Saturday, December 26, 2009

Santa Stopped By

Whatever could it be!?
No, I'm not talking about my wife's "Fall Moab Pillows" in the background.

It's nearly 3 lbs off of my current setup by the time everything is said and done, that's what:

Santa also got me a new set of uber-light tires (which may or may not actually hold air), a new set of uber-light rotors (which may or may not actually stop me) and converted my bike to a 1x9 setup (he's a pretty good mechanic). I reserve the right to throw granny LaBerta back on from time to time for courses like Park City Point to Point and Solitude.

Please don't sneeze when I pass you (which is bound to happen quite often with my new setup). I'm afraid you might break my new wheels.

I'm hoping that the weight savings on my bike will offset the fact that I haven't actually ridden a bike in about 3 weeks, and I've been doing nothing but eating pie, cookies and ice cream for the past 3 days. Playing in the snow and with the family has been fun though.

Friday, December 4, 2009

The Happiest Place on Earth! Yeah!

Has anyone seen this list floating around? It's the 10 "Happiest" states:

1) Utah: 69.2
2) Hawaii: 68.2
3) Wyoming: 68
4) Colorado: 67.3
5) Minnesota: 67.3
6) Maryland: 67.1
7) Washington: 67.1
8) Massachusetts: 67
9) California: 67
10) Arizona: 66.8

Well of course we're the happiest! With all of the Prozac we take, how could we not be!?

The Flawed Study and Hypothesis

The study was entitled, "Happiest States are Wealthy and Tolerant." The website that published this study is called "", so one would think it would be safe to assume that the wealthy + tolerant = happy hypothesis is based on rock-solid incontrovertible scientific evidence.

However, the fact that Utah is neither extraordinarily wealthy (14th out of 50) or tolerant (unless tolerance really just means "so homogeneous that tolerance is really easy", i.e., you are tolerant toward people who are just like you, which becomes easy when the majority shares your political and religious beliefs) made me question the wealth + tolerant = happy hypothesis.

The New Hypothesis

Upon identifying the flaws in the wealth + tolerant = happy hypothesis, I set out to find a new explanation for what makes a state happy. After minutes of extensive study and analysis, I've come up with a new hypothesis. The evidence supporting my hypothesis is so strong that it completely debunks the wealth+tolerance=happiness myth. My hypothesis is as simple as it is true:

The Happiest States have Good Mountain Biking.

The Evidence:

Of the top 10 on the list, almost every single one has great mountain biking. Check it out: Utah, Hawaii, Wyoming, Colorado, Minnesota (which I hear has one of the best race series around), Washington, Maryland (which I hear has excellent east-coast singletrack), California, and Arizona. Mass is the only one I'm not sure of. If you keep going down the entire list, the evidence is equally strong, with Idaho, Montana, New Hampshire, Vermont, New Mexico, Oregon, and Alaska all making the top 20.

On the other hand, take a look at the most depressed/unhappy states:

40. Louisiana: 64.2
41. Michigan: 64.0
42. Tennessee: 64.0
43. Oklahoma: 64.0
44. Missouri: 63.8
45. Indiana: 63.3
46. Arkansas: 62.9
47. Ohio: 62.8
48. Mississippi: 61.9
49. Kentucky: 61.4
50. West Virginia: 61.2

Hey, I'm planning a mountain biking trip that hits every one of these bottom-ten states. Anyone want to come? Didn't think so.

The Happiest Place

Now that I've definitively established that mountain biking makes happy states, let's take another look at my assertion that "tolerance" really means "homogeneous" in this study. If that's the case, then it's no wonder that Utah County is called "Happy Valley." In fact, between its homogeneity and incredible mountain biking, I may very well live in the happiest place on earth! But if you're not just like me, please ride somewhere else. Thanks.

If you are just like me, please meet today at the Shooting Range (above the Orem Cemetary) at 1pm for what may be the last snowless ride of the season. We'll be riding "RAPR" (Ride Around Provo River), which basically looks like this.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Insider Tip for Riding with a Single Speeder

Most of you geared riders have gone through this, I'm sure. You showed up to a group ride a few years back and there was some joker there with a single speed. You sort of rolled your eyes and were maybe even somewhat annoyed that you'd have to wait for this guy. And then he completely smoked you. Ever since, you've been wondering what could possibly be done do slow these single speeders down to a pace you could keep up with.

Well last week during a ride with a SS'er, I inadvertently stumbled across an N-step process for bringing single speeders down to the level of a mere mortal. When used properly on most SS'ers, the process works like Kryptonite.

1) Only ride with a single speeder if there are trails nearby that are at least 20% grade. Preferably closer to 30%.

2) Right at the beginning of the ride, start talking about how there are some nearby trails that you've really been wanting to try (the trails that exceed 20% grade).

3) Mention that the trails are a bit steep, so you don't know if it's a good idea for a single speeder to ride them.

4) (VERY IMPORTANT STEP, which is why I'm putting this in caps, bold, underline and in red font, which is by far the best way to denote importance) Tell at least one of those single speeder jokes that just never get old, like "well, if it gets too steep you can always shift into an easier gear... oh wait, ha ha ha ha." Single speeders LOVE these jokes. Seriously, they can't get enough of them.

***Note: steps 3 and 4 are like SS'er bait, and it works better on SS'ers than rainbow-colored powerbait at a fish farm. Upon hearing these types of jokes, a SS simply cannot resist the opportunity to prove his/her ability to ride anything you can on gears.

5) Take them on the steep trails first thing. There is no point in making their kneecaps explode at the end of the ride. While riding these trails, shift into your granny gear and try to keep a straight face.

6) Once the SS'ers are good and tired, then ride the other trails you had planned on riding from the beginning. If you've implemented the process with the requisite level of proficiency, the SS'ers will be so tired that you may actually keep them in sight during the remainder of the ride.

This process is subject to two caveats:

1) This process can never be used against he who discovered and disclosed the process when he is riding his single speed (i.e., me).

2) The process fails if the single speeder you're riding with is named Kenny. He'll bury you regardless of which trails you take.

You're welcome.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Didn't Take Long

I figured someone would turn a sub-40 on the Dry Loop TT. I didn't think it would happen till next year though. While I was finishing my 4th (or was it 5th?) piece of pie (let's see, 1 slice lemon meringue, 2 of apple, 1 berry, 1 pumpkin... yeah, it was 5) someone else was setting a record time in Dry Canyon. Check it.

Brandon and I were the only participants in the "Frozen Turkey" ride this morning. We did an out and back on the Great Western Trail toward Little Baldy before descending Dry. Great Western is a great trail that merits further research during a future lunch meeting. During the descent down Dry, we had an audience or 3 or 4 Thanksgiving hikers while we both smoked the pipe. I'm guessing that 99% of the population would look at that portion of trail and conclude that it would be impossible to ride it on a bike. Hopefully Brandon and I gave them a good story to tell over Thanksgiving dinner.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

MLS Cup Final

I've always been a bit of a soccer fan. I played growing up, but haven't touched a soccer ball much since high school. Nowadays, spectating will have to do, at least until this whole bike riding phase wears off.

During the 2002 World Cup in Japan/Korea, the U.S. actually had a decent run and a few of my college friends and I were desperate to watch some of the key matches. Of course, none of us could actually afford cable, but I happened to live in a place where cable was included in the rent. This was back when I couldn't even afford a VCR, so the only option was to watch it live. This meant getting a knock at my door every few nights for a couple of weeks at 2 or 3am. I'd pull myself out of bed to let my friends in, and we'd spend the rest of the night yelling, screaming, jumping, and doing everything else in our power to keep my wife and the rest of my unfortunate neighbors awake. Those were good times. For us. Maybe not so much for my neighbors.

So when RSL came to town 5 seasons ago, we decided to go in on season tickets with some friends of ours. Last week when RSL surprised everyone (well, everyone within the small percentage of the population who follow the MLS, anyway) by beating Chicago to reach the MLS cup finals, I figured I may as well check out the ticket prices. The best tickets available were only $25. I figured this could be a rare opportunity so I bought a couple. The next morning, I told my wife that we should start looking for babysitters, because we were taking a road trip to Seattle for the MLS finals. She was all in.

The road trip with just the two of us reminded me of the good old days. It had been a while, and it was long overdue. There's something about a long trip in the car with your significant other to a destination that really doesn't seem to merit the drive that just hits the spot every once in a while (and no, I'm not talking about the road trip to Fruita with Brandon). This is especially true when the destination ends up far exceeding expectations like Seattle did on this trip. The game itself ended up being the most exciting and memorable sporting event I've ever attended.

I was especially impressed with the turnout from the RSL fans. Being that the L.A. Galaxy market is at least 10 times the SLC market, not to mention the Beckham factor, I figured we'd see at least 10 times more Galaxy fans than RSL fans. It was just the opposite though. Between the RSL fans who made the trip and the local Seattle fans who overwhelmingly adopted the underdog RSL team, the crowd was crazy for RSL which created a raucous atmosphere that added to the experience. The tension in the second have and extra time was palpable, as RSL had numerous chances to win the game but failed to convert, and the tension carried over to the shootout to the point that I thought the stadium was going to spontaneously combust.

Here is a quick video compilation to give you a feel for what it was like to be at the MLS cup final. The camera work really sucks at the end. No seriously, it sucks really really bad. But I wasn't too interested in filming at the time - I was more intereated in the thrill of victory and agony of defeat that was going on around me, which often included getting jumped on, hugged, and high fived by the people around us. So sorry for the camera work, but it should give you an idea of the atmosphere in the stadium.

For better footage, here are the highlights, including the shootout:

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Alternative Uses for CarboRocket

As I eluded to in my previous post, a couple weeks ago during a lunch meeting (we were conducting research on Frank at the time), a few of the local marketing geniuses (i.e., me and my friends) held a spontaneous brainstorming session to come up with some ideas for CarboRocket's winter advertising campaign . Unfortunately, most of Kenny's ideas were NSFW. However, we did come up with some pretty good ideas that Brad should consider incorporating.

Basically, the ad campaign goes something like this: We all know that CarboRocket works miracles. However, CarboRocket will always be limited in its growth potential if it is only tapping the hydration market. What many people may not realize is that CR's uses can go way beyond hydration. The winter ad campaign focuses on these often ignored uses. For instance:

1) Miracle cure: Dan (the Intern) has miraculously cured a Mark-sized gash to his arm, simply by pouring CR in the wound. A day after the wound was inflicted, there was no sign of the injury.
2) Lube: For bikes, of course. And tools that don't quite fit and/or get stuck while in use. Kenny had some additional ideas here that may need to be further vetted offline.

3) Shammy Cream: Apply in powder form. Add sweat and it creates the perfect consistency. Trust me.

4) Chain Cleaner/Degreaser: There has been some talk that peeing on your chain is also a good substitute. This is absolutely true, as long as you are drinking the proper amount of CarboRocket, in which case there should be no distinguishable difference between your pee and CR.

5) Baby Formula: You think you're going to make fast kids by feeding them milk!? Pffft...

6) Flu Vaccine: I've heard people complaining about swine flue vaccine shortages. I'm not sure what the problem is, because last I checked, Racer's still had plenty of CR.

Brad - feel free to incorporate any of these ideas into your winter advertising campaign. We accept all forms of payment, including CarboRocket.

And to all, please feel free to add the N'th use for CarboRocket in the comments.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

New Time Trial in Town

So I realize that November 17th isn't exactly the best time to be introducing yet another TT. But I'm being optomistic that that current good riding conditions in the Timp Foothill Trails will continue.

Last week Mr. Maddox and I were in a bit of a hurry, so we decided to ride the Dry Canyon Loop without stopping like we normally do to rave about the trail, talk about tired legs, and think up alternative uses for CarboRocket. When we finished, we noted our times, and started talking about what how the current Time Trial blogs in existence currently all lack a key element: a real mountain biking course.

Don't get me wrong. I have nothing against a trail that's almost as smooth as a sidewalk that you sprint up in 7-12 minutes. It's a good indicator of top-end fitness, or in my case, a good indicator of my lack thereof. But how often will you race a 10 minute dirt hillclimb? When have you ever ridden up without looking forward to the down?

So being the marketing geniuses that we are, we decided to fill this "gap" in the time trial market, and the Dry Loop Time Trial was born. It's certainly different than anything that's currently out there, at least locally. It even gives you options for which route to take. For instance, the new lower belt trail:

Photo credits to Adam

After our initial attempt, I got an email from Maddox (co-founder). He tells me that on his way home from the ride, he asks himself "do we really want to encourage riders to go all out on that descent? I decided, hell yes!"

So there you have it, straight from the horse's mouth. Hopefully within the next couple of days, the entire loop will be in good shape and will give you a few more chances to log your times. If not, well... you now have something to train for over the winter. So check it out, ride hard, and send me your times. Nobody has done this all-out yet, so you have a good chance of being the top rung on the ladder if you act soon.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Fall Moab, Fiscal Year 2010... in Fruita

As is par for the course with me, my Fall Moab report is coming a bit late. And because it's late, you've probably already read 3 or 4 other Fall Moab reports, and/or seen a couple of really great videos like Fatty's and Kris'.

So all I'll say is that every once in a great while, it's worth waking up at 3:30am and driving 8 hours (round trip) within a 19 hour period, just so that you can ride your bike for a while. But only if your destination is Fruita. Or maybe Moab.

The few pictures I took turned out pretty lame, but I do have some documentation that is even more valuable than pictures. If a picture says a thousand words, then the the GPS tracks from rides like these must say ten thousand. Or maybe even a million. So when you visit Fruita, especially if it's your first visit, follow these routes and you won't be disappointed, because they give you a great single-day view of what Fruita is all about. Click on each of these pictures and then push the "play" button for additional details on the elevation profile, the route, etc.

Horsethief (if you click into this track, you'll notice that after the ride, I hopped on the freeway, road 75 miles per hour to Fruita, went through the McDonald's drivethrough, and then to the campground, all on my 32x20 singlespeed):

Lunch Loops - this is now on my new top 5. Maybe even higher. You have to like technical stuff to enjoy the small loop in the middle called "Holy Cross." By the time we hit it, some folks were getting tired of tech-stuff, so I'd recommend hitting it first, and then doing the more mellow (but still technical and super fun) outer-loop:

Kessell - Fast, fun, easy. Perfect way to end the day:

Thursday, November 5, 2009


What conclusion would you arrive to if a few people you work exhibited the following characteristics:

1) They disappear every day at lunch to go to secret "meetings."

2) They also are always hungry, particularly after said lunch meetings. You could probably say that they have the "munchies."

3) When they return from their lunch meetings, they have red eyes and big silly grins on their faces.

4) You'll occasionally hear them mention something about "smoking the pipe" during lunch.

5) If 2-3 days go by and they have been unable to sneak away for their "meetings", they get all jittery, high-strung, and irritable.

Yeah, Maddox and I were talking after one of our recent lunch "meetings" (actually, I think we were IM'ing - the modern day equivalent of talking. Or at least it is until Google Wave takes over and IM'ing becomes the cassette tapes of communicating), and he made the observation that if we're not careful, rumors are going to start circulating around the office.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


This post may have been a bit better timed a few days ago, but I kept forgetting to grab my not-so-universal-serial-bus cable for my camera. By the way, what is up with every company coming out with their own proprietary "USB" connections. Doesn't that sort of defeat the purpose? From now on, I'm only buying Canon cameras (even though they only last about a year before they go Kaput) and Blackberry phones (even if I won't be as cool as people with iPhones), just so that I can use one USB cable for both.


Rick's Helloween ride was awesome. I don't have much to add to what has already been said, except that i can't believe how fast Kyle, Kenny, Rick, Brandon, etc. took off up the dirt road while I felt like someone started a fire in my lungs.

Oh, and Rick hooked me up with this Salt Cycling jersey and a bag of CarboRocket after the race, likely because I was blasting some kick-A tunes during the ride:

I somewhat reluctantly gave the bag of CR to another deserving participant (one can never have too much CarboRocket), but there was no way I was parting with the jersey. I think my favorite two jerseys currently come out of Rick's Salt Cycling collection. So if you haven't picked one up yet, go grab one. Thanks for the hookup, Rick!

I also did some good documenting along the way:
Fish, you're going to love this one of Dan/Kenny:
Best costume, IMO, goes to Rob:
Brokeback Mountain Biking:
Ryan road the entire ride with this costume:
Rick Madoff with yo money:
The Helloween Mastermind:

The two stooges:
And I was rockin' out. Next time I'll bring extra batteries for the ghetto blaster:

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Offsite Conference

While Rick was collaborating with some of the up-and-coming companies in the valley during a lunch meeting in Corner Canyon, I called together some of the most high-powered movers and shakers within our company for an offsite presentation held at the Dry Canyon Conference Room. Maddox, Jon and I did some field research that included Betty, Crank, Area 51 and Dry.

We'll need to do some benchmarking with the Draper group sometime soon, because at the end of the day, I'm confident that if we synergize by combining forces, and if we can think outside the box, we'll see some great results.
I just love corporate speak.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Don't you just HATE it when that happens?

I'd say there are quite a few motivators for staying reasonably fit. Better health, higher energy levels, more enjoyment out of life, etc. One of the often overlooked benefits of staying fit is being able to see your junk when your underwear starts to cause, um, "chaffing." Allow me to explain.

A dude named Al went on a trip to Hawaii with his wife back in 2007. This was a very big deal, so his sweet wife purchased a new pair of Hanes underwear for the trip. One thing lead to another (nope, the new briefs didn't lead to that), and he ended up in court, suing Hanes. I'll let the court document take over from here... but before I do, you can see the full case right here, in case you think I'm pulling your leg.
Plaintiff testified he believed sand that he picked up in his swim trunks while Enjoying the Hawaiian surf had irritated his penis. Over the next few days he and his wife "walked all over the place" until his condition worsened to the point that he "could hardly walk." Plaintiff testified his inability to walk was caused by defendant's defective manufacturing of his underwear which caused his "fly" to gap open . . . "and acted like a sand belt on my privates."

While most dudes would inspect their junk upon noticing soreness, poor Al never did, but for good reason:

He testified he is a "belly-man" and his "weight" prevents him from looking down and seeing his penis. He further testified he declined to use the hotel mirror to view the "injury" because that is "not something he would do." He also testified he did not ask his wife to examine his penis because he would never ask her to do such a thing."

I really can't comment on Big Al's statements in anyway without this post turning into potty humor (oops, a little too late for that). I will mention that somewhat ironically, Al won his trip to Hawaii as a reward for selling more than $20,000.00 of diet products. He's obviously quite the salesman, if you think about it.

Tragically, Al didn't prevail in his suit against Hanes. But it wasn't a total loss for him: he was allowed to keep the video of the injury on the Internet because "the court does not have jurisdiction to address this request."

So just to clarify - checking out the injury in the mirror or asking his wife to sneak a peek is "not something he would do", but posting a video of the injury on the Internet? TOTALLY OKAY!

So, as with many of my posts that are way out in left field, we are left with the question: What does all of this have to do with Shammy Time? Simple. Riding your bike a couple times a week will help keep your line of sight to your junk unobstructed, which will go a long way toward ensuring that you don't become another Hanes travesty.

Oh, and one more thing that is directly related to "shammies." My biggest fear about Rick's Helloween ride is not that I'll see Rick in a giant girl scout uniform. It's that I'll end up having to sue the manufacturer of my costume for causing unwanted "chaffing." You better believe I'll be wearing a shammy under my costume after reading this case.

Friday, October 23, 2009

5 and Under Singlespeed

The little misses has been wanting to race since long before the day she learned to ride on two wheels, so Saturday was finally the big day. Here she is with her little buddy at the start line:

She's ready to tackle the barriers, but needs some work on her remounts:
Motoring through the rough stuff:

This lap took the men's Bs about 7 minutes or so. This 5 year old did it in about 6. Or maybe it was closer to 46. To her credit, she stuck with it and came through with a big time finish:
After finishing, she asked if she won. "Um, I think you won the 5 and under singlespeed Category." She was pretty stoked.

Oh, and if I need to buy a $10 number plate and $8 for my 5 year old to race, at least hand out a ribbon or something. I realize that the manpower and resources at the CX races is pretty limited, but even handing a ribbon to each kid as they finish would make their day.

Great. I'm officially one of those parents. You know, the kind who tells their kids they won even when they didn't. The kind that rewards their kids with mediocrity. And whose kids grow up, enter the real world and wonder why people suddenly expect them to earn their keep, and then suffer from low self esteem because they come to the realization that they really aren't the best at everything they do, despite what their parent/teachers told them. But I still want my kid's ribbon, dang it!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

24 Hours of Moab, 2009

Before we get started, allow me to introduce you to our 24 Hours of Moab team. First is our team Captain, fearless leader, and van driver, Jesse Sorenson, with his pain-cave face on:

Next is Tim Hodnett, our "fast guy", who turned a 1:06 on his first lap. Every team should have at least one fast guy. We had exactly one.

Here is our celebrity, "Press VIP", and face of the team, Adam Lisonbee. Maybe you've heard of him:

Finally, the Madder Doggers felt like they needed to bring in a really fast ringer from the outside to complete the team. Since they couldn't find one, they got me instead:

The race itself was awesome, but the team camp was really the icing on the cake. Organizational whiz Keith Payne (don't even bother, he never updates anyway), went all out this year, and I have no doubt that we had the best camp in the entire tent city. We had a full-time cook (thanks Abby), a full-time mechanic (thanks Brian... I think), charging stations, a warming tent, and even labeled plastic cups. He really thought of everything. And in case you haven't heard, Keith really sets the standard for team managers, and works non-stop to acquire sponsors and other benefits for his team.

For strategy reasons, most teams pick the fastest guy to do the run. But with the Madder Doggers, the tradition is that the rookie runs, so I was up. Lining up with 300 other racers, all chomping at the bit is an experience that everyone should try at least once. I was lined up next to Mr. Sabrosa Jon, who accurately described the crowd as one big cluster****.

****Jon was sporting his typical hotrod jumpsuit, as can be seen here.

The first lap was absolute chaos, and therefore, one of the most fun experiences I've had on a bike. I wanted to go out on the run fast enough that I'd have a descent position on the bike, but not so fast that I'd completely blow up. Considering that I must be the world's worst runner, I think I ended up up closer to the blowing-up side of things, without gaining the benefit of a great position on the bike.

My legs felt like they were filled with lead after the run, but the adrenaline and the desire not to get passed kept me going. The hardest part about that first lap is deciding whether the extra effort to leave the good line in order to pass is worth it, especially since there was usually a train of 10 riders in front of and behind you, so there was no telling how long you'd be stuck in the sand and rough rock.

At the end of the first lap, I decided to sacrifice a couple of seconds in order to take my bike off of a sweet jump that we built in front of our campsite. The reports vary, but it sounds like I got somewhere between 4-5 feet of air, and pulled off a no-footed 360 (extra points for difficulty with clipless pedals). Unfortunately, Kris' picture was taken just before I executed my aerial maneuver:

I came in from lap one just under the time I had hoped for, so I was happy. And then Adam and Tim went on to demolish my time. They were both on fire. My second lap went pretty good as well, only dropping about a minute from my first lap.

Lap 3 was my first night lap, starting at 10pm. My light setup worked awesome, and I was able to ride everything I rode during the day. I was really having a blast riding the course at night, and I felt like I was going to be within a couple minutes of my first two lap times. And then, after hiking down into nose-dive, my legs started cramping up. Both legs, calves and quads, were completely locked up. I spent a few minutes down in nose-dive gully trying to stretch them out. There were a couple of kids camping nearby who asked if I needed any help. I told them to carry me and my bike out of the gully, but they didn't oblige.

Once I finally got back on my bike, everything was fine. I blame the cramping on the running at the beginning, but Karl says I'm being a baby about it. He's probably right.

During the break between laps 3 and 4 I loaded up with electrolytes to help with the cramping. I think it worked, but it also kept me awake the rest of the night. Lap 4 was a tough one for me. We had a good lead, I hadn't slept a wink, and it was colder than I had dressed for, so I lacked motivation. My headlamp went out (yes, that one), so I was only left with the bar light. I pretty much soft pedaled the lap without incident, and figured at that point of the race, the main goal was to keep the rubber side down and not get any flats, so it was a success.

I finally got about 45-50 minutes of sleep between laps 4 and 5, which made a world of difference. Riding in the daylight was soooo nice, and I felt like a million bucks. My lap time wasn't spectacular, but the other guys were still riding strong so we were able to hold onto the lead.

I feel lucky to have been on this team this year. We had one really fast guy and 3 other guys who were consistent enough to hold off the other teams. I heard a lot of complaints about the course being lame, but I'm not sure where those complaints come from. The course was perfect for a big race, with plenty of technical climbs and descents to keep things interesting. The entire experience is crazy, from the run at the beginning to looking down on a glowing tent city at 4am in the middle of the desert. I'm already looking forward to next year.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Cactus and Snakes

I wish I were reporting on a visit to Interbike from a few weeks back, or maybe Cross Vegas (can hacks like me even race in that race?), but alas, I was in Vegas for a riveting work-related conference instead, and missed Interbike altogether. And unlike last year's conference, I didn't even get invited to a strip club in attempt to land my company as a client.

I did, however, have a few experiences worth remembering. I headed out for a few rides in the Red Rock/Cottonwood area again, which is a great series of trails. Except for the fact that you can't cut corners quite the same way you can around here without risking some serious repercussions. I thought my shins were pretty well covered in callouses from riding the overgrown Timp Foothill Trails this year, but they were no match for this bad boy, which was strategically placed on the inside edge of one of the many fast corners:

The damage may look minor in this picture, but these little spines were rock-hard and were embedded almost an inch into my leg.
And to top it off, each of these needles was barbed. So for the few of you out there who actually have hair on your legs, imagine grabbing a 1 inch by 1 inch patch of leg hair, yanking it out, and then repeating about 20 times. That's basically what it felt like to remove these cactus needles. As if the pain of colliding with the cactus wasn't enough.

A bit later I hopped over this little dude who was strung-out across the trail. I think it's a bull snake, but I'm no expert.

He put on a pretty good show when I came back to check him out. Crank up the volume and listen to him hiss at me:

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Dawn Patrol, Anyone?

I think there's enough snow to get a few turns in somewhere up there...

or not.

I'm ready for the snow, but I'm not so sure about the 4am wakeup calls.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Resistance Training

I got up yesterday planning on an early ride since it would be the only time I could get out all day. As I was rolling out of the garage, the door opened and Aubrie came running out. Alas, I could either bag the ride or load her up, so in she went:

I call this resistance training not because of the extra 60 lbs that I'm pulling, but because Aubrie has a resistance to riding back there for more than 20-30 minutes at a time. And because she knows exactly where the 3 playgrounds are between our house and Vivian park:

And by the way, can anyone explain to me what why these instructions seem to be so difficult for so many people to understand?

Anyone who has been up to the Provo River Trail knows what I mean. I promised myself that this wouldn't turn into a rant. So I'll stop now.

I realize that so far this has been one of those family posts that nobody really wants to read. Except for maybe my Mom (Like Watcher, I also recently found out that my mom reads my blog. Hi mom!). I'm pretty sure that my brother would even skip this post. So for the few of you who are still reading, I have a little story for you. It goes a little something like this:

Speaking of bike trailers, one morning, back when I lived in my previous neighborhood, I loaded up Aubrie in the trailer and pulled her over to her pre-school. In my previous neighborhood, pulling a kid to school could get you labeled as "hip" and "environmentally friendly." In my current neighborhood, such an act might get you labeled as a "hippie", and an "environmental nut-job." But I digress...

After dropping her off, I started riding home with reckless abandon since the trailer was now empty. I rounded a right-hand turn, and it just so happens that without the added weight of a kid in the trailer, it becomes pretty unstable. The trailer flipped over onto its side, scraped on the ground for a while, and then flipped back over onto its two wheels when I straightened out.

When I looked back at the trailer to make sure I could keep riding, I noticed two ladies across the street who were out on their morning walk, and were spectators to the event. They both had horrified looks on their faces, and I realized that they clearly thought that there was a kid in the trailer (who rides around pulling a trailer without any kids in it, after all?).

I decided I'd better say something to them to put their minds at ease. So I hollered back:
Looks like she slept right through it!

I guess I'm lucky that bikes don't have license plates, because if they did, I think child services may have knocked on my door later that day.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

The Best Things About Late Summer

Perfect riding weather, ski season approaching, and...

Them there cantaloupes gave me quite the FO. And I may be a bit biased, but I don't that you can make salsa much better than when the tomatoes and jalapenos come straight out of the garden. Mmmm...

Thursday, September 10, 2009


Few of you who read this know that back in the day, I was quite the rock star. Shoot, I even married one of my groupies, so I must have been a rock star (although she may tell you a slightly different story - don't believe it though). Before I got more into mountain biking, I spent almost all of my free time playing the guitar. And it really started before that. I played the drums in bands through high school, and before that, I cut my teeth on the trumpet, piano, and even the accordion. Yeah, that's right; I used to play the accordion. So if you ever need to turn an otherwise boring party into a barn-burner, let me know. All it will take is 5 minutes on the accordion, and that place will be hopping.

After playing drums and guitar in a few punk rock bands through high school, I went to Utah State University and started playing guitar in a more mellow band called the "Blue Kilts." Don't ask. Anyway, we had a few member changes and finally settled in on a lineup that came together pretty well. We wrote a few original songs, and among them was one little ditty I wrote on the guitar that was pretty catchy. At least we thought so, anyway.

We messed around with it in our little practice space for a while, trying to figure out the best way to organize the song. Finally we gave this a try:

I started out by finger-picking the melody in a rather melodic sort of way, and then Steve came in on another acoustic guitar to add some harmonies. We built it up and improvised for 30 seconds or so, then we both stopped for a split second, and then we all came in together: Steve and I strumming the chords, Mike on the bass, along with Eric on the drums (we hadn't added our violin/fiddle player yet).

When it all came together, it sounded so harmonic, so loud, so in-tune, and so... perfect, that we all just stopped after 5 seconds, looked at each other with a dumbfounded look, and then started laughing. Things may have even escalated to the point that we were passing around a few high fives. It truly was an amazing and memorable moment. When we all finally calmed down, Mike uttered a line that will live on in infamy:

"Dude, I think I just had a Music Orgasm."

This was soon shortened to a "MO", the song was named MO, and lyrics were written around having a MO, culminating with a question for our loyal listeners (all 4 of them (1 more than my number of blog readers)): "where were you when you had your first MO?"

I can tell you the first MO I remember. I was probably around 12, sitting in my brother's bedroom in the basement listening to his new Master of Puppets tape for the first time with the stereo cranked to 11 (much louder than stereos that only go to 10). I think I must have started on side two, because I seem to remember listening to Orion and Damage Incorporated first. I flipped the tape over and "Battery" came on. I listened to the acoustic part at the beginning thinking "this is kind of cool." Then the song really took off with the distortion, base, drums, etc., and I'm pretty sure I fell out of my chair. That's right; my first MO was to a Metallica song. What can I say, I'm a product of my environment. Hey, it beats saying that my first MO was to Simon and Garfunkel.

Anyway, the usage of "MO" was quickly expanded. For example, FO (food) was soon added to our vernacular, along with many other variations. (By the way, if you want to have a total FO, go to Tiburon in Sandy and order either the Elk or the Filet. FO in every bite).

So how does all of this relate to "Shammy Time", you might be wondering? I'll tell you how. I was out on a ride the other day and had an experience that made me expand the usage of "MO" yet again:

STO (single track).

All it took was a short stretch of single track near the end of the Jacob's Ladder descent. Fast, smooth, with just enough slight twists and rollers to make you feel weightless, if only for a split second. I had butterflies in my stomach, a huge grin on my face, and the hair on my neck and arms started to stand up. All signs that I was having a STO.

I had yet another STO on Saturday. I had just ridden/raced 70+ miles of incredible Park City singletrack. I was a bit delusional, which only heightened the STO experience. I peeled off of the mid-mountain trail and onto Rob's to descend into the Canyons Resort. Rob's was simply perfect. A 1 mile stretch of 1 foot wide, tacky, fast, rolling, delectable singletrack. As I coasted down, I reflected on what I had just accomplished that day, and knew I was finally about to step off of my bike and collapse into the soft grass at the Canyons Resort in a state of total exhaustion. And I had a total STO, right there on Ray's...

...and then 5 minutes later I realized I still had one more climb to go. That last piece of gratuitous torture provided by the PCP2P race organizers.

So what are some of your most memorable STOs?

And do you have any MOs that are worth mentioning? (and don't be embarrassed to admit that it came to a Simon & G song).

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

PCP2P vid

Thanks to Kris for forwarding:

If you're wondering why my helmet is always crooked, it's because I have a crooked head. If you don't believe me, you can feel for yourself.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Park City Point 2 Point

I've read a bunch of race reports on the PCP2P and they all have a pretty similar storyline:

Fun time racing in a paceline around Round Valley
The rain and beautiful rainbow on Prospector
Feeling good through the first aid stations
Monumental bonk, usually somewhere near Shadow Lake
Recovery on Mid Mountain
One of the best and most difficult races around

That pretty much sums up my race as well. I went into the race hoping to finish in less than 9 hours, but honestly wouldn't have been surprised if it had been anywhere between 8 and 11. Being the first year, finishing times were an unknown, but there were a lot of people predicting Leadville-like finishing times.

The entire course was fantastic, and included just about every variety of singletrack you could imagine, from rolling desert, to smooth and fast, to power climbs, to technical climbs, to highly technical, twisty, rooty, rocky descents. It really had everything. Except for roads. Over the course of 76.88 miles (according to the Garmin), I would be surprised if there were more than 3 total miles of road (both dirt and pavement). Everything was amazing, buff singletrack.

Hardly anything came easy at the PCP2P. There were no extended flat sections where you could put your head down and hammer. Whether you were climbing or descending, it was balls-to-the-wall the entire time. The descent down TG2 and Johns trail were literally as hard as any of the climbing. But I'm glad that everyone one of those trails were included, as they all added to the remarkable race.In general, I think that my race went as good, if not better, than I could have expected. I forced myself to alternate between gels and blocks every 45 minutes, even though my stomach never felt hungry. I think this paid off in the end, because the last 15 miles went incredibly well. I drank 8 bottles of 3 different CarboRocket flavors, and they all tasted delicious and were easy on the stomach. I did have a meltdown from miles 45-60, where I just crawled around Shadow Lake and up Spiro, but I think that was due more to my lack of long rides rather than anything I did during the race.

The descents in this race were just amazing, and I felt like I just flew down them, including the ripping fast Keystone descent (riding it 13 times in last year's Perfect 10 helped), a 2500 foot riot from Shadow lake to PCMR, and the two descents into the Canyons. The Superfly beat me up a little, but it ran flawlessly (thanks Racer), and I think was a perfect bike for this race.

In the end, I rolled across the line in 8:43, which put me at 31st overall (including some duo teams) and 6th in my class. Full results here.

Lyna saw my dirty face at the finish line and couldn't help but snap a pic:

If any of you Leadvillites are wondering how the PCP2P compares, I found the comprisons to be pretty interesting. Most people that did both races finished the PCP2P a bit faster than Leadville. For instance, Alex Grant (the winner of the PCP2P) finished the P2P about 5 minutes faster his Leadville finish, yet thought that the P2P was more difficult due to the technical terrain, but others thought the opposite due to Leadville's higher elevation. Either way, they are both obviously very challenging races.

Finally, a huge thanks to the race organizers and volunteers. Being the first year, there was a lot of apprehension about the organization, but everything went perfectly. Adam, Jesse and I had coolers at each of the aid stations, but we could have easily gotten by with the neutral support. Volunteers seemed to be at nearly every major turn in the race, and the organizers must have emptied 20 cans of spray paint marking the course.

Hope to see you at next year's PCP2P!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Confidence Boost

Before big races like the Park City Point to Point, the nerves set in and self doubt starts to infiltrate my thoughts. Especially when I consider that I can count the number of 4+ hour days I've spent on the bike this year on one hand, and the number of 6+ hour days on 1 finger (RAWROD).

Then I stopped in at Racer's yesterday afternoon with my bike in tow. Most other shops would have told me to come back in a few days. Instead, Racer dropped what he was doing and spent a half hour or more fine-tuning my bike. I'm not sure what it is, but there is something about Racer working his magic on a bike that builds confidence. I had an easy 40 minute spin on the way into work today and my bike was running flawlessly again. I know it's just a well-running bike, but it spills over to my outlook on the rest of the race as well. Now I'm ready to go. And I think I have it in me to go fast.

Thanks again, Racer.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The Humanity!!!!

I was in the middle of writing this post, when I saw this, and I thought Dug beat me to it. But since he was referring to something slightly different (and even more ridiculous), I figured I'd go ahead and post this anyway...

As some of you know, the Farmington community is up in arms over this "leftist, liberal political video" being shown to school kids without their parents permission:

I can see why people wouldn't want their kids to hear this "leftist, liberal" video. Because I'd hate for my kids to participate in liberal things like:

1) Ending hunger
2) Loving more
3) Volunteering
4) Being a great parent (I'm pretty sure this was a subliminal leftist message to convince elementary school boys to get their girlfriends pregnant. Damn liberals!)
5) Participating in service projects
6) Recycling (this one is big - I'm slightly worried that I'll get car-bombed each time I take my recycling can out to the curb in my slightly conservative neighborhood)

The humanity!

So tell me. I'm pretty sure that there is at least someone out there who reads this blog who can't possibly believe that anyone would show this to innocent children. What exactly are you afraid of? Are you afraid that your kid will come home and tell you that he wants to support the president? If so, would you have the same fear if a republican were in office? After reading about the public outcry over this, I thought back to when I was in elementary school, and I can vividly remember learning about President Reagan, and how great he was, how we should be patriotic by supporting the president, and watching some of his speahes. I mean, he was the president of our country, so why not? I don't remember any complaints back then. Seems like a double standard to me. If you are really that adamant that your kid hate Obama, I'm sure you have done a fine job instilling this hate by simply talking to your kids about it.

Are you afraid your kids will come home and ask "what is stem cell research?" Were you hoping that they'd never find out about it? I think you should try the same sheltering technique with sex. Let me know how that works out for you.

My 4 year old already calls it "a duece" (actually she calls it "number 3" now, which is another story), so I'm not too worried about that one either.

The only problem I have with this video is that nobody pledged to ride bikes more. It funny how everyone gets all excited about things that are easy to do, but really don't make much of a difference, like not using plastic bottles and bags (especially if you're recycling them after using them), but nobody is willing to do something that takes some effort and could make a big difference, like riding a bike instead of driving.

I'll admit that the whole "being a servant to my president" at the end is a bit weird, and I can even see how some may take it that wrong way, but I what I can't understand is why it's so important to limit my kid's exposure to democrats who support the president. If I did that, my kids wouldn't see their mom or their grandparents very much.

I guess I feel a bit like Dug today. But I have to remind myself that there are a lot of good people in this state (and even in Utah County) too. Really, there are a lot of them. Even some of the paranoid right-wing (and left-wing) nutjobs that I know.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Midnight Adventures, Part II

When we left off, our hero had run out of lights with 4+ miles of trail in front of him and no moonlight. Will this be the end of our hero? Let's find out...

I was in disbelief that both of my lights had gone out. This couldn't be happening. My lights generally last longer than this (I was about 1:20 into the ride at that point), and I had been pretty good about turning off one of the lights when I didn't need it up until that point.

But if there is one thing I'm pretty good at, it is this: I seldom panic. I figured that the worst that could happen is that I spend the night up on Cottonwood Creek. Yeah, Wesla would be freaking out in the morning (if she wasn't already - it was already almost midnight), but I had water and warm clothes (vest, arm, and knee warmers) and it wasn't too cold. Okay, so the worst that could really happen is that I get eaten by a mountain lion, but I tried not to dwell on that for too long.

After my lights went out and I slowed to a stop, a small miracle happened. The auto-pause feature on my GPS was triggered, and the backlight came on to let me know about it. Suddenly, I had light again. I also realized that I had my cellphone in my bag. So I took my cellphone in one hand and the GPS in the other and triggered their backlights to light up the trail. It wasn't much, but I could barely make out the edges of the trail.

I was in business again. I figured I had three objectives: 1) don't get seriously injured; 2) don't fall into the creek; and 3) don't lose the trail. I thanked my lucky stars that I charged the GPS the day before, threw on my warmer clothes, and started slowly feeling my way down the trail.

It's quite amazing what riding thousands of miles on dirt trails will do for you. It really gives you a sixth sense for following trails. Between hearing the creek to my left and barely seeing the trail in front of me, I was able to naviguess my way down the trail pretty well. Walking my bike also helped, as it served both as a walking stick and a blind man's cane. Anytime a drop off or a big rock was coming up, my front tire would hit it first and I would know what to expect.

I've occasionally been guilty of complaining about sharing trails with horses. They leave post holes in wet trails, they spook easily, and worst of all, they leave shit all over the trails. But from now on, I'll always have an appreciation for horse manure on the trails. It turns out that horse poop really stands out against a dirt backdrop. Almost every time I thought I was losing sight of the trails, I'd see a piece of horse crap on the ground, and I knew I was still heading in the right direction.

I was slowly making my way down the trail and was feeling pretty good about my chances of making it to the car sometime before morning. Suddenly, I heard something move to my right. It was quiet enough that I didn't know if it was the size of a rabbit or the size of an elephant. Then I heard it again, only louder. And then I could make out a big black silhouette about 10 meters away. After reading Watcher's post about a bear encounter the day before, I instinctively thought I was looking at a bear.

And then I heard something else move to my left. Another one. I decided it wasn't a bear, but instead I was standing between a mama moose and her calf, being that I am somewhat of a moose magnet (gives me an idea for a future post). I wanted the bear back.

MOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!! ... rumble rumble rumble. I almost laughed out loud when I realized I was standing in the middle of a cow herd. However, the fact that I had just started a cow stampede with no light wasn't very funny. Fortunately the cows avoided me and I was able to keep on going.

After over 2 hours of inching along by my GPS backlight (my phone backlight turned out to be pretty useless, and I wanted to save the phone's battery as a last resort in case the GPS died) I was finally almost back to the car. I remembered from my previous ride on the Cottonwood Creek trail that there would be at least one stream crossing near the bottom, and I was pretty excited when I thought I found it. I crossed the stream without getting wet, and soon found another section of the stream to cross (I figured that the stream had split and that I walked across an island of sorts).

I kept walking, elated to be so near the trailhead. After going over a few hills, I decided I'd better verify that I was still going in the right direction, so I pulled up the map on my GPS. My jaw dropped as I realized that for the past 1/3 mile or so I'd double backed on myself. I was so disoriented in the darkness that the I didn't realize that the second stream crossing was actually the same as the first stream, and that I'd completely turned myself around. I cussed at myself and started heading back in the right direction. I turns out that a GPS can be used for more than just lighting up a trail. I'm telling you that if not for that GPS, I would have spent the night up there.

From there, I successfully followed the trail almost all the way back to parking lot. In my haste, I somehow lost the trail just before it intersects with the main river and I couldn't find the bridge to cross it. As I bush-whacked up and down the river in search of the bridge, I saw a light on the other side of the river. I yelled, and someone yelled back.

"Aaron, is that you!?"

Brandon had noticed my car in the parking lot as he was pulling out to leave. He waited around for me and when I never showed up, he ended up riding up past the hot pots to look for me and then paced back and forth for over 3 hours trying to figure out what to do. That's a good friend right there. Thanks, Brandon.

Other than a few scratches and a pretty big bruise from hitting my right calf on my pedal about 379 times, I made it down unscathed. It was a long 3 hour walk, but it certainly could have ended worse.

Now my main concern was about Wesla. She can be a light sleeper, and if she noticed I wasn't back, she would be freaking out. We drove down the canyon and eventually got back into cellphone range. I called my messages and was never so glad to hear "you have no new messages."

By the time I was home, had eaten (I was starving by then) and climbed into bed (I took a page out of Rick's book and slept stinky style), it was past 3:30 am. When I woke up in the morning and went downstairs, Wesla says to me, "Well you were out a little later than I expected. I woke up at around midnight and you still weren't home. How did the ride go?"

To which I answered, "um... it was pretty good."

I think I may finally find out if Wesla actually reads this thing.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Midnight Adventures

No, this is not a review of some sleazy video that you'd find advertised on your hotel TV (although Googling the title of this post is not recommended).  It is about a night ride.  More particularly, it is about a night ride that didn't quite go according to plan.

As some of you who read this blog may know, there was a night ride being planned up Diamond Fork Canyon last night.  The initial response from the riding crew was positive, but slowly, almost everyone dropped off for one reason or another.  When I was packing my stuff, I thought we may actually still get 4-5 guys, but by the time I was driving down to Diamond Fork, it had dwindled to just Brandon, me, and maybe one other dude.

Everything conspired against me that day to make me late for the ride, not the least of which was getting lost trying to find the trailhead.  By the time I finally pulled into the parking lot, it was already around 9:47pm.  As I found out later (much later), Brandon had given up on me and left on the ride at around 9:45.  (cue ominous music now (or is it "queue"?  I'm pretty sure it's cue)).

Since we were out of cell phone range, I needed to make a choice.  I initially wanted to bag the ride, but I felt really bad about ditching Brandon and making him ride around by himself at night.  I knew the route he was planning on, so I figured I could follow him, but by that time it was around 10pm and I knew I'd never catch him since I figured he had at least a 20-30 minute head start on me.  

Ultimately, I decided I'd just ride the loop backwards.  I'd probably run into him close to the top of the  5th water trail, then I'd just turn around and ride back with him.  

Looking back, this decision was stupid for a plethora of reasons:

1) I was by myself - this reason isn't dumb by itself (I've ridden alone at night plenty of times), but it is pretty dumb when combined with the rest of the reasons.
2) I was only vaguely familiar with the loop.  I rode it once last year.  In full daylight.  In reverse.
3) The loop doesn't have a single bailout point.
4) I was starting pretty late - 10pm.
5) I could go on, but I'd ruin the rest of the story...

So I started up 5th water and was making good time.  The only thing that slowed me down was the really drunk guy coming down from the hot pots that must have thought I was an alien UFO coming down to abduct him.  He actually seemed pretty excited about finally being taken up by the mothership.  I finally managed to nudge him out of the way so I could get by.

I rode by the hot pots that were boiling with BYU students.  Enough of them that they decided to remain fully clothed in fear that they'd be hearing from the honor code department if they chose otherwise.  I made it up to the Ray's Valley Road in pretty good time and still hadn't run into Brandon.  I figured that the trail he took up Cottonwood Creek was probably a bit longer than 5th Water, and plus he hadn't done the 4-5 miles of pavement yet, so there was still a good chance I'd run into him if I kept going.

I started up the road, which was a bit climbier than I remembered.  I was lucky to have my GPS to give me an idea of when I needed to turn right onto Cottonwood Creek (actually 1st water by the time it hits the pavement).  By the time I was half-way up the road and still hadn't seen any sign of Brandon, I knew that he must have done Cottonwood Creek as an out-and-back and that I wouldn't see him that night.

I figured I was past the point of no return though, so I kept riding.  About 3/4 of the way up the pavement,  the moon set behind the mountains, so it was pitch black whenever I'd turn off my lights.  Even with my lights on, it seemed pretty dark, but I figured that the pavement was washing out my lights.  The entire 20-30 minutes or so that I was on Ray's Valley Road, I didn't see a single car.  I started to feel a bit lonely.   

Luckily, even in the dark I was able to find the turn-off to take me down to Cottonwood Creek.   Unluckily, as soon as I turned onto the dirt road, I knew without any doubt:  My lights were going out.  Not just one of them, but both of them.  I had been cycling them on and off to make sure that this didn't happen, but for whatever reason, it was happening to both of them.  

Decision time again.  Do I turn around and go back to the paved road in hopes that a car would eventually drive by?  Based on the previous half hour, I knew that the likelihood of seeing anyone was slim, and that I'd probably just be delaying the inevitable and wasting what little light I had by turning around.

So I forged ahead, flipping between my helmet and bar lights to make it down the dirt road.  By the time I intersected the Cottonwood Creek trail, it was too dark to ride.  I got off and started walking with the bike, knowing that there was no way my lights would last all the way back to the trailhead.  And sure enough, within 1/4 mile, I was completely out of lights. I was standing in pitch black nothingness with 4+ miles of trail in front of me.

Man, this post is getting too long.  Come back later to see if I survived, or if I wrote this from my cellphone up on Cottonwood Creek just before getting eaten by a cougar.

Edit: The story continues - Midnight Adventures, Part II

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

AMC "Pre-ride"

I had the perfect plan. Head down to the Cedar Breaks area (Duck Creek, to be more precise) with the family (including my parents, my siblings, and their spouses and kids), spend 4 days getting acclimated to the altitude and pre-riding parts of the AMC course, and then head back 4 days later to race the AMC, which was supposed to be finishing today.

Of course, the AMC has been canceled since I made these plans. It would have been nice of them to cancel it before I planned my season (and my family vacation) around it. BTW, don't tell the rest of my family that I planned their vacation around my race (which never even happened).

The canceling of the AMC didn't stop me from having a good time down at Duck Creek with the family though. And since we were staying in a cabin that was a few miles away from the start of the Virgin Rim trail (which would have been Stage 1 of the AMC), I couldn't help but partake in some Virgin Rim goodness:

My brothers, my pops and I also hit the Navajo Lake loop (half of which was also supposed to be in the AMC):

You can tell that Finley (in the pack) is just fascinated by Bryce Canyon:

I made Wesla pull her weight as well:

And the scenery didn't suck:
Since I wasn't busy racing the AMC prologue on Thursday, it gave me a good excuse to head up to the Nebo loop to watch the Tour of Utah. In case you hadn't heard, there were reports of a bearded lady in the Payson Canyon:

The race leader was inspired. Or maybe just riding in fear.
At the back of the pack, there was a lot of extra long hand-ups going on:
Getting ready to show the riders his/her version of being a true Scotsman: