Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Prolytes: this stuff works

I've had issues with cramping up in the past.  Like last year on the 1,000 Warriors Race when both quads locked up so hard I nearly fell of the bike and then as recently as a several weeks ago while pre-riding the PCP2P course, both hamstrings locked up.  Anyone that has experienced severe cramping during a race can attest that they can essentially end your day once they set in.

I was in the LBS and they recommended I try Prolytes, which is a concentrated liquid solution of the electrolytes potassium, sodium, magnesium, chloride and sulfate.  The directions say to mix Prolytes with your water or sports drink and I'm sure that works fine (I need to try it out), but I was told you could also simply squirt a few drops under your tongue, which appealed to me as I would rather not be mixing, measuring, etc. more than I have to.

The real test came for me a few weekends ago when I was fatigued and struggling up the south side of the Nebo Loop with the sun beating down on me and I was sweating profusely.  I started to feel the cramping coming on.  I immediately popped out the Prolytes bottle and squirted a few drops under my tongue.  Seriously, I'm not kidding you, within a matter seconds the cramping subsided and I continued on without any further problems.  Since that ride, I've been using it routinely on my long rides and I haven't had even a hint of cramping.

So there you go.  Try it out and see for yourself.  Hopefully it works for you too.

Monday, July 19, 2010

MTB around Timp

I've been wanting to ride around Timpanogos on the dirt for a while now and Saturday I finally had my chance.  Here are the route details going clockwise starting from Provo Canyon:

  • 6:15 AM start at Nunn's Park in Provo Canyon
  • Union Aqueduct Road
  • Dragon's Back
  • Water Tank Road
  • Betty to the Altar
  • Lament to Dry Canyon
  • Curly Springs to Battle Creek Canyon
  • Mostly hike-a-bike up Battle Creek to the intersection with the Great Western Trail (GWT)
  • GWT single-track around the north side of Timp
  • Bailed onto the Timpooneke Road to avoid the rocky trail below Julie Andrews Meadow
  • Salamander Flat
  • Snow Gage / Horse Flat to summit
  • Aspen Grove
  • Pavement back to Nunn's Park

I finished at 11:30 AM and total ride time was about 4 hours and 15 minutes. Total vertical ft. was 5.8K. 
My overall impression is that this was an awesome ride with the exception of the hike-a-bike that followed this crossing of Battle Creek (just after dropping down Curly Springs*).
*Curly Springs was a good climb, not too many steep sections and only a couple of spots where I had to put a foot down due to loose rocks.

This hike-a-bike section of the trail (about 1 mile) mostly goes straight up the mountain and is littered with loose rocks. Even in spots where the grade levels out, the trail is narrow and deep making it easy to catch a pedal.  Not too fun.

The alternate route instead of Curly Springs and Battle would have been to continue climbing from the Altar, up and over the saddle of Little Baldy, traverse the head of Dry (mostly rough going) and then climb up and over the saddle of Big Baldy.  I've ridden from the Altar, around Little Baldy and about 2/3 of the way across Dry and there are definitely some rough spots that require frequent dismounts, plus the elevation gain on this route would be about 1,000 ft. more.  So either route has its pluses and minuses depending on what you prefer.

Here's a picture of a nice meadow I encountered just before the NW corner of Timp.  I was pretty tense crossing this as there were bees buzzing everywhere.  I thought for sure I'd get stung, but luckily they let me pass through.


My favorite part of the ride was topping out at about 8,600 ft. on the NW corner of Timp and the trail that followed, which quickly turned from sagebrush and meadows to lush forest single-track underneath a shaded canopy of aspen and old growth pine and fir.  I stopped for a break in one of these groves (while eating a giant flour tortilla) and just soaked it in.  I would have stayed longer, maybe even taken a nap but the deer flies were attacking me.**

**I've discovered spandex doesn't provide much cover from insect bites given the location of the many bites I received.  So, don't forget your repellent like I did if you do this ride.



I mentioned I bypassed the trail before and after Julie Andrews Meadow.  I've ridden this section once before and wasn't in the mood to get kicked around by the rocks on the descent from the said meadow, so I opted to take the Timpooneke Road instead .

I finished up the dirt portion of the ride by hopping on the Snow Gage trail then Horse Flats to the summit and then dropping down Aspen Grove.  I like Snow Gage.  It had some good climbing, good scenery and not too many rocks.  It was a bit soft from the 3 or 4 horses that I encountered, but still in reasonable shape.  Aspen Grove is fun too.  It still has need of a trail crew to clear some of the loose rocks on the lower portions, but it has improved from 2 or 3 weeks ago when I rode it last.

So there you have it.  A sweet ride around Timp on a 29er, all before lunchtime.  Speaking of lunchtime, I think we should incorporate this into one of our lunch rides in the fall, maybe on a Friday.  I'm sure at the lunch pace, we could be done in 3 1/2 hours.  That would simply require a shooting range start time of 10:30 ("early lunch") and then we'd be back at our desk by say 2:30 (no need to shower of course).  Something to think about.  I'm getting antsy already for the fall lunch rides.