Sunday, May 31, 2009

Biking Mecca

Lately, my favorite ride is up American Fork Canyon, so that's what I did last Saturday morning. One of my old co-workers Mike P. that has since left Omniture for greener pastures agreed to join me. He recently purchased a new Cervelo tri bike, loaded up with the sweet aero bars and behind the seat water bottle holders (I love tri bikes....).

Mike is actually part of the reason I got into biking. About a year and a half ago, he and another co-worker (Sean) were training for the Kentucky Ironman. I thought they were crazy but admired their determination. Seeing them training encouraged me to start running and then a couple of months later I bought my first road bike and I've been hooked ever since.

Anyhow, we started climbing the canyon and I was amazed at how many other cyclist had the same idea. Especially above Pine Hollow, where the lazy folk had driven to and then hopped on their bikes, there were alot of people on the road. My legs felt really strong the whole ride and even after the summit, I felt like I could keep climbing.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Omniture kit

Yesterday our Omniture cycling kits arrived. Pretty cool......Here's the "racing cut" jersey. I also have matching bib shorts, a cool vest, armwarmers and knee warmers.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

6,000 ft. of climbing

This morning I finally made it to the summit of AF canyon on my road bike. I've ridden up past Pine Hollow several times only to find snow still on the road, but with the recent warm weather all of the snow is now gone.

I left the house at 6 AM, which is usually my routine for Saturday morning long rides since I try to get most of my ride done before the family rolls out of bed. I love the ride up AF canyon in the morning as the sun is rising and its nice and quiet. I noticed the river today was especially high, in fact in one spot it only needed another 6 inches and the water would be on the road. Also, just past the turnoff for the Timpooneke campground, they are working on installing a culvert pipe, so the road is torn up and you have to dismount and cross on foot. The road after Pine Hollow is still closed to cars and so they haven't completed cleaning it of all of the rocks, trees and other debris.

It's always a trick deciding on gear for the ride up the canyon because when you leave at 6 AM, it's still a bit chilly. I've found my arm warmers take care of the chill. Once you start climbing up the canyon though, it doesn't take long to work up a good sweat and then the arm warmers come off. The problem though comes back when you hit the higher elevations and lower temperatures, so back to the arm warmers. Then before you descend you absolutely have to put on a hat, change to full finger gloves and at least slip on a light jacket to keep the wind from chilling you to the bone. I end up having these bulging rear pockets in my jersey to carry the extra gear.

Anyhow, I made it to the top of the canyon and took a few pictures and then started to descend down the other side towards Sundance and Provo Canyon. I was a couple of miles down the mountain when I came around a corner and this dude on a mountain bike was all over the road on my side (he was climbing from the Sundance side)! I think he was day dreaming or something but luckily we both saw each other and avoided a collision. It wasn't two minutes later that I came accross two guys on their road bikes climbing away and one of them was on my side of the road. I thought he saw me but I guess not because he didn't even budge. I had to get about 2 ft. from the shoulder in order to pass by him. People need to pay attention! I know when you're climbing you get in a zone because of the pain, but I'm pretty sure that the issue is that these guys weren't expecting anyone on the road as they have a false sense of security with the road still closed to cars.

I decided to see how my legs would hold up climbing Squaw Peak after the AF Canyon climb. Suprisingly, I felt pretty good and did my TT to the 4 mile mark in record time. Nothing felt better than making it to the overlook. I snapped some good pictures and then headed back to Lehi.

So there it is. 6,000 ft. of climbing in one morning.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Grand Canyon / Kanab to Zion to La Verkin

Last weekend I hiked the Grand Canyon with John Anderson, Jim Farrer and Mike Farrer. We arrived at the South Rim on Friday evening and camped in our tents that night in one of the park's campgrounds. The weather was perfect the next morning as we started down the South Kaibab Trail. This trail is the most direct route to the bottom of the canyon with some beautiful open views of the canyon. You drop from an elevation of 7,200 ft. at the rim to 2,420 ft. at the Colorado River and cover 6.9 miles. We hiked accross the Colorado (check out how green the water was) and a bit further to Phantom Ranch at the bottom of the canyon where we stopped and ate lunch and rested up for the climb back out.

The hike out of the canyon on the Bright Angel Trail was the tougher part of the hike due to the heat of the afternoon and the longer distance of 9.8 miles. The temp. was above 100 degrees and the switchbacks were endless. I ended up drinking about 7 liters of water just on this leg of the hike. We kept cool by dipping our heads in the stream that ran along the trail. I was grateful for my 3L camelback since I drank it dry prior to the Indian Springs water hole. I saw several people walking up the trail with nothing more than 1 or two small water bottles (insane). I also was thanking Jim for letting me use his sweet river running hat that kept me cool and kept the sun off my face. I highly recommend such a hat or something similar for anyone doing this hike.

I ended up finishing the hike around 4PM, which made for a long day of hiking!!
After finishing the hike, we enjoyed some much needed "real food" (as opposed to gels, shot blocks and power bars) and drove back to Kanab, where I was dropped off before the rest of the guys continued back to Utah County. The original plan was for me to ride that evening from Kanab through Zion and then my wife would pick me up on the other side of Zion. Since the hike ended up taking longer than expected, we didn't arrive in Kanab until 10:30 PM, so I decided to find a bed to sleep in with the plan to ride through Zion early the next morning. I was a bit nervous that I might not find a room after driving to 4 or 5 motels before I found a vacancy. I stayed at the Four Seasons in a cheap little room, but I didn't care as all I needed was a bed to lay my aching body on.

The next morning, I was on my bike by 6 AM heading towards Zion on HWY 89. Initially, I was wishing I were with my family and still sleeeping as I hammered my way up the climb out of Kanab. I had a backback with my clothes and shoes from the previous day along with a handful of other supplies, so the climbing was more difficult with the added 10-15 lbs. After about 10 miles or so, I descended to the Carmel junction on a 6% grade, so that made the ride alot of fun. I had a bit more climbing before I reached Zion, but then it was all down hill again. It was an incredible ride through Zion, I highly recommend it. Unfortunately, they won't let you ride a bike through the long tunnel, so I had to hitch a ride with someone with a truck. This nice couple picked me up and took me through after I waited for about 20 minutes. Once out the other side of the tunnel, I rode down through the park and then continued west all the way to La Verkin. It ended up being about 61 miles. By the time I reached La Verkin, I was feeling fairly beat, not particularly tired from the 61 mile ride, but from the combination of the long hike the previous day and the ride.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Snow Still on Alpine Loop

On my way to work on Tuesday, I took a detour on my road bike up AF canyon and up the Alpine Loop road. I was hoping that I could at least make it to the summit and if I were really lucky, maybe descend down the other side into Provo Canyon and into Orem. This plan I thought would be much more exciting than turning around at Pine Hollow and doing an "out-n-back." Unfortunately I ran into this and had to turn around. I took this picture just before the turnoff for Timpooneke. I'm hoping that with the warm weather forecast that I'll be able to pass through next week when I try again. The road is still closed to cars (but not for long), so sooner the better.