No, I don't mean the 45 year old blonds with fake boobs that I hear are quite common up there. Last night I made a pathetic attempt at doing some intervals up Emigration when I heard a rustling in the bushes off to the left. I looked over and a saw cougar come flying out of the bushes sprinting in my direction. I froze and the cougar continued running across the road about 5-10 feet in front of me and dove into the woods. I'll never know if it was actually coming at me or just happened to be cruising by (I'm guessing the latter since on my bike I'd look pretty large to a cougar). It's the only one I've ever seen in the wild and it was quite the experience.
Mr and Mrs Kidney Stone were nice enough to join us for a weekend of fun and sun in Fruita. We left Friday morning and hit the Kokopelli Loops area that afternoon. Kris and Jolene had never been to Fruita so for an overview of what Kokopelli had to offer we did a big loop of Mary's, Lions, Mack Ridge and Moore Fun. I hadn't ridden Moore Fun in over 7 years and I remembered it being a difficult trail but not the pain in the ass that it is. It's pretty much set up on both the climb and the decent as a "MTB trials" type of trail and since I'm an XC weenie the trials, especially on the climb, ended up being a lot of hike-a-bike. The rest of the trails we rode that day were sweet and you can read all about them on my trip report from May.
On Saturday we had a blast riding the buff singletrack over in the bookcliffs. We started with the classic loop of Prime Cut, Joe's Ridge and Kessell Run which is quite possibly the most fun per mile MTB loop in the world. Next we looped Prime Cut, Chutes and Ladders, Edge Connector and Vegetarian. Then we finished with a repeat of Prime Cut, Joe's Ridge, back up to the very top of Kessell Run and finally back to the car. The first time I rode Kessell years ago I liked it but it was never near the top of my list trail wise. Now I'm starting to really love that trail. The more you ride it and get to know it the better it flows and once you get the no brakes flow of that trail it's like MTB nirvana. My only regret of the day was skipping Zippity. As I get older the pucker factor on that trail gets to be less fun and more fright but it's still a classic and I maybe shouldn't have talked us out of riding it. We finished the day with awesome food and beverage during happy hour at the Rockslide Brewery in Grand Junction.
Last time we were in Fruita we didn't have so much fun riding the Tabeguache area but I've heard so many good things about the trails there we had to try again. Armed with the Fruita guidebook on loan from Kendra we saddled up. We climbed the Tabeguache trail up to Little Park road where to save time we took pavement up to the top of The Ribbon. Rode the Ribbon down and climbed back up the connector trail to the top of The Gunny trail which we followed back to the car. This ride was much better than the ride we did in the spring but was still not great. The rideable parts of the trail were really fun but there are so many short (and not so short) portages that we got a bit frustrated. A lot of the portages could have been avoided with switchbacks or other trail alterations which also would make the trails more sustainable. The trails closer to the trailhead seem to be better than some of the trails further out so maybe we'll stick with those the next time we go. It's still a fun area but it's just not quite living up to expectations.
All in all it was a sweet trip with great riding and excellent company. It's always fun to get out of town and burn desert singletrack but I'm looking forward to some mud, sweat and tears this weekend at the CX doubleheader.
Yesterday I finished getting my Blur back in rideable condition for the Fruita trip this weekend and decided to take a quick shakedown spin in Millcreek. It was pretty cold at my house but as soon as I entered the canyon it was bone chilling. I lasted about 45 mins on the pipeline before I lost all feeling in my toes and bailed. Rides like that actually make the trainer in the basement look enticing.
Since I missed the CX fun on Saturday I felt like putting in a good long max effort last night. After work I rode over to Emigration for a little solo time trial. 32:25 with an average HR of 164. Not really all that fast I know but I thought it was decent enough for a hairy legged MTB'er. I big ringed past a shorn roadie with a hello and a wave on the steeper section near the end which he took affront to. He grabbed my wheel and sprinted past me near the end. These little cheeseball competitions that always happen on the road are funny. You just don't see that on the trail.
We went and saw Body Worlds with the parents on Sunday. It was pretty cool but I was a little disappointed. I thought the information level on the displays was little too basic. I know the exibit is geared towards the layperson but some more detailed info would have been nice as well. Also a lot of the displays were cool but you see so much more detail on an MRI scan that they were a bit of a letdown for me. I would highly recommend it for the public but it just didn't do to much for me personally.
Finally got back to some shorts and a jersey weather for last nights road ride. Had a really nice ride up Emigration, one of those rides where the stars aligned perfectly. Temps were great, I felt kinda fast and the surrounding traffic was amazingly polite. As I approached the four way stop at the corner of Wasatch and 13th there was a Lexus who had already stopped and had the right of way by far. I prepared to stop but the driver of the Lexus was nice enough to just wave me through. Then as I was stopped waiting for traffic so I could turn left on Crestview a truck stopped behind me. Once traffic cleared I turned left and he turned left behind me. Instead of doing what most other drivers do in this situation, gunning it to get around me only to have to stop 100 yards down the road at Sunnyside he eased up and let me stay in front. This gave me a nice unimpeded right turn on to Sunnyside and up Emigration. Maybe people are finally learning to respect cyclists more. Nah, who am I kidding, I'm sure I was just lucky enough to come across two very nice people on the same ride.
Speaking of bad drivers Rhonda got rear-ended the other day by some redneck in a 78 GMC pickup. She was fine but our little Tacoma tore the hell out of his supersized piece of fine American engineering. The Tacoma had a slightly bent bumper and some mild damage to the tailgate and left rear quarter while his POS needed to be duck taped and bungee corded just to get home. Miraculously he did have insurance and since he was cited his insurance is going to pay to fix our truck.
My parental units are in town for the weekend and Rhonda nixed any idea of me running up to Ogden for the race this weekend. It's probably going to be the only time Rico allows us to have nice weather for a cross race and it's too bad I'll miss out. I'm sure dry courses aren't as fun as muddy ones but I'd like to race one just just for giggles.
On Saturday we arrived at the Heber Fairgrounds at around 8am to cold temps but a dry course. After registering I headed out for a hot lap of the course and the sky opened up dumping a couple inches of snow on the ground in about 15 mins. It stopped snowing right before the start of our race but the melting snow left the course nice and muddy. I had my trainer set up with a nice view of the start line so my plan was to keep spinning till the last minute and then run over to the start with warm legs. They called for people to start lining up and everybody moved to the start area while I kept spinning. I headed over to the start area just as they were doing the call-ups. I lined up in the very back and being new to cross I figured it wouldn't be a big deal to get around the people in front of me pretty quick. BAD IDEA. Jon sounded the start and the front of the group rode away while I sat in the back waiting for everybody to get moving. By the time I was able to get moving the leader was already making the first left turn almost 100 yards ahead. Once we finally got moving I tried to get around some people on the dirt track but I was blocked in without any gaps. The pack came to a complete stop at the first barrier section and as I'm walking over the barriers I see the leaders descending the run-up. I finally found some room on the grass leading to the run up and passed a bunch of people pushing and walking the run up but as I re-mounted I looked over and saw the lead group entering the stables almost half a lap ahead already. Once past the run-up I had plenty of room to operate but the damage was done. As I entered the stables I heard the Gardie announcing the leaders finishing their first lap and from then on every time I hit the stables I would hear the leaders coming through finishing laps. So the good news is I was on the lead groups pace once I cleared the traffic jam on the first lap.
In the results they have me finishing 30th but they also have Jorge finishing 21st and I passed him early in the second lap so who knows where I really finished. I think they're having trouble keeping track of the record number of racers each week because they had the women's B results messed up for both races as well.
All things considered it was still really fun and I can't wait to race again. The course was sweet with a lot of fun variety. I do hope they can start getting the results straightened out
I rode Big Mountain Sunday, recovery ride Mon and intervals up Emigration yesterday. The shoulder held up pretty well so it's all systems go for cross in the cold, snow and horsecrap on Saturday. I still don't have a lot of power while standing on the pedals and pulling but I can work around that.
We got our vote by mail forms delivered yesterday. I tell you vote by mail is the only way to go. Instead of waiting in the line at a polling station and then having to try to remember who you want to vote for in the obscure school district races or whether to vote yea or nae on those 5 constitutional amendments you get to mark the dots at your leisure. Until vote by mail I always felt a little guilty voting. I was a marginally informed voter but if I didn't know anything about a candidate I would just check the box of the guy who had the donkey next to his name. Now that I have plenty of time to look over the ballot I can use the magic of google to read all about the candidates and make an informed decision. Good for us, bad for the deep pocketed politicians.
Friday night I rode the cross bike over to Tanner Park just to try things out to see how my shoulder might hold up. The results weren't good. I couldn't stand and pedal and steering in the rough stuff was pretty sloppy due to lingering weakness in my shoulder. I bagged the race but after much internal debate Rhonda decided to do it. We woke up in the morning to a cold downpour. Yup cross season is here. Loaded everything up and got to the Equestrian Center early enough to get a spot under the eaves of the concession stand to set up the trainer. Rhonda had a good warm up and lined up at the start with a huge field of 45 men's C racers, 16 women's B's and 4 masters men. I heard there were almost 300 racers total. I guess Utah Cross has arrived. Rhonda rode well, stayed upright the entire time, wore through half her brake pads in the wonderfully sloppy conditions and finished 10th. She was hoping for better but it was a tough field including expert MTB'ers and really fast roadies. It was only her 2ndcx race and her first in sloppy conditions so there is plenty of room for improvement. The course was sweet with a lot of flowysingletrack, a slick downhill off camber muddy section, a short pavement hillclimb and a sloppy run-up right in front of the crowd. Rhonda had a blast and is now hooked on cross. It's funny how it took a cold, wet, muddy day to get her excited about the sport.
After the rain quit Sunday afternoon I hit Big Mountain on the road bike. My shoulder was feeling much better and I would say it's about 80% healthy. I don't think I'll be 100% by next Saturday but I'm sure I'll be strong enough to race. The long term forecast is calling for a chance of rain so maybe we'll have another classic race.