Archive for April, 2010

Hobble Creek to the Right

| April 28, 2010 6:08 am

We have biked Hobble Creek several times in the past but we always took the “Left Fork” at the junction up past the Hobble Creek Golf Course.  We noticed that the Utah Velo has a ride schedule in a couple weeks that goes up the “Right Fork”.  So we decided to check that out.  Biking over to Hobble Creek from our home in Orem would be about 55 miles.

It was one of the warmest days yet during our visit in Utah, in the mid 70’s, but on the windy side.  We wanted to get in a good ride today because the forecast for the next several days shows cold and rain.   We made our way down to University Avenue and took that through Provo.  We were moving over 20 mph due to a tail wind we figured it would be a headwind on the way back.  We then followed the route the Utah Velo club uses to get over to Springville.  We had taken that route before but seemed have a hard time remembering where to turn.  So this time I downloaded the course on my Garmin Edge 500 and followed the track, which made it easy where to turn.

After making our way up Canyon Road, we reach the junction where we usually turn left, and instead headed up the right leg.  There was a sign that showed 8 miles to some place so we thought this might be the length, which would be twice as long as the left fork.  Initially the road surface was a bit rough so I was thinking this might not be so great, but soon we reached new pavement, which was smooth, the type you like to bike on.  It was a nice windy road, with virtually now traffic.

When we started from our house it was mostly sunny, but by now it had turned mostly cloudy, but the temperature was very nice.

We heard some gun shots and started to wonder if there was some hunters ahead.  We then came upon a couple of guys who were doing target practice against a hill, off the side of the road.  Just short of 7 miles from the fork, we finally reached a point where the road was closed.

It is typical here for roads to be closed for the winter and sometimes they don’t open those as soon as the snow is gone.  Last week I found that going up Squaw Peak and went ahead through the closed road and found other bikers up the hill.  But we felt that might not be wise here because it was too remote and besides, those guys were shooting guns back down the road.  We had now biked nearly 28 miles, so that would be over 55 miles by the time we finished, so we turned around and headed back.  When we made it near Provo, we stopped for lunch.  Then it was 10 miles back home.  By now the wind had shifted and once again we had a tail wind on University Ave, and were moving along at 22 mph.  When we arrived at home, Anne biked past the driveway for a short distance and then circled around.  When I asked what she was doing, she said she wanted to reach 55.55 miles.  It was a fun ride.

That evening I went to join the Utah Vello Club Tuesday evening ride.  It was still warm but the forecast was for 25 mph our winds.  With such a strong tail wind, I figured out it was a good chance to set a new PR going up Dry Creek.  Even though I had already biked 55 miles earlier I still felt good and was able to climb the Dry Creek Hill climb, coming in 2nd place and a new PR for me.  I ended up with 80 miles on the bike for the day.

Two Sports, Two PR’s

| April 26, 2010 6:01 pm
Two Sports, Two PR's

It was one of those two sport days.   If we were more into swimming maybe it could be a three sports day, but for us it means running and cycling.

It is still cold in the mornings here in Utah so we decided to run first.  Even waiting until nearly 9 am, the temperatures were still in the mid 40’s.  But running at that temperature is much easier than cycling when it is cold.  We did a 6 mile run up and back down the Provo River Trail.  On the way back I decided to do a little speed work.  Although I have done intervals this year on the bike, and even the tandem, I have not done any running.  I decided to do something very limited for this first time so I figured just 2 x half mile repeats would be a good start.  At the four mile mark I took off.  I was surprised how my legs felt, like I could hardly turn them over when I attempted to push the pace.  Each half mile interval was done at only a 7:40 pace, which is slower than my half marathon race pace only 3 years ago.  It is clear that I need to get in more speed work running.

After running, we helped Greg finish moving out of his apartment.  He is headed out tomorrow back east to work for the summer.  In the early afternoon, Anne and I took off for a 25 mile bike ride.  It was much warmer now than when we ran, warm enough to ride with short sleeves.   We found ourselves on the same Provo River trail we had run on earlier in the day when a couple of younger guys on road bikes passed us.  I noticed them in particular because they were not wearing any helmets.  We kept up our pace, going about 17 mph on this slight uphill.  I could see the two young guys had just kicked it in to pass us but then had slowed down, so we eventually caught them and passed them.

Once we reached Vivian Park, we headed up South Fork.  This is a 4.2 mile stretch with about 750 feet of climbing.  Since the average grade is less than 4%, I don’t have this as a hill climb for time, but I did set it up as a time trail course on my Ultra Cycling website.    Both Anne and I had timed ourselves up this stretch last week.  With the run earlier in the day we were not too inclined to try to race up and set a new time.  But soon after we started, here was one of the young guys coming by us fast.  I guess he did not wear a helmet because he had flowing blond hair he wanted to show everyone.  Maybe if I had hair like that, I might also be tempted to not wear a helmet (not really).

From the earlier encounter, I knew he could not hold his fast pace, so I decided to chase him.  It didn’t take long to catch him.  Seeing he was not able to go a lot faster, I decided to pass him.   He then accelerated and trying to catch me., but I was surprised how fast I was moving up the hill.  I guess a combination of a little competition and a little tailwind does wonders.  It was not long before he was far enough behind that I felt I could back off.  But backing off is not my normal approach and since I had set this up as a time trial course, I figured this was a good time to do faster than last week.  I finished in 16:51, about 1:40 faster than last week.  That time meant nearly a 15 mph average up hill but I had to take my heart rate to an average of 166 bpm (176 maximum).

At the end I had to stop for a few moments at the top to catch my breath.  When I turned around there was no sight of the young guy so  I headed back down to see where Anne was.  I didn’t go down very far before we met, as she was also going up the hill very fast herself.

Anne finished with a new PR for herself, 20:42, nearly 4 minutes faster than her time last week.  This table is from the Ultra Cycling website for this course and shows the times posted in the last few days.

It was fun that we both set new PRs on the same ride and not on the tandem.  After making a descent back down to Vivian Park we stopped for a another picture.

Another fun day in Utah, running and cycling.

Cycling Saturday

| April 25, 2010 10:05 pm

It has been some time since we were able to do a Saturday ride with the Utah Velo Club.  Last year we usually did those rides on the tandem because of the fast pace.  This trip we only brought our single bikes so Anne was a bit nervous, but I was confident we would do fine.

The ride didn’t start until 9 am, which was a good thing since it was very cold on Friday and early Saturday morning still found the weather in the 30’s.  But by the time the ride started it had warmed to the mid 40’s and the sun was shining, which made it feel even warmer.

About 15 others showed up and Anne was quick to notice there were no other women.  The guys ranged in age from the 30’s up.  Unlike most ACTC rides, the Utah Velo tends to ride fast and in a group.    I did not know the route, so we had an incentive to keep up.   Anne did great riding right in the pace line.  The group would regroup about every 15-20 miles.  We stayed connected for the first two re-groups.  At each group we were taking off more clothes since the weather was warming up quite nicely.  Then there was the only real climbing of the day and things tended to spread out.  It was only the last 10 miles that we fell off the back of the main group, but by then we knew the rest of the route.  We averaged 18 mph, which is probably the fastest Anne has ridden on her single bike for such a distance.

It was only noon and we were done with the ride, unlike many ACTC rides which seem to go well into the afternoon.  We stopped for lunch at In-N-Out, which had just opened nearby.  For some reason a hamburger always tastes great after a hard ride.

I wanted to do a  bit more riding, so after returning home, I took off up the canyon.  I first headed up the Alpine Road to Sundance.  At Sundance, I  took a side road inside the resort itself  that I had never taken before.  I only had my iPhone to take this photo.

Going back down the canyon, I was riding into a strong headwind.  I figured that after I went down the road and across the canyon to climb up South Fork, I would have the same headwind.  But I didn’t notice any headwind while going up, but I certainly felt a strong headwind going down.  Once I was back down to the main highway, I headed back down the Provo River trail yet again felt a strong headwind.  So I felt this headwind while traveling in 3 different directions, all going down hill.  I figure that the wind was just blowing hard up all canyon and side canyons.  Interesting.

So Anne end up with 50 miles for the day and I got in 80 miles.  It has been about 3 weeks since I rode that far in a day.

The Family that C’s Together (Cycling and Computers)

| April 23, 2010 7:03 am

We have only been in our Utah home for a short while, but have already been having a great time.  When we first arrived the weather was warm and the trees in our yard were in blossom.  So far we have been able to bike and/or run each of the four days. On Monday we decided to head up the Alpine Loop to see how far we could go.  The road was closed just past Aspen Grove.

One Tuesday we decided to join the Utah Velo club ride at 5 pm.  In the morning I headed out to see if I could make it up Squaw Peak.  The road was closed to traffic.

After passing the gate, the road was clear and dry, except for a few patches of snow.  One section had enough snow i had to walk 20 feet through it.

From there to the summit it was clear sailing.

On Wednesday the weather started to change.  We headed out for a ride but turned around and headed home, when it started to rain.  After a couple of hours of waiting, it cleared enough so we tried again and got in a 25 mile ride.  Soon after returning home, the rain really came down.

On Thursday we woke to a surprise, snow falling!  What a change from two days earlier.

But the snow melted quick enough and later in the  morning we went for a 5 mile run up the Provo Canyon trail.  It didn’t seem so cold so we decided to also bike up the canyon.  Going up South Fork seemed warm enough.

But when we came down, we were going into a chilly headwind.  It seemed like a long ride back down the canyon.   We stopped at Subway to have lunch with Greg.

We both have MacBook computers so we can use the same computer in either of our homes.   In Orem that usually meant using them up in the kitchen.  When we first bought this home we brought up a table I had used over 25 years ago for my first computer.   I put it in the family room downstairs where I setup my computer. Anne wanted to join me so I cleared a spot for her, but it was too crowded.  We had seen these computer desks at Costco but they were out of stock.  So we drove up to the Murray Costco and bought two of them, for only $99 each.  They fit perfectly along the back wall and we now each have our own space, but get to computer together.  Kind of like being on the tandem.

Now it is Friday morning and it is raining. Which explains why I am writing this blog entry!

Cycling and Running in Washington

| April 19, 2010 8:43 am

On this visit to Sara and family, we needed to take turns watching the grand-kids so most of our running and biking were done by ourselves.  We have visited Sara’s house many times in the 5 years they have lived there.  On many of those visits we took our bikes but were not quite sure where to go.  Little by little we discovered some routes.  This time I checked the Garmin Connect website  and found some routes posted by others that were on the other side of the freeway.  It seemed you had to go on the freeway for one exit to get to Mounts Road, so I ventured out to find the course.

The route took me down Nisqually road to Reservation road.  It was then a short distance on Highway 510 to the Yelm highway.  From there I took Spurgeon Creek road, a most delightful road, with very little traffic.

The road ended at Rainer Road, where I took a left turn.

I had created a course on my Garmin Edge 500 and was following along the track.  As I was biking along Rainer road, it showed a left turn, but there was no road there.  Yikes!  I continued on to the next road, called Military road and turned there.   My Garmin 500 has no maps with streets, just a track and a message I was off course.   I proceed along, and could see on the Garmin the track I had plotted was  off to the side.  I kept going, turning left at each opportunity.  I finally made it to highway 507 and saw if I went left I would get to Yelm.  Once I reached Yelm, I stopped to check the Google map on my iPhone and saw that 507 intersected with Highway 510, so I took a left on 510 back to Reservation road.  Highway 510 was rather busy and went past an Indian Reservation (meaning casino) so I did not like that stretch.

Sara later mentioned that during her running, she found a way over to Mounts Road (without going on the freeway).  I took off the next day for a long run and found the way.  You could not drive a car but running or bike was fine because you had to go through a narrow gate.  I borrowed Sara’s Garmin Forerunner 405 watch (with GPS) so I was able to get a map of where I went on the 9 mile run.

On our last full day there, Anne and I were able to bike together so we decided to do the similar cycling route as I had.  Rather than going on the freeway, we took the route I had run up Hoffman Hill road, to Mounts road.  We decided to just go 22.5 miles and turn around and backtrack, to avoid highway 510.  That way we are able to bike on Spurgeon Creek road both ways.

We ended up with 45 miles and a better route.  Click below to enlarge.

On one of my solo runs earlier in the week, I ran out to Solo Point.  I wanted to take Anne there on the bike, but we ran out of time so we drove out.  We were just in time to see a great sunset.  A fitting end to a fun visit to Washington.

Backyard Fun

| April 17, 2010 7:46 am

It was great fun visiting Sara and her family.  Andrew, Peter, Emma and Abby love the trampoline.

Double Click the box below to view the video.  Single Click to stop.

One day we took the girls to the park to meet Andrew and Peter when they got off the school bus.

Batter Up!

| April 13, 2010 6:19 pm

With our children scattered all over the US and none real close, we don’t usually get to see the usual things that some grandparents get to see, such as birthday parties, or sports of the grand-kids.  While visiting Sara and family, Andrew and Peter did have a their first baseball practice so Franz had a chance to join and take a few pictures and some video.

Double Click the box below to see the video.  Single Click to stop.

Peter on base

Andrew in the outfield.

Peter at bat

Andrew fielding the ball

Peter had his chance at running the bases, but that can get rather tiring.  So he took a break on 2nd base.

Peter on 2nd

While Andrew was in the outfield, making a great play.

Andrew fielding ball

So Peter decided it would be best he he got ready to run.

Peter on 2nd base

Santa Cruz to Monterey by Bicycle

| April 3, 2010 12:35 pm
Santa Cruz to Monterey by Bicycle

The weather has been a bit cool for this time of the year in California, but we really wanted to do the club ride that starts in Santa Cruz and goes over to Monterey, then return.  We got up early since it would take an hour to drive to the ride start, which was at 8 am.  As we went over Hecker Pass, the temperatures were dropping down to 36, but by the time we reached Santa Cruz it was up to 40 degrees.  Since there was no wind, it didn’t seem too cold to ride, especially since we had brought plenty of warm clothes.

For a total of 108 miles, it would be the longest ride this year for Anne so we decided to take the tandem.  Several others were taking their tandems also and there ended up with 6 tandems on the ride.

The route started on the north end of Santa Cruz and headed south, along the ocean side of the town,  Then through the Elkhorn Slough to Castroville.  From there to Monterey, much of the route was on bike paths.

You would think that it would be all flat, but there was considerable up and down climbing along the route so we ended up with 4800 feet of climbing by the end of the ride.  We were lucky to have sunshine in the morning so the temperatures warmed up rather rapidly. The last part of the ride went around Monterey Bay.

It was pleasant enough by the time we arrive in Monterey for a stop at Fisherman’s Wharf and a bowl of clam chowder in a bread bowl.

Then it was 54 miles back, retracing most of the path we had taken.  As we neared the end, we were biking along Cliff Drive in Santa Cruz, with a spectacular view of the ocean.  The waves were very large so after finishing the ride we drove back to take a few pictures.

It was a fun day but a long ride.  We were so hungry at the finish, that we decided to drive home via San Jose so we could stop and eat dinner at the Olive Garden.