Posts Tagged With: Biking

4th annual Pony Express Century ride

photo (8)

Yesterday I rode the Pony Express Century ride for the 4th time. I’ve ridden every year since the start, and I plan to ride it every year I live in Utah. The course was laid out as a loop for the first three years, but this year it was an out and back starting at Bank of American Fork in Saratoga Springs. We headed west on SR-73 to Five Mile Pass, then took the left fork toward Faust. That was a horrible stretch of road with potholes everywhere. We turned right and headed to Rush Valley, which was the turnaround spot. This should have been an easier course, but was not since a high wind kicked in about 10 miles in to the ride. We had a tailwind as we headed to Rush Valley, hitting 33 MPH. I was sure I was going to die when a red Ford pickup pulling a huge trailer tried to pass other riders and pulled in to our lane, heading straight for us. I immediately knew he wasn’t going to make it. When he realized it he slammed on his brakes and the trailer started to jack-knife. It seemed like the trailer defied the laws of physics and somehow stayed attached to the truck. The driver put 20 lives in danger so he could save a few seconds.

The blessing of a tailwind became the cursing of a headwind. I rode about 9-11 MPH during that stretch. Doctrine & Covenants 122:7 kept running through my mind: “…and if fierce winds become thine enemy…know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee experience and be for thy good.” It didn’t feel like it was for my good though. As soon as I got off that road I was able to ride with Mike and Gerard again, and we started to make good time. Especially from Five Mile Pass to Fairfield. Fairfield to Cedar Fort was a little slow, but I gained speed on the hill in to Cedar Fort and kept it until the end.

My stats:
5:58:22 ride time
100.07 miles
MPH: 16.7 & 35.4
Cadence: 88 & 153

I was hoping to have under five hours of ride time, but once the wind started I knew that wasn’t going to happen, so I shot for under six hours. DeLana picked me up and we went to Beto’s for a California burrito. It was fantastic. A cold bath, a show, then Insanity Pure Cardio & Cardio Abs. I have to get ready for the Tough Mudder in July.

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A great year to ride

This was probably my best biking year since I started. I bought a Trek 850 from Encina Bikes in Walnut Creek, California, in January 1993. It was a hardtail with a rigid fork. I decided that I could spend $400, and live with that if it ended up hanging in the garage. I had been using my dad’s mountain bike to ride along Contra Costa Blvd., and once I went offroad with my bike I was hooked. I moved to Utah two years later, and was excited to learn that Moab was only three hours away. I bought a Scott shock from a local bike shop that no longer exists, and that 1.5″ of travel made a world of difference. I rode that Trek until about eight years ago when I found a Cannondale Gemini on eBay that I could afford. That gave me a full suspension bike with 6.75″ of travel in the rear, and a Lefty fork with 4.25″. I later added a Marzocchi Bomber shock, matching the rear travel. It’s a heavy bike, but it’s worth the weight to have the travel on the way down.

This year I was able to put down 1,853 miles, which is the most I have done in one year. By far. This is my mileage breakdown:

Road rides: 66
Mountain bike rides: 103

January: 32.68 miles
February: 48.21 miles
March: 129.21 miles
April: 135.25 miles
May: 343.73 miles
June: 152.17 miles
July: 151.75
August: 86.99 miles
September: 225.35 miles
October: 234.15 miles
November: 144.73 miles
December: 169.34 miles
Total: 1853.56 miles

I rode more in December, which was just mountain bike miles, than I did in January, February, March, April, June, July, August and November. August was just lame.

This was Christmas Eve.

This was the snow on December 26th.

Other accomplishments:
Conquering the Flintstone teeter totter that gave me four stitches and broke my helmet.
Conquering the south Juniper rock jump that busted up my face.
Trying and conquering the upper Juniper wood feature.
Landing the big north Juniper jump five times.
Rolling the rock pile in the bike park.
Clearing the 220 Trail jumps.
Grand Junction road trip with Mike and Tim. That was an awesome road trip.

Pretty much my best year of biking.

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The end of the world ride

It was about 20 F when I rode this morning, but it’s the end of the world, so I had to go.  I rode the single track and took a lap at the Silver Lake pit.  It didn’t feel as cold as I expected.  It must be because the end is nigh.  So I sit here and wait.  photo (32)

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Just a thought

I decided to go mountain biking this morning, even though it was 23 F. I was looking for warm gloves when I saw my rollerblade knee pads. I thought about wearing them since I crashed in the snow two days ago, but I almost put them back. When I started to slip I was glad I had grabbed them. It was so cold that the frozen puddles cracked but didn’t break when I rode over them. I got in a tire rut that was frozen, and I slipped trying to get out of it. On Monday I hit the ground before I knew what was happening, and slid across the ground. That didn’t hurt. Today I fell straight to my left knee. That could have been bad. It didn’t feel like a prompting when I thought about the knee pads. It felt more like my own thought, but it proved to be otherwise. I am thankful that I can walk normally today.

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1800 miles

I wasn’t going to ride this morning because there was so much ice, but I decided to be a man. It wasn’t the most exciting ride because I as limited on what I could do with the snow. I took a few laps in the nearby field before attempting to ride south on my December trail. I had to turn around because I couldn’t get any traction in the snow. My average speed was pathetic, but I rode over eight miles in 28 F weather to hit my goal of 1800 miles. And I’m still wearing shorts when I ride. I didn’t have a mileage goal this year, so that was a pretty good effort. I haven’t ridden over 1000 miles in one year for the last 10 years, so this was cool. I did 66 road rides for almost 1100 miles, and 95 mountain bike rides for over 700 miles. I love it.

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Today I went on a 10 mile mountain bike ride. It’s December and I was riding in shorts. I love it. My ride today put me over 1700 miles for the year. I have never ridden that many miles in one year. My breakdown so far:
85 mountain bike rides for 604 miles.
66 road rides for 1096 miles.
Hopefully I can get in several more mountain bike rides before the year is over.

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Sweet day of biking

I meant to post this yesterday, but ran out of time. Friday night I decided I wanted to ride the Flintstone trail on Saturday morning before work. I hadn’t been on it for about two years. I don’t like to do that trail alone, because I prefer to have someone there if I crash. But it was time to be a man. I hit every jump and every wood feature. I took the eight foot gap jump in stride and never looked back.

I then rode my Specialized road bike to work, adding another five miles. After work I rode to Camp Williams, then to my daughter’s soccer game, adding another 12 miles. It was a beautiful mid-September day, and riding just felt like the answer.

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Pony Express Days century ride

I rode the Pony Express Days century ride for the third year. Dan from Epic Biking started the ride three years ago on the 150th anniversary of the Pony Express Trail. I wasn’t going to do it then until I realized it was an historic year. My goal is to ride it every year that I live in Utah.

We started at my Stake Center on Pony Express Parkway and rode to Redwood Road. The first part of Redwood Road was easy, and two groups broke away. I had no hope of hanging with them. The rolling hills at Pelican Point started to drain me. I was breathing heavy and questioning my ability to pull it off this year. Another group passed me, but they were going too fast to join. Several riders with Adobe jerseys passed me and I jumped in with them. It wasn’t quite the pace I was hoping for, but it gave me time to rest my heart and legs and reset my failing mental state. We bypassed the first rest stop and rode in to Elberta at 1:38:52 and 32.73 miles. Average cadence was 88, with my maximum at 115. Average speed was 19.8 MPH, with a maximum of 36.5 MPH.

Now comes the part I was concerned about. I broke my shifter a few weeks ago, so I couldn’t use my small front sprocket. Mike Both bought me an 11-28 rear cassette, which was like adding another gear. That helped, and I zig zagged my way up the steep parts of the nine mile climb to Eureka. Last year I made the climb in 54 minutes. Today I did it in 52 minutes. I made it to Eureka at 10:42 am. I’ve never made it there before 11 am, so that felt great. So did passing so many people and not being passed. I pulled in to Eureka with a ride time of 2:31:35 and 41.82 miles. Average cadence was 86, and max was still 115. My average speed dropped to 16.5 MPH. After a ham and Swiss sandwich, Cheetos and more chamois butter, I left alone.

The downhill out of Eureka was a nice break, but the rolling hills section was tough. I couldn’t keep an acceptable speed until the road flattened out. I think I caught a tail wind for a while because I hit 37.6 MPH, which was my high speed for the ride. I pulled in to my third stop at 12:07 pm, and I forgot to record my ride time. This was 61.65 miles, with an average speed of 17.4 MPH. Average cadence was 88, max was still 115.

Leaving this stop meant tackling a steep hill. At this point I was just looking to get over it, not break a speed record. I did well on this section, raising my average speed to 18 MPH. Most of it was flat so i just had to maintain my speed. I pulled in to the last rest station at 1:17 pm, at 79.37 miles. My cadence did not change on this section.  This is a picture of the Pony Express monument.  I love having this for a rest station.This is me resting in the shade at the Vivint truck.  Vivint rocks.  I ate a lot of strawberries and blueberries, so this was a great rest station.  I took my time at this station because I knew it was 25 miles to the finish line, and the wind looked ominous.

I think the last leg was the most difficult.  We had a head wind or cross wind the whole way home.  Two years ago it was a head wind from Eureka to home, so I’m not complaining, but it wore me out today.  Last year my ride time was 6:24:03, and I really wanted to finish with a ride time under six hours.  The wind was bad at Five Mile Pass and I didn’t know if I could do it.  It started to rain about two minutes before I hit the gas station in Cedar Fort.  I thought about pulling over, but decided to try and beat the rain.  I prayed that I would not have rain and wind and the wind died down.  When I could see the entrance to Eagle Mountain I knew we weren’t that far from the Maverick, but I also realized I had to push harder against the wind to reach my goal.  I was able to bump my speed up a few miles per hour, and hold it passed the entrance.  I knew it was going to be close, and I kept pushing.  I caught up to another ride and we finished together.  It was nice to have someone to talk to for a few minutes.  It started to rain again at Maverick, but not as bad as Cedar Fort.  I pulled in to the Stake Center at 3:17 pm.  My ride time was 5:54:07, with an elapsed time of 7:15:54.  I rode 105.28 miles, with an average speed of 17.7 MPH and a max speed of 37.6 MPH.  My average cadence was 88, with a max cadence of 115.

Three ride comparison:


Average speed:  15.6 MPH

Max Speed:  34.4 MPH

Average cadence:  84

Max cadence:  117

Ride time:  7:12:02

The 2010 ride was a few miles longer than 2011 and 2012.


Average speed:  16.1 MPH

Max speed:  34.7 MPH

Average cadence:  86

Max cadence:  126

Ride time:  6:24:03

Elapsed time:  7:46:55


Average speed:  17.7 MPH

Max speed:  37.6 MPH

Average cadence:  88

Max cadence:  115

Ride time:  5:54:07

Elapsed time:  7:15:54

I feel great about today’s ride, and I think I was in better shape.  I’ve lost 15 pounds since December, and I rode 344 miles in May.  Eleven rides were on my mountain bike, and 13 were on my road bike, so it was a good mix.  Even though I was in better shape than last year, I felt the hand of God intervening on my behalf.  I was struggling to ride alone on Redwood Road, and I couldn’t hang with any groups until the Adobe riders came by.  That allowed me to rest my legs and reset my mental capacity.  I was able to zig zap up the hill to Eureka and pass lots of riders in my middle chainring.  Once the canyon opens up you still have a few miles to go to the Eureka stop, and it’s still a grinder climb, but I reached that point sooner than I expected last year and today.  I was able to have a tail wind that helped me make up some time.  I was able to push through the head wind and cross wind on the last 25 miles.  I was protected in the rain.  I was able to push hard as I approached the Eagle Mountain entrance, even though I was tired.  I spoke to God a lot on this ride, like I did on the last two rides, but I think He intervened more for me today.  I prepared myself, but what I didn’t today was beyond my preparation.  It’s a trivial thing for Him, but it means a lot to me.

You can click this link to go to Strava and see what I did today:

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Final week of training- Tuesday ride

I just rode 22.8 miles! Check it out on Strava:

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I just rode 44.5 miles!

I just rode 44.5 miles! Check it out on Strava:

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