Saturday, December 31, 2011

Exploring Suncrest, Alpine, And Everything In Between

This year has been uncharacteristically mild in terms of snowfall.  The promise of snow, to those who wish for snow, is a fading hope.  Years ago, I was among those that anxiously looked forward to the first snowfall and the day there would be enough to carve some new turns in fresh powder.  Once the kids started to show up and our move to Colorado, where paradoxically, skiing isn't as convenient as it once was growing up in Utah, I put the skis aside.  Now that I am here again, I may venture into some backcountry skiing in the coming years.  But for now, the snow has not shown up for the winter party which leaves dirt ripe for riding and that's what I have been doing.  There are two trail systems close to my house, so close in fact that I don't need to drive to either of them.  This is a dream come true for a mountain biker.  The first trail system, Corner Canyon is literally just down street and within 5 min of my front door. The trails are fast and flowing and cater to the desires of riders of all abilities. There is plenty of up, down, and spectacular views of the Salt Lake Valley.  The only downside to Corner Canyon in the winter is the fact that all trails are on a north-facing slope and tend to hold snowpack during the winter.

A taste of Corner Canyon

The second trail system is Lambert Park on the east bench of Alpine Utah.  Lambert is a labyrinth of windy trails that intersect at random tied together by a few dirt roads.  While these trails are not as spectacular as those found in Corner Canyon, they do offer some good views of Utah Valley.  Lambert has one major advantage over Corner Canyon in the winter: the trails face south-west and tollerate moisture very well.  For the first few rides in Lambert, I took the pavement down the hill to Highland and then into Alpine following roughly the same path back up.  Fortunately, Adam was around my first trip to show me around Lambert.  We did a few laps around the park then set out to explore a possible route back to Corner Canyon on dirt roads.  Oh yea, there are a number of 4wd / 4-wheeler roads carved into the landscape between Alpine and Suncrest, the question is, which road if any connects the two?  Below was a pretty good recon mission but we ran out of daylight and legs to keep exploring.

Draper to Lambert with some bonus exploring.

A few days later I attacked the the problem from the top of the hill and found my way back to the loop we explored the day earlier.  Although the road is washed out in probably only ridable on the downhill in places it is ridable.  This opens up some great riding opportunities come this Spring.  Riding Corner Canyon and Lambert will offer 30-50 miles of quality mountain biking all on dirt and all out my front door.

Connecting Corner Canyon to Lambert Park

Monday, December 19, 2011

An Update

I've been traveling quite a bit for work since mid November.  I'm growing more forgetful these days and have to resort to taking photos of things like my shuttle stop so I will remember where I got on and hopefully where I need to get off and find my car a week later when I return.  While some may revel in the traveling-for-work lifestyle, the frequent flyer miles, the exclusive airport lounge, and first class seating,  I don't care for it.  While it is a short-term necessary evil for work purposes, it increases my chances of getting sick (yes, I am that guy that runs the air full-blast into my face on the airplane), throws off my daily routine, makes me eat unhealthy food, and brings havoc to any sort of structured training.

The pain cave has new meaning after two weeks of nothing but low-end stationary bikes and free weights to work with.  I've been experimenting with new things this year during base training (base 1) for the times I have a real bike to ride.  Last year I did a lot of hours on the trainer in HR zone 2 which boils down to low intensity and long duration.  I watched a lot of movies and got to know my garage really well.  I think this really set me up well for long miles (muscular endurance) but I was not really ready for the first few races.  I had little in the power department as expected.  This year I am planning to fix that to some extent with a little experiment building muscular force during base 1.  During my travel, I used a combination of stationary bike and free weights.  When home, I have been throwing a few sets of what Joe Friel calls Force Reps (which he describes in this blog post) along with my longer zone 2-3 rides and various interval sets.  So far they have been working out well and I feel like I get a lot our of a 45-60min workout without having to do a straight up weight room workout.