Monday, October 18, 2010

Tour de St. George: Fall

Okay, it's been forever since I've updated this blog. I think it is due mostly to the fact that I've lost the blogging bug. Anyway, I've been training all summer long with friends Mike and Cody Smith (they're brothers) and my brother Dale. We've had one goal in mind... the Tour de St. George Century ride. Here's a map of the course that we rode!

There will be more pictures and videos, as well as a better narrative to come in a short while, but in the mean time, enjoy this map of the course. Those who are more familiar with the St. George are will appreciate this more than those unfamiliar. In the top right corner you can also see a profile of the elevation. It was quite the accomplishment, and we are all so glad we did it!! We're looking forward to our next century ride... some of us sooner than others, others are willing to wait. :)

Monday, June 14, 2010

Back in Utah!

My wife and I have finally returned from Houston's rough, pot-hole filled and traffic laden streets to the sweet, wide and vertically challenging roads of Utah County. We couldn't be happier to be back to our riding friends and enjoying the beautiful biking weather, panoramas and friendly streets Utah has to offer.
Before getting to the meat of this post, I'd better do a little ride-reporting. We've only been home since Friday, June 4th. The 5th was my 24th birthday, so I decided that even though I'd only been at 4500 ft. from sea-level for only 28 hours, I would go on a 24 mile bike ride to commemorate the occasion. I was excited, and enlisted the companionship of good bike riding buddy, Mike Smith. He just so happens to hold some fame on this blog. We met at 7 a.m. with another member of our BYU church congregation (Rand) to soak in the cloudless sky. Since my body was not in climbing shape, I decided to show them the joy of riding flat terrain like I'd been accustomed to in Houston... and also because I knew I couldn't survive any uphill offering Utah had to give. We departed, and I planned to turn around at the 12 mile mark to commemorate my big day... after all, I only prepared for such a ride... one bottle of water, no fuel... and way to much slacking off over the previous 6 months. Mike and Rand planned on flexing their muscles to an impressive 40 miles. After only a few miles, it was painfully apparent that my lungs weren't used to the lower content oxygen, but the ride was flat enough to allow me to keep pace with the altitude adapted riders of the group. We enjoyed ourselves, and I liked showing the others a new route they'd never been on before.
After 12 miles, I decided I could go a little further... but not for long. I soon told Mike and Rand I was turning around, only to decide a split second later that I could make it the rest of the way... 8 additional miles each way never killed anyone, right? Wrong! Long ride short, I got home feeling like my body had aged 16 years on my ride, to bring me to a grand total of 40 miles... bad idea. I "bonked"when I got home, or my energy stores hit rock bottom, and I had to enlist the help of my wife to whip up a quick protein shake to help me out.
Having learned my lesson, I went on a mellow ride with Brooke and Roger Barnhart (of Labor Daybor fame) and my wife on Wednesday up Provo Canyon, and a ride this morning back up to Vivian Park with Mike Smith. I can tell my lungs/body is slowly getting acclimated to the altitude, but wish that the process would go faster! For now, I'm being patient and pushing my body to healthy limits.
Now, on to the meat. I have recently been thinking about the caliber of riding that Northern Utah has to offer. I recently had a conversation with my good friend/riding buddy Chris (of much "Behind the Handlebars" fame). We sat down for an amazing lunch in Seattle, and discussed our Utah riding days. He commented on how much he missed it, mainly because the Seattle offerings weren't what he hoped or expected. I commented on the horrendous nature of riding in Houston. We concluded that we'd never ridden anywhere that beat some of our Utah rides. Now, I must admit I have ridden few other places, but I personally think that "Nor-tah" has some of the finest road cycling there is to offer. Let me attempt to prove my point in a photo-journalistic fashion, describing what I feel each picture exhibits about Utah road riding...

Dry, arid, curvy, red rocks.

Bodies of water, mountains, blue sky, fall colors, riding trail.

Aspens, steep climbs, country roads,fresh mountain air.

Steep climbs, great rides in close proximity to civilization.

Steep Climbs, wide roads, smooth roads, clean roads.

Farmland scenery, country roads, varying terrain.

Farmland scenery, stunning backdrops, animals, varying terrain.

Stunning backdrops, mountainous scenery, vegetation, steep climbs, challenging terrain.

Same as above. :)

Stunning backdrops, vegetation, varying terrain, farmland scenery, mountainous scenery.

Of course the only true way to know what I am saying is to come experience it for yourself! Breathing the fresh (albeit thin) air for yourself, seeing the sites in person, suffering the hills, enjoying the flats, appreciating the scenery... all must done for yourself to experience the joy that is "Nor-tah" riding. Please feel free to add anything you think I left out that Nor-tah has to offer to road riders.

Miles since "Back in Utah!": About 110

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Bike Article and a Promise...

So, it's been a while. Lets not talk about it, it's way too painful. Lets you an I just focus on the future. I have big plans, but before I can get back to Utah in two or three weeks and really start to throw down some good mileage, I thought I would share this article.

Also, I promise you, my loyal readers (you must be if you're actually reading this!) that you will see me logging miles on here soon... hopefully some serious mileage. Until then, Share The Road.

Miles logged since my Labor Daybor ride: Countless, but not enough.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The '09 "Labor Daybor" Ride...

The past week has been a blast when it comes to rides. I think I have mentioned my friend, Roger Barnhart, and that we have a common love for cycling. Him and his wife just so happen to be from Eastern Washington also (Wenatchee and Stehekin to be exact), and they are in our ward. They've been gone all summer, and now that they're back, we've been excited to catch back up with them and to take advantage of some great riding. This last Thursday Roger and I went for a ride and had a great time. I tried to best my P.R. up South Fork (17:30), but was only successful in tying my time. We had a great time and talked about other rides we could go on. With the labor day weekend, we decided that all four of us would go for a ride and enjoy the beauty of biking together.
We decided to do the loop around West Mountain. I've ridden around it before, but this time we drove out to a church parking-lot in Benjamin (SMALL town... not even really a town... west of Spanish Fork). That cut about 30 miles or so off our total ride, which would've been great, but we just wanted to go for a nice, leisurely "Labor Daybor" ride. We enjoyed some beautiful weather and favorable conditions. We even have a nice picture that Roger took to prove we did it!

Me, Bridgie, Brooke and Roger Barnhart

We definitely had a blast and look forward to doing rides this fall. The weather is beautiful, and the roads are calling our names!

Labor Daybor Miles: 31.6

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

A grueling day after a long break...

Sorry about the lack of blog posts recently. I know there are many of you out there hanging off the edge of your seats waiting to hear of my latest rides. Unfortunately, for those following my every move (I know you're out there), I've been on so many dang rides since my last post, that there is no way I could post about them all. Let me just make a quick list of places I've been since the last post.
1. Washington State (3 rides)
2. Ride around West Mtn. (south end of Utah lake)
3. Up to Highland a couple of times.
4. Up Provo Canyon a few times.
5. Down to Spanish Fork
6. Past Spanish Fork to Woodland Hills
7. Down to Utah Lake a few times to the Am. Fork/Pleasant Grove overpass.
There you are.

Now, on to today. I left with the intention of going on a long ride because I was by myself, and along the way I talked myself into retracing the Suncrest ride. Yes, I talked myself into torture without the help of my good friend Chris. usually he talks me into punishing my body.
I have to include some funny stories from my ride. One habit I have adopted is to wave to all of the other riders I see. I even try to fight away my silly pride and wave to the peeps on their beater Wal-Mart bikes (due to some misconceptions as to what this means, let me explain that this means people in plain clothes riding squeeky/rusty bikes who couldn't care less if I wave at them or not). Well, today I was at a stop light, and I could see a hard-core rider behind some cars on the opposite side of the light. I got ready to wave to him as the light turned green. I was standing up off my seat while pedaling, thus having all of my weight balanced on my handlebars. I took my right hand off my bars to wave, but the bike swerved from the mis-balanced grip I had. Of course I swerved, fell forward on my bike, and barely caught myself before eating my handle bars. I looked dumb, let's just leave it at that. I shot the dude a toothy grin and a chuckle, and he chuckled back and waved... without faltering an inch. Good thing we were going opposite directions.

The Draper Temple on my ride today. Proof that I really did the ride. Beautiful morning!

My second funny story was toward the end of my ride. I stopped and an old mission companion's house to say hi and get some water. No one was home, which made me sad, because I wanted to see their new baby... and I was REALLY thirsty and out of water. Well, right by their front porch was a spigot with a hose attached. I took the hose off and filled up my water bottle with water. I called my buddy and left a message saying something to the effect of "hey, I missed you guys. I am going to get some water out of your faucet here. I hope it's good water, because if not and I die, it's your fault." I went on my way glad I had water. In fact, by the time I got home, I was all out of water again. I cam into the house, literally collapsed on the bed and tried to recover from my killer ride that I'd accomplished in 3 hours and 45 minutes. I saw that I had a message on my phone from this friend. He said something to the effect of "Hey Smitty, I wouldn't drink that water. It won't kill you, but I've had it before and my cup was full of nasty stuff. I just dumped it in the grass. Let's chill soon. Bye." Oops! Well, I'm still alive... barely. My muscles are super tired and sore, but I hope that rides like this will make them stronger.

Miles ridden feeling foolish: 64.7

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

A little Entertainment...

This is my apology for not posting for such a long time... more goodies to come!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The Suncrest Ride...Part 1.

So, Chris and I have completed what I would consider our first "hard" ride. "Hard" is such relative term. We have been on rides with hard aspects to them... a ride with a hard hill, or a really long ride. But all of these rides have one thing in common... they are either short in nature, or flat.

I will put up another post on this particular ride, but with video and pictures. Yesterday will be a day to remember. Chris and I pushed the envelope like we never have before. We were sure to pack plenty of water, Gatorade, and Cliff bars to keep us fueled. We had two water stops also, where we could fill up and keep moving.

Chris and I left his place at 8:00 in the morning. We had mapped out our ride (or rather, Chris had) and he knew the way to get us to the beginning of our main climb. I've included a link to our map so that those of you familiar with Utah can get a mental picture of our ride. Please take a peek to get an idea of our ride. See the loop that we made around a sparsely populated area on a curvy road? That was the monster hill that we conquered that is known as Suncrest. The name comes from the Housing development that is on top of the mountain.

We killed ourselves up the hill! If you are savvy enough, you can look at a view of the vertical that we did on my map. It was definitely not for the faint of heart! I remember being right by the Mt. Timpanogos temple and staring at those bald mountains right above Alpine and thinking "I'm dead". But then I came around a corner and got a view of the hill we'd be climbing. I wasn't so worried anymore. For those familiar with Utah, you know that the Point of the mountain doesn't look that bad, but try telling that to Chris and I as we were climbing up the hill! It was a long hill... probably about 3 or 3.5 miles. It was super nice to coast down the SLC side though. Chris and I ripped down the hill and cruised back to Provo in record time. I'm still feeling the effects of the ride as of 4:30 p.m. wednesday, and I am sure Chris is too. Fatigue and soreness are a part of life after super long rides.

Miles ridden over the river and through the woods: 65.3
Hours in the saddle: 4.25