Tuesday, December 29, 2009

21 Years and Still Going Strong

When I was fourteen I asked for and received a Mtn Bike for Christmas. It was an '88 Diamondback Fleet Streek, check out the sweet handlebars and laid back geometry. I’d forgotten how big those bars were and to think when they bent I actually replaced them with a BMX handlebar. I also added a safety feature by removing the front brake. Didn’t want that thing causing any problems.

My first real ride was early in the spring of 1988, I rode from my house in American Fork to the highest peak on the Point of the Mountain just west of where Suncrest is now. I knew better than giving details of where I was going, my mom surely would have put a stop to that. I simply said, “Going for a bike ride”. Since I had never attempted a ride like that I had no Idea how long it would take. I was having fun and I kept thinking the top was just around the next bend. After multiple false summits I finally reached the large triangular survey marker that sits on the peak. The views were amazing, I could see the Salt Lake and Utah County valleys. It was the first time I experienced the rumble of the city from a mountain peak. I didn’t get home until after dark and my mom was a little freaked out ready to call in a missing persons report.

The bike wasn’t a car but it was close. It provided some of the same freedoms that a car does and allowed me to experience those freedoms a couple of years before any of my friends. Later when I got a car it just meant that I could now drive to the trailheads and spend more time in the good stuff, Hog Hollow, Sliding Rock, Ridge Trail, Moab...!

I could have played Highschool sports like football, basketball, or baseball, oh how about wresteling that sounds fun. All those sports have a season, a very small window of opportunity comes and goes, when it goes you get a job, get old and get fat. You spend the rest of your life like Uncle Rico dreaming of your highschool days when you were the hero. Well, I am still a hero. On a bike for the most part you simply get better with time. Twenty one years later I am still advancing in the sport. I feel strong, another 21+ years should be no problem.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Monday, November 9, 2009

Fall Moab Fiscal Year 2010 in Fruita Colorado

Photo credit Fatty
The only other time I have ever ridden in Fruita was for the beginning of the Kokopelli Trail about 15 years ago.  As it turns out Fruita has some of the best trails I have ever ridden.  Combine that with the company of the Utah County and Suncrest boys as well as your own personal local tour guide, Rocky, and you have a combination for the perfect weekend.
I meet a bunch of really cool guys and got to hang with some great old friends.  Lots of scrapes, bumps, bruises and sore muscles but no trips to the hospital. Elden had his helmet cam on for most of the rides so when he gets a chance to edit and post the footage you will be able to see what the trails in Fruita are like, stay tuned.
The weekend was a huge success.  Thanks to all who had a hand in planning it.  It really was the perfect weekend.  And no this rock was not as crazy as it looks. 

Photo credit southcountyciclista

Monday, October 19, 2009

Hard Plastic Wheels with Precision Bearings

Got an email today from Randy today
"The long awaited rear wheels for the Trek MOD are finally available. Trek did a special batch of only 500 units. We have 100 en route and will re-order if needed. I have a feeling that this will be the last batch of replacement wheels from Trek, forever."

The Bigwheel races have been a little slow recently, mainly because everyone has burned through their stockpile of wheels. The famine hit some harder than others. Those who were not prepared missed out on some great riding but truth be told I have really missed the race car drivers at the weekly Bigwheel races, they bring a level of insanity to the ride and it just wasn't the same without them. Hopefully the wheels will show up before the snow files and they close the road. The next bigwheel rally will not be one to miss. And yes the offer still stands if you want to ride let me know, a few dollars to my livestrong page is all it takes.

I haven't posted for a while, been pretty busy. We went down to Las Vegas to Interbike to scope out an Asian supplier for our own Bigwheel. We found a vendor that makes a steel frame Bigwheel similar to the MOD and showed him our Youtube video on Randy's IPhone so he could get a feel for what we were looking for. He didn't speak any English so we had to communicate through an interpreter. Here we are trying to explain to him that this plastic wheel we have sitting here on the table is the same one we used in the video He just couldn't comprehend it.
The Mad Dog site has been getting a lot of people asking to buy Bigwheels but since Trek doesn't make them anymore and even if they had them they couldn't sell to non-local people because the Dealer agreement restricts selling over the phone and shipping product out in boxes, we are pursuing avenues to spec and import our own model that we will be able to sell to anyone regardless of their geographical location. Very exciting! This is going to be huge.

Interbike was fun, but you know what was more fun? The parking garage of the Venetian. The security guard was too busy watching videos on his phone to pay any attention to us. I almost got taken out by a Corvette.
After Interbike we went out to Boulder City to ride in some of their drainage ditches, followed up by a quick detour to Brianhead on the way home to make a couple of runs down the canyon. We took Dwayne from Media Works along for the ride so there should be a new video coming out as soon as he finishes editing.
One of the best parts of the trip was the drive down and back. Experienced race car driver + Subaru STI + Radar Detector= very little strain on the bladder between St George and Vegas.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Make a Donation, Ride the Bigwheel

If you haven't noticed I am only half way to my $1000 fundraising goal for the Livestrong Foundation. I think it's time I bumped my fundraising efforts up a notch. The Squaw Peak Bigwheel Rally occurs every Wednesday night at 8:00 PM until further notice. A donation of your choosing to my Livestrong page will get you the ride of your life on my personal pink bigwheel. Trust me you will not want to miss out on this.

The details. Meet at the base of the Squaw Peak Road between the times of 8-11:00 PM, bring what ever body armor you feel necessary (minimum helmet and light if you have one). It usually takes us 20 minutes or so top to bottom so if nobody is there just hang out, we'll show up.

The Rules

1. Really there are not rules, just loose guidelines

2. Pushing from behind is a completely acceptable practice, just make sure if you push aim for the seat of the person in front of you, DON'T HIT THE BACK WHEELS YOU WILL FLIP OVER BACKWARD AND GO SLIDING DOWN THE PAVEMENT ON YOUR BACK click this link and go to 2:20 to see what I am talking about

3. Stay in your own lane, if at all possible, this is not a closed course and you are not a professional driver

4. Throw down some cash for the shuttle service($5)

5. If you get hurt don't blame me. These are kids toys that were never meant to do what we are doing on them, RIDE AT YOUR OWN RISK

So join with me in having an outrageously good time and raising a little money for an excellent cause, I can't think of a better combination.

This offer good every Wednesday night as long as we are planning on going, send me an email ryanthom@gmail.com so I can get a count of how many people to expect, four or five is probably the limit per night since that is usually the number of runs we do and I only have one bigwheel to loan out right now.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Leadville Trail 100 Report

Our first stop in town was to pick up supplies that we were transporting to the top of Columbine for the race. After loading the supplies I asked one of the other volunteers who was obviously a local if there was any good camping around. With out any hesitation she looked over at her husband and said Lee do you mind if they camp on our property? With that Calvin and I followed them to their house. Lee gave us a tour around the yard and suggested a couple of spots where we could set up camp, then showed us into his garage where there was a bathroom next to his metal shop, "The door is always open, just come on in if you need to".
I have heard others say that Leadville is really about the people. I couldn't agree more, Lee turned out to be a super cool guy who makes his living as a metal artist. He makes some of the most beautiful copper fountains that I have ever seen. Check them out here. Lee is also a long distance cyclist who rode in the Colorado Trail Race as well as Leadville a few times.
Thanks for the hospitality Lee and Joan
This is one of the best pictures I have ever taken, Lance preparing for a pre-race ritual.
Don't forget to lube boys and girls.
With that taken care of here he is ready to go, riding up to the start of the race.

Moments before the start

After we watched the start we headed out to meet the riders at the top of Columbine, I got choked up a little when I saw this sign. Elden has a lot of good friends and people he has never even meet rooting for him. I don't know who put this up but thanks. The saddest thing about this poster is that he crashed out early in the race and never got to see it. Crushing blow

Old cabin at the top of Columbine

Calvin took this picture of Lance as he flew past us at the top of Columbine. No competition in sight.

I brought my stand figuring it may come in handy for some of the racers. I am still a little foggy on the rules of providing mechanical support for the racers. I am not going to admit to anything, and I am certainly not going to review the rule book, my conscience will feel better that way. I will say that there were a few riders that were happy that there was someone with some mechanical skill at the top. I think chain lube was the most popular request at the top of Columbine. My 2oz bottle of Dumonde lube was gone in no time so we raided the support vehicles for a quart of Pennzoil. I lubed dozens of chains with this stuff.
"Does anybody have any chain lube?"
"I've got Pennzoil."
I think most people were just surprised that we had anything. I got nothing but praises for the Pennzoil and to tell the truth for those kind of conditions I think it was the perfect choice in lube. I heard a few stories of people trying some pretty desperate things to get their chains to behave.
One poor soul rolled in with no rear brake and wanted to know if we had any mineral oil to top of the reservoir in his shimano brakes. The best solution we could come up with was antifreeze. We handed him the bottle, I told him it was pretty inert and likely would not hurt a thing. I recommended that he flush it out when he gets home. It was just the thing, topped off with antifreeze he was no longer sucking air into the master cylinder and he was up and running. There is always more than one way to skin a cat.
Here is a shot of the volunteer work force. I kind of felt bad for some of the racers, they were 5o miles in at 12,400 feet and being swarmed by people asking them what they wanted, as if they were going to drop dead if they didn't get something to eat right that second. I do think the racers appreciated it though. Some of the racers seemed unfazed by the climb while others were on the bring of collapsing. I remember looking at some thinking I was really glad that I wasn't in their shoes.

Calvin was a great sport even when the sleet started coming down sideways. I think he actually had a good time up there.

After the race I meet up with Dug, Elden, Ricky, Kenny, Rick and Gary, we got some take out pizza and headed over to their hotel with the infamous stairs, what they failed to mention is the incredibly creepy nine foot tall Santa at the base of the stairs. It was really nice to see some old friends and catch up a little. It meant a lot to me to be able to hang out for a little while. If you have a minute check out Dug's story about a family waiting for their husband and father at the finish line. He does a great job of capturing what Leadville is really about, Friends, Family and the average Joe competing along side the worlds best cyclists.
Here is the race promoter counting down the minutes to the 12 hour cut off. If you cross the finish after the muzzle loader goes off, No Belt Buckle!

Summer in Leadville, we woke up to frost the day after the race.

It was a great weekend until we went to fill up on the way out of town. A fellow parked his shinny yellow Harley Davidson at the end of the gas pump island while he went into the service station to use the facilities. Of course I didn't see it and while trying to negotiate the crowded parking lot backed right into it and knocked it down. I waited outside for him to come beat me up. He didn't but as you can guess he was angry. The first thing he said was "You couldn't pick it up!" I just didn't think my buck fifty frame had it in me to heft it. I gave him my insurance info apologized profusely and assured him I would make it right. It didn't do much damage but I am sure it will be expensive. I do know now from experience that Harley's leak more oil sitting on their sides than they do upright. I wanted to take a close up picture of the bike to document the damage but chickened out, I couldn't resist snapping a picture as he rode away just for proof that the bike was at least rideable post collision.

Moab is a 30 mile spur from I 7o so I couldn't resist stopping by on our way home. Calvin had never been there and I wanted to open up a new world for him. We went up to Slick Rock and rode out about a mile. He did a lot better than I thought he would but I did not want to push him the trail is above his technical ability and I didn't want him to get hurt. The below picture gives new meaning to Scary Bathroom. This guy was hanging out in the shade in front of the outhouse door in the Slick Rock parking lot. Rattle Snake sighting #2 for the season.

Calvin's first ride on Slick Rock
The End to a great weekend, can't wait till next year, I think I might have a chance at getting in.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Columbine Mine Aid Station

Leadville has been illusive for me. When I was 19 I filled out the application all the way down to the point where it said that you must be 21 to enter. I put it on the back burner for a few years then sent off another packet at age 22-DENIED, again at 24-DENIED. Gave up until this year and again at 35-DENIED. They don't want my money. This years rejection letter came with a note that said if you are a race volunteer you will have a better chance of getting into the race in 2010. In February I blocked the race weekend out as Vacation on my calendar. Up until this week I have been undecided as to whether I would actually go or not. On Monday with very little thought I responded to the volunteer request on the web page thinking surely this late in the game they probably won't even respond.

The response took one hour to come back. They wanted to know if I have a 4-Wheel Drive with good ground clearance. I don't but my wife does. I was shocked when she said sure you can take my car. I am not sure she has any idea of what I am going to do to her car. I have been assigned to the Columbine Mine Aid Station. Since I have never made it into the race I have never been there but I do know this it is at the 50 mile point which is the highest and furthest point on the 100 mile out and back race and sits at an elevation of 12,440 ft. I'm sure it is not as bad as it looks.

I am going to take Calvin, he's really excited to spend some time camping with dad. I just hope he doesn't get to bored hanging out at a bike race all day. He likes bikes now I hope I don't ruin it for him.

I am sure Lance has his own people providing support but it sure would be cool to be able to give him a couple of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches as he flies by. I think this might be his year.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

In leiu of flowers

In Lieu of flowers I have made a donation to the Lance Armstrong Foundation. Won't you do the same?


My condolences to the Nelson Family

Sunday, July 12, 2009

San Jose Livestrong Challenge 2009 Ride Report Win Susan!

$64,286.90 is the amount of money raised by Team Fat Cyclist for the Livestrong Challenge in San Jose this year which was more than any other team participating in the event. One of the perks of being the top fundraising team is being able to line up at the front of the "ride" directly behind the Police escort. There were some pre-ride instructions and for a brief moment they opened the mic to our Team Captain Matt Chapek and gave him a minute to explain who Team Fat Cyclist Fighting for Susan was. He did a great job as Captain, thanks for all the time and effort in getting us organized, well done. After Matt was done there were more instructions "This is not a Race", we were told not to pass the Police escort and off we went.

Riding behind the Police escort was great, they kept us at an easy pace for the first 15-20 miles. It was nice to ride as a team for the first while and be able to talk a bit. After a while I noticed a lot of green jerseys forming at the front, little did I know at the time but these guys and gal would serve as my personal domestiques through the majority of the ride. I later found out that these guys were from team Beat the Clock.

A small gap began to open between the green jerseys and the rest of us. This is just a "Ride", yea right. I made a break for it and was able to bridge the gap, my plan was to hang on the wheels of the lead group as long as possible until I cracked then I would sit up and take a more leisurely pace and enjoy the ride.

Around mile 40 the group had thinned to 10. We pulled into an aid station to refill bottles an fuel up. We talked briefly and were off again. Usually I start to hit the wall at about mile 50 but today I felt strong, I even made a couple of token pulls on the lead group. It felt good to be at the front but I was obviously the weakest rider of the group and quickly found myself sucking wheels again.

At Mile 60 we went through some rolling hills and I started to fall back, I looked up and one of the guys from team Beat the Clock was coming back for me, I got on his wheel and he reeled me back in to the group. I wish I had a picture of this guys legs. It was all I could do to hang on his wheel and I am pretty sure he wasn't even breathing hard. I have never met these guys in my life yet they were treating me as if I were one of their team members.

Metcalf Road was around the 70 mile mark, I got dropped hard. I actually did the walk of shame three times before I got to the top. That thing is steep. "If I only had one more gear..." At the top of Metcalf was an aid station where I could see team Beat the Clock gathered, I figured that I would continue and soon enough they would pass me and I would get dropped again.

After the summit of Metcalf was a screaming down hill, I was glad to be able to ride it alone big groups make me nervous, it was supper fun. As I suspected my break didn't last long and the lead group came screaming by me, one of the riders yelled out grab a wheel as they went by so I did and was able to ride on their coat tails to the finish line. The lead group of ten all crossed the finish line together with a time of 4 hours and 48 minutes which is by far the fastest century I have ever done and really the only one that I felt relatively strong all the way to the end. It's amazing what riding at 7-9000 feet will do for your fitness at sea level. I had one of the best rides of my life today, it was amazing.

I just want to say thanks to Elden and his supper power. You know when he asks you to do something you have to do it. This year our family summer vacation had a purpose. At the appreciation banquet for the top fund raisers Matt Chapek shared this from Elden's Blog, a post about what he would say to cancer.

"I've got a lot of friends, and we're working together to help fight it. Sure, it's just a little drop in the bucket, but there are a lot of us. And we're all going to put or drops in the bucket. And someday that bucket will be full, and we will have beaten you, cancer. And that's a good reason to do this.
Because I can't bear the thought of my kids having to someday face cancer themselves."
Here are some links to other team member ride reports.
Others coming soon as I find them.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Road Riding on Antelope Island

Next Sunday is the Livestrong Challenge ride in San Jose so I figured I should start putting some miles on the old road bike. I set out from my house and made my way across the causeway out to Antelope Island. Despite living here for two years now I have never ridden across the causeway on my road bike. Last year I rode off road on the Island twice and got puncture weed flats both times, haven't been back since.

The ride out
After paying my three bucks at the toll booth I shifted into the big ring and hammered down. This is probably the flattest road in Utah and had a slight tail wind so I just kind of zoned out as the miles flew by. The lake is kind of stinky, kind of like the hot pots up Diamond Fork Canyon, you get used to it after a while.

The Island

Once you get on the Island there is wildlife almost everywhere you look.
The road goes from flat to rolling hills which is a nice change of pace. The two tiny dots in the center of the picture on the beach are Coyote's (I promise).
The lake stinks and sometimes there are a lot of bugs but to make up for that there are some spectacular views.

After cranking through a few miles of rolling hills I ran across these guys.
They seem pretty harmless, kind of like big cows that make scary snorting and grunting noises when you go by.
This guy was all by himself out humping a rock. I thought it was kind of funny. Ok maybe he was scratching his stomach.
Tail Wind

On the way back a monster storm rolled in. It looked like I was going to get soaked so I pedaled as hard as I could. The wind was picking up in front of the black wall off to the West and I could tell that if I could get in front of it before it hit the causeway I would have a direct tail wind. When I hit the causeway the road turned exactly parallel to the gale force winds. It was like surfing an imaginary wave on a bicycle. This was one of the strangest things I have ever experienced, I was completely spun out. I could see the violent wind bending the grasses straight to the ground along the sides of the road but since I was traveling at the same velocity as the wind the air directly around me was eerily still and quiet. I am guessing that I was cruising at 45-50 mph as I blew across the causeway and the farm roads leading to my house at a pace closer to freeway driving than bicycle riding.

As near as I can tell this is about a 45 mile round trip ride from my house (note to self, replace computer batteries), no major canyon ascent and descent but still a very nice ride. I did it three times last week. I think that this is just the thing to get me in shape for San Jose.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Accidental Peak Bagging

I have lived in Davis County for two years now and have yet to find a trail that I would rank higher than a 5 out of 10. While working at the Bike Peddler in Orem the manager of the store, Aaron Luck, left and took a job in an Ogden shop called Ken’s Shooters Supply, apparently they sold bikes on the side. Aaron used to always tell us about the great riding up here, thankfully I never took him up on the invitation.
I remember Aaron talking about the Skyline trail up to Ben Lomond Peak, http://www.utahmountainbiking.com/ Here is what Utah Mountain Biking has to say about the trail “Monster narrow-singletrack climb of 3000 vertical feet over 6.1 miles. May be done as out-and-back, or as a shuttled ride by adding the Northern Skyline (12.6 miles), or as a loop ride by adding another 7 mile of paved road. For strong skilled riders only. Season July through mid-October.”
This sounded fun. I can honestly say I enjoy a good technical climb as much as the descent. I printed the info sheet and headed out. When they wrote the description they failed to mention that the 6.1 mile climb has zero down hill rest zones, ZERO. Since my front derailleur broke last month and I took it off I have been manually shifting with my index finger, which means that I have to stop to shift. I rode the first 5.8 miles in my middle ring because it was too much bother to stop and shift. Trust me if I were able to shift with a click of the finger I would have. I guess this is kind of what it is like to ride a single speed which I just don’t get. I like gears.
This trail peaks out at a saddle 1.5 miles below Ben Lomond Peak, my original plan was to descend the back side (Northern Skyline) then climb back up over the saddle and back down to my car. The Ben Lomond trail climbs the South facing side of the mountain and toward the top I ran into a fair amount of snow. The Northern Skyline trail descends you guessed it, the Northern facing slope. Due to snow this was not an option. At the saddle there is a sign that says that Ben Lomond peak was 1.5 miles off of a side trail. I headed for the peak.
By this time I was feeling a little gassy from the Taco Bell that I had on the way to the trail head. I had an intense focus on the trail within a 10 foot radius when I cut one loose. It was something to be proud of. Just at that moment a pretty girl who happened to be standing just outside of my circle of awareness startled me by jokingly saying “Hey wanna give me a ride to the bottom?” The only think I could think of to say was “Sure hop on.” as I drug the trail of stench right past her. She had to have been impressed. Someday I will have to tell a couple of other stories but let’s just say I have an extraordinary gift for flatulating in front of hot girls. At about 9000’ I got passed by a father and son riding motocross bikes, shortly after that the trail got too steep for the bikes I ditched my mountain bike about 100 yards up the trail from where the motocross bikes stopped and I could see the father and son postholing up a snowfield on the mountain above me. I was thankful to them for kicking out some steps for me. At the top of the snow field I ran into this guy, I hear they are mean so I was glad he wasn't close.
I summited shortly after the father and son at an elevation 9712'. For proof I took their picture and they took mine. Nice helmet hair.

After this long climb I was looking forward to the downhill which was fair at best. Very narrow trail lots of overgrowth with long sections of baseball sized gravel that made my fingers hurt. I guess the best thing about this trail is the views, it was beautiful up there. I will give this trail a 5.

I guess I am just spoiled by the Utah County trail systems. I think I'll take the day off work on Wednesday and visit my old friend the Ridge Trail, it's been a couple of years since we played together. I'll be sure to pack my bigwheel for the weekly ritual afterwards. Should be a perfect day.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Weekly Ritual

Just finished tuning the Big Wheel, in preparation for tomorrow night. It will probably be a little smaller group since Randy is unable to attend. I am planning on going along with my brother who just bought a Mod a couple weeks ago and my friend Clint. I wouldn't be surprised to see a few of the race car drivers there as well.
I know there are a few guys that have been wanting to give this a try so tomorrow night if you show up at the base of Squaw Peak between 8-11pm I will let you borrow my Mod for a run. Just be sure to bring a light, helmet and any other body armor you feel necessary. Just kidding it is not as bad as it looks. Just think of the stories you can tell your coworkers when you roll into work Thursday. See you there.

Sorry Canceled due to rain

Like I learned long ago when we used to routinely leave for Moab in a blizzard to find beautiful weather down south, if you are going south never cancel your plans based on the weather up north. Shame on me looks like we missed out. http://bikepeddlerweekly.blogspot.com/2009/06/guest-leaderblog-poster-jake.html

Friday, June 5, 2009

200 Yellow Bracelets

This week the Livestrong folks sent me a package of 200 yellow Livestrong bracelets. It's one of the perks of signing up for the Livestrong Challenge in San Jose. Now I just need to find something to do with them. One though was to give them away to those who have donated to my Livestrong page and use it as an incentive for additional donations. So if you have already donated I will be getting them out to you, one for each member of your family.
I have to say it feels good to give and help rally the troops for a worthy cause. I am going to go out on a limb here and say anyone who reads my blog is also aware of FatCyclist.com which is written by one of my favorite customers from the bike shop. Elden is one of those guys that you just can't not like. Elden was probably in his early thirties when he first came in to buy a bike and really struggled with it at first. It just didn't come very easily to him, but he kept at it and what he lacked in natural ability he more than made up with sheer determination. He rides a lot and has no mechanical ability so he needs his bike fixed a lot which was good for me because this is how I got to know him. After a while I started riding with him and a group of his friends mostly on night rides. Everyone would put their families to bed and we would meet up American Fork canyon to ride on the system of trails near the summit of the Alpine Loop until 1:00 am most Wednesdays.

I started school, got really busy and then moved out of state for a little while and kind of lost touch with the group for a while, then one day I was goofing off on the Internet and ran across a link to Elden's site. I spent probably three hours that day reading through his archives. Elden is a magnificent writer. While reading I learned that his wife Susan has been suffering with Breast Cancer and that he through his blog he has turned into somewhat of a celebrity and has been able to start an impressive movement in the fight against Cancer.

With the formation of Team Fat Cyclist Fighting for Susan the ball was set in motion for a respectable drive at raising funds for the Livestrong Foundation. Team Fat Cyclist is the top fundraising team in all four host cities for the Livestrong Challenge and has as of this date raised $272,098 in the fight against Cancer. The great thing about this team is that it spreads far and wide most of the funds have been raised by small donations from individuals affected by Elden's story and those small donations have added up to over a quarter of a million dollars.

We have five weeks left before the Livestrong Challenge ride in July, it would be nice to see a strong finish to the fund raising by Team Fat Cyclist. Please join with me in helping raise our goal of 1 million dollars in the fight against Cancer, you'll get a stylish yellow bracelet, I hear they are going to be the next big thing, but more importantly you will get the satisfaction in knowing that you are participating in something that will make a difference to those who are fighting this disease.

Ants on the Spacecraft

Right out of school I got a job working for Lockheed Martin Space Systems in Sunnyvale California. I was a Quality Engineer working on the DMPS (a military weather satellite) program. As a Quality Engineer it was my job to document any anomalies in the product, usually things like a miss-drilled hole, or a damaged space blanket, but one day we got a call from our counterparts at Vandenberg where they were prepping the Spacecraft for launch. The call went something like this.

“Um we have a little bit of a problem. Today one of our technicians noticed ants on the spacecraft.”

Prior to landing a job at Lockheed I was a bicycle mechanic for 10 years, I was still trying to get use to the term “Spacecraft” being used causally in sentences by my coworkers who were talking about the Spacecraft that we were building, and now we had to figure out how to get the ants off of it.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

You Tube Star

Last week I got an email from my friend Randy saying that he got someone with a HD camera to come up and shoot video of us riding down Squaw Peak. I jumped at the opportunity. Many of you know that I have been a little obsessed with this lately and I have to admit that I feel a little sheepish when someone asks what are you doing tonight and I answer "I'm riding bigwheels". then there is this long explanation and a confused look. Obviously they don't understand. Well now I can just send them to this link.


Got to run meet the gang for another night of mayhem

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Sundance Canyon

Last November I went for a night ride with my friends down Sundance Canyon, I thought that the story was worth telling so I wrote it down. Now that I have a Blog I figured that I would share.

Watch that next corner

Ok Last night was Crazy. Typically we go up the Squaw Peak road which is very steep and windy. Since this road has so many corners your speed ranges from say 20-35 mph and you spend a lot of your time in a semi controlled sideways slide through the corners. Very fun and since you are not going terribly fast it is usually not a big deal if you slide off of the road. Last night was a little different… We went up the Sundance side of the Alpine Loop since they have closed the gate at the bottom of Squaw Peak for the season. We started at Aspen Grove and proceeded down past Sundance to the Provo canyon turnoff. After the first ½ mile it became obvious that we were in for something very different than what we were used to. Comparatively speaking the turns were more sweeping and straight, not the tight switchbacks like you see on Squaw Peak. This road lets you build up more speed than you really thought that you wanted right before it throws a 180 degree switch back that will eat your lunch if you are not ready for it. My first run through this switchback caught me a little off guard. I immediately slid sideways to the outside of the curve and was able to stay a couple of feet from the concrete barrier. In my peripheral vision I could see the spinning lights of three others that were not so lucky narrowly missing me as they bounced off the wall. When the smoke cleared I exited the corner unscathed and in the lead.

Scary Fast

Next comes a couple more switch backs then a section of road about 4 miles long that is gently curving and steep. The speedometer on the chase truck clocked us at a max speed of 45 mph. On plastic wheels I think that was faster than any of us wanted to go but no one was going to be the first to lift and loose a shot at the lead position. Once you lift and loose the draft there is no chance of catching back up to the pack. This section is somewhat Nascar-ish as we diced for position drafting and slingshoting by each other as we built speed. Loosing control and sliding off the road here would not be pretty. As we reached the bottom it was impossible to wipe the smiles of our faces we tossed the bigwheels in the trailer and headed up for another run. In total we made five runs down the mountain.

Run #4

By now we are getting more comfortable with the road and the speeds. We had just started our run and were traveling at about 35 mph, I hardly even noticed the car passing on the opposite side of the road until the cherries started flashing. Yep we got pulled over by the Utah Highway Patrol on our BIGWEELS. Apparently the folks that live around Sundance thought that we were having a little too much fun. The attitude of the Patrol Officer quickly went from annoyance to amusement when he started looking at our bigweels, “You can’t be ridding those on a state highway! We thought that they had a motor, Did you build those yourselves? Do they have brakes?” Our argument was that they were no different than a bicycle and that we were really not doing anything wrong. He stood there for a minute with a confused look on his face, then walked back to his car “Don’t go anywhere this might take a minute”. A couple of minutes later he came back and said “Well I can’t find anything that you guys are doing wrong… You know the speed limit here is 35, I don’t know how fast these things go but just be careful and keep the speed down. You guys are free to go”. We hopped back on our bigwheels as a second Patrol Car comes blazing up. It took a minute for the first officer to calm down the second and explain to him that we were doing nothing wrong and that he was letting us go. That was seriously the highlight of the evening.

When was the last time you got pulled over on your bigwheel and received a warning for speeding?

And in case you were wondering, yes this is a contact sport.Sorry Jeff, I hope that washes out.
Meet me tomorrow night at the base of Squaw Peak, 8:00 sharp.
No... not to make out.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Calvin's First Mtn Bike Ride

I had some down time today and like I usually do when I have down time I decided to go for a bike ride. As I was getting ready Calvin asked if he could go. He has a little mountain bike that he rides around the neighborhood and I have been hesitant to take him to the hills because I have not wanted to traumatize him by pushing him too hard too early.

On the way up we had the talk about how there is no crying in mountain biking unless you are really hurt. He agreed.

In the parking lot of the Shore Line trail in Layton, I explained to him that this is really hard and it is ok if you can't make it up a hill or if you are scared to go down a hill. I shifted his bike into granny gear and told him to pull his right brake more than his left one when he goes down the hills and off we went.

I let him go in front of me and really didn't expect him to make it up the first hill but he did and then just kept going. He had to get off a few times and pushed then got back on as soon as he could. We came down a steep hill with a stream crossing at the bottom of it, I told him to just go for it and he looked at me confused so I showed him how to do it. I left my bike on the other side of the stream and came back to help him across, then just to show off I crossed the stream again, and climbed the hill that we descended to get to the stream when I noticed a snake crossing the trail in front of me. I see snakes quite often and don't usually get too excited about it since they are usually the harmless non-venomous varieties. I didn't see the snake until I was almost on top of it so I just moved to the opposite side of the trail and kept going, as my left foot rounded the bottom of the pedal stroke I looked down and saw the rattles, it was at that point that I put together the ticking noise I was hearing was the rattle as the snake was scurrying to get out of my way. I jumped a little then got off my bike and ran back just in time to see the distinct tail disappear in the grass on the side of the trail. Then I realized from the direction he was going he had to have been right next to the trail on the uphill slope as Calvin and I just passed by. Needless to say it kind of freaked me out. I turned around and crossed the stream again and caught up to Calvin. Calvin wasn't even phased by the snake when I told him about it he just wanted to keep going. Cool

We kept going and passed Adams Canyon, we were climbing a hill as the trail narrowed and dropped off steeply to one side. Calvin stalled out on the slope and high sided off of his bike down the steep slope next to the trail. I felt hopeless as I watched him slide about 30 feet down stopping just shy of plopping into the drink. All I could say is let go of your bike! I think he was worried that he was going to loose it in the river. It took me a couple of minutes to get him and his bike back up to the trail. He had some pretty good scratches on his back from his chain ring but he wanted to keep going. So we did.

We stopped at the top of a cliff and threw some rocks then went home. I will have to say the kid is a natural, he asked when we could go again on the way home. This is going to get expensive.

Friday, May 22, 2009

100 Miles of Nowhere

Ok it is official I have jumped on the Blog bandwagon, hope you enjoy it.

Tomorrow I will be riding my bike past my neighbors houses 125 times throughout the day. That's right I paid 75 dollars to ride my bike around the block for 100 miles. Why???

I'll let Elden, the Fat Cyclist explain http://www.fatcyclist.com/

"The basic idea of the 100 Miles of Nowhere is that no matter where you are, on May 23 you’re going to either ride your rollers, trainer, or a very small outside course for 100 miles. Or if that sounds like too much, you can do 50 miles.
Or 25.
But, ideally, 100.
And since you will be the only one racing in your age group, gender, category, and region, you are clearly going to win your age/gender/region/category group.
Yeah, that’s right. I’m guaranteeing you are going to win. How often do you get that kind of assurance in a race?
Oh sure, as you ride, you will certainly have qualms, and may find yourself saying things like, “I can’t believe I’m riding my trainer for 100 miles,” or “I can’t believe I’m paying to ride my trainer for 100 miles,” but then you’ll remind yourself, “But I’m doing this for a really, really good cause.”
And that cause, of course, is helping Team Fatty raise money to fight cancer. Out of the $75 registration you pay, $50 will go straight to the Lance Armstrong Foundation (the other $25 pays for boxing and shipping and stuff like that — trust me, nobody’s making a profit here)."

Since I don't want to ride my trainer that long I was wondering if I could ride outside, Elden looked into the official rule book and came up with this.

"The outdoor rule is, you have to create a very small course (one that goes as close to nowhere as possible), measure it, and then do it enough times to make 100 miles.
Your friends will be so jealous."

Yeah I know my friends are jealous.

So here is my route, looks fun right?.

Calvin and Maizy are going to be my support crew, they are super excited to set up their fundraising Gatorade stand and Allyson has agreed to keep track of my laps. I have a feeling that she will be lovingly heckling and making fun of me more than counting though. Thanks for the support guys.

So obviously I feel passionate about fighting Cancer. I have joined team Fat Cyclist and together we have raised $224,712 in the fight against Cancer. This team has a lot of momentum and is really making a difference, we are currently the top fund raising team in all four host cities. Please join me in the fight against Cancer by clicking the link and making a donation to my Livestrong Page https://www.kintera.org/faf/donorReg/donorPledge.asp?ievent=294743&lis=1&kntae294743=5598577D714A4A28941838D4DCD38836&supId=241384867

Race report

Calvin surprised me and rode 27 miles, notice he is in the lead. Way to go buddy!
Here is Allyson doing an amazing job of counting laps and cheering us on, she made it the whole 100 miles and never gave up on us. Thanks

At lap 5o the neighborhood kids brought out water balloons, super soakers and buckets of water, I had fun practicing my evasive maneuvers during the uphill section of the course. It really helped me keep my mind off of the pain and I think that I was having more fun dodging the projectiles than they were throwing them. They got tired and gave up after lap 70. I guess that means I win.
One of the benefits of a century that is so close to home is the cool mist spray every .8 miles, Thanks Maizy.

Wow that was fun! The neighborhood thinks that I am officially crazy. In all seriousness though I really had fun, and I was able to raise some money on my Livestrong page. The best part was that my family was able to be there with me the whole time or at least for 125 short times and it just seemed fitting to pull out my MOD (pink man sized bigwheel) for the final victory lap. Yea I totally won this race, by a long way.