Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Who Done It?

ALRIGHT.....(dramatic pause)

Who's the wise guy (or gal) that "nominated" CDNM for the Des Moines Register's online collection of "lifestyle" blogs?

Don't speak up all at once now....Cat got your tongue? (and what's with these creepy tongue stealing cats anyway?)

(Cue CSI music) Well, I know it must have been a current reader, so the field has been narrowed down - shall we say - dramatically. I will find you and when I do....I'll......oh yeah, I will.......probably do nothing. (fade out CSI music)

So, I agreed to link my little bike-heavy corner of the internets to the DMReg but unfortunately for me, and all of you, I am freshly out of interesting things to write about. I already did my big mountain biking trip for the year and I've told the story about riding down a volcano, so what's left?


The last weekend in June I will be doing my second mountain bike race of the year at Seven Oaks in Boone. That's 2 more races than you would expect a not-a-racer like me to be doing. I guess I can write about my muddling and mucking up of that event.

In the meantime let me quickly relate another time where I encountered a mysterious agent, moving behind the scenes, against (or for?) me.

Jackie and I had just gotten married, it was Year Of Our Lord 1458 (give-or-take). At the wedding I spied a large box, artfully wrapped with silver wrapping paper and white ribbons, on the gift table. Perfectly square, strangely light and from some "distant" relatives, this enigma was sure to be opened first the next day.

So the morning after the wedding, with family and friends gathered 'round, I eagerly dove into the shiny mystery. It made an odd swishing when I gave it the Christmas present shake. Hmmm. Not towels, what could it be? Ooooo, the suspense............aaaaaand -

Tah Daah! A wooden cat.

Yes, with all the fervor of Geraldo opening Capone's vault I pulled out giant wooden cat from the box and plopped it down on the table. There were chuckles, snickers and assorted theories.

What is it?

I dunno.

Is it awesome?

I don't think so.

It had a vertical wooden dowel rod placed in between the cat front and rear. "A paper towel holder!" I boldly declared as if I had just solved a Wheel of Fortune puzzle with only 2 letters showing.

Ah Ha!

(doesn't fit on the counter due to cat's tail)

After many failed attempts at forensic identification we finally determined it was a toilet paper holder.

Good, we needed one of those. Our toilet paper is currently unheld.

This one is a dog, but you get the idea.

Unfortunately TP Kitty didn't even fit by the toilet, so she eventually had to go. We lived in some apartments so I loaded her up one day with some other junk (Oh, sorry Kitty) and took her to the dumpster that was "conveniently" located halfway across our sprawling complex. Just as I was about to throw TPK in the dumpster I felt - I dunno - bad. "Maybe you'll find another home, Kitty" I actually said out loud before setting her off to the side instead of throwing her in.

A couple of days later I woke up a went into the living room to watch my morning tv and there was TP Kitty sitting outside the patio sliding door. She was right up next to the glass like she wanted back in. Now, I'm not buying that TPK was able to magically animate herself in order to seek revenge, so some wise guy (or gal) must have put her there. Maybe it was the same somebody that suggested my blog to the Register.

The TPK case has never been solved, I doubt this blog one will be either.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Nada and Hitler





This is funny, but a warning - Hitler, in addition to his standard evilness, has no patience for cheap mountain bike wheels and roadies...and such language too.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

All Good Epicness Must Come to an End

This ole' boy creaked his eyelids open on the fourth and final day of the Utah adventure. By now Matt and I had this morning pre-ride routine down pat: stumble around the luxuriously appointed Rodeway Inn room, find shoes and a shirt that doesn't smell too bad then duck out into the windy and cold (yes COLD) morning and run across the street to a conveniently located breakfast buffet. All the carbs you could eat.

I like carbs.

On tap for the last day of our vacation (alas vacation, I hardly knew ye) was the highly touted JEM trail. This beauty was named, by Bicycling Magazine, the second best trail for flow in the country. For those not familiar with the lingo, "flow" is a subjective term for having that just right combination of up and down, back and forth undulation. When done properly it can make riding a trail just about effortless. To mountain bikers its akin to the perfect wave (preach on Brother Bodie).

I like flow.

We rode JEM as a loop starting at the eastern trailhead, which meant beginning with a gradual uphill for several miles along a fireroad featuring some nice views.

Once we got to the cattle gate we knew we were about turn around and head back down. Everything I had read talked about the "motorcyle speeds" you can carry down the 6-mile downhill of JEM. Beep beep, toot toot. C'ming through folks.

The bit right after the cattle gate was a little white knuckly.

I like downhills.

Sure enough, once the downhill started it only took a few turns of the peddles before I was going fast enough it didn't matter if I peddled anymore....even in my big ring up front.

Woosh, off to the races.

It was so much fun. The rain from the day before had left the red clay/dirt soft and slightly tacky, like a velvet ribbon through the sagebrush littered desert. Occasionally some rock would pop up, to keep you on your toes, but for miles it was gently twisting, cleverly undulating smooth clay. It really made you wonder how the trail builders did it. Anyone foolish enough to think trailbuilding isn't an art form has never ridden JEM.

A little past midway through JEM connects with the Hurricane Rim Trail, so we decided to take a side excursion. Not having enough time for the whole trail, we climbed some rock stairsteppy stuff to great views of the Virgin River.

Eventually we looped back to the JEM downhill again, this time riding on to the end. No problem, 'cept between us and the car was about a half mile of this cliff line cruising.

It never got real close (depending on who you ask) to the edge, and the trail was kindly free of rocks, but there were still a couple of places that gave you da hee bees-gee bees.

As strange as it seems, this cliffhanger stuff was really close to the parking lot.

That's it, we're done. Epoch.

4 days = 77 miles, almost 9,000 ft of climbing. Zero ouchies.

One big smile.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Utah Trip Report: Better Late Than Never

I was only about half way through with bragging about my trip when the Bone Bender race and a big grant at work tripped me up...

So, without further Ah-doo....

Day 3 we headed out of our home base in Hurricane, Utah back to St. George and the highly popular Bear Claw Poppy trail. This is the bike powered roller coaster I first referred to in my post on jelly (by the way, "Jelly" doesn't seem to be catching on as a saying, I might need to come up with something new).

Bear Claw is basically right in town and is a fairly short 5-6 miles out. Most people ride it as an out-n-back for a 11 mile round trip. We did it a little differently, adding the parallel Bloomington Mircoloop to take us back to the beginning of the super fun "BMX" section again. So, for us it was more of an out-n-halfback-n-out-n-halfback-n-off to the side-n-are we lost?-n-its raining-n-back thing.

Almost immediately it starts off with what they call the "Three Fingers of Death". Not nearly ominous as it sounds this is a series of very steep hills. There's a few ledges thrown in for added pucker, but no real drops.

Enter, all who dare...

The big-un.

A little-un.

Next up were what they call the Acid Drops. This is a series of smaller steeps. You can't miss them as they appear when the dirt turns from the distinctive SW orange clay to a white base.

Me doing my best Johnny Cash impression. "I stepped into a burning ring of fire."

Get it? All black? Johnny Cash?....nevermind.

Once you got past the drops the real woot-woots start. The BMX portion of the is some of the most fun I've had on a bike. Its a gradual downhill with oodles of gullies to whoosh through with berms and alternate lines everywhere. It was awesome. I hit 25.7 mph somewhere in this bit. That kind of speed was available without much work and without feeling out of control. You would dip down in a gully and zip back up a 15 foot bank on the other side like it was nuthin'.


As I said, it was so much fun we looped back and did it twice.

Later we tried to do the Prospector/Church Rocks loop, but it was raining and very windy. We rode straight into the wind/rain, gradually uphill for 2.5 miles before it started getting really nasty (sleet)and we decided to head back. While it took us 30 minutes to ride out, it only took about 10 minutes on the way back, amazing what a little downhill and a 25 mph tailwind will do fer ya.

Wet orange slickrock looks pretty ominous, but its not too bad.

Next up, I blog on the last day of the Utah trip (as long as no shiny objects distract me between now and then, but what's the odds of that happening?)