Vacation’s all I ever wanted…

So, umm, yeah, I don’t know where I left off, but we’re on vacation.

The drive went okay. Rory barfed outside Vegas, which wasn’t super pleasant and put Kelly on edge that we were all going to be sick. If that seems like an overreaction, you haven’t been following us too closely.

We’re up in Lake Arrowhead for a few days. I gotta say it’s been pretty awesome. Hiking, kayaking, afternoons on the lake…I even did a big ride, which I was not at all planning to do. Just under 70 miles and 6000′ of climbing. It was funny though because none of the climbs felt terribly long or steep. Roads are a bit crowded.

Haley broke her wrist just before we left. All I can say is I’m super grateful for waterproof casts. It is impossible to keep her out of water. And I wouldn’t want to if I could.

We’re here with Kelly’s folks and her brother, Andrew. Staying in their family cabin. Evenings have been real nice, just hanging out relaxing, laughing.

Tomorrow we’re due to head to Long Beach, where we’ll spend the rest of the week. Hopefully the rest of the trip can keep up this level of awesomeliness.

 

Busy times…

So I’m hanging out at Big O. I spend a lot of time here. Oil changes, tire rotations and such. I’m actually getting the family car ready teddy as we’re due to go to CA this weekend.

Of course, once they take a look, it’s going to take more than just an oil change! I’m not blaming Big O. I like these guys. But it’s going to cost me a bundle. Which is depressing. On the other hand, I’d rather find out now than in the middle of the desert in July!

Anyway, busy period coming up. It’s pretty much the time of year where I’m busy showing off the new good for next year to bike dealers.

Tomorrow’s Pioneer Day…this is a Utah holiday that celebrates pioneers kicking ass across the America. Seriously when I put my money woes aside and think that they crossed the country with handcarts, driving to CA (even with four kids) sounds pretty easy.

I’m hoping to go for a quick Alpine Loop in the morning and then do some family stuff before Kelly’s race in the evening. Probably some work in there too. 

Then, I have Dealer Camp for a couple days. This is basically a vacation to Park City for bike shop owners and such whereby they justify it by riding bikes all day (research!). Pretty good gig.

Immediately thereafter, we’re on our way to CA. A few days at Lake Arrowhead and a few days in Long Beach. Super psyched!

When vacay ends, I work Tour of Utah for 4 days… Then, I get back on the road showing next years’ apparel and such.  

Interbike will be here before I know it…

Crusher Rigs

So I’ve had a bunch of people ask me this week if my bike was the “right choice” for the Crusher. The adage is that whatever bike you choose you’ll be dead wrong at some point. I don’t know who said it, but I disagree. I think a cross bike with discs is, in fact, the way to go. 

I’m going to break my no picture rule here for a reminder:

Image

 

I really couldn’t imagine doing it on a mountain bike. Plenty of people did. Some far more successful than me. I am way more comfortable in the road position though and really the course is all “roads”.

A few people rode road bikes with small cross tires. This is intriguing from the weight perspective, but I’d be afraid I’d break something as road bikes are really not designed for that kind of abuse. 

I saw one guy on a straight up road bike. No way, Jose. For me anyway. Way too rough. Too much time on gravel. Would be nice to have a 15lbs for all that climbing though!

I really didn’t think twice about my bike set-up and I was happy with it throughout the event. 

I did waver a bit on wheels. It was tempting to build up a set of tubulars to cut some weight, but then you have to carry a spare or risk… a really long walk. Carbon 29er mountain wheels with tubeless ‘cross tires. Again, I feel like I chose wisely. Maybe if I was closer to the front the weight savings would be worth considering, but not back in the cheap seats.

I could easily be a bit leaner too:

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Anyway, my choices aren’t for everyone, but they worked well for me.

Crushed

Where to begin on The Crusher?!?

Seriously, maybe the hardest race I’ve ever done. Maybe I’ve forgotten how hard some of the stuff I did 10 years ago was, but daaaang, the Crusher was hard.

I didn’t really know what to expect. As mentioned in my previous post, I have done some training specifically with the event in mind, but probably not “enough”. What’s enough? It’s never enough, obviously.

We rolled out of town (beautiful Beaver, Utah, that is) really easy. There were some pretty big hitters in the pro field and it was kind of surreal being in a field like that after barely racing the past couple years. As soon as we hit the first proper climb, the field detonated like a bomb had gone off.  I felt like I was dropped way early and I distinctly remember thinking “I should go back to crit racing; it comes way more naturally to me than this stuff”.

But, as I’d dragged the family down, there was no way back to the finish, and I wanted to proved to myself I could do it, I kept trying to climb a steady hard pace. I have a pretty bad history since I quit pro racing of quitting every time I find myself out of my league in a race. Various drop-outs at Tours of Utah are proof. I somehow got in that mentality of quitting, so I really wanted to put forth a good effort regardless (or irregardless, if you prefer) of how much I was getting smoked.

And slowly I started pulling some guys back. Around 2 hours into the race, I got caught by a few age groupers. This was probably the most fun section of the race. My pal, Shelby was in this group and we were rocking over the roll-y section at the top of the course and onto the descent. The descent proper, was batshit crazy, for lack of a better word. Really, is there any word better to describe a crazy event? Crazy as a shit house rat, maybe?  Sorry, I know I’m not supposed to curse, but I want to get the point across that the descent was crazy and crazy alone doesn’t seem to do it. Anyway, out of our little group, one guy flatted and another guys’ seatpost snapped on the descent. A guy on a mountain bike got a little gap on Shelby and I (both on cross bikes), so I wanted to help him catch that guy (also a friend, Chris Stuart).

As we hit the pavement, we caught him pretty easy. Around this time, I felt the best I did all day. Not surprisingly since it’s pretty much the only flat part of the course, but I was killing it here. Without really trying, I rode away from that group and caught and passed a bunch of people. I think the conventional wisdom would be to find a group and rest during that section, but I knew it was the best part for me, so I wanted to cut time where I could. And I’ll be straight up, I hauled ass through here.

And then…The Col d’ Crush. Holy shitake. The never-ending climb from hell. Dirt road, steep as a ladder, 100% exposed… You could see people ahead and behind you, but everyone is going so slow, it’s like no progress is being made.  And once you do get to the top (and I could write another 6 paragraphs about just how long, ugly and slow this climb was), it doesn’t really flatten out. You still go primarily up for umm, forever. I was literally ready to cry for a descent. I actually stopped briefly at one of the many, super well stocked aid station/feed zones and downed a can of coke.

There was eventually a brief descent or two and then the agonizing climb to the finish. Oh man, this was like slow-mo. From the 500 meter sign, I was literally counting out each meter passed.

Over the finish, someone took my bike (and they could have been taking it to Canada for all I cared), sat me down and gave me a Coke. I literally wanted to cry. “Why am I still hurting?!? I’m no longer pedaling!!”.

Slowly, I came out of my stupor and realized that was the raddest thing I’ve done on a bike in a long time and started making completely unrealistic plans in my head for how awesome I can be in next years’ Crusher.

For the record, I wound up 24th out of 55-ish in the pro field. I was pretty content with that. As content as you can be being an HOUR down on the weiner.

I should probably thank my Kelly for taking care of the wee-ones (and me) all weekend. We had a great weekend at Eagle Point resort! Kelly has done a post with more on the family side of the trip. It was great seeing (and suffering with) some of my old teammates and friends. Great to see everyone out Crushing it!!

In summary, this is a bucket list race. You gotta do it. Great support from the town of Beaver and top notch organization. And pain. Sweet, sweet pain.

Crusher Weekend on Tap

Yes, it’s finally here. The Crusher.

I am pretty stoked. We (the fam) ended up getting a condo for the weekend, so it’s should be a good weekend “irregardlessly” of the race. We were originally going to camp, but eventually I thought better of it and looking at the weather, I think it’s good I did! We are staying for the whole weekend though, so hopefully everyone can enjoy it.

Lots of old teammates and friends are coming out, so that should be a hoot.

A quick glance at the start list (http://velonews.competitor.com/2013/07/news/leipheimer-newby-fraser-among-riders-slated-to-ride-crusher-in-the-tushar_294531) makes me think my odds of a top finish are not so good, (so you’re telling me there’s a chance!) but the while I did hope to arrive in a little better shape, the main idea all along has just been to have a goal in mind. I haven’t really trained for anything (or at all) the last couple years, so it’s been really good to have something in mind and I think I am probably going better than I have in that timeframe. Again, not saying much there, but it’s good. A good journey.

And I’m just excited about experiencing the race. It’s pretty different from anything I’ve ever done!

Allan Butler Crit, Farm Day, Boulder and such

So, we did our annual trip to Idaho Falls for the AB race and the trip did not dissapoint. The race is only a small part of the trip for us now, but umm, yeah, the race went well.

I won from a group of 3 that lapped the remainder of “the field”.

The only thing that bummed me out was that the field was very small. Yeah, it’s a ways away and there is a ton of racing in SLC this week, but in my view (and I’m admitedly biased) this race is the coolest one by far. There was also some bad luck in that we started just as a storm blew in and we had a bit of rain on the course and almost everyone crashed, some multiple times. This took out my homeboy/teammate/top level blog reader, Jared. He’d already won the master’s race, so at least he had that in his pocket! They actually neutralized us and waited for the rain to pass before restarting.

Anyway, we didn’t get back to the hotel until after 10:00 and it was probably 11 or so before the kids fell asleep. This didn’t keep Haley girl from waking up before 6:30. She was super excited as we were invited to come out to the “Butler farm” to ride horses and for a bar-b-q. It will not surprise me if Haley ends up living on a farm. We all had a great time, but she was “in her element”.

Before we could go there though, we did our traditional walk along the river, feeding of the ducks and photo by the falls. We also took a swim in the hotel pool.

By the time, we got in the car, the girls were pretty wiped out. The ride home went pretty smoothly as mostly they were too tired to fuss much! Sometimes it works the opposite way, but this time was pretty easy.

We got home around 9:00. We’ve been breaking heat records and with the ac off at our house, it was 93 degrees in our bedroom when we returned!

I had to get up and catch a flight to Denver this morning. I should say “I got to”. Gotta stay positive. Had some good visits with shops there today and staying the evening in beautiful Boulder. More appointments tomorrow and then I fly home late tomorrow night. Quick trip!

Watching the Tour of France at the moment.

Here’s the story that ran in the IF Post Register. You have to log-in to access it, so I just “borrowed it”. All credit to the author.

Riding to remember

Criterium continues to keep Butler’s memory alive

By MARLOWE HEREFORD
mhereford@postregister.com

Ever since the Allan Butler Memorial Twilight Criterium began seven years ago, Ryan Barrett has made the 257-mile trip to Idaho Falls.

Saturday’s criterium was no exception for the Provo, Utah, resident, who races for Turbo Cycling.

Barrett pulled ahead of a tight pack to edge Jared Brewer and Matt Rossman and win the final race of the day, the men’s pro and Category 1, 2 and 3 race.

The criterium is one of the few races Barrett said he participates in each year, but the 20-year cycling veteran wouldn’t miss it for the world.

By competing, Barrett pays tribute to Butler, who died in 2005 when a taxi ran a red light and struck him in Las Vegas.

“Allan was a very good friend and teammate of mine,” Barrett said. “Honestly, I’m close to retiring from the sport. I’ve got four little kids all under 8. I try to make it a point to come here and honor his memory in that way.”

The temperature dropped about 15 degrees when the pro race began, and it had to be temporarily suspended when a downpour caused multiple crashes on the slick course. Officials allowed the cyclists to take a test lap around the course when the rain let up, then restarted the 60-minute race.

Barrett, who is accustomed to summer races in the rain from growing up on the east coast, said his strategy upon the restart was to stay upright.

“It was a little scary at that point because so many people had crashed,” Barrett said. “Once we were down to the three (of us), I felt confident. It was pretty good there.”

The criterium was a first for Salt Lake City cyclist Tom Millar, who won the men’s Category 3 and 4 race earlier in the evening.

Millar grew up competing in BMX and mountain biking before turning to road cycling and helping form the Salt Cycle Intelitechs team in 2011. Saturday’s criterium was his first time racing outside of Utah.

“I really liked it,” Millar said of the Allan Butler course. “I thought it was clean and I thought it was well-marked.”

Millar finished just ahead of Eric Thompson, who took second in the Utah state time trials early Saturday morning before traveling to Idaho Falls and competing in the final two Allan Butler races.

Neck and neck throughout the race, the two were close enough at times to actually converse.

Millar said he and Thompson know each other well.

“He’s a good guy,” Millar said. “It’s nice because you know how that person rides. You know where you can help them and they can help you.”

A considerable crowd gathered along the start/finish line at A Street for the criterium, which began with early afternoon races in temperatures hovering near 100 degrees and ended with a cloudburst. Crashes were also frequent, and Eagle Rock Cycling race director Nathan Starnes said he was appreciative of having Tri Med athletic trainers present to tend to injured cyclists and distribute ice and cold towels.

Although the turnout was slightly smaller than last year, Starnes received favorable feedback.

“We were having to compete with a couple other events (today),” Starnes said. “The overall comments from all the riders were positive.”

Race results

Seventh annual Allan Butler Memorial Twilight Criterium results:

Men’s pro category 1, 2, 3

1. Ryan Barrett (Turbo Cycling); 2. Jared Brewer (FFKR); 3. Matt Rossman (Ski Utah); 4. Tate Litchfield (COTBR); 5. Eric Thompson (FFKR)

Coed category 3, 4

1. Tom Millar (Salt Cycle Intelitechs); 2. Eric Thompson (FFKR); 3. Daniel Marsh (Salt Cycle Intelitechs); 4. Tate Litchfield (COTBR); 5. Lee Wood (Gallatin Valley Bicycle Club)

Men’s category 5

1. Weston Dunn (InfinityCodes.com); 2. Dane Watkins; 3. Shane Watt; 4. Brennan Williams (ERC, Bill’s Bike Shop); 5. Tyson Scott

Women’s category 4

1. Rhonda Aliah