Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Last time

This is probably the last time I do this loop for a while. My plan is to hike Timp for some altitude training, and then do easy rides until the race next Saturday.

Took the GPS along for the ride today. The fork in the road (where this picture was taken) is at 7180 feet. Starting altitude 4750 ft, highest point 8200 ft, for a gain in 3450 feet in about 4 miles.

For some reason I was struggling today. Kept getting stuck on the hills and having to push. I guess it is good for keeping me humble. I was thinking about trying to finish the race with a good time, now I'm back to the more reasonable goal of finishing.

Someone had been up the trail with a motorcycle. It is easy to get annoyed seeing the tracks up the hill. I think because you work so hard to get there it is hard to see someone get a "free ride". However, I have to feel glad that others get to enjoy the beautiful sites no matter how they get there.

Tuesday, June 29, 2004


Monday, June 28, 2004


Saturday, June 26, 2004

Easy Does It

We decided to take it easy yesterday and ride in the evening up Provo Canyon. We started at the mouth of Provo Canyon, went up the parkway to Bridal Vail Falls and then south on the Bonneville Shoreline. It was a nice change of pace. It has been a few months since I did this ride and I was amazed at how easy it seemed compared to before. Of course last time we did this the biggest challenge was the snow on the trail. But still the hardest hill on the ride was relatively easy. I think the rides up Slate Canyon are paying off.

I didn't take the camera with me yesterday so today's picture is of a Chicken and her babies.

Thought: This hen hatched 7 babies and I hatched 4 in an incubator. After a week or so I decided I would try and give the babies I had hatched to the mom and see if she would take care of them. I took them out an put them with the mom as she was out feeding the babies. After a while the mom decided it was time to move to cover for protection and warmth. The babies she hatched followed her but the babies I hatched just stood there chirping their hearts out because they were cold and didn't know to follow. So I went to the babies to pick them up and the mom came back to get them. She tried to get the chicks to follow but they wouldn't. Eventually she had to leave them where they would be eaten by a cat because she could not let the chicks that would follow be endangered by those that would not. I thought this was much like Christ, He is there for us, He wants us to follow him, He will protect us, we just need to be willing to follow him.

Thursday, June 24, 2004

Better Than a Poke in the Eye With a Sharp Stick

Better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick... but not by much. We went on the Ridge Trail - Cascade Springs loop (South Fork Deer Creek Trail) today. Going around one of the corners I went a little wide and ended off the trail. Coming to a stop I could hear the hiss of air from my tire. I guess someone thought that was a good place to leave their old marshmallow roasting stick and now I have a nice sharpened rod sticking out of my tire.

However today's ride was great. It is so nice to be able to get out into the mountains and get a good ride in before going to work.

Thought: It is hard to pass people when you are fighting your way up a hill.

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Great Way to Start the Day

Starting the day with a trip up Slate and down Slide is great! The sun broke over the mountains just as we reached the pass. You couldn't ask for anything more beautiful.

I think the most important thing I have learned this year is how to rest while still climbing. One week we climbed to the Y three days in a row. Each day I did a little better than the day before. My biggest problem was that I would get tired and then start pushing hard and run out of energy. On the last day I followed right behind Layne forcing myself to not pass him. It was difficult but I think this is what finally taught me to be able to rest and climb. Sometime later we were going up Slate Canyon and I was in front. The pressure to keep the right pace and not give up on the hills was high when I could feel Layne right behind me.

Thought: The great thing about being out front is you can set your own pace, the bad thing about being out front is you have to set your own pace.

Monday, June 21, 2004

A Good Rider Always Wears a Helmet

I left my helmet in the car today. You always here about how athletes have their "superstitious" routines. As time goes on I am becoming more aware of the value of routine. The more I can get a routine going the less likely I am to do something like leave my helmet behind. We noticed that the rear chain rings were loose and I got off my routine. The was all stressed out that I was going to need to buy a new set of gears and chain and .... I was so happy when Juan took out a tool and was able to tighten up the sprockets! Oh yeah, and not only did getting out of the routine make me forget the helmet but I also forgot to reset the computer. So the numbers are an accumulative from last Friday except for the Dst/D (distance for the day).

Today's picture comes from a hike to the top of Timp a few years ago. This squirrel was running around in the saddle as you come from the back side of Timp to the front side. I was thought it would be great if I could get him to go out on that rock so I could get a picture of him over the valley. While I was trying to figure out how I would put a peanut out on the rock to lure him out there, he took mercy on me and went and posed for me, making it so that I didn't have to risk my life to get the picture. At that point the angle was not quite what I wanted but I hurried and snapped the picture while I had the chance. Again click on the image to see the full size version.

Friday, June 18, 2004

Are you crazy?

I signed up for the Brianhead Epic today. When my wife found out how much this was going to cost she asked, "Why would you pay someone $150 so you can kill yourself?" Good point, I don't have to pay anyone to kill myself as last Wednesday's ride proves. Today's picture is after finishing the ride on Wednesday. I think I need to slow down a little coming down next time. It was a lot of fun but now that I have pawed for the race I need to make sure I don't seriously injure my and not be able to go.

The trail up Slate Canyon I guess would be called a fire road. So it is wide enough that you get to choose the route to climb the hill. A lot of times there are several different choices on the rout to take. For each the one that works the best may be different. However sometimes there is only one good route and all the others lead to failure.

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Oh what a beautiful morning

It was a nice day for a ride! I think every time we do this Slate to Slide trip I get better at it. Maybe though getting better makes you over confident. I don't even know how many times I went flying off the bike today. Like when I hit a rock with the handlebar and about ended up going off the cliff. But the worst crash was back on the gravel road leading to the Canyon when I went around the corner to fast and the bike slid out from under me. Good thing I had gloves!

Another shot of the valley from above. Click on the image to see the full sized version.

While climbing sometimes you get stuck and have to get out of your clips. If you are on a hill it can be difficult to get started again, especially if your back wheel is on a small loose rock. Today's thought is what Layne said when he tried to do just that: "You can't start on a rock."

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Going South

Instead of going up Slate Canyon we went south today. I really don't like going south much. The trail has a lot of single track that is on the side of the mountain with a steep drop off to one side and a steep hill to the other. I have a hard time keeping my balance and staying on the trail. I guess since this is what I have the hardest time with we should do it a little more often so I can get better at it.

Tomorrow we will do the loop up Slate and down Slide again. This picture is looking out over Provo on the way down Slide.

Thought: Sometimes it is important to keep it between the lines. If you go off the side you could fall to your death.

Monday, June 14, 2004

Wild Snapdragons

We climbed Slate Canyon again today. I stopped at the base of the latest hill we have been trying to tackle to take some pictures and low quality video. The rest was good because I was able to go a lot father up that hill then I had before.

I saw these yellow flowers along the side of the of the trail today. I thought it looked like a wild snapdragon. It seemed like a nice innocent wild flower just making things beautiful. But when I looked it up on the Internet I discovered it is a noxious weed. Oh well it sill looked nice.

Thought: Successfully climbing Slate Canyon is all about luck. Skill and strength simply increase your odds.

Saturday, June 12, 2004

Ride of the 4 Summits

Today's ride is what Juan calls the ride of the 4 summits. Layne said he thinks Juan doesn't know how to count. We started in Highland and went up in the hills between Alpine and Draper, including riding down Hog's Hollow. The views were great but I left my camera on and the batteries were dead again.

The picture today was taken on our last up slate down slide trip. It is at the spring that is the source for the water pipe that runs down the canyon.

I think I am over training my legs never seem to be able to recover before the next ride. I am looking forward to a nice Sunday of rest.

Thought: Sometimes the views are just so beautiful that it would be nice to take a break and enjoy the view. However sometimes you have to finish the ride and can't stop, so you have to enjoy it while you ride.

Friday, June 11, 2004

Almost the weekend

The rain yesterday made the trail conditions great today. My legs are still tired from Wednesday's ride, but I was able to climb a hill I have never been able to climb before. It would be nice to have a two day break, but I guess we are going riding tomorrow morning. Oh well I guess I will drive to church on Sunday instead of walking.

Today's picture is of the mountain we have been riding around. The full picture has a soft focus effect. I figured it was just a bad focus job, but looking at the lens I saw a nice water spot from yesterday's rain.

A few days ago I came up with a bunch of thoughts for the blog, but they must not have been that great because I forgot what they were.

Oh, I got one... When using a camera with a small lens it doesn't take much of a water spot to mess up the focus.

Thursday, June 10, 2004

A Wet Day

It looked like it was raining in the Canyon when we left but we decided to go anyway. The trail wasn't bad on the way up and the places water puddles were all dry. Before we could get to the gate though there was a mixture of rain and hail coming down. We would have continued but the lightning strikes were getting very close. So we turned around before the gate. The trails that had been fairly dry were now rivers and puddles. It was a good thing we quit when we did because just as we got back in the building at work it started dumping buckets of rain and hail.

Thought: Does Accidental Death and Dismemberment insurance cover stupid things like biking in a thunderstorm?

Wednesday, June 09, 2004

Again? But with the camera

Up slate canyon and down slide canyon again today. However, today we did it starting at 6:00 in the morning. I was worried about running out of water again, so this time I brought more than enough. I guess the combination of having enough water and the cooler temperature made it a whole lot easier.

The downhill after going through the pass makes this whole trip worthwhile. I had the camera today but a lot of the pictures are washed out. Oh, well it gives me new photos for the blog. A nice 75 year old man happened by just in time to snap this picture of us at the pass.

Thought: When you spend a lot of time outdoors you gain a respect for nature. Even to the point you might think, "Let the mosquito bite me, it is only doing what it needs to do to survive." But when you get sick with malaria you realize that was a dumb idea.

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

Batteries Not Included

I put spare batteries in the car this morning, but when it came time to ride I figured I didn't want to carry the extra weight. So when it came time to get video of the next hill I discovered the batteries in the camera were dead. So no photos from today's ride. New batteries tomorrow. But here is a nice picture of Provo from the top of Timp.

Thought: A camera without batteries is just dead weight.

Monday, June 07, 2004

Rattlesnakes and Flat Tires

Today we came across a nice big rattlesnake on the trail just above where Layne did his endo (video link in side panel), telling us to leave him alone. Again I wish I had my camera. It goes into the pack tonight. After having seen the snake Layne missed a hill because he thought he saw a snake on the hill. It turned out to be a stick. I kept hearing things on the side of the trail thinking they were snakes but they were probably just lizards.

We have a short ride on the road getting from Novell to the mountains. This sign is just before leaving the road and starting on the trail. Life is good straight ahead! After a nice ride, looking back at the sign we think about how true it was.

Two flats in two days, Arrrrrggggggghhhhhh!

Thought for the day: After a close encounter with a rattlesnake, everything that rustles in the leaves is a rattler.

Sunday, June 06, 2004

Looking back

Last month we rode in the Provo Corporate Challenge. It was the first bike race I have ever raced in. The Novell team took second place. However there were only three teams. I took sixth place in the advanced section. I figured there were more than 5 people ahead of me. I'm not sure what happened. Did I pass them somewhere and not realize it, or did they drop out? Anyway it was not as good of a finish as I would have liked but I guess it wasn't bad for my first race.

Thursday, June 03, 2004

Up Slate, down Slide

I'll never do that again.... without a camera.

I have been saying for months now that we need to try and see if we could make it all the way up Slate Canyon and come down Slide Canyon by the Y. Today I did it.

The original plan was to start at 6 in the morning, but I didn't do a good job of informing others that today was the day. So at 6 AM I was the only one there. I decided to wait and see if anyone would go at the normal noon time ride.

We left at noon. Everyone else had to get back to work before too long but I figured I had come in early enough that I would try and do it. So after the hill that I now call Biting Fly Hill (see video link) I was on my own. I thought I had enough water but at 6.9 miles into the trip I ran out. The final pass was at 7.75 miles. By the time I got through the pass I was very thirsty, but I figured it was down hill from there so I would survive. After the springs at the top of Slate Canyon the trail turned into a nice single track. Then there was a section that was just too steep to ride up or down. It turns out that there is a similar section on the other side of the pass. However the there was a real nice section around the pass the solitude, the fresh air sented with pine, and the view was spectacular.

After rejoining the Y trail my rims got so hot that my front tire blew. While changing the tire I burned my arm and noticed the rubber lining inside the rim was melted.

Thoughts: Sometimes the best way to climb a hill is to push the bike, sometimes it is the only way. Sometimes a rock in the road will knock you off the best course, but if you keep trying you can still make it, it just may be more difficult and you may have to push a little.

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

Getting Started

Today as we were riding up Slate Canyon we were talking about all of the analogies to life we could come up with for mountain biking. This blog is starting as a place to reflect on the joys of mountain biking, and to publish some photos and videos.

Sometimes life is like climbing Slate Canyon, its hard but the reward is well worth the effort. The hills are like the trials in life. Climbing Slate Canyon over and over I am challenged by the same trials I have faced before. There are hills that are hard enough to climb that I have never made it, but I keep trying knowing someday I will be able to make it. Then there are the hills that I can usually ride through that I struggled on today, and finally there are some hills that I often struggle on that I just cruised through today.

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