Thursday, December 17, 2009

Better late . . .

I'm late with my update. Again. But if I'm writing at least once a month, the blog isn't dead. Is it?

I wrote most of an update after Thanksgiving, but I didn’t publish it then and it feels too late to do so now. But in case you’re wondering, I had a good time in St. George: I ate plenty of good food, I visited with my family, I rode my mountain bike with my brother and I rode my road bike with my dad. I also got engaged.

Which helps explain my lack of writing. With my wedding a little more than three weeks away, cycling hasn’t been my top priority. Plus, it’s the off season, and I have no coach and little motivation to train. Can you see why I haven’t been doing much worth writing about here?

But it won’t last. Next week Catherine and I will spend a few days in LA, where, among other things, I hope to do some more mountain biking with my brother, even if the El Prieto trail is no more. And now that winter is here, I’ll be able to start skiing soon. And I’ll write about that when it happens. But for now, you’ll have to settle for updates like this.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Late Update: Mueller Park, Volleyball, Skate Skis and More

I'm looking forward to riding in Saint George this weekend, but my bike season is basically over. Now I'm thinking about the winter. This year, that means cross training instead of rollers and DVDs. With that in mind, I've canceled my Netflix subscription. I've also bought a "new" pair of used skate skis. I had hoped to buy a rando setup this year so I could join in the back country fun, but that turned out to be more expensive than I'm comfortable with right now. Maybe next year.

Since the first time I rode the Mueller Park trail, I've wanted a chance to ride it without the weekend crowds. So two weeks ago I took Wednesday off for a long ride. The plan was to ride the Bonneville Shoreline Trail from Dry Gulch in to Bountiful, then up North Canyon and down Mueller Park before turning around and riding back the way I came.

Everything went well for about four hours. The trails were great, the crowds were small, and weather was perfect. But as I was riding back into Salt Lake on the fire road that makes up a a portion of the BST, my left pedal started sticking. Then the bearings seized, which I didn't realize until I had pedaled the pedal right out of the crank. Fortunately, none of the threads on in the crank arm were stripped, but because the bearings in my pedal were completely shot, I had to walk to the top of the hill, then coast through the neighborhoods behind the capital and back home.

The broken pedal wasn't a big deal, but it was disappointing to have to retreat an hour from finishing the ride. And the singletrack back to Dry Gulch probably would have been more fun than coasting down a paved road. And I'm sure that the upper parts of the Mueller Park and North Canyon trails are snowed in by now, so I guess I'll have to wait till next year to complete the ride. Lame.

I haven't ridden a bike since my Mueller adventure. That Saturday the weather canceled my plans for a longish road ride, so instead I hiked a chunk of the BST in the snow. It was fun, but it made me sore enough to take most of the next week off, other than a few mellow runs in Liberty Park.

Last week I wound up in a volleyball tournament at the Salt Lake institute. My ward didn't field enough players for a team, so I wound up on a small team with some other players in the same situation. It turned out to be a sweet deal, because we ended up winning the tournament, much to my surprise (and everyone else's, I'm sure).

Since Claremont eliminated my team from the playoffs during my senior year in high school, I haven't played much volleyball at all. In fact, I don't think I've played at all in the last four years. But on Saturday I was surprised by how much I miss it. I was also surprised that I can still play well after so many years, and by how sore I can get after not having jumped or swung my arm for so long.

And now I think I'm caught up for the last two weeks. My "top-secret new bike," a Misfit diSSent single speed, has had problems with the frame, and thus remains a "top-secret assortment of parts in boxes." It's too bad, because I was really looking forward to riding it on the trails in Saint George. Instead, it looks like the Anthem gets the nod. Should be fun.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Over the Hills and through the Woods

My parents were staying at my grandma's house for a few days, so on Saturday I decided to ride my bike up to meet them for lunch. I had originally planned to put in a few hours on the road before finishing at my grandma's house in Bountiful, but because the weather has been so nice I decided to grab the mountain bike and take another shot at Mueller Park.

It turned out to be a good decision. I hit the Dry Gulch trailhead at about 9:00. From there I rode the Bonneville Shoreline into City Creek, where I picked up the trail on the west side of the canyon and rode the switchbacks up to the radio tours before continuing along the dirt road into Bountiful. From there it was a quick ride on the road to North Canyon, and from there a climb up to the saddle, where I picked up the Mueller Park trail for what is easily one of my favorite descents.

Conditions were great, as they have been all week. Temperatures were in the mid sixties, and except for a little mud at the bottom of North Canyon and a little ice at the top, the soil was perfect. The only downside to such perfect conditions is that they tend to draw people outdoors, and the Mueller Park trail was more crowded than I've ever seen it. And it's been pretty crowded every time I've ridden it.

Still, it was great to get in a longish ride. And because the weather has been so perfect for riding, and because I have vacation time I need to use before the end of the year, I may go ahead and take Wednesday off so I can see what Mueller Park looks like without the weekend crowds. If I do, it will be the perfect opportunity to break in my (not really so) top-secret new bike.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Back on the Road

On Saturday I went for a 3-3.5 hour ride that was, believe it or not, my first ride on the road since September 4. That means I went nearly two months without riding my road bike, which I think is longer than I've gone in at least four years.

Of course, that's not to say I haven't been riding. It's just that after I turned in my team bike, I didn't feel like reassembling my Ridley, so instead I've been riding my mountain bike. With a few exceptions back in September (notably, the Park City Point to Point, where I received the thrashing of a lifetime), I've been riding almost exclusively on the Bonneville Shoreline Trail during the week, and venturing on to Mueller Park (by way of North Canyon) on the weekends.

The primary result of all my time on the dirt (besides the fact that I could probably ride the BST blindfolded by now) is that I've achieved a level of marginal competence on the mountain bike. I've still got a long way to go, as I was reminded on a recent trip to California to ride with my brother and some friends, but I'm looking forward to spending more time on the singletrack next summer and breaking eight hours at the Point to Point next fall.

For the past two years, the start of November has meant the start of my training for the next season. This year, however, I have no desire to train. So instead I'm just going to ride, at least until the snow falls. Then, maybe I'll ski. Or maybe I won't. But I'll find something to do, and now that I'm back in the saddle I thought I should rejoin the blogosphere, too. So check back if you'd like. I can't promise that this blog will interesting, but I can promise that it will be here.