Saturday, January 28, 2012

Some Winter Racing

Lambert Park - Alpine, Utah
I got up a little early today, assembled something that would pass for a race-worthy single-speed and headed down the hill to Alpine at 8:45am to catch the 10th annual Frozen Hog MTB snow criterium.  They didn't actually have a single-speed race category so I was a little out-geared by the competition but only slightly.  The course was just over 3 miles and had a good mix of uphill, downhill, and icy corners.  I had bad placement into the singletrack after the Le Mans start and paid for that dearly burning my legs off trying to get by people that took the run a little more seriously.  In hindsight I should have ran a lot faster and spent less time heckling Keith Payne.  I think it is fair to say you can't really go into a race wanting to just "have fun" and expect to get really good results.  The truth be told, I don't think I can race for fun, I am WAY to competitive.  The fun start quickly turned into a serious game of chasing rabbits and trying to avoid traffic jams.  In the end I did have some good fun, chased some rabbits, and ended up 7th.

Icy trails and traffic jams.

One of the few flat sections. Nothing to do but spin and look at the scenery.

Monday, January 9, 2012

THE Bike

I bought my first (and possibly last) ever road bike in 2010. Prior to that I had only ridden mountain bikes and didn't see much need to have a bike that could only go on the road.  After all, I could just ride my mountain bike on the road AND on the dirt right?  When I started to take training and racing a little more seriously I quickly realized the advantage of having a road bike.  It is a necessary tool for those group rides, hill intervals, and perhaps most used by me, the indoor trainer.  So I acquired one at the next opportunity. Shortly after I put together my new Blue RC8, I realized what the hype was all about.  Up to that point I had been riding an sporty SUV (mountain bike) but this new baby, this bad boy, this was a precision instrument of speed and aerodynamics, this was a sports car.  It accelerated like a dream and hugged the road around corners and scared the beans out of me doing so.  So I was converted, I had a road bike and liked it too.  I spent a lot of time on it, I shaved my legs, and grew to love riding skinny tires. Then I started commuting to work a little more and wouldn't you know it, the best route to work had some single track, some double track, dirt bike paths, and some pavement.  I didn't want to ride my mountain bike to work, that would be overkill and cause unnecessary wear.  On the flip side, my road bike was taking a beating and getting too dirty for a sports car.  If only there was a hybrid sort of bike that could go where my mountain bike did and not loose too much of the sports car feel.  I needed the cycling equivalent of a rally car.

Enter the Cyclocross Bike.

When I was looking at my first road bike I contemplated a 'cross bike as an alternative option and almost pulled the trigger.  I didn't have plans to do any Cyclocross racing so it didn't really seem like a good fit.  The thought never occurred to me that I could have just put road tires on it.  Later I met a few people that did just that and they were happy with that option but there was one thing that bothered me: brakes.  I didn't like cantilever brakes or the idea I needed special wheels that would only work on a road / 'cross bike.  I liked the disc brakes on my 29" MTB and my Stan's wheels are light enough to run on a 'cross bike but those darn canti brakes!  If only there was a 'cross bike that I could run my MTB disc wheels on.  Then I could use a wheel from my 'cross bike or mountain bike in a pinch if needed.  Versatility, that's really what I wanted.

Enter the Specialized CruX Disc.

The second I saw this bike frame I was hooked.  Problem solved. The perfect training, commuting, everything but mountain biking bike.  I can run my Stan's ZTR Crest MTB wheels, disc brakes, and reuse the rest of the parts from my road bike.  Best of all:  I can race Cyclocross this fall.

I've never killed this many birds with one stone.

Now the question becomes what is THE bike for July 2012??

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Chasing Rabbits - Moab Day Trip

I had a great day trip to Moab on monday which provided the perfect ending to the year.  Having some good southern Utah riding spots within a few hours drive makes a winter day trip well within the realm of possibilities any given weekend but it comes at a bit of a cost: SLEEP!  It was early Monday when I pulled up to Adam's house.  I was still shaking off the urge to to go back to bed and I think he was feeling the same way.  It took us 5 min to figure out "righty-tighty" on the bike rack as we wrestled his bike on the car in the dark.  We picked up Daren and Chris and pointed my Subaru south loaded down with four bikes and four dudes.  We had to chase Chris and KC down before 9:45am (wich turned out to be the theme for the day).  As I learned on my last trip to St George, they don't wait around, when it's time to ride they ride and they had a 45min head start on us.  I did finally reel them in and what ensued afterward was a great day of riding along Dead Man's Ridge and Sovereign Trail just north of town.  I rode pretty aggressively all day trying to hold the wheel of either Chris Holley or Josh Wolfe but spent most of the time on the extreme end of a long rubber band.  I figure if  I put enough time in chasing fast guys like this around some of their magic pro dust is bound to rub off on me.  It was great to get out with a big group.  The dynamic was great and I had a lot of fun.  And that's what it's all about folks!

Adam, Chris, KC

Daren, Chris, Josh

Chris on Deadman's Ridge

Chris and KC

Adam, Chris, Chris, KC, Josh

Josh and Chris

Adam imparting some wisdom

Cool barn next to the gas station