bike over in an awkward nose-wheelie/endo type of endeavor. As I reached the far end of the hole, I was presented with two options - eat the stump with my mouth on the other side or lead with my head. I led with my head. Another broken helmet. This time though, I also had an aching shoulder as well as other aching bits. Oh, and another crash story. I never took that corner the same. Good times.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Top Crashes

Or at least some of the crashes that make for good stories. The first crash story will set the record straight. Mark Widmer is fond of telling everyone he takes up to American Fork Canyon about a spot he likes to refer to as "Fish Landing." Jared, Steph, Mark and I were riding down Tibble. Racer may have been there as well. In one particular spot about halfway down there used to be a good log drop that made for a great jump. It's gone now, but Mark's story still remains. As Mark tells it, he, Jared, and I came onto the drop but didn't take advantage of it the first time. So, we turned our bikes around, climbed back up, and gave it a second try. Mark went before me and after he landed he looked back just in time to see my front wheel stick. The result was that I pivoted relative to the ground such that my body was nearly plumb with the ground as impacted. My helmet now acted as a pivot point and as my body rotated so did the bike. My feet were still clipped so that as I pivoted, I came to a position mirroring "rubber-side down," with my head being in contact with the ground and my tires in the air. As I continued over, my pedals disengaged in time for the momentum to throw the bike several feet air. I completed the somersault, ending up on my back while sliding. Moments later my beautiful asparagus green Ibis Mojo hit a tree several feet away and several feet in the air. Before I could sit up, Mark was there holding my head and neck. He was positive I'd broken my neck and was immobilizing it to prevent any further damage. After several minutes he let me up and we continued down the hill. Besides a broken helmet, I was fine. No concussion, not even any real soreness to speak of. Most of what Mark tells is true. But he omits one crucial part. The largest factor in me crashing was that he went off the jump awkwardly and landed awkwardly. In his attempt to correct it, Mark blocked the best jumping and landing lines, forcing me into a doubly awkard position in landing in deep loamy dirt, which resulted in the crash. But, I guess Spot-Where-I-Got-Sideways-and-Made-Fish-Crash-Spectacularly doesn't have quite the same ring as "Fish Landing."

Monday, October 20, 2008

Company Trucks

The company truck and trailer combination is an interesting thing. As I understand it, the application of signage to truck and/or trailer allows the owner to write off some portion of the cost of the truck and/or trailer as a business expense. It also provides some sort of advertising. The problem is that some of the drivers of these company trucks fail to realize that, despite the addage, any publicity is actually not necessarily good publicity. Case in point, Steve's Handyman Service and Repair of American Fork. I was riding north on 900E/4800W (County Coordinates). There is a very large shoulder on that particular road and I was riding four or five feet to the right of the white line. The genius driving the truck swerved well beyond the white line towards me, coming uncomfortably close. And unnecessarily close. I don't really care whether he did it intentionally (which I suspect) or through gross negligence because I'm not going to be giving him a call the next time I need a handyman. Nor am I going to provide anything similar to a recommendation for his services to anyone else. I do have to thank him for the big signs on his trailer. Otherwise, he would have been just another driver that buzzed me instead of someone whose services I can actively avoid. Thanks, Steve.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

A Good, Long Day

Saturday was a great day. I got up early and rolled out with Dan and his brother, who was in town for the weekend. We rode what's become one of my favorite road rides - I ride from my house down to Locust Ave into Lindon, down to 1600 N. in Orem, around the backside of the Cascade Golf Course and to the Provo River trail. Very little traffic makes it one my favorites to do with Cindy as we can ride and talk as we go. The day started off warm at my house, but I was cold and windy until we turn up from Vivian Park up S. Fork. The ride up South Fork was awesome - the wind died and everything was bathed in the early morning golden sunlight. After we arrived home, I headed out alone for a tour of AF/Highland/Alpine. I was starting to get sick of the saddle and hadn't done the best job with nutrition, so I was a little bonky as well. In the middle of all of this, I suddenly had goose bumps and a real fear that I'd be riding through my neighborhood with diarrhea running down my legs. Desperation sat in as I began looking for some isolated spots in the middle of American Fork. And then, I spotted this little gem. I rode home, did the brick portion of my workout when Jared and Stephanie arrived. We loaded up the mountain bikes and made our way up American Fork Canyon. We started up the road and caught the Timpanooke Trail. From the Timpanooke Trail, we made our way along the Ridge Trail to Tibble Fork. As we pedaled along, I began to realize that a large number of my best ride stories over the years have involved Jared. I also thought of the great rides I've had with Dan, Jon, Racer, and Brent. One thing each of the rides had in common was a focus on the company and the experience more than the pace. That always put me at ease about my gravitational challenge. Hopefully, they remember the rides as good times as well. Anyway, this is what we saw as we climbed up Timpanooke: The descent didn't disappoint. I decided to stop midway down to check the integrity of my collarbone - I smashed it pretty good in June. I hit one of the few mud spots on the way down in a corner. I had set the line up to carve the high-side of the corner but instead slid past the line due to the mud and hit a quakie at nearly full speed. The feeling was very similar to being hit on a crackback block while playing football. With the integrity of the collarbone established, I was strangely more confident during the rest of the descent. By the time I made it to the Summer Homes/Tibble Fork turn, I was giggling involuntarily. After the ride, we gathered the little ones and headed to Red Lobster for the shrimp fest. I would have been disappointed in how little I ate in previous years, but this time I was glad I didn't give away the work of the entire day. The kids had a good time and it was a good ending to a great day.

Monday, October 13, 2008

More Weather

It turns out that I'm more prone to the weather than I thought. This weekend I started off with all the cold weather gear I needed. And then, it snowed and hailed on me and I came back in. I hate riding the trainer and riding the trainer for four hours was aweful. My legs were still achy from my long run Wednesday and I couldn't get myself motivated to push. As a result, more weight rested on the saddle and I quickly fell like my butt was going to fall off. Either I need better weather the next two weekends or I need to HTFU (from the black wrist bands the CSC guys wore last year). Fall perfection seems to have skipped me by. Maybe this next Saturday I can talk some people into putting in some easy time in the hills with me.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008


Unlike Brent, Steve O. and Bob, I'm not a swimmer. My priorities with the swim are simple: avoid freaking out and feeling like my lungs are going to burst in the first several hundred meters of the race and then maintain enough form and pace to avoid being DFL out of the water. My current plan involves swimming one increasingly longer monster set a week. Last night was my longest swim to date. I swam 2.5 miles, surpassing the 2.3 I swam two weeks ago. The 4000 meters went down something like this: the first 600 sucked as my arms were a little achy from the previous day's swim. It always takes me about this long for my arms to feel okay and my breathing to settle in. 600-1300 were okay. 1301-2600 sucked. Bad. Despite my best efforts, I felt sloppy and felt like I was reaching too much to breathe. From 2601 until the end, something magical happened as I suddenly felt smooth and was back to my early set pace. I just need to remember this when I think of quitting 1300 m at Arizona.