I'm on call this weekend so no sweet bluebird backcountry powder turns for me. Also because of all the snow the shoreline will be the mudline so there's no singletrack to be ripped. I can't wait to ride my roadbike in circles for three hours staying no farther than a half hour from my house in case I get called in. Maybe I should just end it all in a blaze of wrecked carbon, aluminum, flesh, bone and glory at RMR.
Almost four hours of BST dirt on Saturday gave me around 15 for the week. A little more than planned but who can resist the lure of singletrack with bluebird skies and mild temps? The muscles were screaming for some repairs and a dose of protein was in order. We met soon to be expert MTBer Ken, his wife Anna and friend Andrew at Pats BBQ for some world class ribs. Ate almost half a rack of the meatiest, most tender ribs ever created and followed it up with a supersized Snickers shake from Iceberg. If you ever need to know where to go out to eat in the SLC talk to Ken. He knows all the good spots.
Last night I rode from home-zoo-dry creek-bobsled-up city creek and back. Contrary to published reports Bobsled has a one section of pretty sloppy mud. It's short enough and there is so much traffic and maintenance done on the trail that I didn't worry about it but the section is sloppy enough that you probably will need to clean your bike/drivetrain post ride. I rode it at 7pm so I'm betting its a little less sloppy first thing in the AM. Other than the mud the trail is in sweet condition. The local free-ride bros have really spent some quality time working the trail.
Rode the BST last night. Home-zoo-dry creek-city creek and all trails were dry and good to go. The trail is hurting in quite a few spots with criss-crossing pizza cutter lines all over where the Fred's have been riding through the mud but when one has the ability to ride almost 1.5 hours of dirt in mid-March one should not complain.
We had some friends in town from Michigan the latter part of last week for a ski vacation. I had to work while they skied Thursday and Friday but we got to ski with them on Saturday. TC, who is a saint in training, miraculously got us some last minute tickets to DV so off we went to ski with the rich and famous. The fresh snow was long gone but we had an awesome day of playing high speed follow the leader down the groomers and Greg Miller's Mogul challenge everywhere else. Six hours of hammering moguls till your legs collapse led to some sore hip flexors the next day. We reloaded the muscles with buffalo burgers and plenty of beer at Squatters followed by way too much ice cream at Coldstone.
Sunday our friends flew home at 2pm and Rhonda and I headed out for a Suncrest adventure. We rode from our house down around the point of the mountain into the UC. Highway into Alpine, up the south side of Suncrest and down the north. We ran into Doug and Eric during a potty break at the equestrian center. They had just finished a corner canyon shred session and updated us on trail conditions. From there it was a mad dash home for some serious pre bed-time eating. 60 miles and around 4 hrs of saddle time. Between the moguls on Saturday and the long ride yesterday my hips are worked.
After two weekends in a row of riding in shorts and shortsleeves I couldn't bring myself to ride outside in the sub-artic temps on Tuesday. I watched Zoolander and rode the trainer for a bit, not so bad. Wednesday I wanted to do something after work and the trainer didn't sound too appealing. I though about skating but my skis desperately needed a wax job and I was too lazy to do it. I decided to man up, throw on a jacket and ride outside. It was 45 and sunny when I left my house but the a cold north wind was blowing. I took my usual route south down Wasatch. Everything was kosher till I decided to take a swing through Dimple Dell. The descent down was fast and I started to get cold but figured I would quickly warm back up. My fingers went numb and as I turned back towards Wasatch my stomach started to cramp. I was hoping I would warm back up while climbing Wasatch but unfortunately I had hit the point of being so cold I was unable to put out enough watts to warm back up. The ride back home on Wasatch into the icy north wind was pure torture. A seemingly never ending sufferfest of bone numbing cold while I cursed myself out for being too lazy to wax my skis.
I think doing cyclocross last fall might have paid off. Last year the opening sprints saw me spit out the back in no time flat. This year I was able to hold on to the back with very little effort and even did a bit of coasting while drafting in the back. I was in the back of a lead group of about 12 entering the first wash. Coming out into the first climb the top guys starting pulling away and I was able to work my way through a few guys ahead of me by the end of the climb. I got shelled on the first downhill losing a few spots. In the second wash climb a large group of us (10-15) got caught behind some slower riders. There was no room to pass and my timing got jacked up on the last up ledge and I went down. Didn't cost me much time and I got right back in the Tonga line going up but I was annoyed with myself. More of the same the rest of the race. OK on the climbs, shelled on the DH. In fact Wedge passed me on the 2nd to last DH, I almost caught back on to him on the climb and then proceeded to lose almost 2 minutes to him on the final DH. I'm normally not that bad but for some reason I have a much greater fear of falling into rocks and cactus than I do of falling into dirt and trees. I ended up 11th out of 18 or so starters so not too bad.
This was Rhonda's first sport race in the desert. On her first lap she knocked almost five minutes off her single lap time from last year. Absolutely amazing! She finished in 11th place in a stacked Sport Women's category. Her time this year would have put her in 3rd place last year.
Sunday a group of 20+ of us did a team group ride on the Hurricane Rim loop. 23 miles of singletrack bliss. Altogether an amazing weekend. MTB racing is a wonderful challenging sport and the people who participate in it are almost without exception awesome. I get to race at the same time as some of the fastest people in the world and every last one of them is humble about their mad skills and always willing to give advice when asked. As in any racing there's a few annoying people who enjoy winning a bit too much but even those guys try to be humble about it:)
I forgot to mention this but after riding Saturday we hit Red Rooster restaurant based on a Team Buzzard recommend. It was excellent. I had the fish taco's for $7 and Rhonda had Garlic Shrimp Fajitas for $10. Everything is homemade including their chips, salsa and tortilla's. It's a small place located in a shopping plaza next to the Albertsons on Sunset in Santa Clara. Highly recommended.
When we ran into Greg on Saturday he mentioned that even though Bearclaw was trashed, Stucki was still in excellent condition so we hit that on Sunday. We rode from Rhonda's mom's in Sun River to the Bearclaw trailhead. Rode up Bearclaw to the Stucki turn off and took Stucki over to the Stucki springs 4wd road. The BLM has done a bunch of new signing and fencing and for the first time the Stucki trail is marked all the way to the road. It would have been nice if they had done that a couple years ago when I always used to get lost back there but beggers can't be choosers. We took the road up to the 4 wheeler trail that drops in and out of the small canyon and connects to Barrel Roll. Did a lap on Barrel Roll and turned around to retrace our steps back only instead of taking Bearclaw we turned off early to try to find the Bloomington Microloop. We followed the signs and landed in a wash that had a lot of tracks but ended at a barbwire fence near a road. Over the fence we went. I guessed that if anybody saw us we wouldnt get in too much trouble since the fence was meant to keep rednecks from getting in to the Desert Preserve while we were white necks trying to get out. The dirt road we got on after hopping the fence was straight out of The Hills Have Eyes but we were able to avoid any mutant attacks and ended the ride safely. 4.5 hrs and 40 miles later we cleaned up grabbed a Hungry Howies pizza and were going to straight line it back to SLC until a Dairy Queen craving hit us in Scipio and we caved for both a Pumpkin Pie and a Chocolate Cherry Sweetheart Blizzard.
I snuck out of work a little early Friday and we headed for St. George. After arriving at Rhonda's moms house I mounted up a new Racing Ralph 2.25 up front to give it a bit of run in the desert. Saturday we relaxed in the AM enjoying coffee and bagels before heading over to the raceway for some course recon. We hooked on to a Mad Dog (plus UMB Kendra) group ride at the base of the course and started out on a lap. Rhonda and Dot took the point with me trailing behind. At the top of the first wash I had to stop and adjust the pitch of my saddle a bit. I've been experimenting with a slight bit of starboard roll on my saddle this winter to help compensate for a leg length discrepancy and I messed up the pitch a bit in doing so. After I finished adjusting my saddle I looked up the hill and the girls were long gone. I don't know what it is with girls and group rides but I figured I might as well try to catch back on. I opened it up on the hill and caught everybody else but no Dot and Rhonda. Ripped the downhill full military power thinking to myself jeeze, still no girls, damn I'm slow. Climbed the second wash, tore down the final DH and finished without running into the girls. OK, now I was truly embarrassed. I'm so slow they left on another lap without me. I headed to the car hanging my head in shame so I could deposit my long sleeves and grab some chow before heading out for another lap. As I was leaving the girls came rolling in and I'm thinking there's no way they're that fast. They weren't. Apparently the pace was so heated they took a wrong turn and I passed them as they doubled back to the course. The angry K9's had just driven down for the day to preride so they headed home and we headed out for another couple laps. We ran into Greg Larson on his way over to Zen and he burned a lap with us. After the third lap Rhonda drove back to her moms and I rode the Bearclaw Poppy war zone back. It's going to be a long time before Bearclaw recovers from the beating it received this winter. It's in such bad condition now that it's not even worth riding. Pretty much rattle your filling out bumpy. Great day, wonderful weather and a saddle time of just under 3.5 hrs
The Racing Ralph is an amazing tire. Mine was light for a high volume 29er at 540 grams. It has tons of grip set up tubeless and still rolls really fast. I've ridden SB 8's, Pythons and Nanoraptors in the 29er and this tire blows them all away.