Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Viva La Cruz!

Last year Mother Nature gave the cyclists living in Teton Valley and Jackson an early reprieve and we were riding dry roads in mid-March.

Although my brain wants to shift from riding the trainer and snow biking to long road rides and dry dirt, the reality is that winter is not over yet. The April sun will soon soften the snow and make snow biking impossible while huge snow banks will leave our roads a wet, slushy, gravel-covered mess for some time.

This is where the La Cruz comes in.

I am so excited about this bike project I can hardly stand it. The cyclocross frame gives me the clearance to run gravel-proof 28mm tires AND fenders if I want. Or I can run 38mm knobbies later in the summer for some serious dirt road exploratory fun. I will also run Avid Mechanical disc brakes. No longer will I cringe at the thought of riding long sections of muddy dirt roads or slushy wet pavement on my skinny-tired Orbea road bike.

Fitzy, is it in yet???

Monday, March 24, 2008

Being flexible pays off.

Before leaving the house Sat morning I decided to call the Freemont County snowmobile grooming report hotline in case I needed a "plan B" for my big ride destination. The recording confirmed freshly groomed trails an hour north of me. I drove west to Horseshoe hoping to score good trails 15 minutes away but instead I found an unrideable windlown mess so I backtracked and headed north in search of fresh & firm corduroy.

I parked at the Warm River campground and rode north towards Bear Gulch where the grooming usually begins but turned off to explore the old railroad grade that runs along the Warm River. This section is never groomed but the cold temps left the snowmobile track 100% rideable and the scenery is gorgeous so I rode about 45 minutes past the tunnel before caving into my desire to find the fresh corduroy.

Although my main goal for the day was to get in a 5 hour training ride, the conditions were so good I couldn't get the perma-grin off of my face. The trail from Bear Gulch all the way to Hwy 20 was firm, perfect corduroy and I had it mostly to myself. The occasional pack of snowmobiles would cruise by and wave but huge stretches of time passed where the only sound I heard was the mild crunch of the Endomorphs on the cold snow. Most of the time while snow biking I live in the small chainring but on this day I gave the middle ring quite a workout.

If more people could experience snow biking like I had on Sat, Surly wouldn't be able to build Pugsleys fast enough.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Brutally honest.

Today's workout was a rematch with 4 x 2:30 @ MAX effort intervals. My little yellow buddy doesn't sugar coat the truth. Compared to the exact workout a week ago, my average watts per interval were up today so that is encouraging. However, my mean maximal power for P5s, P1m, and P5m were down a bit compared to last week's numbers.

I love the fact that I can compare two workouts and know for certain whether I was stronger...or not.

Is there any feature in WKO+ that will let you compare multiple workouts side-by-side? That would be cool feature.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Extravagant weekend

The planets finally aligned and I was able to use my coupon for a free day of SnowCat skiing at Grand Targhee on Saturday. Although we got 14" of snow Thursday night and a little more on Friday my expectations were low. I was just looking forward to the overall experience since I had never been cat skiing and I didn't know anyone ahead of time who would be on the trip.

The overall ability of the group dictates where you ski and how much vertical you will get over the course of the day. While loading onto the cat I surveyed the group and wondered what kind of skiers we had and whether we would be a "fast" group. The assortment of well-used fat skis and long snow boards was a good sign.

By 9:30am we were at the top of Peaked Mtn. ready to "send it" on our first run. The guide gave a little speech and then pointed it straight down into knee-deep pow. When the group hesitated for a second, I jumped in and was the second track down through wind-sculpted pillows of powder and sparse trees. I think the guide was testing the group because he didn't stop until 1,700 vertical feet later and the entire group was right behind me...this group was strong and had skillz.

You could see a twinkle in the guide's eyes after our second run confirmed the strength of our group. They had plans for us that included runs called the "Snake Pit" and "Sacred Cow" and the terrain got steeper and more heavily treed...and I love skiing pow in the trees. Even with the normal snack break at 10am and lunch break at 12 noon, our group was strong enough to rack up over 17,000 vertical feet of skiing. According to the guides, an average day is 12,000 vertical feet. I can honestly say that I didn't have another run in me. I was done.

But that was only Saturay and we all know that weekends are two days long. Ha! Can you say Advil? After a four hour snow bike ride in soft conditions on Sunday I am feeling it.

My quads are toast!

Friday, March 14, 2008

SnowCat Skiing tomorrow!

I am like a kid the night before Christmas right now because we got 14" of new snow overnight and it is still snowing. On top of that, I have a coupon for a FREE full day of SnowCat skiing at Grand Targhee that I won at last year's 24 Hours of Grand Targhee. My planned 4 hour snow bike ride just got bumped to Sunday.

For a little SnowCat powder stoke, check this out: Movie

Thursday, March 13, 2008

4 x 2:30 Intervals @ Max Effort

On paper it doesn’t look like much. In reality, it is a quad burn inducing, eye bulging, grunting and spitting, feel your heartbeat in your teeth kind of effort. Nice.

Welcome home JayP and congrats again on winning the race to McGrath!

Monday, March 10, 2008

World Class snow biking

With no new snow in a week, the trails in the Big Holes were "as good as it gets" this weekend and I took advantage by riding both days. On Saturday Michelle and I rode about 2.5 hours and then on Sunday Chris E., T-Race, Jill and I did a longer ride. In fact, I told everyone to expect a ride of about 4.5 hours but because conditions were so good we completed the 21-mile loop in 3.5 hours. Oh yeah, the loop has over 3,000' of climbing and it was all rideable on Sunday.

Chris E. wondered out loud, "why did we go to AK to push our bikes when we have riding like this here??" He was crushing it on the climbs!

Jill and TraceyP blowing the needle off of the Fun Meter.

The loop we did on Sunday feels like real mountain biking, only its on snow. There are the obligatory big climbs with rewarding views and then bomber descents. I am seriously considering organizing a snow bike race next year using the loop we did on Sunday.

A few squiggley lines from yesterday's ride

Jill has only had her snow bike for about 10 days but said she has ridden it every day since she got it. I think she is hooked. Doing back-to-back fun rides on great trails definitely helped me get my snow biking stoke back to where it belongs.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Lunch skate

Since getting back from Alaska I have been doing more skate skiing than any other activity and I am having a blast. I am lucky to have two nice skate tracks within 10 minutes of my house so I have been getting out at lunchtime a bit during the week. I suck at cornering at speed and especially at downhill corners at speed so I will be working on that.

Freshly waxed with Toko Red

I really struggled with the crowds today at the Alta School track. Ha!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

JayP, where are you?

It has been 3 days, 23 hours since JayP left McGrath headed towards Nome with 4 other bikers. The next checkpoint is Ruby which is 234 miles from McGrath with little in between except a food drop along the trail in Cripple. Jay told me before the race that they literally drop the drop bags along the trail and mark them with a stake. That is it!

JayP hamming it up early in the race

I hope Jay and the other racers actually have a trail to follow. There is uncertainty whether the trail remains from the Iron Dog race two weeks ago or whether it has been blown in from recent high winds.

There is a cool interactive map on the Iditarod site that currently shows the official Iditarod trail breaker outside of McGrath heading for Takotna so he should catch up to the bikers quickly if they are stuck in Ophir with no trail to follow.

Side Note: How in the world do the dog sled teams get through Dalzell Gorge when there is open water? The bikers had to push along a sidehill to avoid it but I wouldn't think you can do that with a dog sled.

I hope we hear that JayP is in Ruby soon! Go Jay!