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

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

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...

1 comment:

flahute said...

You were late posting, and I'm even later commenting, but it was fab fab finally meeting you as well ...

And we definitely need to get you and T to move out of the Crotch and into the Wasatch.