Yet another blog from some random dude training for Ironman and beyond

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Hello

Is this thing on?

I’ve neglected this blog pretty significantly over the past year or so.

I have a variety of reasons for that.

1. I wasn’t sure what direction it was going, needed to go or if it needed a direction.

2. I lost my job and as a result lost the fire I had for writing.

3. My career as an amateur cyclist/triathlete was, actually, pretty boring and uninspiring.

4. I was battling a few other inner demons that I didn’t feel like writing about.

So, the question I now ask myself — and you, my confused-how-you-got-here readers — is do I hit the reset button on this and give it an honest effort or hit the delete button?

Does it matter?

Truth

They call the time trial the Race of Truth.

It’s just you against the clock. No team tactics, no drafting, no sitting in.

Just you, your bike and the road.

With that in mind, the truth is I’m not nearly as fast as I used to be or want to be.

Last night I hit the Saltair Time Trial series and we got to race the long course — approximately 20k of flat road.

My legs felt OK at the beginning, but I knew quickly they were a little beat and the fitness wasn’t there. Maybe the trip up Butterfield the day before took a little too much out of me. Or, maybe, I’m just not on top of my game and struggling to throw it down because I’m doing an awful lot of running and swimming and not enough cycling — especially not Zone 5 cycling.

Whatever the case, I was hurting for sure and finished with a less-than-awesome 26:10 time. That was good for only sixth out of eight in the C Flight.

The time and placing was the bad news. The good news is my little mental game was a win. I keep score with the number of people who pass me and the number of people I pass.

To no surprise, my 30-second man — Curtis Doman — flew past me at about 4k into the race. I held off my 60-second man — pro triathlete Dantley Young — until about 12k and that was it. No shame in getting passed by those two guys. In the process, I passed four people — two of them adults! — to give myself a score of Plus 2 for the race.

Butterfield

I have some good news. Butterfield Canyon is (mostly) clear and open to the top.

With the daunting task of the Crusher in the Tushar looming large in front of me, I decided I needed to start training with lots of hills riding on knobby tires.

So I dusted off the cyclocross bike (quite literally, the thing was dusty) and filled the tires to a nice squishy PSI to replicate the pressure I’d probably be riding at on the dirt sections of the Crusher. I found what I knew to be a beast of a canyon, ignored the “Butterfield Canyon Closed” sign, pointed the bike uphill and pedaled my way past the closed gate.

The soft tires took some getting used to and my poor nutritional plan — skipping breakfast and not eating an early lunch is poor nutrition for such a ride, methinks — had me bonking after about two miles. But I managed to keep going, passed one mountain biker out for a day with his dog and absolutely loved having the entire canyon road to myself.

As anyone who has climbed Butterfield knows, the canyon gets kind of steep. OK, it gets ugly steep at about Mile 4.

There are several tree limbs and branches on the road and you have to go around them, but that’s not too much of an issue because you don’t have to worry about cars or trucks — yet. The bigger issues in climbing Butterfield at this stage involve rocks and snow.

I encountered numerous sections with large fallen rocks and gravel as well as a few patches of hike-a-bike snow fields after Mile 6. Luckily, those snow fields are fairly short and, with only a half mile to go to the top, it’s well worth your effort to unclip and wade through the snow to finish the climb.

Once there, the road is closed with large concrete barriers and the dirt road down to Tooele on the west side of the mountain is unrideable because of deep snow.

The climb, especially this early in the season, was nasty for me. I’m old, fat and not a climber by any stretch of the imagination. Still, it felt wonderful to get out and hit that canyon. I actually felt a nice sense of accomplishment knowing I was probably one of only a few cyclists to hit the summit so far this year.

The descent was tricky. As if the snow wasn’t enough, the rock slides and 15-20 degree grades forced you to ride the brakes for a long distance.

After you pass the big switchback at Mile 4, the road clears considerably and you can let it rip. Of course, make a mental note of where those low-hanging or fallen tree branches are — you don’t want to round a corner at 30 miles per hour and find a thick pine tree in your path.

It’s not an exceptionally long ride in terms of miles — I got just 14 miles in. But the climb is a beast. The work is hard and the reward outstanding.

My original intent was to ride the pavement up and the dirt road at the bottom of the canyon down. But the steep connection from the summit to the dirt road was snow packed and far too muddy. So I stuck with the asphalt.

Butterfield: It’s a canyon I love almost as much as I hate.

P.S. It appears the road crew has put an end to the love affair that was Josh and Colton.

Up

Took advantage of what looked like perfect weather to take a bike ride up Emigration and East Canyons. Got to about a half mile from the Big Mountain Summit when the snow line forced an end to the climb and an ominous set of clouds decided to start sending down lightning, rain and sleet.

Made a quick descent, took shelter in an outhouse until the lightning stopped and finished up a few miles short of my goal, but happy nonetheless.

Curiouser

So I downloaded the file from my Garmin after Saturday’s ride around the Veyo Loop.

I though it looked funky on the display and now I know … it’s screwy.

According to my Garmin 705, I pedaled for only 43 miles at a sluggish pace of 11.5 miles per hour. My max speed was just 30.9 according to Garmin despite tripping one of those “Your Speed Is” signs at 42 miles per hour descending Snow Canyon. Another indicator it’s screwy? I didn’t ride with a heart rate monitor or a cadence monitor but got readings for both.

So I plugged the route into MapMyRide.com and got a more accurate, I hope, picture of my ride. 55 miles for an average of 15.7 miles per hour.

Methinks it might be time to replace the Garmin … or at least get it’s GPS software updated.

Climbing

This past weekend I hit the road and visited St. George for the Intermountain Race Managers Roundtable.

I’m not technically a race director, though that might come in the near future. I will, however, promote a handful of events that — if I’m lucky — will attract several hundred particpants. So I thought I’d sit around in sponge mode and just learn as much as possible from the 20-30 race directors that were there to discuss ways to make their events more successful in pretty much all areas.

We talked about social media, caps, lotteries, planning, marketing, etc., etc.

Lots of good information and I met a lot of good people with some great ideas. Hopefully I can take some of those ideas and use them.

Not entirely coincidentally, I took my bike. And my running shoes.

I mean, it was 60+ degrees and sunny skies. How could I not take my bike and my running shoes.

As part of the IRMR I was given an entry into the St. George half marathon or 5K. I didn’t quite feel up to 13.1 miles, so I opted for the shorter run and had a pretty good experience. I didn’t push the pace at all and just ran tempo but clocked in at 26:09 — good enough for 11th in the Men’s 40-44 age group. Not too bad, not too good, but OK. I was just working out, not truly racing, so my time and place weren’t really a consideration.

I’m not even ashamed to admit I got chicked — by a mom pushing a triple stroller with three kids in it. Read the rest of this page »

Paths

Short lesson in why I like living where I do.

Here’s the Jordan River Parkway as maintained by West Jordan City on Monday morning.

And here is the Jordan River Parkway as maintained by Murray 20 seconds later on Monday morning after I was forced to turn around on my run.

Same trail, just a couple of blocks apart.

Murray’s Parks and Recreation Department has plows on the trail just about every day there is snow on it. They make it a safe place to run, walk or ride a bike — even in winter.

West Jordan, however, ignores the trail, making it a dangerous and unwelcoming place to run, walk or bike — even in summer when there are big weeds and thorn bushes encroaching onto the path.

As a result, the Murray section of the Jordan River Parkway has a lot of visitors throughout the year. Several parks and even some short, but sweet sections of single track — not to mention a large and impressive Nature Center with wetlands and a fare share of wildlife — can be found along the 4-5 miles of path. West Jordan’s section of the trail has a couple of parking lots and a couple of picnic tables. But not much in the way of users except for those runners and cyclists hoping to extend their route a few extra miles.

I can, and have, used the parkway many times for training as well as some quality father-son or daddy-daughter time.

Murray … I love you.

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