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Preview: Zach's runs

Confessions of a Cycling Convert

Updated: 2018-03-05T07:54:18.037-08:00


Meet Isaiah


A little off-topic, but my favorite scripture as of late has been this one from the Old Testament: "But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint." ~ Isaiah 40:31

Isaiah didn't specifically mention bike riding, but I think it's implied, don't you? With that as inspiration, may I introduce you to my new bike... (Okay, so it's really my old bike, just repainted. And retooled with an all-new drivetrain!)



Recap - April 2011


I knew April was going to be a tough month, mainly because my kids were out of school and we had a lot of fun family activities planned that were going to take time away from exercising. Still, it ended up being a pretty good month. Now that we're through the first third of the year, lets go back and review the goals I set at the beginning of the year and see how it's going, year to date:These are the goals I set for 2011, back in January.1. Exercise at least 300 hours. As of April 30, 2011, I have put in 105 hours 50 minutes 35 seconds. That's almost 6 hours ahead of schedule (100 hours is the 1/3 goal). That's an A.2. Get BMI down below 25. In January I was at 27. As of today, I weighed in at 196.4, or a BMI of 25.9. More than halfway there! That's an A.2a. Get body fat below 16%. Currently 19%. Haven't had this measured recently, so no idea here. Stay tuned.3a. Run 800 miles in 2011. From Jan 1 - April 30, that works out to 266 2/3. I'm at 227.7 which is 85%, or a solid B. I'm hoping this picks up over the warmer months.3b. Bike 2500 miles. For 1/3 the year, this would be 833 1/3, and I'm at 452.7. Way behind here, but again, the warmer months will help.3c. Get in the gym 100 times, As of April 30, I've been in the gym (including group fitness classes) 52 times. This is way ahead of schedule. Some of the group fitness aren't great workouts, but I'll still consider this ahead of pace. That's an A.3d. Swim. At least some. Well I did swim some in April on vacation in St George. Still not nearly enough. But now that I have my race calendar and there are no triathlons on it for this year, that's okay.4. Do some races and feel good about it. Well the first race is in the books, and I feel good about it. It was a 5k PR. And I have other races planned. They are:June 4 - Art City 5k. Probably won't run my race here, but will pace my daughter to a PR and hopefully an age group award (6-8 y.o. girls!)June 11 - Utah Valley Half Marathon. Again, not running "my" race here, but running with the wife for her first real distance race (other than a few 5ks). However, her pace is still better than my last 13.1 PR, so I will probably PR here as well, even if it's not "my" race, so to speak.August 5-6 - Bikes4Kids bike stage race. This will be my first "real" USAC bike race. I'm really looking forward to it. And it's on my birthday weekend. That's just cool.Possibly a fall half marathon, just to keep my running up over the summer (and my wife's too.) We're looking at maybe the Spanish Fork Half Marathon.Specifically, in April, I:Ran 14 times for 64.9 miles, 10 h 23 min 24 seconds, an average pace of 9:37 and an average distance of 4.63 miles per run. There were some very short runs and some double-digit runs in there.Biked 7 times for 163.1 miles, 10 h 10 min 57 seconds, an average speed of 16 mph and an average distance of 23.3 miles per ride.In the gym or a group fitness class 9 times total. 6 hours and 15 minutes.Swam 350 yards while on vacation. :) It was surely more than this, but those were the laps that I counted.Now the weather in April was well colder and wetter than normal (and we're all a little concerned with melting snowpack and potential for flooding here along the Wasatch Front.) I know May will be nicer and warmer and hopefully I'll get outside more for more miles. So far so good. I'm not goign to worry *as much* about weight training this month in order to fully prepare for the half marathon and get the cycling base where it needs to be to hammer June and July for the race in August.[...]

5k PR!



Saturday Robyn and I headed down to run the Salt Lake Running Company's free 5k race/fun run. I wouldn't call it a "race" because there were no bib numbers nor "winners" or age groups or anything. But it was a closed 5k course with mile markers and a finish line, so that's close enough for me.

After standing around in the store and out on the parking lot for nearly an hour watching the raffle and not winning any prizes, they played a recording of the national anthem (really? couldn't find a singer?) and we walked over to the starting line almost a block away. It was cold, probably in the upper 30ºs, but I'd dressed for it, and the sun had finally come out. The race director dude didn't have a megaphone so I didn't hear anything, but soon enough we all started running. I hit "start" on my watch when I crossed the painted line on the street. After bobbing and weaving through the crowds for the first minute or two, Robyn told me to "just go" because she was tired of trying to weave through people. I got out of the masses into some space and was able to run at a good pace. I felt good and I was pushing it pretty hard, which I paid for later.
With all the bobbing and weaving and crowds in mile 1, I hit the mile marker at 8:40. At that point I was out of the crowd, and hit mile 2 in 8:04. By this time my early blistering pace started to catch up with me and I faded to an 8:46 mile 3. The last sprint to the finish line saw me cross in a total clock time of 26:31, watch time 26:15. That's a 90 second PR over my previous 5k best at Art City in 2009. I didn't wear the Garmin, so I don't know how "official" the distance was... pretty sure it wasn't USATF certified, but I'm counting it. It felt like a 26:15 5k.

Now training picks up for the half marathon on June 11, then the Bikes4kids stage race on August 5-6. Good times!

10 miles and a giveaway (but not mine)


Saturday my lovely wife and I ran a great 10 mile run. What made it great, you ask? Well, let me tell you.

First of all, we were tempted to bag it. The weather was horrible (rain/snow showers, a good breeze, temps in the 30ºs). But we didn't. We got my stepfather to give us a ride up Provo Canyon so we could run down the famous Provo River trail back to our car. We managed a 10:03 pace, my fastest ever pace for a double-digit (mileage) run. Oh, and did I mention this was a distance PR for her? Yeah, we rocked it. Crappy weather and all.

And... I entered Jen's giveaway over on her blog "Why I Run". Here's hopin for a win!

Yesterday's headwind



Yesterday afternoon I went out for an hour-or-so ride. My plan was about 18 miles, and I should finish in an hour or so. It started off alright, despite a bit of a head wind. I headed mostly east and south for the first 20 minutes, into a south wind. "No problem," I thought. "Pay for it now and enjoy the tailwind on the way home."

Yeah... what's that old joke? "If you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans," or something like that?

After heading south into the wind, I turned westward to climb up to the exposed bench on the west side of the Salt Lake Valley -- the better to enjoy the tailwind to blow me home. Yeah... So just as I turned northward, our anticipated cold front arrived. The temperature dropped, the wind shifted from south to north, and I had a headwind for the last 8 miles. There's a hill on this route I can usually fly down at around 30-35 mph. Yesterday, I was pedaling my little heart out to hit 18 mph at the bottom of the hill.

So... I will now be a stronger, faster rider for having faced this challenge and persevered (meaning I didn't die), right? Even so, I would have loved to have had someone to draft behind.

March 2011 Recap


March was a good month. I think I did much better than previous. Of course, the weather is starting to turn the corner, and that helps. Also, I'm training with my wife for a half marathon in June, so the running has picked up some as well.

1) 31 hours, 24 minutes, 59 seconds. WAAAAY ahead of 25 hour/month goal. I'll take it. A++

2) Down to 200.2 lbs, BMI of 26.4, moving in the right direction, and picking up steam. This success is largely due to the awesome calorie counter website I discovered at If you want to do a great food journal, I can't recommend this site highly enough. Check it out. Giving this one an A for the month as well.

3a) ran 68.8 miles. This is ahead of the 66 2/3 miles per month I need to get my 800 miles for the year, but I need to play some catch-up from the Winter months. For the month, though, I'm giving it an A.

3b) biked 92 miles. Not bad, considering none of it was on the "more-mile-than-you-really-earned" indoor cycle, and only 14 was on the trainer. The rest was all outside, and this is picking up. Still way below the monthly pace, however. C+

3c) Did weights 6 times, but group fitness 11 times. That's 18 total. 3 of those group fitness classes were yoga, which is fun and challenging in its own way, but it's not a real calorie burner or muscle-builder, so count 15. That's an A-. Still need to lift more on my own.

3d) Didn't swim at all. None. Fail.

Overall, I'd say that's a very solid month, and I'm giving it an A-. Spring is here, so this month will be a great test of what I'm really made of, however in April we have about a million family obligations including a mini-vacation, so I'm not expecting TOO much. We'll see. I'm just glad the weather is nice today!

Before and after...


From July 2007 to August 2010. Who knew.


February recap


Darn short months. February wasn't as good as January was, but it's still cold and wet outside... as it warms up, I'm sure things will improve.

1) 21 hours, 10 minutes, 23 seconds. Behind scheduled pace of 25 hours / month. However, February is 2 days short... figure an hour a day... B+

2) Down about 5 lbs for the year. Slow but steady progress. C+.

3a) ran 48.5 miles. Again, this will be higher in the warmer months when I can get outside and make daily runs more like 6 miles on average than the 3-4 I manage on the treadmill most times. Again, I'm giving it a solid B.

3b) biked 48.4 miles. Pitiful, even for February. D-, and barely that.

3c) Did weights 3 times, but group fitness 9 times. That's 12 total. I'll give it a B. I need to get in the gym on my own more.

3d) Didn't swim at all. None. Fail.

Time to pick up the pace for March. February was just bad.

I gave up milkshakes for this?!


Okay, to be honest, I will still have the occasional milkshake. But it's more like one a month tops, rather than one or two a week. What am I having instead?

Zach's Peanut Butter Smoothie:

1 banana
1 cup ice cubes
1/2 cup chocolate milk
1 handful baby spinach (about 1/2 cup)
1 big spoonful of peanut butter (probably about 2 TBS)
A squirt of honey
1/2 tsp vanilla

Blend and enjoy. Yum.

428 calories
20 grams fat
52 grams carbohydrate
35 grams sugar
6 grams fiber
13 grams protein

Compared to my usual chocolate PB milkshake:

969 calories
62 grams fat
83 grams carbohydrate
6 grams fiber
29 grams protein

I think I'm coming out ahead!

Here's another of my favorite smoothie recipes:

Zach's Citrus Smoothie:

1 banana
1 cup ice
1/4 cup diced pineapple
1/2 cup orange juice
1 handful baby spinach
1/2 tsp vanilla
squirt of honey

211 calories
1 gram fat
51 grams carbohydrate
4 grams fiber
3 grams protein
158% of your daily vitamin C

Good stuff. Have a favorite smoothie recipe? Include it in the comments!

Shameless contest entry


I really want one of these cool body composition scales, and it just so happens that a certain triathlete is giving one away on his blog. Check it out.

January's progress


So my annual goals, broken down by month, average out to:

1. Exercise at least 300 hours. That's 25 hours per month

(Goal 2 is long term. I will say that I lost about 2 lbs in January, or so it appears.)

3a. Run 800 miles in 2011. That's 66 miles a month.
3b. Bike 2500 miles. That's 208 miles a month.
3c. Get in the gym 100 times, or 2x / week avg. That's 8.3 (call it 9) times a month.
3d. Swim. At least some. Yeah.


So how'd it go? Well...

1) 26 hours, 15 minutes, 52 seconds. Ahead of scheduled pace. A+

3a) ran 45.5 miles. This is going to be higher in the warmer months when I can get outside and make daily runs more like 6 miles on average than the 3-4 I manage on the treadmill most times. So whereas that's only 68% of the pro-rata goal, I'm giving it a solid B.

3b) biked 149.2 miles. That's again going to be lower in the winter months than the summer months anyway, so even though here it's only 71.7% of the average goal total, I'm going to give it a solid B+.

3c) Did weights 7 times. 7 of 8.3 per month is 84%, or a B. However, my employer has also started a "wellness program" that includes weekly group fitness classes. These generally aren't killer workouts and end up being more aerobic than strength, but I'm counting them towards this goal... and that means I'm going to have to modify this goal, since I get to go to 3-4 of these per week. So for now, I'm sticking with a B.

3d) Didn't swim at all. None. Fail.

So overall, I'm going to give the month a solid B to B+ average grade. On to February!

Who Am I?


I've come to the realization that I need to decide what my goals are, long term. I work with a guy who runs the Wasatch 100 every year. He's the ultimate endurance junkie in our office. He's not über fast or anything, but he can go all day, that's for sure. He and I often workout at lunch together. The other day I was doing a weights workout, and he, knowing that I like to run marathons and have been eying some cycling road races and even contemplating long course triathlon, said something that caught me a little by surprise. I don't remember it word for word, but it was something to the effect of "Be careful with all that weight lifting. You don't want to pack on a ton of muscle that you'll have to haul around during a marathon (or an ironman)."
Now the truth of the matter is I already have plenty of extra weight to haul around. I need to lose a good 20 lbs or more to be at a good "racing weight." But I need to think at what my long term end-all be-all goal is. Do I want to be an efficient marathoner and triathlete and cyclist? Is that my ultimate goal, to see how fast I can get, see if I can qualify for Boston or finish an Ironman standing up? Is my goal to become a Cat 3 or maybe even 2 cyclist, and win some races and compete in the Masters division(s)? Or is it something else?

I think I started running mainly to lose weight and get in shape. I was tired of being left behind on group hikes and mountain bike rides. I know I began mountain biking for the sheer fun of it, and its fitness benefits were just gravy. But running, and consequently distance running, and marathoning, and then triathloning and biking all evolved from the desire to not look like I was pregnant. Not too long ago the "When are you due?" jokes began at a family party, and they were directed at one of my wife's cousins. At that point, I realized that it's been a long time since someone's made that joke about me, and that made me happy. I want to look good with my shirt off at the swimming pool. So, do I worry about how packing on extra muscle is going to effect my endurance sport performance?

Like I said, at this point, I've got enough weight to lose that putting on muscle will only help in that effort, so for now, I'll keep exercising and building muscle and hopefully shedding fat. Yeah yeah, I know there's the whole diet/nutrition component. And I'm working on that, slowly. Baby steps.

I think my goals can be summed up, at least in part, by this quote from Teddy Roosevelt:

(image) “The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotion, spends himself in a worthy cause; who at best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement; and who at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who have never tasted victory or defeat.”

2011 fitness goals


Okay, after much thought and deliberation, I give you my goals for 2011:

1. Exercise at least 300 hours. This would be 55h 54m 05s more than last year, and 31 h 11 s over my all time high in 2009. How to get there: 6 hours per week average, or 5 hrs / week in Jan - Mar and again Oct - Dec, and 7 hrs / wk in Apr - Sept. Or so. That will fluctuate, of course.

2. Get BMI down below 25. Currently at 27. This one should come easily-ish. How to do it: Eat better. Less snacks. More good stuff. Smoothies instead of shakes. Method: food journal 80% of the time.

2a. Get body fat below 16%. Currently 19%. This and BMI will happen simultaneously, since I'm not getting any shorter.

3a. Run 800 miles in 2011. 2010: 359 miles. 2009: 1000+ miles
3b. Bike 2500 miles. 2010: 2408 miles. 2009: 1000 miles.
3c. Get in the gym 100 times, or 2x / week avg. 2009: 46 times.
3d. Swim. At least some.

4. Do some races and feel good about it, but more on that later.

End of an era... or just 2010.


So now that 2010 is drawing to a close and we prepare to ring in the two-zero-double-matchsticks, I figure it's time to reflect on the year gone by and set a goal or two for the 365 to come. I didn't set too many goals in 2010, other than to eat better and get more sleep. I think I did alright on the eating better. I've all but eliminated red meat and white grains from my diet, except for tortillas and occasionally white rice. So that's a step in the right direction. There's still major room for improvement, however. As for more sleep... meh, don't even mention it. Didn't happen.

Here's a summary of fitness activity for 2010, to this point (still got a couple days to go!)

  • 359.4 miles
  • 61 hours, 43 minutes, zero seconds
  • 81 runs
  • avg 4.44 miles per run
  • avg 45 minutes, 42 seconds per run
  • avg pace for the year: 10:18 per mile

  • 2384.3 miles
  • 145 hours, 2 minutes, 33 seconds
  • 121 bike rides
  • avg 19.7 miles per ride
  • avg 1 hour 20 minutes per ride
  • avg speed for the year: 16.44 miles per hour

  • 45 occurrences
  • 27 hours, 8 minutes total
  • avg 36 minutes per occurrence

I also played a little basketball and swam a little, but not enough to really be of note.

Not a bad year! Total logged healthy activity/exercise time is 241 hours, 50 minutes, 55 seconds. And like I said before, I'm not done yet. I'll add 2 or so hours to that over the next 2-3 days. That's 10 days and change of working out/exercising 24/7, or just over 6 forty-hour work weeks. Sounds like a lot. But it could be more. I didn't train for or run any marathons this year. In fact, I only got in one double-digit run the whole year, and that was New Years Day, 2010. I did, however, do one triple-digit bike ride (the Ghost Town Century in May), and 5 other rides over 50 miles in length. And I did 2 short but fast criterium races.

For 2011, I haven't set any fitness goals yet. I'd like to run at least a half marathon with my wife, and I like to run at least one full marathon as well. Also, I want to keep up with the cycling and do several RMR criteriums and a couple of road races -- specifically the Bear Lake Classic in May and the Sanpete Classic Road Race in August. And of course, the 4th of July triathlon... maybe. Those should help me get close to 1000 miles of running, maybe, and perhaps get close 2500 miles of cycling again. Time, indeed, will tell.

A non-fitness related goal I have for 2011 is to log every book I read. I read a ton of books in 2010, but I don't know how many or which ones. I plan on continuing to make frequent use of the local library, and to continue to sacrifice sleep to read. Ya just gotta, ya know?

What are your goals for 2011?

All natural, raw, vegan yumminess!


Okay, so not too long ago I tried a Låra Bar... basically it's an all natural, raw, vegan energy bar. Now I'm not a raw foodist by any means, or even vegan, or even vegetarian for that matter. But I have discovered that eating healthy is good for me, and that involves a few things. For instance, I almost never eat red meat. Ground turkey is our thing now for tacos, enchiladas, even Italian pasta bakes. Turkey burgers are WONDERFUL -- in fact, I just had one for dinner last night. SPeaking of burgers and pasta, the carbs are whole-wheat. Whole wheat pasta, whole wheat buns (the thin bun variety. So good and so much better for you!). Now I don't very often use whole wheat tortillas in our Mexican cooking, but I'm trying to do better with that. We do use more corn tortillas than flour in most things these days.

Anyway, back to the Låra Bar. It's made of dates and nuts and spices, and that's about it. Some flavors have chocolate chips, but I used them sparingly when I tried making these. I googled the recipes, but ended up just winging it on my own. I dumped a bunch of raw chopped dates bought in bulk into my food processor with a handful of peanuts, and a teaspoon of vanilla extract. Then I blended/chopped/processed. I added dates and nuts and a little water until I got the right consistency. My recipe could have used a pinch or two of salt. Unfortunately I didn't really measure, so I can't share an exact recipe. When it was there, I added in a handful of mini chocolate semi-sweet chips, and I have a yummy chocolate-peanut butter flavored energy bar. They're calorically dense because of the dates, but they're very yummy and a great alternative to a power bar or even a clif bar. Also, they're super high in fiber, so keep that in mind if you're heading out on a run, etc.

But man, they're GOOOOOD.

Indoor riding


Because our weather outside is indeed frightful, I have been relegated to getting miles in indoors. This picture is pretty accurate, and although I've heard that some people will ride in this, I'm not one of 'em.
Until recently, my indoor miles have all taken place at work, riding a Cycleops 300PT (image) indoor cycle. It's a pretty nifty machine, but I can't take it home with me, and if something comes up at work where a lunch break becomes infeasible, I'm out of luck.

Recently, however, a friend has loaned me his Cycleops Fluid 2 trainer, which I have dutifully set up in the basement and recently loaded my beloved road bike.(image) The pain cave is set up nicely in the downstairs family room with the TV and a fan in front of the bike. I've now spent an hour plus on the trainer on my bike twice, and I must say, it's not as bad as I thought it would be. Maybe it's because I've long been used to countless hours on the treadmill this time of year. Maybe it's because I'm not pushing it as hard as I probably oughta. I don't know. All I know is I'm going to survive the winter and emerge hopefully stronger in the Spring!

End of season Century Ride report


The fellas over at Infinite Cycles thought it would be a great idea to end the year with a big old group ride for 100 miles, or a century. I jumped in and helped plan the route, and decided it'd be fun to attempt. I also invited a friend to come along, whose longest ride to that point had been 60 miles, mostly flat.

So at 7:30 on October 30th, a group of about 16 cyclists set out on a gray morning just as the sun was rising. The group steadily declined until there were only 5 of us continuing on for the whole century route. Everyone else had decided to make it a 20 or 30 or 40 mile day. Going up Wasatch Blvd near the Sandy/Draper line caused quite the separation, as three of the stronger riders took off, leaving me and my buddy behind. They did wait at the Big Cottonwood Canyon park and ride lot, as we had determined, and we stuck mostly together up the east bench on Wasatch. My friend, however, was really struggling. Every time we encountered the slightest incline, he'd pop off the back of our little paceline. Eventually, about mile 70, among the buildings of the University of Utah campus, we told them to continue on and not wait up for us. We're big boys and we have phones and spare tubes and all that, so don't worry about slowing down for us.

Once we got out of downtown we enjoyed the very flat section of the ride through Rose Park and around the bike path that goes around the airport. At the gas station in the international center, we noticed how slow our average pace had dropped to and how frequent the rest stops were becoming, and we decided to call my wife and have her meet us at the WalMart another 5 miles up the road. The timing turned out to be just right, because the long-anticipated storms began arriving during that last 5 miles. All in all, we made it 84 miles in 5 hours, 20 minutes of riding time (and almost 7 hours of actual time).

I was feeling alright and I'm sure I could have finished the route, but with the frequent stops we were making for my friend's sake and how long those stops were becoming, we would have been gone all day. The route was brilliant, if I do say so myself, and I really want to give it a go again, perhaps solo. Sadly, it looks like the weather has become mostly un-ride-able for the foreseeable future, so it may have to wait until Spring.... depending on what kind of winter riding digs I may get for Christmas....?

Running Races vs. Cycling Races


As I become more and more immersed in the local cycling scene, I'm realizing there's a huge difference between the way cycling race directors run their shows compared to how running races do it.

Here's an example, the Boston Marathon sold out this year in 8 hours. 8 hours! And the race isn't until April. And you have to qualify to get in, meaning only roughly 10% of the .1% of the population that runs (and finishes!) a marathon are even eligible to register! (I pulled the 10% number out of the air. I have no idea how many people actually qualify for Boston, but it's not a lot.)

Another example: The Ogden Marathon, a small-town-Utah marathon that I ran back in 2008, is sold out for 2011. The race is May 21, 2011. That's just under 7 months away. 7 months!

Another good example is the St. George Marathon. You enter a lottery in April that is decided the first week of May for a marathon that's run in October, 5 months later.

Bike racing? The first race I'm planning on for next year is the Bear Lake Classic road race, which should take place on May 14. I say "should take place" because so far, their website only acknowledges the 2010 race, which took place in mid-May. I have no idea when it will update the information for 2011, or when registration even opens. I will need to keep my eye on it as the date approaches.

And did I mention that the governing body for bike racing, USA Cycling, requires you to have a license to register that is good for a calendar year at a time and costs $65. If you don't have this, you have to buy a "one-day" license at your race for $10, and your results aren't tracked over the course of the year as they would be if you were a "licensed" racer. Contrast this to the governing body of running races, USATF (USA Track and Field), which sets down some rules but lets just about anyone anywhere run in anything they want to.

I don't get it. I just don't get it.

This looks insane


.... but I kind of want to do it someday. A new item for the bucket list, maybe?

I love racing


This week I completed my second go at the D Flite at Rocky Mountain Raceway's criterium. I went into it with the goal of staying with the lead group and not getting stuck out in the wind. I'm happy to say I accomplished both. I was able to stay with the leaders every time there was a selection, which really wasn't much. I think I finished around 11th or 12th out of 20 or so, so we never did drop that many. I made a really sweet move on the back side of the last lap, going from the back of the pack with maybe one person behind me up to 3rd wheel coming around the last turn. The pace picked up and I stayed with the wheel in front of me... only to discover that he wasn't moving fast enough as the bunch swarmed around us. I don't know if there was a gap between where I finished and where the winner was, but I don't think there was.

These last two races have been so fun for me. I just love riding with a group, but even moreso in a race. I love the dance as everyone jockeys for position, the way the group ebbs and flows as it goes around corners and the order gets reshuffled. I love the subtle moves and differences in pace that it takes to move up from the back of the pack to near the front, and yet staying out of the wind the whole time. I love the challenge of not getting dropped as I take the slightly wrong line out of a turn, the 5 second sprint to get back on the wheel in front of me. I love the education I get as I realize what a sprint is like and know that I'm not ready for one. Yet I love that I'm able to hang with the guys that have been racing all season when I've just started.

Sigh. I love racing.



My weekday rides usually consist of a lunchtime jaunt up City Creek Canyon. The canyon is open to cyclists on odd-numbered days between Memorial Day and October 1st. The rest of the year you can ride it everyday if you so choose. It's a gorgeous place to ride, and just enough of a climb to keep your legs remembering what it feels like to work a little.

My boss and his wife often ride the canyon at lunchtime as well, so I like to give them a head start and I see if I can catch them before the usual turnaround point at the water treatment facility. Most times I'm able to if I give my boss about a 10 minute head start. Today they got a little bit more of a head start because I had left my sunglasses on my desk, and had to head back up to my office in all my spandex glory to retrieve them. Long story short, I caught them both just before the turnaround point, and managed to PR the climb from my office by 5 seconds.

I'm sure I'll write more about City Creek in the future... It's a favorite ride of mine and about the only one I'll do at lunchtime.

Rocky Mtn Raceway Crit - race report


Well a Tuesday night finally opened up and I was able to go race the Rocky Mountain Raceway Criterium series. Unfortunately, this late in the season they're not assigning any numbers, so I didn't get to get an official result, and it seemed that there was some confusion as to the finishing order, but I'm pretty sure I know where I finished. More on that in a second.I loaded up the bikes (Yes, bikes -- all 3 kids had to bring their bikes too) on the rack and got to the raceway as the A's and B's were still cruising at breakneck speed. I signed in with a buddy of mine that I talked into doing the race just this morning. I was able to take a couple of warm up sprints up and down the straightaway (which is about 1/2 mile long). It wasn't the warm up that I wanted, but it would have to do, as soon they were calling the C and D flites to the line.I lined up on the outside in the second row. I didn't get a good count, but I'm estimating there were 18 or so in our flite. As soon as the start was given, the guy I was behind went to the front and I found myself in second position going a lot slower than I anticipated the first lap would be. I had conveniently forgotten my speedometer, so I have no idea how fast we were actually going, but it wasn't very fast at all and I had to resist the temptation to go to the front and pick things up. We were riding 2 across for the entire first lap at a leisurely pace. As we hit the first corner in the second lap, one guy decided to give it a go on the inside and the group accelerated, not giving him any room. I went from 2nd to 4th wheel as we merged to single file.The wind was out of the south, but I didn't really notice it as I was staying in the pack pretty well most of the time. I stayed near the front in 2nd, 3rd, or 4th position for a couple of laps as the pace increased each time as someone else from the back half would give it a go on the first corner. That was right where I wanted to be. At one point I took the first corner too tightly and found myself on the front of the pack, pulling for about half a lap (about 75 seconds). That was completely and totally unintentional, but alas, there I was. I figured I'd make this an easy lap for the group and kind of soft pedaled, but the group was happy to just sit on, so I led. Just before the final turn I peeled off and jumped on the back of the lead group, now in 8th or so. As we roared down the straightaway, the pace really started to pick up, and when we hit turn 1 again, the group split for good, losing about half the riders off the back, including my one and only "teammate" buddy. I stayed with the lead group for another lap or two, when I got caught taking the first corner too wide putting myself into the headwind, and the 8 riders I was with took off, never to be caught again.So there I was, out in the wind, all alone, where I would remain for the rest of the race. 2 laps later I heard the "Two laps to go" announcement made just for me, as there was no one in front or behind me. I watched the lead group enter turn 1 about 15 seconds ahead and counted 9 riders, so I knew I was in 10th. With a lap and a half to go, I passed two ladies, one that had fallen from the lead group, and one that I had passed before but she had caught on to the back of C flite and made up some ground (big no no). When C flite went by me, I asked to make sure I wasn't getting lapped and saw her on the back, at that point she knew she was caught and dropped off and let them go. I stayed ahead of thos[...]

Catching up, and what's new


So much to say...If you've been following my twitter feeds or looking at my workout log, you'll know that I'm not running AT ALL (just about) these days. I've kind of become hooked on cycling. Case in point: So far this year I've biked almost 1600 miles and run a total of 207. In July alone, I biked 331.4 and ran 27.9 miles. And I'm getting faster as well. Now, I want to try my hand at cat 5 racing, just for kicks, to see what I can do.In July, my family and I took a day to go to Bear Lake, where my in-laws were camping. I took my bike and rode the 50+ miles around the lake. I knew there was a half ironman that had this for its bike leg, but I soon learned that there's also a road race that goes along this same route. Well, I looked up the results of this year's race, and as it turns out, had my ride occurred during this race, I wouldn't have finished last. Mind you, I was going it solo, where in a race I would have had a group to draft off and pace from, etc., so I would have been significantly faster over the 50 mile loop. I think I could reasonably have finished in the first or second group of cat 5 racers.As you may know, when I rode my century ride back in May, I was a little nonplussed at the thought that there was no clock or reason to do your best. It was just a ride with supported rest stops. I suppose there's a place for that in the realm of cycling, but having come from running marathons, I'm used to having that objective standard with which to measure myself against. I know I'm not going to win any marathons, but if there wasn't a clock and at least a semblance of competition, they'd be just another long run, and really, what's the fun in that? (Okay, long runs can be fun, but that's not the point here. You don't pay $60 or $70 or $100 to go for a long run...) So anyway, I've been looking for bike races that would fit my schedule. I fully intend to do the Bear Lake Classic next year, but that's so far away. I really needed a fall race to focus on.Enter the Rocky Mountain Raceway Criterium Series. For $10, anyone who wants to give bike racing a try can go down and race around a 1.3 mile circuit for half an hour + 3 laps. Last Tuesday (August 3) I went and watched the tail end of the Cat 1/2 race and the Cat 3 race (known in the crit series as "A Flite" and "B Flite"). After that there was the Cat 4/5 ("C Flite") race and the beginners ("D Flite") race. Watching the D Flite gave me a lot of confidence, thinking that I could keep up with those guys. It's hard to tell from a spectator's point of view, but it didn't seem as if anyone from D Flite really attacked at all until the final sprint. I don't know if there were any unsuccessful breakaway attempts prior to that, as I could only see about 1/3 of the course, but it looked like everyone was content to stick together and sprint it out.In any case, I'm going to give the RMR Crit "D Flite" race a try, probably next Tuesday, the 17th (providing I'm in town), and I will gleefully report on it when I'm done. And then there's a race in September that I'd also like to do... more on that later (probably).[...]

A potential goal race AND a final call


So I have had all but 0 interest in the jersey/fund raising idea. To proceed with this, I need at least 25 confirmed jersey buyers or it's just not worth it. I know this isn't THAT popular of a blog, but please, if you know anyone who is or has been affected by cancer, please get one of these jerseys. You'll get a great jersey at a great price, and you'll be helping a great cause.

Okay, done begging. For money. Sort of.

The second thing that I'm going to beg for (haha!) is teammates. I'm looking for 4 people to run the Dirty Dash with me on September 25th. It's only a 10k run, and it's not your usual 10k run. Check it out. It's $35. I have one "verbal" commitment, but I'll need 3 more before I can register the team. Let me know via a comment on this post if you're interested. Could be (should be!) tons of fun!

Pepperwood Triathlon race report


Amid conflicting emotions I got up at 5:30 this morning and got ready for the Pepperwood Independence Day Triathlon. I wasn't really excited to go, as unlike last year I wouldn't know anyone there -- no cheering section, no friendly competition, nuthin. Oh well.

A little different from last year is that instead of seeding yourself according to projected swim times, they just divided the group into two heats: women & children in the first, men in the second. Okay then. About 6:45 the timekeeper shouted "go" and into the pool I went. I felt a little stronger on the swim this year than last year, and finished the swim in 14:21... 500 yards. Not a great pace, of course, but I finished it. I really really want to and need to work on becoming a stronger swimmer, especially if I have any sort of pipe dream to do a 70.3 or even (gasp!) a 140.6.

Out of the pool and into T1 - Loved having actual tri shoes for the bike this year, they're awesome. Struggled with my jersey a little again, but was in and out in 2:45. I'll take it.

On the bike I was having a hard time finding a rhythm as I headed out of transition and up the first hills. Once I got to turn around and head back down the hill after almost a mile, I started to cruise. I just couldn't believe how much the swim had taken out of me. Again, got to spend more time in the water!! Bike split: 19:53, avg speed 18.08 mph. 6 miles.

T2 was cake, off with the bike shoes & helmet, on with the socks and running shoes. Still no speed laces, but that wasn't a big deal. 1:15.

The run was okay. I hadn't done a single brick workout in I don't know how long, so the first couple hundred yards I had to keep reminding myself that I was likely going much faster than it felt like I was going. I settled into a groove pretty quickly, and ended up running the 3 miles in 29:31. My only goal was to beat my overall time from last year. Struggling with my jersey in T1 didn't help much, but I still managed a 1:07:51... 1:47 faster than last year. The finish line was a little further into the transition area parking lot, so I was probably about 2 minutes faster overall with that figured in. I wasn't feeling the mojo to begin with, so I'm happy with this new course PR, and likely I'll be back next year... hopefully with some friends or family in tow!