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?
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.
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.
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.
I am a business man.
With this $70 filing fee, For The Win Racing, LLC, is registered with the state of Utah and we are accepting registrations for the FrontRunner Century.
I’d kindly like to ask you to register. April 9 at the Salt Lake City Intermodal Hub.
Be there … unless you’re somewhere else.
A new year deserves a new start.
So I started by shaving my legs.
Not sure why my wife seems to prefer the hairy version.
It’s 2:30 a.m. right now and outside the wind is howling, the snow falling and I’m thinking.
I’ve spent far too many nights like this over the past six months … alone, awake, thinking, contemplating, wondering, wishing and not sleeping.
Not sure why.
Well, maybe I have a few ideas. That tends to happen with you spend numerous nights knowing you should be asleep unable to drift back into dreamland.
Prepare to read, if you’re really that interested, the long — really long — self-reflective, self-absorbed and selfish ramblings of how I got from there to here and why, I think, I’ve been kind of depressed over these months.
I find myself in a place I don’t completely like to be or want to be. (more…)