Friday, September 19, 2008

Three, Three, Three Posts in One!

Fall Colors for Amy. (Snowbasin)
Hi all,
It’s been a busy two weeks full of cycling, mountain biking, and work. Throw in a huge desktop publishing and printing project, and you can see why I haven’t had time to write.
Lift testing for the snow to come!
Since it’s been 13 days since my last post, I will now endeavor to bring you up to date on several subjects all in one post. I am going to try for one picture and one paragraph for each subject that could easily have been three or four individual posts. So, this might be a long post. Here goes…
800 riders, ready to go!
The view from where I was at the start...
Sprinting: First off, last Saturday was a fine day of sprinting. I rode my Barcroft Virginia GT in a charity ride to inaugurate the new Legacy Highway. This lovely 10-mile road provides an alternate just west of I-15 stretching from Farmington intersecting with I-215 just west of Redwood Road in North Salt Lake. The ride was a grand affair. Over 800 riders, and several hundred runners, joggers, and walkers enjoyed a variety of events. For myself, I was looking forward to some fun sprinting and to see if I could ride 20 miles in under and hour. 55 minutes later, with an average speed of 22 mph, I was done! Now, before you get the idea that I am great sprinter, I had a lot of help. I enjoyed drafting in and out of pace lines for the last 15 miles. I even took a turn attacking to the front. (I didn’t want to feel like a lazy moocher just enjoying the draft while someone else did all the work!) That Virginia GT can just fly in a paceline! It was a fun morning with perfect weather, and brand new roads with asphalt as smooth as glass.
My new pedals!
Raffles and Ecovelo: For those of you that take the time to read the blogs and web pages on my tab list, take the time to read a new entry; This project belongs to Alan Barnard of northern California, and is a wonderful site that addresses cycling as a mode of transportation, not just as a venue for racing and fitness. The site has wonderful photography, and information about cycling advocacy around the world. Take the time to enjoy this fine resource. Part of Alan’s project was to publish a gallery of “the bikes people ride”. To motivate all readers to submit photos of their bikes, Alan held a free raffle of some very slightly used Speedplay pedals. And, wouldn’t you know it, after 120+ entries, I won one of the two sets of pedals! Amazing! It was such fun getting E-mail from Alan that I had won them. Now, to decide if after 7500 miles, it’s time for a new pair of shoes! Thanks Alan!
Looking north, from the Needles Trail at Snowbasin...
Black Blue are Fall colors: This past Monday, I had an extra day off from work, and since the weather was perfect, I snuck away to Snowbasin Ski Resort for some late afternoon mountain biking. Now, I will confess that I haven’t made much time for mountain biking this summer, and my somewhat novice-like skills were somewhat diminished. That’s a very politically correct way of saying I hit the ground a lot, repeatedly in fact. So, although I am publishing some pictures of lovely fall colors here, I will spare you any photographs of the bruises from endo-ing over the handlebars. I will note that Snowbasin has lovely trails, it’s free, and there are very few folks out riding!
More fall colors for Amy!
There you have it, three posts in one. Stay tuned for more fun this week!


Saturday, September 06, 2008

An Early Morning Education

Saturday morning on the causeway, temps reached 90 that afternoon!

Monday morning...snow! Go figure, it's Utah!
Hi All,
Yes, school is in session, both for kids, and cyclists too. As I am sure I have said before, each and every ride brings some sort of education, or something to look back upon. A lovely sunrise, a new route enjoyed, or a learning experience that will add to my knowledge of bikes and riding.

A nice cycling sunrise...
In this case, last Tuesday brought an educational ride. There are many things I learned in my one-quarter mile ride leaving the Frontrunner station in Salt Lake City in the dark around 6 AM. Yes, I said one quarter of a mile. The remaining 3.5 miles were uneventful, but the first quarter-mile was a bit problematic.

Frontrunner, early in the AM...
I had stuck to my normal routine. Up at 4:30, on the Klein Panzer at 5:10, and on the train at 5:30. A quiet 30 minutes reading my book and I was putting my helmet on and getting the bike out the train’s door to ride to work. I headed out to 200 S. and my turn west towards work. There are freight rail tracks to cross, and I have always gone around some concrete damaged areas that butt up against the seam for the tracks, aligned perfectly with the bike lane. Except this Tuesday morning; for some unknown reason I overlooked the damaged area (a nice way of saying large rectangular HOLE) I wasn’t going very fast, maybe 10-12 mph. I saw the large crack too late and tried to swerve the bike. Bad mistake. I was probably better off slamming the brakes and hit the hole head-on.

This is what I hit... not recommended.
No, I am not hurt, really a poor excuse for a crash. No road rash to brag about, no blood, just a badly bent rim. So after a quick recovery, I wobbled the rest of the way to work. By the end of the day, the tube was flat, a victim of old worn out rim tape, and I was tired and out of patience. I got a ride to the train, then subsequently a lovely 2-mile walk home. This walk gave me new appreciation for riding on two wheels. Want to appreciate your bike? Walk home. Really.
My thanks to my friends at Biker’s Edge for fixing the wheel on short notice, and talking me into nice 1.25-inch new tires. The bike rides smooth and fast on smaller tires, and I am back in business. All I lost was a few hours, and a few bucks. So, here is a list of what I learned about bike-commuting this week:
1. Bike commuting is simple and fun, until something happens.
2. Old tires, tubes, & rim tape WILL fail, at the worst possible time.
3. My Klein/commuter was ill equipped for on road maintenance.
4. Dress shoes are no fun on a 2-mile hike.
5. To not leave my water bottle at work.
6. A nice walk is not necessarily a bad thing.
7. UTA’s ticket kiosks only work about half the time.
8. Some of our local roads really suck.
9. People with pick-up trucks will not pick you up.
10. Riding in the dark is an adventure.

15 of the last 18 days on a bike....