St George Epics

Sure is quiet around here when Lynda and I are spending lots of time on the bike.  The training thus far in St George has been a blast.  Monday we opend the day with 40 miles of road followed by the Gooseberry mesa loop plus some out and backs.  Slow, technical riding – tons of fun!  The views don’t stop out here either…pics to come next week.  Yesterday we did a longer day, several big climbs, lots of singletrack and a rolling dirt road where Lynda really dropped the hammer on me.  Have I mentioned shes riding outside of her body?

At one point yesterday we were both close to pinned on this long climb…when we hit the top we were both pretty giddy with endorphins…big week training is such a kick in the butt.  It sure helps to ride in unfamiliar terrain with a tour guide too.


Dicky asks:  why do we compete?  Great question.  Endurosnob I think is close to the truth.  Way back in the day, primal caveman had to hunt down and chase dinner.  These days the old urge is there but with no outlet.  That’s one thing that is so special about wild places, they take us to places where creative thought is unbounded by civilization.  But sooner or later you climb to some peak in seeming wilderness only to find a chairlift hauling plaid sweater loafer hoofed college kids to the top…then wild places can’t anymore sooth that urge.  The only thing left is to view your fellow man as dinner and chase him down.  Funny, but some folks in the past have assumed I must have some inner demons from which I run.  Maybe they were right…just not exactly how they thought of it.  You could call is personal development, seeking and pushing boundaries and all that…but it is much more primal than that.  Along the way it is a helluva good time and considerably healthier than some other addictions.

Big Ride Week Preview

Dave arrives in St George today and tomorrow starts the big ride week. We’re both racing solo at 24-hours of Old Pueblo on Feb 18-19, about a month away. This is the big volume week followed by a 3 week taper into OP. Joe Friel calls this kinds of week “crash” training. I hope not to do any kind of crashing. I like to call this type of week binge training  ’cause that’s what it really is. We are having a bike binge.

Dave is used to riding faster than me but I’m used to riding for longer than him so we are going to see if we can get a lot of fun riding done without blowing each other up before the end of the week. Learning to ride together day after day is a key aspect of doing well at Trans Rockies. We are also going to try out a ton of ideas we have to make us faster as a team. Any cool suggestions? Leave them here and we’ll try it out…

Here is the plan

Monday we are riding the road up to Gooseberry, about 40 miles and 2:30. Then we are meeting Steve with the mtb’s for a lap on Gooseberry, about 3 hours.

Tuesday is an Epic mtb day, about 6 hours, lots of climbing, lots of jeep roads and places for Dave to tow me :-). The route is from my house, along Church Rocks slickrock, Prospector single-track, Red Cliffs, Silver Reef, 3,000 feet climb up to Oak Grove then jump on the Turkey Farm jeep road for a fast roller 30 mile descent back to the house.

Wed is a day off the bike for me. Too much going on to take the entire week off from my real life.

Thursday is 2 laps on the Jem trail about 47 miles of single-track and probably about 5 hours of saddle time. Fun, fun, fun trail. This will be a good day to see how it is riding technical stuff together where he can’t tow me.

Friday is a huge Epic that I’ve cooked up with Google Earth but never ridden before. Looks to be about 100 miles and all off road except for the first 3 miles to the trailhead :-o Lots of jeep roads for Dave to tow my a** along.

Saturday is open for whatever is left in our pegs…. and then the OP taper begins.

Supercaliber Anticipation!

Ryan Atkinson shared the current status of the Gary Fisher Supercaliber 29″ race day bike on the MTBR forum, including an artists rendering of the frame.  It looks to be a great design – but will take some $$ to bring up to race readiness.  The current plans include:

– another prototype ready in a couple of weeks
– May/June delivery
– Reba Race
– SRAM X.9
– Bontrager Race GXP crank and Race wheels
– Avid Juicy 7 brakes
– $2859.99 (about half msrp of the Trek Top Fuel)

So let’s see…throw on some superlight AC wheels, twisties, Race Face turbine crank w/20/30/40 and round it out with miscellaneous carbon bits and now we’re ready to rock.

But wait – isn’t that a 29er???  Sure enough it is…but I’m still intrigued.  The jury is still way out for me – at least I have escaped the initial emphatuation stage where objectivity goes out the window in place of lust. 

Speaking of objectivity, the first few weeks in Feb I’ll be doing some 29er/26er testing on a rolling, desert singletrack course, the competitive loops of the McDowell Mtn park area in Fountain Hills, AZ.  I’m even going to plan in a day of SS testing – at least as best I can with gearies.  This is the kind of terrain I’d expect the 29ers to rock.

An update to the previous test:  I got a rear Fast Trak for the Fuel and re-rode the same route.  Energy expenditure dropped 3% from the previously reported values.  I’m still using the beefy Weirwolf up front.  I also re-rode the route on the 29er, this time with higher psi in the tires (38) and enough air in the relish shock to effectively lock it out.  Energy expenditure INCREASED.  Ouch.

Take away points:  first, although higher PSI lowers rr on the road, the same is not true for off-road.  Second, my Fuel climbs better on smooth dirt roads than my Dos – I have no doubt of this.  The real question of course, is which is better under the condtions in which YOU ride or race?  You won’t find that answer here…but I’ll keep you posted on what works best for me.   


Short and Sweet

..was the ride today, only 1:35. Just keeping it sharp but not creating a lot of fatigue so I’m zippy for the big riding week with Dave next week. I’ve got a lot of trails to show him here in the county :-)

The plan for today was two sets of 3 minutes pedaling at power L5 with 3 min recoveries in power L1. I got derailled on the second interval running into a pal and having a chat for a few minutes.

Intervals are highlighted in black, power is yellow, heart rate is red, cadence is green and speed blue.

My heart rate was super zoomy today which tells me I’m nice and fresh. It was getting up to 186 bpm on the final couple of reps. Power average for the reps was 250watts and felt comfortable – no suffering on the bike today :-)  TSS for the ride = 109.4, 21 miles, 1 hr 35 mins.

Feelin’ sharp…

Bits and pieces

Here’s a shout out to Rob Lee who held control of the solo field in this 24 hour event in Scottland, but had to pull out midway due to injury.  He’s already back on the mend and planning what’s next, that’s the spirit!  Just toeing the line at such an event gets my respect.  16 hours of darkness and -5C temps – all bikes were renderred SS for much of the night as cable systems froze.

So y’all know vegies are good for you, right?  I eat a lot of them, that’s for sure.  When training volume gets high though, my food choices get more and more brown as I reach for the high calories stuff.  To offset that, I’ve taken up juicing.  Fun stuff and there seems to be no limit to what you can run through this thing.  Might even make a decent bassomatic.  The advantage?  You can get all the veggie goodness without all the bulk – a better mix when quality nutrition is goal #1.

The post for that 26 vs 29 test I did continues to get a lot of traffic…wasn’t sure why so did a little research.  It has been linked to by several sites and blogs now, including the WikiPedia,″er.  A link to objective test data is at the bottom.  Interesting!

Looking forward to the next week for sure.  A weekend with family in Vegas will kick it off, followed by a week with Lynda in Saint George putting some finishing touches on the form for OP while we dial in our Trans Rockies tactics.  One of the rides she’s got planned:  the county towers ride (or was that the hellhole ride?) is long – 100ish miles, off-road, huge climbs, and plumbs regions even the locals have never heard of.  That day is going to be EPIC.  Look for more pics (perhaps even with people in them this time) to be tortured by.

Pollution is generally bad, yes…but it makes for great sunsets/sunrises.  The sun has greeted me with this view several days in a row now.

Dangerous ideas

“Fantastically stimulating…It’s like the crack cocaine of the thinking world…. Once you start, you can’t stop thinking about that question.” — BBC Radio 4

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to read 3 of these a day for a week. 

That’s the easy part.


Zane Grey Country

Sunday is epic day in my little world.  Usually the rides are planned out in advance; this past Sunday I woke up at 5am still not sure where I was headed…it had to be something new, something fresh.  There is a lot to choose from around here if you’re willing to drive.  Anything goes on Sunday. 

There’s a blank, mostly roadless area on the map that’s been attracting my eye for quite some time – the area NE of Roosevelt reservior.  A couple of wilderness areas and the Sierra Ancha mountains domintate the scenery, and comprise the scenery looking NE from the top of 4 peaks.  This is Zane Grey’s country – the Tonto basin and region south of the Mogollon Rim.  His old cabin lies about 20 miles north as the crow flies…or did 20 years ago.  Haven’t been in these parts for awhile ;)

A look at a national forest map revealed a route through the area – and google earth (you need this if you don’t have it – it’s free!) helped with the details.  Google earth even shows forest service road numbers if you zoom in enough.  It’s like having a $10k GIS app for free. 

The first 30 miles was a series of short climbs and descents in the foothills of the Sierra Ancha, all of it low in the Sonoran desert with Saguaros for company.  One of the more scenic spots was a trailhead into the Salome wilderness area.

In the other direction was the res:


A Cross road eventually runs into hwy 288, a mostly dirt road that heads north into the Sierra Anchas towards Young.  It climbs 3,000′ in the first few miles with some outstanding views along the way.  It was considerably cooler today and I’ve never experienced as much trouble with temp regulation as this climb.  Heading one direction, a headwind meant you needed coverage – the next switchback put you with a tailwind and the sensation of melting was quick in coming.  Can guys get menopause? 

The Sierra Ancha have many deep chasms that fall off of the east and west sides; this ones on the west side.

Long rides often warp time – it seemed just a few minutes between leaving the saguaros and hitting the first saddle in a ponderosa forest.

Of course in reality that climb took a long time…I must admit to riding like a tourist today.  Yes, it was training…but I was more interested in pictures and eating than riding today.  CTL is over 140 right now, and this week’s expenditure is something north of 15,000 kJ – I was feeling it!  But the views kept me energized – that and the realization that at 3pm I still hadn’t reached the jeep road turnoff.  Who knows what condition that road was in?  Better get crackin! 

There are some very deep chasms that fall off the east side of Aztec peak (below).  In another lifetime, I made half a dozen trips into the wilderness area with ropes and a mad chemist partner (no, not shane) to see how far down we could get.  We found one chasm to be over 1000′ deep – and narrow enough to jump over – with a huge amphitheater at it’s floor, & wet walls with black and white bugs with great big eyes.  Those were awesome trips…I was in my teens, new to the west and full of wonder for it all.  Oh to have had a camera then!

In yet another life, I was really into trees.  Alligator junipers are among my favorite trees.

Finally got to the last leg of the route, FR 609.  How far left?  A bit over 30 miles on jeep trails of unkown quality.  It was just after 4pm…damn, to much picture taking & eating!  It’s always more fun to get cracking at the end anyway, and given that  I was at about 6500′ and the truck was parked at about 2100′, there were some big downhills coming up.  Somewhere, anyway.  Not for a loooong  time.  About 12 miles in is a long climb appropriately named Malicious Gap.  The trail gets very rocky, loose pumpkins of rock.  The scenery never stopped though, with big sweeping views to the north of the Mogollon rim. 

There was plenty of time for reflection today.  Thoughts like “why did I choose not to bring the headlamp” were at the forefront…but others such as why riding through the Sierra Anchas was much like a homecoming, a ride through one of the places where it all began (“it” being my fascination with the West and wild places), how being a slave to one’s competitive self can often limit such opportunities as today’s ride, and how these traits all blend together into one big mosh to create an endurance racer…towards the end of this ride, I pretty much had myself convinced I was headed for the super tough guy hardman point to point self-supported thing.  Then again, that still presents the conflict between love of place and competive drive…

Onward.  About 10 miles from the end the sunset was over the top.

That last 10 miles flew by in the waning seeing light.  By rides end, CTL bumped to 142 and 30 day rolling TSS is at ~4800.  Doing this much volume (and intensity: the biggest week time-wise was 18 hours) really put my mind in a different place.  I rarely get introspective on long rides, but when you’re deep in the paincave anything goes.

Cross Training Day

I’m having a low volume bike week to freshen up for the final build up to Old Pueblo . Sunday was off the bike but I got in nine hours of cross training. This was my activity of choice.

Suburban Cross Training… It’s hard work pushing this machine around, filling it up and emptying it. To add a bit more fun into the mix I put on my X-vest for a few hours. Here is Katie and Co showing how it’s done X-Vest style. I loaded mine up with 20lbs for a serious session of Domestic Functional Core Training (TM). Carpet shampooing with a weight vest – now that is too much fun.

The fun was ebbing for sure by about 3pm and with 2 vehicles, a sofa and one bedroom left to shampoo I cracked open a bottle of EnduroFX. I’ve never taken Enduro before and given its ingredient list thought it was a good idea to try it off the bike first.

What are the ingredients in EnduroFX?

Ingredients per one capsule: 750mg proprietary thermogenic blend of zhishi, green tea extract (standardized to 95% polyphenols, 40% EGCG), salicylate, caffeine, L-tyrosine, yohimbe extract.

ZING!!!! After 2 capsules I was feeling pretty good and attacked those mystery lumps of congealed stuff on the backseats with vigor. 2 capsules felt good so at 4pm I thought 2 more capsules would be better – ZING-ZING!! My cars have never been so clean since the day they rolled off the dealer lot.

Still pumping at 8pm I took a trip to Wal Mart with both of the kids. My kids love a trip to Wal Mart and were in 7X hype mode. We got one of those huge carts that have a seat in the back for 2 kids. They’re tricky to drive without crashing into stuff on a good day and normally 2 kids hyping all over it like it’s a jungle gym at 8pm on a Sunday evening would be a huge challenge to my good mom demeanor, but not last night – a Sunday evening Wal Mart run with the kids has never been so fun before. Thanks EnduroFX.

Shane if you’re reading this I have a few questions ’cause I could get addicted to this stuff… Is it good for me? Is it legal? Should I be allowed out in public and behind the wheel of a vehicle after taking 4 of them?

It didn’t wear off until 2am when I finally was able to fall asleep. I’ll be taking a bottle of that stuff down to 24-Hrs of Old Pueblo for sure :-)