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.