Tuesday, April 28, 2009

RAWROD: The Windy Year

Anytime you have an event, certain years will stand out in your memory for years to come. The standout years usually receive some sort of label. Lotaja has the snowstorm year. The Superbowl has the wardrobe malfunction year. I have a feeling that in years to come, we'll look back at this year's ride around white rim in one day and refer to it as "the windy year."

Every year I have done "RAWROD", it each year has been really cold in the morning. Not this time though. It was so warm that I didn't even need arm or knee warmers to start the ride. And if I didn't need them in the morning, it would be silly for me to pack them for later, since everyone knows it just gets warmer, right? STUPID, STUPID, STUPID! Why would the skinny kid with no natural insulation not pack any warm clothes? Lesson learned, I hope.

Anyway, on the climb up Mineral Bottom and the pavement, my legs felt the effects from the previous day's rides, but nothing too bad. The ride on Mineral Bottom is always a good time. Everyone is excited to be embarking on what will surely be an adventure.

The view from the top of Shaffer's is pretty breathtaking. And a little daunting, because once you drop in, you are riding on credit all the way until you have to pay it back at the end of the ride.

I rode with Rick, Dug, et al. until reaching Musselman Arch. Some people can't step onto Musselman Arch without getting vertigo. Shoot, some people can hardly look at the thing without feelings of vertigo.

And then there is Kenny, who does handstands on top of it. In the wind. Next year I'll ask him to do some back handsprings across it to give him more of a challenge.

We left Musselman and I started riding with Chad and Mark, who was a White Rim virgin before Saturday. But after stopping to chat with a few people, I quickly found myself alone. It seems like the past two years I've riding alone quite a bit, but I don't mind. It gives me the chance to stop at places like this, where I can't help but think I must be on another planet entirely:

This next picture is at what has to be one of the most amazing viewpoints in the world. I'm not exaggerating. Too bad these three dudes had to go and ruin it (just kidding Craig, Larry and Kyle - who rode his first ever century, and did it in the dirt the way it should be):

I caught up to Fish and road with him till lunch. I doubt he remembers, because he was already pretty delirious at the time. Not a good sign 50 miles into a 101 mile ride. Amazingly, lunch revitalized him and he finished strong.

We had been riding into a headwind up till this point, but I didn't mind it. It felt good, and I knew that we'd have it in our favor on the way back to Horsethief. At about this time, my legs were feeling okay, but I started having some other "issues" that would haunt me for the rest of the day. Let's just say that I'd stop at the side of the road expecting to go number 1, and would suddenly find myself running for the hills in search of some seclusion. So if you and I were riding along together from miles 50 till 101 and I suddenly disappeared without warning, well, now you know.

At mile 60(ish), we hit White Crack for lunch. Even though it was cold and I was kicking myself for not bringing warm clothes, we were excited because the wind would surely be on our side the rest of the way...

Except it wasn't. The wind shifted and it really picked up. 40-50 mph gusts of wind and sand were not uncommon from files 60 till 90. I'm still finding sand embedded in my ears, eyes, and hair. We eventually got to Murphy's Hogback and started the climb. On the way up, I thought that we already had the cold, the wind and the steep climb. It would only be fitting to get a rainstorm. Nature obliged and we all got pretty well soaked on the way down Murphy's, but not before I snapped this picture of the ominous storm at the top:

From Murphy's to Hardscrabble, I road with Jon, Craig, Brandon, etc. for a while, which helped with the near constant headwind, but I had, um "issues" which forced me to fall off the back. So I road most of the stretch between Murphy's and Hardscrabble alone, with a few stretches with Adam, who was riding the White Rim for the second time in as many days.

It's funny, because looking back on the ride, I can pretty much only remember having a great time, even during the long solo sections from miles 60-90, I vividly remember telling myself multiple times that I was cold and miserable. But I don't actually remember being cold and miserable. I only remember loving the ride.

As I climbed Hardscrabble, I planned on waiting for Fish and riding with him to Horsethief. I got to the top, where we typically regroup, but the top was a ghost town. I waited for a little while, but ultimately got too cold, and well, was still having some "issues", so I bailed and headed down. Sorry Fish. Campain promises were broken. I promise to do better during my next term.

The last stretch along the river was one of the highlights of the ride for me. For once, the wind was cooperating. My legs felt surprisingly good, and riding next to the river is refreshing and scenic.

I hooked up with Rob along the river and road with him for a while. Turns out it was his first century ride as well. Not only did he do it dirty, but he did it dirty and single, and finished strong. We split up and finished off the day with the climb up Horsethief. Call me crazy, but I actually like that climb. Nice and gradual, with the reward of being finished when you get to the top.

Another White Rim in the books. Thanks to Kenny for the bread and brats. And to all that I did ride with, it was a pleasure.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Slickrock and Sovereign

Headed down for the RAWROD weekend with Mark a day early. The initial plan was to do some backcountry in the La Sals on Friday and ride the White Rim on Saturday. The plan was epic, but the weather did not want to cooperate. The warm weather not only prevented a corn cycle, but pretty much melted all of the snow below 8500 feet or so. So instead, we had to settle on riding Slickrock and Sovereign on Friday instead. I know, sucks to be us.

It had been almost 10 years since I had ridden Slickrock, so I was excited. We hooked up with Brandon before hitting it. Here he is on the "cogs to spare" climb. They (whoever "they" are) may need to rename it now that he easily cleaned it on his singlespeed:

Mark getting it done:

Brandon doesn't let the steep stuff slow him down:

Mark finishes a nice little move:

And Brandon on the move of the day:

Didn't get many pics of Sovereign, but it's been expanded quite a bit since I rode it last (3 years or so). We met up with Keith beforehand, which was nice because he has a GPS embedded into his brain which helped us naviguess the route. One guy we met on the trail made the mistake of asking him for directions. After a 5 minute detailed explanation of every spur in the area that I'm pretty sure included GPS coordinates, I'm think I saw the guy's brain explode inside of his skull. Surprisingly, he didn't ask any followup questions.

Here is Mark in the only pic of Sovereign:
A bit later, Mark chose the wrong line on a steep move, fell to his right, and landed his patootie squarely on the sharp edge of a sandstone slab. The most unfortunate part of the crash is that he was in way too much pain at the time for me to use any of the dozens of jokes that should have been made anytime someone's ass takes the brunt of a crash. His weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth was so great that I thought he was done for the weekend. To his credit he not only road the rest of Sovereign, but the 101 miles of RAWROD the next day.

The wtf moment of the day came later that evening back at the campground when this guy pulls up to the top of Horsethief pulling a Porsche:

I never got the story on this guy, but Chad and I had a good laugh at his expense. Oh how I wish he would have asked me for directions. I would have told him that if he kept going straight (right down Horsethief), he would have found the Moab Porsche convention he was looking for.

Edit: a few more pics from Brandon:

Brandon double-dog-dared me to try this steep section. I paid for it the next day on RAWROD:

I think this is more slickrock:


Thursday, April 23, 2009

Garage Sale

$1000 - '06 Gary Fisher Paragon, 29" Hardtail, Medium Frame with Custom Upgrades:

Maintained and recently tuned by Racer's Cycle Service. Bike is in great shape.
Wheels: Bontrager Race-Lite with DT Swiss 240 Hubs - built by Racer Gibson
Fork: Rock Shox Reba Race (works perfectly - no leaking)
Headset: Chris King
Rear Derailleur: Shimano XTR
Front Derailleur: Shimano XT
Shifters/Brakes: Shimano XT
Handlebar/Stem: Race Face Deus XC
Seat Post: Bontrager Race Lite Carbon
Tires: Maxis CrossMark (Rear), Bontrager Jones ACX (Front), Tubeless Ready (with Stans Conversion)
Crank Set: Bontrager Race

$140 - SRAM XO Trigger Shifters (New)

$55 - Thompson Elite Seatpost (New):

I also have some road-wheel hubs that were on a Bontrager Race Lite Wheelset that have 1 year of use on them. $50 for the set.

Send me an email (shammytime@gmail.com) or leave a comment if your interested. Anything that doesn't sale goes on ebay.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Lunch Hours

Today during our lunch ride, Adam and I decided that the whole "Lunch Hour" thing is totally bogus. So we've renamed it "Lunch Hours." So from now on, from the hours of noon till 2:00 (a little later if you decide to blog about your lunch hours afterward), please join us in enjoying your lunch hours.

Today during my lunch hours, I decided I'd finally give the Crank TT a whirl. The start of Crank is always a little sketchy due to its steep pitch, but after I passed the turnoff to Blackbird, I got into a good rhythm. I felt as good as I've felt in a while, and I tried my best to live up to the trail's namesake. The last minute or so (which felt like 10 minutes or so) was a killer, with a bunch of false finishes. When all is said and done, I rolled in with a time of 7:35. And then I about lost my lunch, but fortunately I decided to put off eating lunch till later during my lunch hours.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Why Mess with a Good Thing?

*Note to my loyal readers who come back to read this blog entry in 10 years from now when my blog takes its rightful place as the most famous blog about splitboarding and mountain biking in the world: The date on this post is not an error. In the week proceeding April 16th, 2009, LCC received 4 feet of new snow, and we took full advantage. The morning of 4/16 went a little something like this:

Before today, I'm pretty sure I had already toured in Scotties Bowl more than anywhere else. But every time I've been, it's been awesome, so I wasn't too disappointed when we found out that it was the only open place in LCC that wouldn't get us blown up by UDOT.

During the skin up, the bombs were going off all up and down the canyon. I love the sound of those bombs, because when the bombs go "pow", so does the snow. Okay, so that about the lamest pun ever. Lame but true.

Anyway, here we are on the way to the top:

Adam (flexing for the camera) and I (trying to pretend like that 2000 foot climb was easy) with Pfeifferhorn in the background:

If Dug started rolling backward, I don't think he'd come to a rest till Wasatch Blvd or so:

I bet if we were to really hurry, we could drop from the spot this picture of Dug was taken (where the snow has to be over 10 feet deep) and be at the mouth of LCC (where the snow is currently about 2 inches deep and will gone by this afternoon) in about 25 minutes or so. Where else can you get away with 3 laps of pure joy before heading into work in the morning?

Here is BlackDiamond Ben dropping a 20+ foot cliff (or "a little hop", as Ben refers to it):

Not too many action shots today. The ride down was just too good to stop for pictures.

Check out Mark's writeup, which includes a video of me doing a front flip off of a cornice. Or was it Ben who did the front flip? I can't seem to remember... everything sort of blurs together after a morning like this...

Sunday, April 12, 2009

4 Posts in 1

It's been a busy week, so I'm combining four posts into one. This morning, I was watching some "Free Skiing" videos like this one with my 4 yr old (I'd recommend that you skip over the first 50 seconds or so):

She started to get her stoke on. She saw a double back flip and she says "I'm going to learn how to do that. But first I'll learn how to do just one flip." Tough to argue with that plan.

I asked if she was done skiing till next winter and she replied that she wants to go more this spring. Since Sundance is closed, we'll have to go somewhere else. I thought it would be good to get her out with some other kids her age. Anyone with kids around her age want to do some "ski free after 3" sometime this week?

In other news, I made it out to Scottie's Bowl last week with Mark, Dustin, et al. Here are a few pics:

The climb up:

Mark coming down:

And me:

I also got out on the mt bike between storms last week:

The deer are out in force on Frank's loop:

So are the mountain lions?

Finally, I hope you made it out on an Easter ride, because the weather was perfect. The Easter festivities wrapped up at my parents house, and I happened to have my bike (just in case), so I rode home. It may be one of my new favorite local road rides, and I call it the "Suncrestwich :

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Thursday, April 2, 2009

What is WRONG with me?

Monday evening, my wife asks me what the weather is going to be like this weekend (she knows that as a cyclist/winter enthusiast, it is my duty to know the weather at least one week in advance). I tell her it's going to be snowing in the mountains and raining in the valley most of the weekend. Then she surprises me with this: "We don't have to teach our class this weekend, we should go somewhere warm. Let's go to St. George."

In years past, it's been me begging to schedule a trip to San Jorge in the spring. I'd make any excuse to get out of the cold and into the warmth where I can ride my bike on some of the best trails on the planet. To hear my wife suggesting a trip to St. George would have been music to my ears.

But this time, the excitement was all on the outside. Truth be known, I had my heart set on an all day touring session in the Cottonwoods. Up Silver Fork, hit Days Fork, Cardiff/Mill D, Mineral Fork, and out Mill B. Or something like that.

I guess with all of the snow up here, I'd rather be doing this (thanks, Adam):

Than this:

(BTW: if you blow this picture up, the sun actually makes my arms look like they have some semblance of muscle tone instead of what my arms really are: skinny bones covered by a thin layer of skin)

I actually feel like I'm partly missing out by heading south to ride the trails.

So I repeat. What the hell is WRONG with me? If I'm not careful, I'm going to have to change the title of my blog. Either that or start wearing a shammy during my touring and skate skiing sessions.

P.S. Although I'm sure this sounds crazy to most of you, I won't be racing on Saturday, despite the fact that I'll be in the area. Upper Management has made clear that this is a family trip, not a bike race trip (I know, I know - why should there even be a difference? Who doesn't like to hang out all day in the desert with 2 small kids and watch dudes in spandex ride by?). If the race started early, I might be able to pull it off, but with a 12:30 start, it would pretty my eat up the entire day.

So any riding I do pretty much needs to be wrapped up by 11am or so. Or maybe a night ride after the kids are asleep. On the positive side, with all of these 4:30am wake up calls for dawn patrol, getting up at 6am to ride my bike will be a piece of cake. If you'll be in the area and want to ride early/late on Sat/Sun, let me know. I'll try not to act disappointed about not playing in the powpow.