Friday, November 27, 2009

Water Bottle-sicle

17 degrees at dawn

I suppose there is a reason why you don't hear a lot about people in Northern Climes doing centuries after Thanksgiving. The reason of course would be weather. The weather this morning would of course stand up to the reputation. It wasn't snowing or sleeting but the temps were at a nice 17 degrees down by the lake. I had pretty much dressed to match the cold but my fingertips and toes were quite cold until about half an hour after the sun came up.

The cue sheet I printed out was a little outdated and I found it had problems after around 15 miles or so. There are a lot of new communities around the end of the lake and it has renamed a lot of streets. I suppose some of it might have been the early morning and the cold though. Even with the problems with the cue sheet I managed to find my way around though.

Mist on the lake

I found myself wondering what in the world would posses a person to wander around in the predawn hours in 17 degree weather on a bike. I have to say I couldn't really answer. There wasn't any hope of a sunny warm day and Autumn had lost her colors. Well, Hmmm. I guess I did it as I had never seen the otherside of the lake and of course it was a challenge. In the end I am glad I got a late start as I think my fingers and toes couldn't have handled the freezing temps much longer.

Master Rando Ninja

When dawn arrived I had passed Provo and was down on the shore of the lake. I managed to startle 5 deer just before getting to the lake. Utah lake for those of you who might not know is one of two lakes that is the remainder of a prehistoric lake called Lake Bonneville that covered both the Salt Lake valley and Utah valley down by Provo. The other lake of course is the great Salt Lake. Though it is but a remnant of the earlier lake it is still quite large and would take me the better part of the day to go around. I'd end up with 105 miles by the end of the ride.

Road down the west side of the lake

Navigating around the top of the lake while trying to make heads and tails of the cue sheet was interesting but I managed to find my way over to Saratoga Springs. It was around in here that I discovered that my non-insulated water bottle had frozen solid. Incidentally I made fun of Saratoga springs in an earlier blog entry where I commented on communities far out of the city with rising gas prices and sinking home values. Upon closer inspection, Saratoga springs seemed to be doing ok despite my earlier speculation.

The highway going down the edge of the lake didn't have a shoulder but I did alright and no one gave me trouble. 9 out of 10 vehicles were pulling trailers full of ATV's. My brother inlaw tells me there is a great set of dunes out here so I guess it wasn't state ride your atv day, it was just that I was close to the mecca of such things.

The center of the farming community.

The stretch along the side of the lake is 27 miles long with long rolling hills. The landscape was a bit stark in contrast to the mountains of the east side of the lake. In several places good old boys were out with there young little bubbas shooting in gravel pits on the side of the road. Getting toward the end of the lake the road moved into farms and farming communities.

I was able to take off my jacket and windvest and go with just my longsleeve microfleece jersey from here although it still got chilly in spots when the wind picked up (it was a headwind unfortunately).
Very old Sinclair Gas Station in Elberta

Elberta isn't a very big town but it was a welcome sight after the long trip down the side of the lake. Their only convenience store appears to be for sale. Hopefully they don't lose their current store like they did the one across the street from it.


I took a wrong turn or missed the turn to head up to West Mtn but I ended up in the right spot with only a few miles added onto the ride in the end. The ride around the mountain was pretty. It was not a very busy road. I saw one car int he first section and didn't see other cars until I had passed the boat launch on the other side.

New Orchard

I was surprised to see farms on the side of the mountain. Much of the way the road was right on the side of the lake. I was amazed at how remote the road seemed even if it was just a few miles from a rather populated area to the east. As I stopped to take a picture a driver's ed car drove by. I guess the instructor was taking no chances.

Very low travelled road around West Mountain.

After I got around the mountain I was surprised to run into a few other road cyclists bundled up just as good as I was. They didn't get the worst of it though. It was around 40 degrees. Personally I think they got to see the best part of the ride. I enjoyed the whole ride but I think the part I saw them on was the best so they didn't do too badly for the morning.

Edgewater Wetlands

Edge of lake by West Mountain

West Mountain Road

D'Net's Uncle's farm- somewhere in that direction anyway.

Even though the cue sheet was once again correctly designating roads I departed from it. I was in country I knew and I wanted to ride past D'Net's Grandpa's farm. Her Uncle has a farm nearby too. Last weekend D'Net's grandmother passed away and we get to attend the funeral tomorrow. She always called me "Carl". I knew she knew who I was she just got my name wrong but it kind of became one of those things one looks back fondly upon. Her Grandpa is too old to run the farm anymore but there are the remnants of the old barn out back and old farm equipment to the side. I snapped a picture on my way by.

D'Net's Grandparent's house

I couldn't stop long as I was long overdue. The headwinds and cold had slowed me a lot more than I had anticipated. I suppose riding the last few days up the canyon didn't help either. Anyway, I was a few hours late and needed to hurry across the farmlands of the town of Lake Shore (great name huh?).
After heading through Spanish Fork about all that was left was to climb the hill up to my Sister's house. It tops out at 7-8% which is a nice little addition to any ride that leaves you a little fatigued. I ended up with 105 miles in 6 hours and 18 minutes with 1800 feet of climbing. Not a bad days work considering all the junk I had to carry to stay warm.

The Very last Hill

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Hobble Creek on a frosty, icy morning.

Looking over to Mt. Nebo from the mouth of the canyon.

I am not going to write a lot today but thought I would put the pictures up here. It was 26 degrees when I got out the door at 8 AM.
Winter comes to the Hobble Creek Golf Course.

There is frost everywhere and ice on the edges of the creek.

The surrounding peaks are snow covered.

If the school bus can't go any further, neither can I.

Give us a big hug it says. Just take my kids to school and get out of here.

Morning on the peaks.
It was 20 degrees most of the way up the canyon. A chilly morning indeed. I had the old balaclava on, tights, a long sleeve jersey, and my windstopper jacket. I had cold fingertips and toes but other than that I think I called it just about right.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Back in a Land of Seasons

Snow on the mountains

It's cold up here in the north. 40's at 3pm heading out the door and up for a sweet ride up the canyon. The Canyon is Hobble Creek and the city is Springville, Utah. I've hauled my commuter bike and all my winter weather gear up here. It snowed on Monday and snow is in the forecast for Saturday. Today however, the streets are clear and the stars are aligned for a crisp winter ride up into a mountain canyon.

Your's Truly.

I only made one wrong turn on my way over to the road that went up the canyon. After getting on the right road I made the mistake of taking the bike path instead of the road. A mistake you ask? Yup. It was quite lovely going around hobble creek reservoir but soon the path snuggles up against the north side of the mountains to the south and gets shadier. Shade = snow. I discovered that you can in fact pedal a roadbike on a 2-3% grade in the snow without slipping if you are careful. It is not an optimum arrangement though so I was interested in getting back on the road.

Hobble Creek Reservoir

I had never explored the arms of hobble creek where it forked before and decided that today was the day. I took the left arm first. The temps were in the 30's as I worked my way up the north fork of Hobble Creek. There were numerous large tacky mansions all over the place. Each owner had likely plopped down close to a million on them I am sure so that they could put their crime against good architecture and nature upon a scenic landscape. Money is truly wasted on the wealthy I think sometimes. Then again, if I was wealthy perhaps it would change me to be the same.

Snow on the Bike Path

It was in the low 30's up in the shadier parts of the canyon. There was still ice and snow on the road in spots as I got up around 5500 feet. I finally got up to the end of the pavement at another mansion with special landscaping to make the creek look like a creek from another place with fir trees. Still it was nice so I'll stop being catty. It's better landscaped than my yard anyway.


You know, I was asking myself what more this beautiful canyon could use and then I stumbled on this and dope slapped myself and said of course! Another tacky over the top mansion!

Turn around at the end of the pavement.

Valley and Mountains

There are a few normal houses in this canyon sandwiched in. People who called this place home long before it got trendy or got a golf course.

29 degrees at the icy turn around on the South Fork of Hobble Creek.

It was a chilly ride down the hill in 29 degree air. My fingers and toes were chilly. After a few wrong turns I finally got back to my Sister's house. But not without impressing my Nephews friend with my amazing bike handling skills as I began my turn at the bottom of the big hill behind my Sisters house and my front tire blew out spectacularly. He said he kept waiting for me to bite it and he was surprised when I was able to save it. The tire was toast though. Finding and open bike shop the night before thanksgiving is not the easiest thing around here but I did so stay tuned for more blogs this week. I hope to ride around Utah Lake on Friday. Tomorrow I'll probably head up Hobble Creek for a second dose.

Sunset on the Wasatch Front.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

El Tour

I'm normally not the type to drive 2 hours to do an 8 mile kid ride but I earned an El Tour Jersey for raising donations for Cochise and by golly if I had the jersey I was going to participate somehow. I would have ridden the long distance but I promised my wife my weekends for Nov and Dec since I trained so hard for Cochise and since taking the kids for a bike ride was still giving the family a Saturday I was set. Anyway, it was a lot of fun and I got to see the fast guys start and finish which I haven't done before. There is also the fact I think the event lit a bit of a fire under my daughter to do more cycling so I'm thinkin we're going to do the 35 mile version next year.

These are the vip guys from the front of the platinum turning onto the frontage road first thing in the morning. I had a guy standing next to me dinging a cowbell. I was amazed how many people yelled 'need more cowbell' at us. Incidentally if you don't understand the reference look for cowbell Saturday night live on youtube, it's very funny.

My kids were amazed at the vast amount of riders. I told them Bruce was riding and they should look for a guy with a Red bicycle frame.

This is my daughter pulling a James Dean type look.

The Peloton

My kids did really good at the kids ride. In fact my daughter came in 10th she said. It wasn't a race granted but she seems to be excited about cycling now so perhaps this is a good thing. My bigger 7 year old son Joseph, was about 3 or 4 minutes ahead of me, my smaller 7 year old son Joshua, and my 5 year old daughter Adela.
The last time we saw Becky and Joseph before the end

Josh ripping it up on the first bridge.

Josh gives Dad 'The Look'

Medals for everyone!

When I wasn't doing the kids ride I managed to lead a break away from the Peloton at the same time.
It was a good day. I was amazed at some of the people who showed up at the finish to watch. These weren't cycling fanatics. Most of them were just normal Tucsonians who came out for the festivities and to watch one of the seminal events of the Tucson area as opposed to swearing under their breath while stuck in traffic. It was kind of cool to see that.
Speaking of fanatics there was a dude riding around the finish line with a giant sign about some silly cause thought up by bitter minds by people with an overdeveloped sense of paranoia and too much time on their hands. If he really wanted to get the word out he would have towed that billboard around the route. I bet he'd still get beat by the guy on the unicycle though.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

November Evening in the City

Pictures from Tuesday night's commute.

12th street at sunset about 8 miles from the bus stop downtown.

Our intrepid hero by the streetlights

Hmmm, I haven't thought about how safe at night this commute is. Turns out it is fine, mostly.

Buildings a few miles north of I-10

Heading south towards downtown on 3rd street. Think I'll pass on the filter and lube.

I wonder why they call this palm lane.

The lonely dark bus stop. There was a lady that came to wait for a bus here after I got here. I can't help but think if I were a bit smaller I'd be a little concerned if it was me.

Looking south to downtown.

The community theatre across the street.

I-10 from inside a bus.

Paul in the swanky glow of public transportation.