Trials,Tribulations, Travels, Tastings...and Occassional Transcendence

Trials,Tribulations, Travels, Tastings...and Occassional Transcendence
Sock on the Great Wall

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Best movie I've seen in quite some time...Tarantino does it again! Christoph Waltz is amazing in his role!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Final Day

Day Four:
Our last day in Utah :( It started out rough, due to my mindset, but ended up pretty amazing! I think I will let the pictures do the talking...
Wasatch Crest Trail - incredible x-country riding!
Trevor posing for Colorado Cyclist :)
More amazing views from the Wasatch Crest Trail
Desolation Lake
Jennie cutting the most delicious vegan chocolate cake (which she spent hours making that day). Thanks again for everything, Jennie! You are awesome!
Oh yeah, it was my birthday or something...

Monday, August 17, 2009


Thank you Bike Snob for making me laugh on this crap ass Monday.

Canyon Day

Day Three:

This morning we tried to wake up early but due to the late night prior, we had a tough time doing so. The summer riding rule in Utah is get out early, take a siesta, party the night away. Good rule on paper - hard rule to live by. At least for me anyway, most likely because I am so used to running non-stop from the moment I wake up until I pass out sometime between 10 and 11pm. As much as I love my naps, I find it hard to settle down during the day when there are good daylight hours for the accomplishing so many other things.

After breakfast the four of us (Jennie, Joel, Trevor and myself) set out to ride Corner Canyon. The first part of the trail is this sick climb (yes, more climbing - which despite all of, my legs never got tired. The pain was mostly in my lungs - which felt like sandpaper - and in my heart - which felt as if it could burst on the next pedal stroke...that's pain in the legs. Strange, right?). Did I mention this climb is sick? I don't know the length or elevation gain, however I do know it was long (felt like miles and miles) and there was alot of elevation gain (many thousands of feet). I was definitely struggling on this climb, however, no more so than any other climb, and at least my motor didn't quit this day. I kept chugging along in my granny gear thinking "Alright, I'm doing it! This isn't so bad". That thought was swiftly crushed as a runner passed me up the hill. That's right, a runner. I think he was in his 50's as well. Awesome.

Once at the top I caught my breath and prepared for the descent. What an incredible descent it was! The trails dropped into every kind of technical terrain ever imagined. They weren't too difficult. They weren't too easy. They were just right! Fast and sweet! Some rock gardens thrown in with switch backs, berms full of soft sand, hard packed fast trails with some roots and stones, a couple of bridge crossings through the dry creek beds all while flying downhill. I just wanted to let go of the breaks and fly...that downhill was the sweetest I have ridden in a long time! So great that once at the bottom I was ready to do the 'throw-up-humbled-by-a-middle-aged-runner' climb again just to taste the sweet reward of the downhill again. But it was late morning, it was getting hot and we were all hungry for breakfast number two! Porcupine Grill for brunch!

The rest of the day was really relaxed. Jennie took us over to her roadie friend Nancy's place for a party. Nancy reminded me of one of my close friends here in the Croch. She was an older woman but only in number. Her energy was boundless and her hospitality was impressive.

Trevor and I took off during the evening for a little canyon drive. Remember the roller skate? Well, it barely made it up Little Cotton Wood Canyon. I swear the hamsters under the hood were stroking out on the ride up. On the way down I think we wore through the brake pads and the rotors. Meh - that's why it's a rental. Regardless of our little car, the ride and views were spectacular. LCW Canyon is such a beautiful drive and we caught it right during sunset. It was romantically perfect!

Monday, August 10, 2009

I came, I saw, I was Conquered

Days One and Two:

Utah! I have been back for more than a week and still have not recapped my amazing trip to the land of Mountains and Mormons. First and foremost I must give a shout out to our incredible neighbors, J and T, who let us use their airline privileges for our personal flying pleasure. (Let me just say that flying standby, while a bit nerve racking and kind of challenging, was a much nicer experience than I had imagined! Except for the air sickness that I experienced on the flight from Phoenix to Philadelphia on the way home - this was not due to the standby status of our flying nature, however, but to the day and a half old sandwich I decided to inhale shortly after take off. I do not recommend this!) The next thanks I must give is, of course, to our incredibly gracious hosts, Jennie, Joel and Kailash! Without this awesome trio we would not have had a place to stay, personal guides to the sweet, sweet trails, set up for our incredible rides for those trails or a shuttle to the mountains on the longest (kind of harrowing) ride of the trip (thanks again for that, Jennie. So sorry about getting lost.) Last, but not least thanks to Revolution for the use of a couple of sweet (what I rode) rides (what T rode) on those trails!

We flew in on Friday evening, picked up our roller skate...uh I mean rental car* and met up with J.Dubs and Kai in the airport lot. We had approximately 30 mins. to get to the bike shop and set up our rentals before the shop closed, so off we went. First view out on the expressway were the mountains. It was rush hour, it was hot - but wait, it was hot! We had just come from Rochester, where the sun is seen rarely and for some reason this summer has been unbelievably cold and wet - so the fact that it was hot was more than welcome...oh and did I mention there were mountains!

(*note - when a rental car agent asks 'You really want the economy car?' more than once, truly reconsider your choice. While we can only learn from our mistake we hope others will learn that a Toyota Yaris is not an ideal choice for mountain canyon driving.)

We dropped off our gear, finally met Joel (stamp of approval!) then set off to meet Steven and Haley at dinner. I finally got to meet the elusive Flahute and his new lady friend (she is great, by the way, and has freckles). After a delicious meal with very cool new people and, off course catching up with Jennie, we went back to the house and subsequently passed out. The next day we were off to The Canyons to pre-ride the race course for a race that Jennie was still undecided on racing. Upon arrival she was set on having a relaxing ride with us. The first part of the course was approximately 3/4 mile of 1000 ft of climbing. (We are at altitude now, mind you - not relaxing!) I thought I was going to throw up. I couldn't catch my breath properly, so my heart rate skyrocketed right from the start. Sweet, I haven't even reached my '29th' birthday and this is how it ends? Not if I can help it. I tried to climb but the lack of O2 humbled me and forced me off the bike just going into the second part of the climb...wth? It was very frustrating, but I knew it would be a difficult acclimatisation process. Trevor, of course, had no problems. He just flew up the hill as if we were still at sea level. (I really need to work on my hill repeats).

We did the half lap and I learned quickly that once you get past the nauseating amounts of climbing you are rewarded with some sweet downhills pretty much the rest of the way. The single track was awesome! Rocky, not too rooty, dry and a little sandy in sections but so fast and so much fun! Once down we rode around and chatted with some folks that Jennie knew (which is almost the entire bike community in SLC, I am learning). By the time we ended our social cruising, Jennie decided to enter the race...20 mins. prior to the start. Awesome! Trevor and I had to ride up another trail on the western side of the course to find a good spot for spectating and cheering on our friend. This trail was decidedly more steep and more of a lung burner than the course - aaaahhhhh no more climbing!

We finally got to the spot - a shady area above the, we were soon to learn, down hill wipe-out spot on the course. Not only did we see everyone come into this fast, rocky descend at high velocities, we also saw quite a few of them bite it (and some bit it hard) in this section. Primo spot! At the last lap we rode down the fire road to the start and ran into Jennie beginning the last climb into her last lap - she looked great! We then waited for all the riders to go by and when they did we tailed the riders, entered the course on the half lap section to go up midway and watch them descend from there. This too was a great spot to watch the race. We met a race course medic who had a Santa Cruz Blur so I of course had to strike up a conversation with him. He put my thoughts into words when I asked him why he didn't race. His response 'It's way more fun to just cruise in these hills...I like watching them kill themselves.' My sentiments exactly!

J.Dubs finished the race a respectable 4th place in the expert division - yay! Waiting for the awards ceremony we met up with Theresa, Ruth, Gigi, Carl and some other friends of Jennie's (sorry I don't remember every one's name). It was great to meet some of the men and women I who I saw killing it out on the trail as well as some others whose blogs I have been following for quite some time now.

The day winded down with a really nice dinner party at Jennie's dad's home. After a day and a half of getting used to the altitude, the party was just what I needed to refuel, relax and soak in the mountains during sunset. More to come...

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Sad Day

Even though I didn't know Susan, Elden or their family I, as many readers of Fat Cyclist did, came to form a sort of connection with them. We read daily updates on Susan's struggles, perseverance and strength. We cheered her on - whether on our rides for The Cure, through donations, or whatever individual way we could express our support. Just because we didn't know Susan personally doesn't mean we don't know her. Elden brought this courageous woman's struggle to the forefront of the blogging world creating more awareness and raising more in donations than most organisations. I think we all can relate as most of us have experienced the loss of someone important to us to such a disgusting and demoralising disease. In this case I wish I could say I could not, but unfortunately I can empathise with Elden and his family during this difficult time. Keep fighting for Susan, for Vera, for Vasily, for Tina...

Rest in peace, Susan.