Archive for August, 2009

Cache Valley Century 2009

| August 29, 2009 1:54 pm
Cache Valley Century 2009

Great roads, great weather, and friendly riders again sum up our experience with riding the Cache Valley Century. On Friday we drove up to Logan Utah to stay the night. After a lousy experience at an expensive Italian restaurant in the town last year, we decided to eat at the Olive Garden, which was much better.  We returned to the motel to get an good nights sleep, although Franz didn’t think he slept that well.

Right at 6 am, we got up to get ready. The Best Western motel we were staying at had a great breakfast buffet so we fueled up before heading up the 12 miles to Richmond for the start.

We started at 7:40 am, along with two Utah Velo riders we knew.  Last year we had damaged the rim on the front wheel of our tandem while we were in a pace line because the rider in front of us didn’t signal, but did manage to escape it himself.  Riding a tandem is more difficult than a single bike because you can not try to bunny hop over such a hole.  So this year we decided to not do much drafting.  It would be fine if other riders wanted to ride behind us, but we didn’t want to get into a large pace line nearly as much.

We rode mostly solo, or with one or two other riders behind us for the first 35 miles where we made a stop at the second rest stop (we skipped the first one). After a short stop we were back on the bike, skipping the 3rd rest stop with a plan to stop at mile 69 for lunch.  About five miles before the lunch stop, a very long train passed us and we decided to get into the line, being a bit weary of taking the headwinds all alone. That group was going very fast, 23-25 mph.  We had to join near the rear and some of those riders were erratic, so we made our way up to the front and ended up taking a 1 mile pull.  So the four miles of drafting was about it for the ride and after lunch we went back to solo riding.

We rolled into the finish averaging 19.2 mph, a total of about 5.25 hours riding time, and about 35 minutes of stopping time. It was a lot of fun. When comparing it with last year, the solo riding did end up taking another 13 minutes to finish and reduced our overall speed by about 1 mph.  But it was much easier than being on constant guard trying to ride a tandem in a pace line.

Here are the stats for the past two years.  It is interesting that Franz’s average heart rate was exactly the same.

Cache Valley Century

Distance: 100.3 miles, Climb: 2,080 feet
Avg. Speed
Max HR
Avg HR
8/28/09 8:40 am 1:29 pm 5:49 19.1 171 133
8:34 am
1:10 pm

Out Run By Anne

| August 28, 2009 10:34 am

We are headed out to do the Cache Valley Century tomorrow so Anne is taking a day off from exercise.  Franz decided to get in a 5 mile run.  He felt like a slug and the pace over the 5 miles was only 9:35.  Even though both Franz and Anne are biking at a great level, Franz has not been doing much running this year.  With the summer coming to an end it is time to get back into running form because it is easier to run on cold rainy days than to bike.

This chart clearly shows that this year Franz has been out run by Anne.


Ulcer Century 2009

| August 9, 2009 4:14 pm
Ulcer Century 2009

For the third year in a row, we completed the Ulcer Century, around Utah Lake.  Once again we rode our tandem.  We were joined this year by my brother, Mike and his friend, Steve.  The four of us stayed together for the entire event.  One of their friends also started with and another friend was on a tandem, with his 14 year old son and rode much of the ride with us.


My Brother Mike

Whereas the weather was hot the last two years, this year was cool.  There was even a forecast of rain so we carried rain jackets along, but fortunately we never needed them.  The cool weather really helped because we were not overheating. We started out with arm warmers and a vest but for most of the ride we were in short sleeves.   We made our first stop at 26 miles because some of the other riders in our group were off the back.  Our average speed to that point was 21.2 mph.   After waiting for them to arrive at the rest stop, one decided to switch to the 60 mile route, so we headed back.

This year they changed the lunch stop to mile 47, right off the shore of Utah Lake.  But we did not expect a lunch stop so early in the ride and flew right by it.  Consulting the route sheet indicated there was no food until mile 68, so we plugged on.  Before we reached that rest stop the winds started to pick up and it looked like we might have a headwind.  Our speed started to slow slightly but we continued to make good time.  When we finally reached mile 68, our overall average speed had dropped to 20.3 mph.

It was not like the lunch stop last year where they had sandwiches we could enjoy sitting on the lawn of a park.  It was more the typical rest stop stuck on some corner in the gravel.  But we were running low on fuel and needed to eat what they had on hand.  The other tandem arrived before we departed and joined again with us.  We didn’t want to stick around too long so after about 14 minutes we headed out at 11:18 am.

It was now only about 40 miles to the finish, not bad I thought.  We should be able to finish that in 2 hours and certainly come in before 1:30 pm.  But as we started to bike we realized the turn we had made now had us heading into a headwind.   The last two years that 40 mile stretch was a tailwind and we were thinking something was not right because we had not enjoyed any tailwind on the way there.  We started to realize that it was one of the rides where it feels like a headwind the entire loop.

Driving into a headwind was made worse by a long series of rollers that went on the far side of Utah Lake.  The combination made it seem to go on forever.  After about 20 miles we made another quick stop, mainly just to get some relief from driving into the wind.  Our average speed for that 20 mile segment was 18 mph, still not too bad.

Even though our stop was only 7 minutes, it seemed like someone had turned the wind fan up another notch.  I wish we had some way to measure the wind speed.   The last 20 miles were our slowest, averaging only 16 mph.  So that last 40 miles took us quite a bit longer than the past two years when we had a tail wind on that section.

We don’t have a picture of us, so here is the one from last year.  Notice how it was sunny in 2008!  Also this year we wore our Keen cycling sandals for the whole ride instead of cycling shoes.

Franz’s average heart rate of 150 was slightly higher than last year.  Looking at the segments is more revealing.  For the first 68 miles to our first stop for food, the average heart rate was 152, and we averaged 20.3 mph.  The next 20 miles into the wind the average heart rate had increased to 155 and our speed dropped to 18.3 mph.  For the last twenty miles fatigue was setting in and Franz’s average heart rate was now down to 144 and the speed showed a corresponding drop to 16 mph.

This table shows a comparison with the last two years.  Overall we were very happy with how we did, especially considering the headwinds at the end.

Ulcer Century

Distance: 110 miles, Climb: 1,320 feet
Avg. Speed
Max HR
Avg HR
8/08/09 7:34 am 1:47 pm 6:10 18.9 172 150
7:22 am
1:14 pm
7:26 am
1:39 pm

Tree Hugger

| August 7, 2009 9:29 am
Tree Hugger

Our Utah home is what is called a PUD, Planned Unit Development, where most of the grounds are part of the home owners association property.  It works great for a second home because we only need to worry about 5 feet from the building and therefore don’t need to concern ourself with keeping the grass mowed or the snow removed.

On the common property there was a big poplar tree.  It was not planted by the Home Owners Association, but likely by a prior owner who should have know better than planting a tree so close to the house and patio, especially one that grows to 300 feet tall.  Last year I did a lot of trimming of some of the lower branches, which were dropping down over our deck.  I think the tree reacted to such pruning by growing even faster, just to teach me a lesson.  When the wind blew, we would start to lose our digital TV reception since an antenna.  But I knew in end I would be able to win the battle.

We finally decided to have the tree removed and obtained 3 quotes because I knew that was much too big of a job for me to tackle myself.  On was a much better price so we hired them.  It was much cheaper than we expected, based on having a much smaller tree removed years ago in a California house.   We are glad to have that tree gone befor it’s extensive surface roots started to raise up the concrete on our patio, or worse, start to do damage to our foundation.

Being a Couch Potato

| August 4, 2009 1:41 pm

With the bike in the shop, waiting for a new frame, I turned my attention to something I hardly ever do … being a couch potato.  In our basement we bought a big screen TV but we don’t have any cable here and there are limited channels we can pickup off the air.  No problem, I will use my second Macbook computer.

I used a HDMI cable and connected to the displayport on the Macbook.  Sitting back more than 11 feet, I can control things using the bluetooth mouse and keyboard.  That way I can watch things over the the internet.  I also have a Logitech Harmony remote control and have it setup so the Macbook is one of the devices.   One button switches everything around so the computer displays the picture on the TV and the sound from the Macbook goes out through an digital optical connecton to an amp I have here.


At out other house in California I have a slingbox connected to a DVR.  But that quality is rather poor.  I also bought a couple of movies on iTunes store but they take many hours to download and I have to pay just as much to rent them for 24 hours as I would to rent a DVD, where I have a few days to watch it.  The Apple iTunes movie rental system just doesn’t make sense to me and I am glad I never wasted my money on an Apple TV.

I have Hulu desktop installed so I can watch things on Hulu.  The quality is good but I find it hard to find anything I want to bother to watch.

The best system seems to be our Netflix account.  Netflix allows you not get DVDs by mail, but also you can instantly watch.  There is a large selection of movies I can watch on demand, with no wasted time downloading it.  I just pay one monthly fee.  The quality is not quite as good as DVD but plenty good enough.

Of course I can only stand to watch so much TV or movies.  So I can usually sit back and use the computer to do all the stuff you use a computer for, including writing this blog entry.  Although it may be hard to see in the photo, it is just as easy to read the text on the big screen, back from 11 feet, as it is to use my computer on my desk.

Okay, it has been 15 minutes and I need to get out of here.  That is enough of being a couch potato.

Broke a Bike

| August 3, 2009 8:51 pm

We kind of got off to a late start this morning,   We wanted to climb the Alpine Loop and didn’t want it to get too hot during the club.  It took us about 45 minutes from our home to the base of the main climb.  It was now in the upper 80’s as we started up. This climb is a long haul, over 8 miles.  It was the first time Anne had attempted the climb on her single bike, although we had gone up before on the tandem.  We made good time up the hill with Anne making the climb significantly faster than we have done it on the tandem.

We did make a stop on the way up for a photo op.

Heading down American Fork canyon we went cautiously.  After dropping 2,500 feet, we arrived at Mt. Timpanogas Cave National Monument, where we stopped at the snack bar.  As soon as Franz got off his bike, he could tell his rear wheel was not rotating completely free.  It was rubbing against the right chainstay.  That was odd and even after getting greasy hands and trying to take the wheel off and put it back on the bike, it kept rubbing and would not rotate freely.  It was as if the frame had become bent, which is not possible with a carbon fiber frame.  Franz then noticed that the connection betweent he metal dropout and the carbon fiber chain stay had started to seperate, which was forcing the wheel off center.  Yikes, what to do?

After making some adjustment, tightening the wheel and opening the rear brake, it was finally able to rotate freely.  We then headed down carefully, stopping a few times to make sure the seperation was not increasing because if it came apart it would be disastrous.  We decided to ride directly to the Trek bike store in American Fork.  There they confirmed that the frame was broken and advised against riding it even one mile.  They were kind enough to switch the pedals with Anne’s bike and Franz took it to ride the 12 miles back to the house to get the car, while Anne waited behind.  Anne offered to make the ride herself, but Franz couldn’t pass up a chance to get in more miles!

The Trek store will not send the frame into the factory where they will either do a repair or hopefully a replacement with a new frame.  It might be 3 weeks before we get the bike back.  It is a good thing that Franz brought both of his road bikes so John could use one for the race on the 22nd.  We are hoping we can get the one bike back from the factory before that date.  We are also glad that the whole thing did not come apart during the descent.  Franz had come down the same canyon road last week at a much faster speed.  We are lucky that Anne wanted to descend slowly today.  Sometimes in life it is smart to slow down.

Biking High

| August 2, 2009 12:40 pm

Our home in Utah is situated where we can bike from home and climb up to over 8,000 feet.

Squaw Peak

On Tuesday we decided to climb up Squaw Peak, on our single bikes.  It is only about 7 mile ride from our home to the base of the climb.  We made the climb in just over 40 minutes.  The grade is steady until the last half mile where it gets rather steep.   This was the first time Anne attempted this climb on her single bike and her time was very good, not much longer than our best tandem time.

Squaw Peak Climb

Distance: 4.3 miles, Climb: 1,700 feet, Avg Grade: 7.4%



Max HR

Avg HR

7/28/09 Anne Single 42:58        
Franz and Anne


Alpine Loop

On Wednesday we decided to go over the Alpine loop.   It is about a 3,000 foot climb from the start.

It was then down American Fork canyon.

After descending down the canyon road, we made a lunch stop at Timpogas Cave park headquarters.

It was then back through the valley back home.

Nebo Loop

On Saturday we joined a club ride that started in Payson, up Payson Canyon road.   It was a very long climb, over 20 miles when we reached 9,000 feet..

The ride was going over the summit and down to Devil’s Kitchen.

Just past the summit we could see Mt. Nebo.

On the way back, we stopped to enjoy the beautiful meadow.

We ended up with about 50 miles.  It is a great ride.