Saturday, November 14, 2009

A Belated Tour de St. George Century Report + Encounter with a Scorpion

I'm not entirely sure why, but I didn't post anything on my blog during October. It wasn't that I didn't have anything to blog about. I think maybe it had to do with Adobe's acquisition of Omniture and sort of being in a funk not knowing what my future would hold. During that time, I was able to escape with the family down to St. George for a long weekend where I rode in the Fall Tour de St. George. So, here's my long overdue report on the ride.

The Start
Getting ready to ride:

I should mention that a few minutes after this picture, I was riding through the parking lot and this guy swerved hard left right in front of me. I pretty much locked up my brakes in order to avoid t-boning him.

I was with a friend and his wife at the start and we decided to let the hoarded mass of people pass through and thin out before we even began pedaling. This may sound like a smart thing to do on a century ride, as one would think you could avoid participating in a potential pile up caused by nervous and inexperienced riders, but in reality it wasn't a good idea and I don't recommend it. The issue is these century rides have several hundred entrants, a good portion of which haven't before ridden on a group bike ride. These types typically are riding one of the shorter 10, 20 or 50 mile options rather than the full 100 miles. Anyhow, it was nuts navigating through all of these people on mountain bikes, beach cruisers, etc., especially when they'd ride 4 people wide and you'd have to cross the center line to pass them. I bet within the first 5 miles there were 4-5 separate incidents of people going down from crossing wheels and the like. Luckily, I avoided all the carnage. Next time I'll be at the front, even if I'm not planning on pushing the pace.

The Route
I'd give the route a 8 on a 10 scale. I particularly enjoyed the first 60 miles of the ride and not just because I was fresh. It had some nice, smooth roads with generous shoulders and a good mix of short climbs and downhill. I particularly enjoyed riding around Sand Hollow Reservoir (including the climb on the east side) with the beautiful red rock scenery and also motoring through the country roads south of Hurricane. After Hurricane there was more climbing here and there and then a long, gradual descent towards and past Quail Creek Reservoir. This section of the road was fairly rough and bumpy. Any discomfort from the road was offset by the thrill of the downhill ride. If UDOT would resurface that road, that downhill stretch (the frontage road parallel to I-15) would be a joyous stretch to ride.

The back half of the century was highlighted by the long climb up to the top of Snow Canyon. It was a challenge, especially with the temperature on that day above 90. The descent through Snow Canyon was rewarding, except I couldn't really enjoy it as I getting dehydrated - see more below.

The Rest Stops
The quality of the stuff (food, water, energy drinks, etc.) at the rest stops seemed to be adequate. I didn't stop, except for water, until the lunch stop at mile 60 and then once again at mile 90. The lunch was a sandwich, cookie and I believe fruit? (can't recall exactly). I mostly relied on my oatmeal for breakfast, CarboRocket and a handful of gels. My biggest complaint for the ride organizers was the fact that they didn't have an aid station at the top of the Snow Canyon climb. About a mile from the top, both of my bottles were completely dry. I thought, no big deal, I'm sure there will be a station at the bottom of the canyon. Not so. The aid station was another 5 miles after the bottom of the canyon and it wasn't flat getting there. In fact, I was so parched, I came a hair away from knocking on some one's door and asking for water.

Post Ride Food
Not much to report here. There was no "real" food at the finish line, just sodas and some fruit, which isn't a big deal for me as I'd rather go get something to eat at a restaurant of my choice after taking a shower and cleaning up.

All said, this century was my favorite of the 3 centuries I rode this year (Zion to St. George and Tour De Cure were the other two) and I'll most likely be back next year.


Scorpion Encounter

While on the above noted trip to St. George, I found this little bugger in the bathtub of our condo in Hurricane. I of course didn't tell my wife about it and quietly took this picture. Then I forgot to tell her about it. Two weeks later I got a call at work frantically asking about this picture and where it came from as she'd seen it on the camera.

Anyone know what kind of scorpion this is? I know nothing about scorpions. I imagine they are common in Southern Utah.

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