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Saturday, November 27, 2010

Race Report

As predicted:  goose grease, snow, cold as could be, a really good start, ice bike skills, at the front of the race, and, podium.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Could Be

Tomorrow is Race #9 in the Utah Cyclocross Series.  I will be there on the start line at 10:30 in the morning, with plans to move up on the Points Chart.

I just hope there is a bunch of snow on the course, frozen solid, well packed, and slippery as goose grease.  Goose grease, you say?  Perhaps you've never stepped in goose grease. 

If there is snow on the ground, and I have good legs, and I can still see the top three riders after two laps, I could be on the podium.  Could be.  Could be.  No, I have not been on the bike for any real training in two weeks.  But, when a cyclocross course turns to snow, it really does not matter who has the most horses under the hood.  And, suddenly the guy on the fixed gear cyclocross bike is no longer at a huge disadvantage.  If I ride smooth, put my bike handling skills to full use, get a good start, and just keep turning my pedals over, I could be there.  Could be.  On snow, smooth can be faster than raw power.

Let Me Explain

My last post sounds very sarcastic.  It is.  Rather than edit it, let me just give a quick explanation.

I'm all for free market enterprise.  I owned a retail and service business for five years.  If you want to produce a product and sell it or provide a service, great.  Go right ahead.  If you produce a product or provide a service that has a direct effect on health or the environment (again, the air we breath, the water we drink, and the functioning ecosystems and their species on which all life depends), I think government should regulate you.  History has repeatedly shown that you will not regulate yourself.

Our Lungs

Here it comes.  When PM2.5 gets to 35 ug/cubic meter, just hold your breath.  That is the National Standard.  Look here, http://airnow.gov,  if you want to learn more.  This is just another "Big Government" program website to interfere in your life and take away your personal liberties.  You know, just like all those other "Big Government" programs that pretend to protect your health, the environment, the air, rare species, the food we eat, the drugs we take, and the water we drink, but in reality only just make rules that cause honest business people big hassles.  So, if you just don't give a damn, keep your car idling at all times.  Please.


Thursday, November 25, 2010

Cold Turkey

Right now, as I type this, it is -15 degrees outside with ice fog.  Cache Valley is famous for ice fog.  The following definition is from NOAA:

Ice Fog

(Also called ice-crystal fog, frozen fog, frost fog, frost flakes, air hoar, rime fog, pogonip.) A type of fog, composed of suspended particles of ice; partly ice crystals 20 to 100 micron in diameter, but chiefly (especially when dense) ice particles about 12–20 micron in diameter, formed by direct freezing of supercooled water droplets with little growth directly from the vapor. It occurs at very low temperatures, and usually in clear, calm weather in high latitudes.


Pogonip.  Now there's a term you just don't use everyday.

Cache Valley is also famous for another reason.  Our air becomes stratified in the winter.  These inversions set up for days, often giving us some of the worst air quality in the country.  Small particulate matter (PM2.5) values get very high and the air turns a brownish yellow.  Today the values are low.  Tomorrow they will be getting into the Moderate range.

My training plan, which is written in stone and religiously followed, calls for a two hour gravel road (snow covered) ride today, with a good warm up, an hour of just-below-tempo (about 75%), and three sets of telephone pole intervals for good measure.  What's a telephone pole interval?  I start at a pole and go hard (95%) until I pass the next telephone pole.  I spin easy and recover until the next pole, then go hard again for a distance of two poles, then spin for two poles.  Then, go for three poles and recover for three poles.  That is one set.  It's my easy way of doing the old Eddie B. short stair-step intervals.  It is very important for cyclocross.  Long intervals don't help me.  People who say they do 5-10 minute intervals are really only doing tempo intervals.  Who can go 95-100% for 5-10 minutes?  Not me.  But I'm real good for 50 seconds.

At -15 degrees, an outdoor bicycle ride is out of the question.  My toes and fingers would freeze within 20 minutes.  It just can't be done.  But, right now, looking out my big front window as I type this, there is a person running up the hill.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Blizzard Warning

I'm not talking about the head freeze you get when you go to Dairy Queen.  I'm talking about another foot of snow, blizzard conditions, and a low of minus 7 on Wednesday night.  I gotta go eat something.


URGENT - WINTER WEATHER MESSAGE
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE SALT LAKE CITY UT
358 PM MST MON NOV 22 2010
...BLIZZARD HEADING FOR UTAH TUESDAY AND TUESDAY NIGHT...

STRONG SOUTHWEST WINDS WILL DEVELOP AHEAD OF AN ARCTIC COLD FRONT
EXPECTED TO MOVE FROM NORTHWEST TO SOUTHEAST ACROSS THE AREA LATE
TUESDAY AFTERNOON AND THROUGH TUESDAY NIGHT. HEAVY SNOW...STRONG
WINDS...AND BLOWING SNOW WILL ACCOMPANY THE PASSAGE OF THE ARCTIC
FRONT. EXTREMELY COLD TEMPERATURES WILL BE OVER THE AREA WEDNESDAY
AND THURSDAY.

Found Pictures



Me and Eric Thompson.

Me and Tim Briley.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

I'm Not The Only One

Remember that song Tigger sang?  I've done hundreds of snow rides since moving to Montana in 2000.  On every ride, I always sang that song.  I was sure "I'm the only one."



Well, not any more.  Today, rolling down Green Canyon were three guys on brand new snow white Pugsleys.  I could not believe it.  It was like a dream sequence.  They could not have been from Logan.  Colorado perhaps.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Feeling The Darkness

Fierce winds strip the rest
Leaves, snow, and temperatures fall
Feeling the darkness

Thursday, November 18, 2010

On Second Thought...

...The forecast for the Bitterroot Valley is not good.  The high on Tuesday will be in the single digits and the low will be below 0.  Winter is here.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Fixed Gear Cyclocross Show Hits The Road

I have not been on the bike since Saturday's race.  I may try to put in a few efforts today, now that my heart has been at resting rate for 4 days.  Yeah, that's a good way to lose my hard earned fitness.

This week has been filled with full-time dad work and trying to repair a leak from the ceiling in one of the basement apartment's bathrooms.  Wet dry wall and moldy insulation suck.  And, because the basement door was open, and I did not take time to walk the dog yesterday morning, that apartment smelled really bad.

On Saturday, I'll be doing this race in Rexburg, Idaho.  There will be only a hand full of racers there, so I should do well.  My plan is to blast off at the start and never look back.  Right.  I'm sure they have never seen a fixed gear cyclocross dismount, so it should be a good show.

Right after the race, I'll be headed for the Bitterroot Valley to do camera work, another four days with no training.  Oh well.  We can't all be a full time professional athlete with two bikes and a mechanic in tow.  Don't get me wrong.  I've seen her race on several occasions, and she is quite impressive.  Perhaps, I'm just a little jealous, and glad I don't take the sport so serious, all at the same time.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Fixed Gear Cyclocross, Today's Race Report

I finished 7th today.  I should have been 6th, but that did not happen.  The course was not fixed gear friendly.  There was a long climb, a long descent, and many off camber pedal-digging turns.  As usual, I started slow, in about 15th.  At the bottom of the first climb riders in front of me all stopped.  By the time I got going, the top 5 guys were already 60 seconds ahead and out of sight.  So, I just tried to ride smooth.  I could see another 5 guys in front of me, and on the second climb, I punched it, and passed all 5 of them.  On the third climb I got two more.  On the last climb I dropped Jeff Ure, who had been right with me for two laps, and the Eric Thompson.  I had my sights on Jordan Swenson, riding a 29er, but he powered away on the back straight away.  I'm disappointed and content, all at the same time.  Just wait until the next race.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Your Worst Fixed Gear Nightmare...

...a State Championship cyclocross course with big climbs and big descents.  Bog.  Spin.  Bog.  Spin.  At both extremes.  This is going to be fun.  Here is a video:

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Just Another Race?

There's a big cyclocross race this Saturday, the Utah State Championships, in Ogden.  I'll be there, on the fixed gear.  If two or three specific people crash out, I could be on the podium.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

New Mexico

Greg W. just sent me some pics of the Rio Grande Gorge West Rim.  I plan on riding here with Greg in 6 weeks if it's still snow free.  Cross bike heaven.





It's Still Warm For Now

I'm going for a ride again today and I'll be wearing shorts.  Yesterday was like a mid-May day.  I stopped to listen to bird song from high in a tree.

Townsend's Solitaire
Defends its territory
Singing all Winter

Winter, however, is not far away.  Today the high will be 65.  Tuesday the high will be 36 with snow.  I can not sing all winter long.  It makes me think a lot about going to Florida.  Our trip is only 6 weeks away.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Deadlines

I'm staying home this weekend.  No utcx race for me.  I have a report to finish for the State of Montana.  That means a fall from the top 15, and no way to finish eight races for the overall points competition.  Oh well.  It's not that far to fall, really.  My new goal is to be the highest placed rider with only 7 races at the end.  That will be good enough for me.  Top ten?  Probably not.

I had a great mountain bike ride last night, probably the last warm snow free ride of the season.  It was nearly 65 degrees at the start and there were about 65 people on the Green Canyon trail.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Robert Hamlin Moves Into The Top 15, Men 45+

Not bad for only finishing 3 of 6 races.  And, I'm absolutely the fastest guy on a fixed gear.  Oh yeah, I'm the only one dumb enough to do that.

http://utcx.net/sites/default/files/results/2010_points_all_thru_race_6.pdf

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