Monday, December 29, 2008

The Things Kids Say

Everyone with kids knows how they say the craziest things. They have a knack for saying stuff you didn't think they knew or things you wouldn't expect them to know.

Yesterday at church during sacrament meeting Penelope starting singing something and it took us a minute to figure it out. She was singing "J-I-M-B-O, J-I-M-B-O". It cracked me up. It's the chorus from Reverend Horton Heat's Jimbo song.

The Reverend is top on my playlist for past six months, but I never really thought Penelope was listening and paying attention to the lyrics, let alone remember them. Thankfully there isn't anything that a two-year-old shouldn't hear.

Absolutely cracked me up.

Friday, December 19, 2008

The First Snowy Commute

Winter has taken an extremely long time to come this year. This afternoon was my first real commute in the snow. At about 12:30 we started to get absolutely hammered with snow. Our vanpool left work early. Parley's Canyon was sli-ick. It took about an hour to get from PC to the vanpool meeting spot, we bypassed a bunch of traffic and saved a ton of time.

There were many inches of accumulation and I was looking forward to trying out the bike for the first time in the snow. I have it fully outfitted with fenders, lights, and cross tires (racks and panniers are still in the works). It looked like this when I got to it:

I was a little disappointed when I started riding because the plows had done a good job. I was, however, able to bypass about 3 blocks worth of cars waiting for one stoplight, that was nice. Once I got off main roads things started looking up:

Some may say I am crazy but anyone can ride their bike when roads are dry and the weather is perfect. I'm not a fair weather person and I love it when conditions are sub-optimal when doing stuff. The fun part for me is the challenge to see if I could ride through the snow, make decent time, and not wreck. Mission accomplished. I look forward to many more days of commuting through the snow. Who else got to say "I played in the snow on my way home from work today" or "I had fun coming from work today"?

Here's one last shot of my track through the snow:

Thursday, December 18, 2008

7 Years

It was seven years ago today that Jessica and I began dating, went on our first date, hooked up...however you want to say it. In a lot of ways it's hard to believe that it's been seven years. It definitely doesn't feel like it. Last night we were discussing it and we looked at each other and said "I've known you for seven years? Weird."

We celebrated by going out to dinner to Bombay House. Oh man that place is good! Then we went and got custard at a little place just down the road from us.

Jessica is the best wife. I feel extremely lucky that she picked me...especially when I think about myself. :)

This is a picture of us about 7 months after we started dating, I think we look young!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Last Week in Review

Last week was a fun-filled, activity packed week. It was probably the most we've done in a week in an extremely long time. Here's a recap:

Sunday we made gingerbread houses with Penelope. We cheated though and used graham crackers for the gingerbread. Penelope mostly ate candy and crackers and helped Jessica a little. It was fun, they turned out great, and it was an awesome way to spend some family time on a Sunday evening.

Then Penelope thought it'd be fun to play in the laundry basket:

Monday night we had a neighborhood party. This was our first year participating and it was awesome. Some people get together, make scones and hot chocolate, and have a big get together for the neighborhood. Instead of exchanging neighbor gifts they ask everyone to bring donations of food, clothing, or cash for a local charity. It was cold and a little snowy so the hot chocolate and scones fit perfectly. It was good to see a bunch of neighbors that we don't see or talk to all that much.

Wednesday was the Ward Christmas Party. Our ward puts on the best Christmas party out of all the wards I've ever attended. Jessica and I have discussed it and we aren't quite sure what makes it so great. This year they mixed it up and sponsored a 'giving tree' for three families in the community that are in need and also collected money for some families in the ward that are need. We started out by wrapping all the presents that were purchased for the families. Then we moved to the eating portion. Instead of the usual lame lasagna or pasta with crappy salad, every year the ward gets BBQ from a local caterer. It's good. Then we had a little Christmas message, followed with a hot chocolate and little treat bar. Santa Claus made an appearance. We tried getting Penelope amped beforehand and she seemed excited. When we asked her what she was going to ask Santa for Christmas she would respond "Candy".

As soon as Santa walked into the gym her bottom lip started to quiver, the tears started to come, and she would point and say "that guy". It was kind of funny in way. We walked over to Santa and pointed out all of Penelope's little friends and kids she knew as they would sit on Santa's lap. I got in line and tried to distract her. As soon as it was her turn she bear-hugged my neck, started crying, and saying "no sit Santa, no sit Santa". I ended up sitting on his knee with her in my lap for quick picture.

Thursday we watched The Office. Hilarious!

Friday night brother Zach, his wife Alisa, their son Aiden, came down with their friends Danny & Julie and their son Taven. We ate dinner at Pei Wei then went to go see the lights at Temple Square. We had fun reminiscing about how we did something similar two years ago (Zach and Alisa came down, we ate dinner, then went to go see the lights) and the next day Penelope was born!

Saturday it snowed a ton! Jessica went to a baby shower and Penelope and I played in the snow. It was awesome. We walked around, made snow angels, pulled Penelope around in the sled, and my favorite part, I taught Penelope to eat snow! Here's a picture and fun little video:

Sunday we hung out, went to church, the usual Sunday stuff. Penelope did wear her Christmas dress from Nana Faerber for the first time:

Jessica also crocheted Penelope a scarf. She put the little flower in her hair and Penelope decided that she needed to wear her 'church shoes':

And one last photo because Penelope is so cute:

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Best Part of Today

Had a good day at work, a nice ride home, immediately went to the ward Christmas Party (which is awesome). What was the best part of the day? After the party sitting on the couch under a blanket cuddling with Jessica and Penelope eating grapes.

It's amazing how life gets simpler in many ways once you have a kid.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Great Article on Caffeine

My friend Adam posted a link on an article that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints posted on the "Energy Drink Epidemic".

I thought it was a well written article. It more addresses caffeine addiction and many of the health risks associated with caffeine (over)use, misuse, and abuse. I think the rise in energy drinks has definitely had a leading role in many of the health issues of today. Not only in terms of caffeine consumption, but many of the drinks are loaded with sugars and carbonation (which have their own health risks). Put these three things together in combination and you're bound to have problems.

Reading over the lists of health-problems in the article it came to my mind that in the past few years I've seen ads on TV and in magazines to 'help' all of those conditions. I've also known, personally, many people who suffer from one or more of those ailments.

My question is, why do we continue to do this to ourselves? Not just energy drinks, but sugar, lack a exercise, horrible diets, no fruits & vegetables, etc? Don't get my wrong, I'm definitely not perfect and nor am I saying that I am. We must be a nation of imbeciles. We let ourselves get swayed into consuming (and purchasing) things that we don't need, then we end up buying more stuff to battle the negatives effects of what we fist consumed. I'm tired of the "American" lifestyle and diet. Instead of sitting around complaining why don't you get off your pity-pedestal and do something about it?

What are you thoughts on "the Energy Drink Epidemic"?

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Cyclocross Saturday #9

It was the final race of the season, it was worth double points, and I flatted out heading into lap 3. It was a total letdown. I didn't have a spare rear wheel. I tried to pump up the tire, but the valve broke. I wonder if that's what caused the flat...Regardless I didn't finish the race.

The exciting news about cross season being over is ski season can now begin! Now it just needs to cool off an snow. Snow is in the forecast tomorrow but then the rest of the week clears out and warms up.

Here's a couple short segments from the race:

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Cyclocross Saturday #8, Thanksgiving, and Other Stuff

Saturday was my 8th race of the season. It was the toughest/roughest race for me. At the start of the race a few of us were joking around about who was going to lead out the pack. We had about 50 yards of straight, wide road from the start to the first turn and then it funneled down to single track. I wanted to be with the lead group going into the singletrack so I wouldn't get stuck in the pile up. The starter called out the start and before I knew it I was leading us out of the start. I immediately realized my mistake and slowed some and was riding in second place before a third of the way through the first lap. I held my position with the lead group through the first two laps and slowly started to feel the fade coming on. I road strong and stayed with the lead group in about 5th place until lap three. There was one treacherous section with a short hill climb, hairpin turn at the top, and wet leaf covered roots at the bottom.

During the second lap I was behind 4th place going through this turn when he wrecked on the downhill. It slowed me up some as I worked passed him and then had to ride hard to try and catch the leaders. On the third lap I wrecked in the exact same spot. The bad part was the bike started sliding sideways before I wrecked so when I hit the ground my feet didn't come out the pedals. I extricated myself after a few second, hopped back on and started riding. I immediately felt a pain my lower left leg but kept riding anyway. It took me a lap to get my back in the game. By that time it was the last lap and I dropped a lot of positions. Then it was the last lap and I was determined not to drop anymore.

I finished in a demoralizing 17th place for my race division. Valuable lessons were learned and experience gained. My entire left shin was a lumpy, swollen, scratched mess that hurt just sitting there. It almost bruised (I don't bruise very easily). It is just showing a little discoloration. I am guessing when I went down my left slammed into one of the exposed tree roots.

The day wasn't a complete loss though. After each race they do a small raffle of cycling gear for the race participants. I was the second named called and I walked away with a Pearl Izumi Optik Jacket in 'screaming yellow'. It's going to be a great jacket for spring/fall days when the temps are moderate and the winds are blowing.

The last cross race of the season is this coming Saturday. I will admit I will be a little relieved when it's over. I know I know, that may seem a little odd to some because I do love the cyclocross, however, I am ready for ski season to begin for me. I've put off mounting my new skis to avoid all temptation until cross season was over. Fortunately (and unfortunately) Mother Nature decided to withhold the snow and all skiing temptation that accompanies every snowfall.

With that update out of the way we had a great Thanksgiving. We went up to my mom's house in Logan on Thursday for the Thanksgiving feast. I took my first shot at making pumpkin pie, which I might add, turned out delicious! Apparently I used the 'wrong' recipe though. When I told my grandma that I made the pies she said "you used the good recipe right?" I said I used the one on the can of pumpkin. I received a 'look' and I said "someone told me that's what recipe you use". The pies were still delicious but now I know better for next time. Unfortunately I didn't make the pie crust like I said I was going to try and do.

The rest of the weekend was a fantastic array of not doing much and just hanging out with Jessica and Penelope. Saturday we went to eat at California Pizza Kitchen. It was a total let down! We used to love that place but the food wasn't good. They just didn't deliver like they have in the past. After dinner we went to see the lights at Temple Square. We parked by our old apartment downtown and enjoyed the moderate temps and the beautiful night to be out. We reminisced about when we lived downtown, what we liked and didn't like about it, life before Penelope, and how it was close to this same two years ago (December 2nd to be exact) that we went to look at the lights and then Penelope was born the next day!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Made From Scratch Sunday

Lately there have been some things that I've wanted to try making and I kept putting it off for a later time. Yesterday was the culmination of the procrastination. Not quite sure what got into me but yesterday I made the following:

  • Creme Brulee

  • Wheat Bread (new recipe)

  • Kettle Corn

It wasn't anything fancy or special but it was fun to make things I had been wanting to try.

Back when Jessica and I were dating I spent a few months working at the Cadillac Grille in Jackson Hole, WY. While working there I had my first exposure to creme brulee. I didn't actually make the custard, I made the presentation by carmelizing the sugar and making it look nice. Cheffie was kind enough to give me the recipe and it took me six years to make it. All in all it turned out pretty good. Of course I need to perfect the making of the custard and brush the rust off the presentation, but it tasted delicious!

For the wheat bread I tried a new recipe. It tastes all right, but I didn't let it raise enough and it is dense! The loaf is squatty and heavy. I think the problem is either I didn't let it raise enough or I didn't activate the yeast correctly. I definitely need to try making it again.

Kettle corn...I love kettle corn. Sometimes I buy a little bag when we go someplace that makes it fresh (last time was at the zoo). Mostly we just eat the microwave variety. I got to thinking that it probably isn't hard to make. I did a couple Google searches and found a recipe worth trying. I must say it turned out quite tasty (Jessica thought so too)! It only took a few minutes, cost a fraction of a microwave bag, and tasted just as good if not better!

It was nice to be in the kitchen again. Lately I've been too busy/lazy to really do anything. Next up I'm trying my hand at pie and pie crust!

Monday, November 17, 2008

A Thing that Shouldn't Happen to Your Bike Tire

I got to my bike this evening only to find a flat rear tire. I remembered I had an old tube in it that might have a leaky patch. I decided to pump it up to see if I could make it home. About two blocks later I got a new hole and enjoyed the loud and fast hissing sound as my tire deflated.

I took my wheel off my bike and decided to use my spare tube instead of patching the tube on the side of the road. I put it in and started pumping it up. I have my old cross tires on the bike and the extra tube was a road tube. Someone recently told me they use road tubes in their cross tires and just pump them up extra. Well I pumping it up and this happened:

(Yes that is a piece of a 'Princess Puzzle' that you see through the spokes. A sign that I have a 2 year old daughter). Sounded like a gun went of next to my ear. Luckily it blew out to the side and not into my face. Please note two things in the picture:

  1. The size of the hole in the tube
  2. Just above the hole in the tube you'll notice the wire bead from the tire. Yup the force blew a hole through my tire! Needless to say I had to call Jessica to come pick me up.

The crazy part is the tire pressure wasn't that high, 50 maybe 60 psi. Lesson learned. Some people say to just use road tubes in your cross tires, I say don't do it!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Cross Saturdays #5 & #6

So I'm a slacker, two cross races have past and I haven't said anything about them.

Two weeks ago the race was out at the Rocky Mountain Raceway. This was my favorite race of the series so far. The race consisted of riding on a course that BMX bikes or dirt bikes would ride on, a short pavement section, a gravel parking lot section, and a short dirt section. The race was awesome. There were a lot of whooptie-woos, rollers, a massive, steep uphill section, and some challenging gravel. The morning started off rough as I crashed twice during my first warm up lap.

What made the race even better is I had dressed up like a Mexican wrestler. People in Utah take cross way too seriously. Look at cross anywhere else in the country and people dress up and have fun.

The race went well. I wrecked twice during the race. The first time wasn't bad but it was about 30 second after the start. I got my foot down and was back up and going without losing a place. The second time was with 2 or 3 laps to go. I wrecked turning from the gravel to the pavement. I must have hit a couple rocks right as I got on the pavement. I went down hard. I got a big raspberry on the back of my right leg (I opted to not take pictures as they would be been a little inappropriate) and I tore my cycling shorts. I rode hard and was fortunate to finish 2nd.

Race number 6 for me was this past Saturday back at the Wasatch Fairgrounds in Heber. This time the course was muddy. In some sections it was probably close to 4 inches deep. I went out hard from the start, was in the lead group through the first lap, I moved into first during the second lap, wrecked on a muddy turn, dropped to second place, then I completely blew up on the third lap and maintained fourth place through the rest of the race. Jessica and Penelope stayed home from this race so I don't have any pictures. I was extremely pleased with my finish. The course was extremely challenging with all the mud.

This weekend is an off weekend as we are going to Lava Hot Springs in southern Idaho for a little family trip. I'll pick right back up the following weekend and will rally the remaining three races of the season.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Voting and Flat Tires

Jessica had a small party to go to tonight so Penelope and I headed to the city hall so I could vote early. Jessica took the car so Penelope and I took the bike and trailer (we would have taken these anyway since city hall is only about a mile away).

We loaded up and headed out about 6:30, the polls close at 7:00. We had a fun, quick ride to city hall. Come to find out the Holladay City Hall/Office do not have any bike racks outside their building (I'll be writing a letter). As we were riding around I was able to steal a peek through the windows to see a long line of waiting voters. Knowing that it'd probably only get worse the closer we get to the election I locked the bike to a handrail and we went inside.

In total we waited about an hour in a hot, stuffy room where we'd intermittently catch a small breeze from a nearby fan. Penelope got a little restless but it went alright. I cast my vote and we prepared to leave.

I got Penelope into the trailer, the bike unlocked and everything ready to go when I noticed the back tire was flat. I checked the front tire and it was flat as well. Apparently while riding through the parking lot looking for a bike rack I picked up a couple of goatheads in each tire. I had left my pump in my commuting backpack so we were out of luck. Faced with a long, slow walk home I chose to ride slowly and carefully. Probably not the best decision but it got us home twice as fast (which is great when you have a tired two year old).

My civic duty is done and I hope Obama wins.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Cyclocross Saturday #4

This weeks race was at the Fort Buenaventura State Park up in Ogden. The morning air was very chilly. Usually the sun is up, warming the air, but there were so many trees that it stayed cool.

The course was pretty good, but not as fun as past weeks. There was a small criss-crossing grass section, one steep, sandy run/ride up, one set of barriers, and a whole lot of flat riding. A lot of the flat was on packed dirt or pavement. As a result it was a very fast race without a lot of technical riding.

I started out fast, towards the front (in the video below you'll see me at the start, closest to the camera in the blue shirt and white sleeves). I started out just a little too fast but was able to keep pace most all of the race. I did falter on the sandy hill. Close to rounding the top the sand became 3-4 inches deep. If you didn't carry speed you'd stop and have to unclip. The first time up I got stuck behind someone who had to unclip, the second and third times I lost my momentum and had to unclip, fourth time I got stuck behind a person who I lapping and had to run up, and the last time I made it up and over.

I think I finished fifth again (you'll see the anti-climactic finish). My falters on the hill put my behind the leaders so I had to play catch-up. Apparently I rode a lot harder than I have past races because as soon as I finished my quads started killing me. It hurts to walk. One really fun thing about the race is back in the woods there was a log you could either ride over or hop and I hopped it every time (I learned to bunny hop this week). I still love cyclocross.

Monday, October 20, 2008

The Wonderful World of Play-Doh

The other day Jessica found a small package of Play-Doh in a cupboard. She broke it out for Penelope to play with and she loved it. When I got home from work we played with it after dinner. I had forgotten how much fun it is play with. I remember being a kid and my mom making us salt dough. Those were the best days. Now it's awesome to play with one of my favorite childhood things with my little girl.

We made everything from bowls, to dinosaurs, to hot dogs, pancakes, peas in a pod, snakes, pigs, bricks of cheese, grilled cheese sandwiches, pumpkins (notice the food theme?), and many other things.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Cyclocross Saturday #3

Saturday's cyclocross race was at the Weber Fairgrounds up in Ogden. This was the first race of season when the weather was nice. It was sunny and between 60-70 degrees. I thought it wouldn't be as much fun because it wouldn't be muddy. I was wrong, it was just as much fun. What I think is fun about the muddy/snowy/wet races is there's a level of technicality that isn't present in dry races. What I liked about the dry race is you could go a lot faster and that in itself brings in a level of technicality that isn't there when you can't go fast.

The course featured a very short glassy hill climb that dropped slowly to a gravel road. The gravel road turned into a long straight section of sidewalk which brought you back to the grass to the first set of three barriers. Then the course wound around through what looked like an equestrian course, over a set of three stacked logs, over a single log, and winding back through the start.

The race went well. I started faster than I've started in the previous two races. Coming into the barriers the first time I thought I had started way too fast and would fizzle out halfway through. I was able to maintain my pace. It was fun seeing the people around me and having to try and catch them or stay ahead of the people behind me. The gravel and sidewalk sections afforded the opportunity to really see who was around and open it up.

I learned this race that I need to learn how to bunny-hop small obstacles or learn how to ride over them. The single log would have been a perfect opportunity to do so but I didn't want to try something new in the race. I also had my first wreck. A few laps in I was coming into the triple log barrier at the same time as another rider. I was paying attention to him and not my dismount. I got my first foot unclipped and my leg swung around the bike. When I planted that foot on the ground I didn't twist my left foot enough and it didn't come out of the pedal. I immediately fell to the ground with the bike on top of me, left foot still clipped in, almost hitting the logs on the way down. I quickly unclipped, grabbed my bike, hopped over the logs and was on my way.

I finished 5th place for my class. I was wicked excited about the finish. I was surprised to finish that high, especially since I'm a noob at racing and still fairly new to bikes in general.

Here's some clips from the race to enjoy:

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Cyclocross Saturday #2

Saturday was the second 'cross race of the year. This time it was held at the Heber Fairgrounds and it was snowing. The course was more fun and more challenging than last week. The snow definitely made things interesting. There was one set of barriers, on run-up with a barrier at the start of the hill, some hairpin turns, and of course some mud.

Jessica and Penelope were there to cheer me on despite the cold temps and the snow. Pictures are hard to get so Jessica shot a bunch of video. I'm in the blue shirt with black sleeves.

Monday, October 06, 2008

One Benefit of Having a Kid

Yeah there's a ton of benefits of having a child and one could get all sentimental/serious about it. I'm not going to do that. This is more about the stuff you don't ever think about. Here's a picture that says it all:

The caption reads "Thanks for the fish tacos. The Morrows".

If we didn't have Penelope we wouldn't have had big pieces of chalk outside. If we wouldn't have big pieces of chalk the Morrows wouldn't have been able to leave us this awesome message when they returned a container to us. All because we have a kid!

Saturday, October 04, 2008

First Cyclocross Race

This morning was the first cyclocross race of the season and my first race ever. I wasn't entirely sure what to expect going into it. My biking experience has largely been my daily commute to and from our vanpool that I ride up to Park City to work. I haven't ever raced bikes and had no idea what to expect in terms how how the start would work, what it was like to ride with others or near others.

I just have to say that cyclocross is awesome! It hurt, my legs burned, my lungs burned, it hurt more, it was dirty, wet, and cold, but it was a good time! You can see it in my tired smile below (yes that is sand/dirt/mud in my teeth - you have click to see the large image to get the full dirt effect). I'm fully hooked and will likely race every Saturday through the rest of the season. I do need to get out and ride more. Running endurance is a far cry from cycling endurance. My quads are killing me.

To my delight we woke up to rain this morning and it continued to rain. Everyone I have spoken to about cross says it's better and more fun when it's wet and muddy. With the rain it made it a little bit cool but I didn't notice during the race.

The course was fun. From the start there was long, moderate uphill pavement section which turned into a dirt section for 100 yards or so. From the dirt we encountered a short uphill back to parking lot, which we darted through, down a small pavement hill, back through the dirt section and onto a slightly off-camber singletrack, which turned onto a wider gravel/sand section, to more single-track through some small bushes, over a wood bridge, to the one run-up and barriers (there were only two barriers), then a long quick ride down more singletrack with turned back onto the start. Just before we reached the start again there's a fairly steep downhill, onto wet grass and a sharp turn.

Jessica, Penelope, and my brother Christopher were there to cheer to me on. Jessica was awesome with the camera and got four short video clips. I'm the one in the black shorts, blue shirt, and white sleeves.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Outlook Saves Marriages?

Here's an awesome, short conversation that I had with a co-worker over IM last week:

[14:47] me: i forgot out about meeting in 15 minutes
[14:48] coworker: me too
[14:48] coworker: thank god for outlook what did people used to do
[14:48] me: thank you meeting reminder
[14:48] me: exactly
[14:48] me: they had secretaries
[14:49] coworker: so outlook may have led to more faithful marriages
[14:49] me: hahahahaha
[14:49] me: i think you might be right

Ah good times...

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Hidden Peak Challenge

If you read about it over at Noggins Beanies it's true.

Yesterday was the Hidden Peak Challenge at Snowbird. It's only a 6k...yeah...starts at the tram parking lot at Snowbird and runs up to the top of tram. 6k distance and 3k of vertical gain. Up the entire way.

I haven't done a whole lot of running since the 8000m Challenge other than a couple of short runs and ultimate frisbee (nursing IT band issues). I figured what the hey, I've done a lot harder and at worst it'll be about an hour of pain.

The field was small, 76 in total. The start was informal, a countdown through a bullhorn (I actually prefer these starts). 100 yards from the start I found myself towards the front quarter of the pack. Heading into the first turn I could see the leaders pulling away. I got to thinking "crap Eric, you've started out too fast". Things got steep quick. The others around me kept running and I started power hiking, keeping up with those around me. I started to let up a little to see if I really had started out too fast. After a few minutes I decided to keep up the pace, it'd only be an hour.

A little after the halfway point you could see the top of the tram. This gave me some additional fire and picked up the pace. I started looking to who was ahead of me and started reeling them in. I was able to pick off two. I started closing in on the third towards the top. The thought of getting one more amped me even more. Unfortunately he saw me and got amped himself and picked up the pace.

I crossed the finish line in 1:01:33. At one point I thought I could finish in under an hour, but then I came around a corner and saw another set a switchbacks that you couldn't see below. I was completely surprised by my time, I thought it'd take me over an hour to do it.

The most surprising part was when they were doing the awards. When they got to the men's 20-29 division they called the winner as "Eric Miller...". Yeah, I stood there for a second, in silence, unsure if I heard correctly. That's the first time I've ever medalled in a running race. I ended up 7th overall and exactly 6 minutes behind the leader. Not bad for a kid that doesn't run fast.

There were four of us from backcountry that ran (myself, Jill, Ross, and Greg):

It was a good time and I'd do it again next year. Now I have to nurse IT bands even more.

Full race results can be found here.

Here's more pics from the race:

Friday, September 26, 2008

Date Night

Tonight Jessica and I went out on our first date night in a very long time. I was given a gift certificate from work to the Melting Pot. We had been wanting to go for quite some time, however, we knew it going to be more expensive than when we usually go out. This was a perfect opportunity.

Dinner was fabulous! We got their "Big Night Out" which includes cheese fondue, salad, entree, and dessert. For the cheese we chose the Fiesta Cheese Fondue. It had cheddar, salsa, and jalapenos. For the entree we chose the Fondue Feast which included: filet mignon, salmon, shrimp, chicken, pork, spinach artichoke ravioli, and fresh vegetables. We chose the vegetable bouillon as the cooking method for the meat. It was delicious. We threw the vegetables in and cooked them the whole time. The meat always came out tender and juicy. It was nice to have so many choices, you didn't get sick of any one thing.

The best part (which everyone says) was the dessert. We chose their "original" chocolate fondue which was a mix of chocolate and chunky peanut butter. To dip we had strawberries, bananas, toasted marshmallows, pound cake, rice krispie treats, cheesecake, and brownies. Oh man it was a big dessert but don't worry, we polished it all off.

In all we were at the restaurant for about 2 hours. It didn't feel like it at all. It was nice to get out just the two of us, take our time, eat, talk, and just spend some well deserved and long overdue time together.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Cyclocross is Coming

This summer I got amped about bikes. I've known about cyclocross for a couple of years and started looking into it. Then I started talking with people at work about it, watching videos online, and am now fully amped to try it out.

The first race is coming up on October 4th and I'm going in headfirst. Yesterday I spent about 2 hours at Wheeler Farm practicing. They have a couple races there so I went and just made up my own route. Some fast open sections, some short sections of singletrack, one small hill to run up, and pretend barriers. It went really well. I only got one flat tire and only wrecked/fell over three times (I'm not completely confident on clipless pedals and am not use to having to unclip to put my foot down).

For those who are unfamiliar with cyclocross here's a short video that explains it all:

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Goodbye Sprint

We bit the bullet and decided to get rid of our spotty-at-best Sprint service and our old numbers. If you want our new numbers just let us know.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

8000m Challenge - Complete!

The Jansport 8000m Challenge (3 Mountain Challenge) was last Thursday. It's an event that Jansport has been putting on for the last 12 years for it's vendors. We randomly signed up this year. It's a team event where each team member runs the whole course. The rules are each team could have up to 13 people finish. Everyone had to do the entire course (there were check-ins at the top and bottom of each peak). That's pretty much it.

The course included three peaks in the Palm Springs, CA area. The entire course was about 40 miles and 12,000 feet of vertical gain and loss. The first peak, Mt. Baldy, was 12 miles and 3800 feet vert. The second was San Gorgonio, measuring in at 17 miles and 5500 feet of vert. The third was San Jacinto, coming in at 11 miles and about 2600 feet of vert. The top elevations were about 10,000 ft, 11,000 ft, and 10,000 ft, respectively.

The race started at 5:00 am at the base of Mt. Baldy. The strategy was to start out fast to get ahead of the pack and dust bowl of 170 people running up a dirt road. The course started with a small section of asphalt, then a turn onto a dirt road, from which the single-track trail branched off. When we hit the dirt road there was only 3-4 people in front of myself and four others from my team. Our plan backfired when the people in front of us go far enough ahead that they got onto the trail and out of site by the time we came up to it. We (Jamon, Cathy, Brendan, Chris, and I) completely missed it and kept going up the road. We realized our mistake and about 35 minutes later we had back tracked and were on the trail. We figured it was an extra two miles or so to the race. I made it up to the top of Mt. Baldy in 1 hr and 22 minutes from the time we hit the trail and back down (all the way to car) in 49 minutes. With a quarter of the miles, a quarter of the vert, and one peak down, four us piled into the minivan and headed to Gorgonio.

About a 90 minute drive put us at the base of Gorgonio. This was to the motherload, the crux, of the day. Measuring up at 17 miles and 5500 vert, during the heat of the day (Palm Springs was 107 that day) was a very daunting challenge. I loaded up on water, sports drink, electrolyte drink, and snacks and hit the trail with Jamon, Jim, and Seth. Gorgonio was relentless, starting off with a steep switchback section in the first mile. After that the trail mellowed out for a few miles, heading up a ravine passed lush vegetation and massive trees (if there's one thing California has done right, it's the redwoods. Those things are amazing). I kept up a steady pace for most of the way. After the ravine came more switchbacks, followed by a short ridge, steep hiking, false summits, and finally the summit. I made it up in 3 hrs and 24 minutes. After refueling with liquid and food it was time to get going. The downhill was going to be the crux of the crux. It was a long way down, my legs were tired and cramping, and I had to go fast to catch up with the group (Jim, Jamon, Cathy, Colby) ahead of me so I can get in their van for the next peak (if I missed them I would be waiting at the car upwards of an hour or longer for the next group). I put in the headphones, cranked the tunes and started down. I ran for almost and hour and forty minutes before I caught the group (they were movin'!). 5500 ft of vertical loss takes a toll on your legs. Thankfully I made the right call and used trekking poles on this one. I got down in 2 hours and 39 minutes.

We immediately jumped in the van and headed to Jacinto. Jacinto is interesting. You have to take a tram from the base up the mountain to get passed the lower section that is virtually impassable (or so I hear). From the top of the tram its 11 miles and about 2600 feet to the summit. We had time constraints to catch the tram up and the last tram down was at 9:45 pm. You could camp up top, but we didn't want to because the lure of a shower and bed was strong.

It took us about 80 minutes to get from Gorgonio to the tram. Once at the top we started making our way to the peak. We knew we had plenty of time of took a slower pace (Jim and Jamon went ahead running while Cathy, Colby, and I power hiked). Our legs were all feeling very tired so we kept a pace that would get back to the tram with time to spare. It took 1 hr and 54 minutes to make it to the summit and 1 hr and 54 minutes to make it to the tram. On our way back down there was a guy at the camp making soup for everyone. I grabbed a cup on my way by and the warm, salty broth tasted amazing! About half a mile from the tram I looked at my watch and realized if we hustled we could make the finish in under 16 hours.

All counted I did about 42 miles and 12,000 feet of vert in 15 hours and 57 minutes (that includes about 2.5 hours of drive time). It was the longest distance and most vert I have ever done. It was also the most challenging event, both mentally and physically, I have ever done. The shower afterwards and bed were amazing. Even more amazing was the pancake, egg, home fry, bacon, and sausage breakfast the next morning. My IT bands are worked, but I was only sore for a few days (I was completely surprised). Would I do it again? Definitely. Will I line up other ultra events? Definitely.

Here's some pics (I am waiting for more & all photos in the slide show are courtesy of Jim Holland) and a short video (you see my back a lot, I'm wearing a green shirt, blue pack, and tracking poles) of the race. Enjoy.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

8000m Challenge

Tomorrow morning I am heading off to do the Jansport 8000m Challenge (AKA the 3 Mountain Challenge) in So Cal. 40 miles, 12,000 ft of vertical gain (and loss). I'll be sure post how it went. Pictures will likely be lacking as I'm not taking the camera (even if I took it I wouldn't be stopping to snap pics).

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Mount Timpanogos

Last Sunday I hiked Mt. Timpanogos for the first time. Yeah it was on a Sunday, but I needed to get in one last training run before the 3 Mountain Challenge.

I went up with Bill and Brad from work (who, not so coincidentally, are also doing the 3 Mountain Challenge). We started in the cool of the morning at 7:30 a.m. It was awesome. I didn't know what to expect other than the hike was going to be long with a ton of vert.

When we got to the lake at the bottom of the glacier we saw two mommy goats with their babies. We were stoked...Then as we went over the first little knoll after the lake we saw the entire herd! In all there were probably about 40 goats total.

We pushed on to the summit and make it to the top in two hours and thirty minutes. We mostly power-hiked, only ran a little.

After 15 minutes up top we headed down. Brad and I lightly ran the steep summit section and the massive talus field. We opened it up a little more after the talus field. We kept a good pace. We made it from the summit to the car in an hour and forty minutes.

The 30 second feet & leg soak in the waterfall towards the bottom was a life saver. The ice cold water immediately took off some of the swelling.

It took us 4 hours and 22 minutes (including 15 minutes on the summit) to cover the approximate 14 miles and ~4500 feet of vertical gain and loss. Not the fastest time, but I still feel good about it for a first time up Timp.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Silent Auction

There's a silent auction going on over at Noggins Beanies to support Nie Nie Day.

You can get this beanie:

It's for a good cause, go check out the beanie and silent auction it up right nice. Check out the link for Nie Nie Day for other silent auctions that are happening.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

New Bike

We finally sold the Taurus! Wah-hoo. A little while ago Jessica said to me "if you can sell the Taurus you can use the money to buy a new bike". I had been talking about getting a new bike for commuting and for trying out cyclocross this fall. It took about a month or so, but we finally sold the Taurus for $350. We knew that it had a few problems and thought that would be a fair price.

The next day I was cruising the KSL classifieds and came across an ad for exactly what I was looking for. A commuter/cross bike and it was in my price range. It was a Diamondback frame with good Shimano components, some cross wheels, and the original set of wheels.

I've commuted on it once. It was so much better of a commute than on the Britney. The hills are a lot better on gears. It's so much better of a ride. I've also taken Penelope for a ride in the bike trailer. That is also so much better with gears. All in all it's an awesome bike and I am uber-stoked to have it. I can't wait for cross season to start so I can give it a whirl.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Jupiter Steeplechase Recap

It's been a long time since the race, but I finally have the pics and the time to write about it.

So the Jupiter Steeplechase was Saturday, August 9. It's a 16 mile race with about 3000 feet of vertical gain and loss. It's essentially an out-an-back race. It's 8 miles and 3000 feet of vertical gain from the base of the Park City Mountain Resort, to the top of Jupiter Peak, and then 8 miles and 3000 feet of vertical loss back to the base.

The course was switched up a little this year. We started in a different place and instead of a short climb up a third peak after Jupiter, we ran around the third peak and back down. This change ended up extending the race to be a little longer than 16 miles (which we didn't know until afterwards).

My goal was to beat my time from last year. I knew that I needed to start out strong but not so strong that I burned myself out before the hardest climbing. I also knew 8 miles of downhill would be grueling.

I did end up pushing a little too hard on the uphill so I couldn't push the downhill as hard as I wanted. I did end up beating my time from last year by 49 seconds! I finished in 2:41:06. I was super stoked. I was even more stoked when I found out that the course was a little longer than last year.

It was a good race and I'll definitely be signing up for it again next year!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Heading to Louis Lake

We're off to Louis Lake, WY to go stay at Jessica's parent's place, Louis Lake Lodge for the rest of the week. My update on the Steeplechase will have to wait until after we get back.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Cool Bike Ideas

As many are aware I am becoming more and more of a bicycle advocate everyday. I've given up driving to the carpool and bike to it everyday. I ride the bike for most errands that are within two miles of our house. I like riding and the benefits it provides.

I read a number of bike blogs and every once in awhile I come across something that makes me think 'wow, that is awesome. I wonder how I can incorporate that somehow in my own life".

The most recent example is people only using bikes for their business. I'm not talking about people who are professional bike racers or bike messangers, but individuals with jobs that would be 'easier' with a car.

The most recent example was on the Bike Portland blog about a gardener who only bikes to and from jobs. He has a trailer that he hauls all of his tools and supplies on. His co-worker also rides her bike to and from all jobs.

I love seeing stuff like this! It goes to show that you can be successful with your bike. I haven't been able to figure out how I can do this yet, but it makes me realize that I could use a bike for pretty much everything I do.

What are some cool examples that you've seen? What are some things you'd like to do by bike?

Jupiter Steeplechase Results Coming Soon

I am currently waiting on some photos so I am going to wait on writing about the race. In the meantime you can get the 'unofficial' story from Jessica here.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

A Day at Bear Lake

Yesterday we went to Bear Lake for the day. We got the idea from Adam, but then unfortunately they couldn't go...thanks for the idea.

We got up there about lunch time. We pitched the sunshade, made sandwiches, and ate underneath it. Once lunch was gone we went for the water. It was surprisingly warm for Bear Lake.

Penelope loved walking in the water. She was unstable on the washboard sand and would get knocked over by the small waves so we held her hand a lot. She kept wanting to walk straight out. She'd even want to keep going when it'd get so deep that the waves would splash her face. She also loved splashing.

We, of course, stopped to get a raspberry shake on our way home. On our way back through Logan we stopped and walked around our alma mater's campus. I loved going to school at Utah State. We also drove through the neighborhoods we said we'd want to live in if we ever moved back to Logan.

We capped the day with eating dinner at Firehouse Pizzeria (mmmm, Cordon Bleu pasta and FFzookie) with my mom and her husband.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Good Move...

This morning I rode the bike to the carpool, went to work, and worked. When the van dropped me off at my bike I walked up to put my bag in the milkcrate, looked inside and noticed my lock. I stepped back, looked at the bike, looked at the the lock and realized I didn't lock my bike today. Ummmm, yeah, good move. I thought back to this morning and I got the van meeting spot, was super hot and sweaty so I unloaded my stuff, started flapping my shirt so help cool off, then changed my shirt, and drank a bunch of water. Didn't even think about locking the bike. I was so concerned about trying to cool off.

Thanks Salt Lake City for not stealing my bike.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Quote of the Day

As Jessica is doing dishes, Penelope (whom I am watching) decides to pull a chair up and help rinse. Seeing that she is occupied I leave the kitchen to do other things. To this Jessica says: "What happened here?"

I reply "she decided to help out". I then walk back into kitchen and Jessica says "How did I get suckered into this." I say "Suckered into what?" "Doing dishes and watching Penelope." I laugh. "I feel like you."

Funnier said than written but she has a valid point. :)

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Signs of a Good Run

What are some signs of a good run?

Yeah, those aren't farmer's tan lines folks. Grubbiness is one fine indicator of how a run went. (Oh yeah, don't pay attention to the toys or clothes in the background). This morning I ran in Big Cottonwood Canyon. I ran up Mill D to Desolation Lake, up to the spine of the Crest Trail, then down into Millcreek Canyon, over to Dog Lake, and back down to Mill D and the car. All told it was roughly 13 miles and 3500 ft of vertical gain and loss. I pounded it out in 2 hours and 26 minutes (that includes rests). I was surprised I got through it that fast. It was awesome. Nothing like hitting a trail early before most people get on it.

Here's a close-up of the ankles:

Friday, July 18, 2008

The Value of Being Outside

Being outside is a topic that I've spent a lot of time thinking about this summer. I've always been extremely fond of being outside but I think having a small child, who is at a very impressionable age, is what has spurred my recent string of thoughts on the matter.

Tonight I was asking myself "what is it about being outside that is so great?". I think this one picture gives all the reasons:

There's nothing quite like watching a small child run carefree, full of excitement, and having the best time of their life. It's really made me sit back and ponder how it is that people (including myself) spend way too much time hanging out indoors. We have become complacent and willing to just sit inside our climate-controlled homes, buildings, cars, etc. instead of getting outside and enjoying what this world has to offer. As I sat on our front lawn playing with Penelope for probably 2 hours tonight I stopped to look at what was around, just outside our door. The most striking view is Mt. Olympus (not to mention the small nursery across the street that is always abloom with flowers):

Then looking north up our street our neighbors have some big trees and more views of the Wasatch Mountains:

I feel that people sometimes forget it can be as simple as stepping out your front (or back) door. The power of being outside enables you to run free. You aren't confined by the size of your room or the size of your house. The only things that confine you are your will and imagination. You can interact with nature face-to-face, you get the real effect and as a result it effects you. You can't get that through a TV or a computer screen.

If Penelope and I would have played inside tonight we would have played with some toys, maybe would have read some books, or just sat around. Being outside Penelope was able to explore, she was able to run, unconfined. I enjoyed the beautiful evening, just sat and relaxed, undistracted. We made up a game where we ran around in circles screaming and then we'd suddenly fall down. There's no room inside to run in circles (especially for me) and screaming inside is way too loud. Here's a short, shaky video (Penelope made me run too) of our game:

Tonight was just another experience that helps to solidify my beliefs and opinions on being outside. Think back to some of most fun, most memorable experiences as a child, I bet you were outside.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Old Friends

I went climbing tonight with an old friend/co-worker/ski buddy from Logan. I haven't seen him in a few years. It was awesome to catch up and see how things are going for each other. Also climbing was fun, it's the first time out since Colorado.

It's always a good time to catch up with people you haven't seen in a while.

That is all.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Summer Concerts in the Park

Maybe I just didn't pay enough attention but it seems to me like there are more and more free community activities, like concerts, going on this summer. We just got home from the city of Holladay's "Summer concerts in the park". We found out about them because we randomly drove down a street two weeks ago and say the banner.

The concert was actually inside city hall tonight because they thought it might rain. The band was okay but it was nice to be out of the house, listening to music, and participating in a community activity.

We actually met a couple of people who chances are we wouldn't have ever seen. One conversation started around a pannier a guy had on his bike. It's nice to get out and do something that we typically don't do and meet people we typically wouldn't ever meet.

What kind of summer activities do your communities do?

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Feeling Sheepish

You know how every once in a while you do something thoughtless and it's completely ridiculous? Well I had one of those experiences tonight.

Jessica left today for girls camp and won't be back until Friday afternoon (yes I'm lonely already). This evening my dad called and asked if Penelope and I wanted to come over and swim at the pool at his fiances townhome. Of course I said yes. Penelope and I put on our swimsuits before heading over. As I was going out the door I put my keys and my cellphone in the pockets of my boardshorts (if you don't see what's coming by now you must be slow).

When we got to the pool I was wicked excited to get in with Penelope that I took of my shirt and our shoes and hopped in with her. We were playing around having a good time when I start getting this weird vibration from my pocket. Yup, it was my cellphone, fully submerged for a few minutes. Needless to say I think it's fully fried. The screen was solid white and it just vibrated. I took the back cover and battery off and let it dry. When I got home I pried the phone apart to let the insides fully dry. Fortunately it dried quickly and seemed to turn on (but the screen was white). I could push buttons and it would make noises, but that was all.

So now I am on my backup phone, which hopefully will work for a few more months. Fortunately Sprint did away with their activation fees.

I feel completely silly and thought everyone would enjoy reading about my thoughtless experience!

Friday, July 04, 2008

4th of July Festivities

Today was a great day. You might be saying to yourself "Eric it's early". True, but we're tired.

We wanted to go swimming today because it was ho-ot, but that didn't work out. So we ended up at the Target getting some things for an evening canyon bbq. We grubbed on a Domino's pizza for lunch and then hung out at the house while Penelope napped.

Once she woke up we headed up Millcreek with the Buchanans for some bbq action.

We hauled our little grill up the canyon (we weren't sure if there was going to be fire restrictions) and spent the evening hanging out. We dined on shishkabobs, chips, baked beans, and sodas. It was delicious!

Finally broke out the hammock. We don't spend enough time in that thing. It is so comfortable. Penelope loved climbing in and sitting with us. She did lean too far over the edge once and fell out. I did catch the back of her pants before she hit the ground.

The girls had a great time running around, playing in the dirt, and scooping dirt into the empty yogurt containers that we brought. Penelope loved it so much that she ate a rock! Well we think she did. We turned away for 2 seconds, she starts coughing, and we turn around and she's spitting some dirt out of her mouth. I figure we'll make sure she drinks a lot of water for the next day or so.

There's the ladies of the evening. You can't fully tell but the two little ones are grubby. Ryan is sporting her signature scowl. The camera (or cameraman) was a little too slow to get the full scowl.

The canyon rocked hardcore. Now we're going to watch a movie. Once it's dark we might step outside to see if we can see any of the fireworks from around the city.