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the mistress

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theWife has dubbed the new Draper Downhill MTB trail, “the Mistress”, because when I drive by I stare longingly up the canyon that is home to the trail.

Each time she sees the bruise on my left butt cheek (compliments of the bridge at the top and the lesson it taught me about speed and narrow passages) she calls it the “lipstick on the collar”.

I can’t stop thinking about it – I am braving the cold early tomorrow morning to make another run. Surely theWife will mention something about me clandestinely sneaking out of bed to visit “her”.

Can you hear “her” song:

Go to sleep, little baby.

Go to sleep, little baby.

Your mommas gone away and your daddy’s gonna stay

Didn’t leave nobody but the baby

I can still hear Sam holler “I seen ’em first!”

I have to go now…I am getting a little flushed writing about it.

Written by eber

June 10, 2009 at 6:48 am

Posted in biking, good ideas, s & m

100 miles of nowhere

with 13 comments

Some ideas are better than others.

Elden put out a call for entries to his 2nd Annual 100 Miles of Nowhere bike race.   The name comes from last year’s inaugural “race” in Elden’s basement where he was the only entrant and rode the entire 100 miles on his stationary rollers.  That’s right…he rode his rollers for 100 miles straight.  Without moving ANYWHERE.  I think this idea fits nicely in the “others” category.

This year Elden mixed it up a bit to help raise funds for the Lance Armstrong Foundation and the fight against cancer.  He opened up entry to basically the world and he also gave us all a little latitude to boot.  As long as the ride was a short circuit he would count it.  And the best part?  Each of us wins our own race…because theoretically we wouldn’t be racing against anyone else.  That’s a good idea.

Some of Elden’s readers had some pretty unique ideas:

  • One guy programmed his computerized trainer to ride downhill for the entire 100 miles.  This idea goes in the “better” category.
  • One group was able to score time on a local velodrome.  Kind of like Nascar on bikes.
  • A group in London rode 160 laps around the Inner Circle of Regents Park
  • One guy rode the ENTIRE 100 miles looping his cul-de-sac (another idea that belongs in the “others” category).

So I decided to try a route that would not only be interesting, but would also be great training for Leadville.  I opted to circle Suncrest and the Point of the Mountain 5 times.  With Suncrest perched at 6200 feet I was in for a pretty nasty day of climbing.

Race Preparation

For a one man race of this magnitude I had to take my preparation seriously.  First item on the agenda…shave the legs (to milk the aerodynamic advantage of course).

And because I dig the silky smoothness.

In lieu of shaving, this year I decided to go chemical.  A friend has been bugging me to try a fancy cream called Magic Smooth for over a year now.  theWife suggested I use her bottle of Nair before I mix it up with the big boys and Magic Smooth.

Following the instructions I “smoothed on thickly and did not rub in”.  Wait 4 minutes.  Wipe off.

Are you kidding me!  It was THAT simple?

Question for the ladies:  why would any of you EVER shave again?  Nair is a MIRACLE.

I was so effusive in my new found love of Nair that theWife said with apprehension:  “I am going to come home to a totally hairless you, aren’t I?”

Remember the Seinfeld episode where Jerry “did something stupid” and then couldn’t stop?

I couldn’t stop either.

Nair is just SO addicting.

As a consequence I think I am sleeping on the couch for a few weeks.  At least until I no longer resemble a Canadian Hairless cat.

Race Day

So it rained pretty much the entire day and night before the race.  I feared I would be relegated to the drudgery that is riding 100 miles on the trainer in the basement.  Oh, the horror.

Instead, this is what I woke up to Monday morning:

IMG_1911

Dry roads and the sun rising.

Lap One – What an Amazing Day for a Ride

Erik R escorted me around the first lap.  Set a new PR on the downhill…60.1 MPH.  I was so shocked by the speed, I almost catastrophed into the guard rail doing the double take to recheck the speed.  That was exciting.

The conversation with Erik made the first lap pass quickly.  Thanks Erik.

Here is a shot of Erik heading down the north side of Suncrest:

IMG_1912

Check out the clouds.  Living at Suncrest is pretty much okay.

Lap 2 – Feeling Pretty Spry

After climbing south Suncrest and parting ways with Erik I turned around and headed back down the south side to make the loop around the Point for the first ascent up the dreaded north side of Suncrest.  Things were going so well I decided to take a self portrait.  Here I am rolling down the Highland Highway:

Self Portrait

 

Does that picture make my butt look big?

Lap 3 – North Suncrest Sucks…But I’m Already 40 Miles In

Really, it does suck.

Riding up an 11% grade for a prolonged amount of time has a tendency to cause great pain and deep reflection.  Now things were starting to get interesting.  The descent off the north side was great, but I started thinking I still had to climb the north and south sides of Suncrest THREE MORE TIMES.  I started to move my route into the “others” category of ideas.

At least the day was still amazing.  Here’s the view as I approached the second ascent up south Suncrest:

IMG_1915

Lap 4 – Lyrical Clarity

So something interesting happened on Lap 4.  At about mile 70 I started noticing on the iPod that some lyrics were decidedly more distinct than others:

  • “Your engine’s dead, there’s something wrong”
  • “Twice as ha-ard, as it was the first time”
  • “Nothing is real but pain now”
  • “Under pressure”
  • “Had a bad day again”
  • “Your beast of burden, my back is broad, but it’s a hurtin”
  • “House of pain”

You seeing a pattern here?   I was turning into a mental midget (or a mental little person).

[Challenge: I have a packet of cola flavored Shot Bloks for the first person to name the song and band for all the lyrics above.  Banks you are not eligible.]

As I was saying…yeah though I ride through the valley of death.

As I rounded the corner for the next climb up north Suncrest I ran into this:

Suffering

Uh huh.  I was going straight.

Lap 5 – Just…Go…On…Without…Me

The second climb up north Suncrest was quite possibly the single most painful 30 minutes of my life.  Even the descent couldn’t pump life back into my limp noodle legs.

Until I saw this on my last run across the frontage road:

Glen Beck

It was like a light at the end of the tunnel. A beacon in the storm.

No matter how terrible I was feeling at mile 90, it could be SO much worse.  For instance, I could be going to see Glenn Beck at the state capitol on May 30th.

Suddenly I felt MUCH better.

Finish

The last climb up south Suncrest was sloooooooooowww.  Pedaling squares as they say.

I finished.

Here is the evidence…proudly wearing the spoils (based on the drawing my left leg must have carried the burden of most of the climbing):

Dead Body

Recap

100 Miles

8500 Feet of Climbing

Max Speed = 60.1 MPH (descending north Suncrest)

Min Speed = 4.9 MPH (ascending north Suncrest)

Elapsed Time = 6 hours 54 minutes

Most importantly Fatty and everyone who rode their own version of 100 Miles of Nowhere raised over $20,000 for the Lance Armstrong Foundation.

That definitely does not suck.

See you next year.

P.S.  Here’s the route:

Route

 

 

 

Written by eber

May 27, 2009 at 9:31 pm

it’s not that simple

with 2 comments

So Elden has been posting some pretty good videos lately (this one of our near death experience suffered from technical difficulties).

As I watched one of the latest I had a troublesome flashback of my recent descent down Jacob’s on Tuesday.

In this picture you can see the plaid clad butt of a suddenly self-conscious Dug exiting screen right.

Dug ExitLooks simple enough, right?

Wrong.

Witness Exhibit A:

Jacob's Crash

The orange arrow indicates the location on the tree that I smashed my right hand, at speed.

The red arrow indicates the location on the 2nd tree where I subsequently smashed my shoulder and helmet.

The green arrow indicates my final resting place (the shrubbery is a bit matted after my passing through).

Worst of all…I tore my favorite jersey.

Written by eber

May 21, 2009 at 9:19 pm

Posted in biking, s & m

Tagged with , ,

rawrod 2009

with 5 comments

Last weekend I joined a whole slew of crazy people and subjected myself to a masochistic ritual known as RAWROD (Ride Around White Rim in One Day).  In the simplest terms it is a 100 mile suffer fest across this:

white-rim1

On bikes.  All in one day.

Wouldn’t you know…it was SO much fun.

You might ask “how was it riding 100 miles in the desert through incessant dust storms and occasional downpours?”  I am so glad you asked.

RAWROD takeaways:

  1. When Dug gives you directions to the camp site…it’s a good idea to have a backup source.  (Hi Dug!)
  2. I didn’t realize how much I was looking forward to Kenny’s and Elden’s world famous brats until our batch (the LAST batch) rolled off the grill and into the fire.  It was like someone had just kicked my favorite poodle.
  3. Dug should really invest in a new tent.  Aside from one of his poles snapping in the wind, it was making some very ominous noises throughout the night.  It sounded like a bunch of Orcs were sleeping over there.
  4. At mile 40 when someone asks you “what’s the longest you have ridden your mountain bike?” and you answer “35 miles” and then they respond with “just think, you’ve already set your personal best and by the end of the day you will more than double it!” don’t think you’ll be able to take ANY comfort in that.  While I really like J Dub, at that moment all I wanted to do was let the air out of his tires. (Hi J Dub!)
  5. If you ever have to ride your mountain bike 5 miles across a wind blown highway look for two guys who are at least 6 foot 2 with broad shoulders to tuck in behind…that will certainly save your bacon (thanks Dug and Mike).  And if you are ever able to return the favor maybe try to do it somewhere other than on the downhill (sorry Dug and Mike).
  6. I have never been happier to see someone than when DT climbed out of the SAG wagon at mile 50.  Talk about a joyous reunion.
  7. Riding for 75 miles through incessant wind (gusting to 50 mph) will inevitably, at some point in the day, REALLY piss you off.
  8. Watch out for the wind gusts around the last switchback on Hardscrabble…sheesh.
  9. If you ever come to a climb called Hardscrabble…you should know by the name it’s going to be brutal.
  10. If you’ve ever wondered what would hurt worse hitting you at 50 mph:  hail or a wall of sand.  Let me set the record straight…it’s the hail.  For the love of all that’s holy…it’s the hail.
  11. I’m certain the taste of sand, sweat and phlegm is 100% better than Cola flavored Shot Bloks.
  12. If you ever thought it would be a good idea to climb up 1,000 feet in just under a mile and to do it at mile 99 of a 100 mile ride…think again.

All in all, it was an amazing day with a really great bunch of people and I think we generated about $1,000 for Kenny’s LAF page to be donated to cancer research…that doesn’t suck.

Morning at the RAWROD camp

RAWROD Camp

Shafer Trail (we end up WAY down there…sucks to be the guy  who built this trail on a cliff)

shafer

Hey kids, pay attention…this is how NOT to fix a broken chain

bad-fix

This is the face of suffering (thanks for the pic J Dub)

hard-climb

Horsethief – the 1K ft climb at mile 99 (we started in the sunlight by the river below)

Thanks KK for the pic.

horsethief

Elden also took some great video with his super duper new camera, check it out:  Ride Around White Rim in One Day (RAWROD) 2009.

Thanks Kenny for putting this on…what a great day in the desert.

Written by eber

May 2, 2009 at 6:37 am

dog sprints

with 8 comments

I spent the last couple of days in Eastern Idaho attending the funeral of a really great lady.

My Aunt Jean.

Sidenote: Please  indulge me for just a second. One of the speakers talked about how it seems that power, prominence, property and prestige are the primary factors that motivate us these days.  He followed that with what motivated Aunt Jean…friends and family (which was obvious by the turnout).  His point was that the 4 Ps above, all eventually fade…but family and the relationships we foster will always burn bright.  Point well taken.  It’s pretty great to have Mel in the family.  He has a quiver full of great lessons like that, including this one 7 years ago that has become my Fatherhood for Dummies guide.  Mel also was instrumental in helping me secure theWife for the long term.  When she had convinced herself to ditch the hippie me and head out on a mission I took her to Mel, who put in his $0.02 and basically told her she’d be CRAZY not to dump her plans IMMEDIATELY and marry ME instead.   That’s pretty much EXACTLY how it happened.

So as I was saying…Eastern Idaho.

Ever since I was a kid, Eastern Idaho (specifically Teton and Ashton) has been one of those places where you feel like you’re home.  Sourdough pancakes (cooked in bacon grease of course), whole milk, fresh fruit w/ REAL cream, the Grand Tetons, endless Idaho skies, and that fresh Eastern Idaho air…what’s not to love?

Okay, I can think of ONE thing.  There is just one thing I HATE about Idaho.

Dogs.

You see Idaho has some of the best road biking routes around.  Rolling hills, great climbs, wheat fields, snow capped mountains in the distance.  It kind of, sort of  is what I imagine its like riding in The Tour.  Well, except for the dogs.  And the lack of world class riders.  And no crazy dude running alongside the road, dressed up like the devil.  And no whiny French people.  Okay, maybe not THAT much like The Tour.  But, I’m just saying.

I also don’t imagine Lance spends the better part of a ride strategizing the best way to get around the canine conundrum that IS road biking in Idaho.

So, here are the three critical success factors for a successful doggie dodge, prioritized in this order:

  1. Surprise (how well you sneak up on the dog)
  2. Angle (aided by the element of surprise)
  3. Speed (how fast you can pedal in the event of a chase)

This past Saturday, over 32 miles of riding I had 7 encounters with 9 different dogs…if you do the math that is one puppy problem  every 4.5 miles.  Or to look at it from the perspective of time…I was dodging at least one dog every 12.5 minutes.  Sheesh.  To make matters worse, the dogs it seemed,  had the upper hand on all but one of the critical doggie dodge success factors.

It felt like the scene from Better Off Dead where the newspaper kid and his buddies gang up on John Cusack in the woods. “I want my two dollars!”  Classic.

ANYhoo, of the  SEVEN encounters on Saturday, there was one I thought surely would end with me being Cujo’s kibble.

So Cujo and his puppy pal (we’ll call him…Frank), caught wind of me early and entered the roadway well ahead of my arrival, thus cutting off my angle.  Blasted!  Two of the three critical success factors GONE!  Speed at this point is worthless.  Why?  Because bunny hopping a moving dog on a road bike isn’t as easy as it sounds.  Imagine what the result of speed and a lunging, gnashing dog looks like?  That’s right, biker road kill.  Cujo would be burying pieces of me all over the back yard.

So what do I do?

Slow down.  Be nice.  Make friends with the cute little guys.  Nice doggy.

At first, it appeared to work.  Frank seemed to really be into slow, casual cyclists in tights.  I think at one point he even winked at me.

Okay, I thought…this is working out just fine.  Until I turned my attention to Cujo, who looked like this:

pitbull

And I am quite certain I looked something like this:

scared

Thank the maker for adrenaline.  I rode as fast as my little legs would pedal.  Got around the bend and down a hill into the river bottom where I got off my bike and just sat on the side of the road.  I am pretty sure I peed a little in my pants.

In Utah we call them Intervals.  In Idaho…they are called Dog Sprints.

Written by eber

March 22, 2009 at 4:44 pm