2013 Tour of the Depot Road Race

Tour of the Depot 2013 Podium for Masters A.

This years Tour of the Depot road race had an excellent course and changed from the previous “Stage Race” format to a one day road race. The course started in the same location as the previous years road race, but went over Johnson’s Pass towards the Dugway proving grounds, out in the middle of the Utah desert. The course was great though, with two big climbs, at least compared to what we usually see in Utah road races. The climbs were spaced far enough from each other and the finish line that would allow for some great tactics, with the harder climb being the final one and 20 miles from the finish.

Earlier in the week, Art O’connor and I drove out there to recon the course, which was a great idea. On paper, climbs usually seem easier than they are when you ride them, so it was a good idea for us to scope them out. The first climb was the easier but longer of the two, it wasn’t incredibly steep but probably like the steep part of Emigration canyon. The return climb was a beast, only 4 miles but pretty steep at around 8% grade, I knew it would be very decisive for the race. When we went it was very cold, I only had a jacket on but no tights and the temps got into the 30′s during our recon.

The race was very exciting leading up to it, with a lot of pre-registrations happening and over 30 people signing up, which is great for a masters race. There were also some really strong riders there including Louie Amelburu, Mark Schaefer and Mark Zimblemann, as well as a national track champion. I was excited for the race but knew it would be a hard effort. D

The pace started out strong with a few attacks going off the front, but when it hit the climb I was able to work my way up to the front and stay there, getting up to the top with relative ease. I didn’t realize it but we did cause a split in the pack, and good thing because coming down the steeper back side I blew out my front tire. Luckily I had a tubular on so the glue was able to hold the tire on and I kept upright and let riders go around me. I pulled over to the side of the road and the wheel car helped me get a new wheel, which we changed pretty quickly. Just then two of my teammates cruised by me and helped pace me back to the pack in about 20 minutes. I couldn’t believe that I was able to get back to the race!

The next 18 miles were in the desert part of the race, no trees and just flat, dirty roads. The pace was modest for a while until the road turned back towards Tooele, then the pace picked up and there were a few attacks. I had to push hard to get onto the front group, and right as the race got back onto the main return road, things started to heat up. I was up towards the front with Ira and the pace was hot. The attacks really started happening and I couldn’t keep with the main group and settled into my own pace, pulling a few people along. I could tell Ira was getting into the red zone and I slowed down a bit to wait up for him, he waved me to go on and catch the rest, so i started pushing a bit harder. We dropped most of the people in the group but I had 3 other guys going over the top with me, all great cyclists.

When we went over the top, it was Art, me, Zan Treasure and Doug Armstrong. We soon caught up to two other riders that were up the road and then became a group of six riders and started working in a pace line to chase down the 3 cyclists up the road which included Louie, Mark Schaefer and Mark Zimblemann. I believe they went over the top with about 2 minutes and we found ourselves on the flats at around 60 seconds. The pace was brisk and Art kept urging the riders to keep the pressure on. About 5 miles out I could sense that some of the riders were becoming weaker and skipping pulls, so Art and I just kept pushing.

We came into the final corner with 1k to go and a decent climb to the finish. I went around on the outside and ramped up the pace, everyone started to fall back except for Art. Just before we came into the final straight we could see the 3 leaders, but it was too late to catch them. As soon as Art and I crested the top of the short climb, we could almost see the finish line, I took the front position with Art behind me. We had a good distance from the next riders so we sprinted it out and Art got me on the line, but I had a late surge and got in at the wrong angle and actually went outside the cones. Luckily I didn’t get disqualified and ended up in 5th place, the last spot on the podium. I was happy to be there with some outstanding competition, ended up getting some upgrade points and had a great time. It was one of the funnest road races I have done and I am excited for future episodes of this race.

2013 East Canyon Road Race

The 2013 East Canyon Road Race was one of the funnest races I have done in recent memory, at least now that it is over. This is the third year that I have done this race, the first year (on the newer course) was the third race I had done as a licensed rider. It was about the time I upgraded from Cat 5 to Cat 4, but the 4 race was all filled up so that left me to register in the Masters B race. That was a great year for me, and that race I had a podium finish (3rd place). Last year I was really feeling good about the race and pushed the pace the whole race, but in the final leadup to the finish, I blew a spoke and my wheel jammed up leaving me with a DNF less than a mile to go.

I was really excited for this years race, but again, the weather didn’t look very good during the week just like the week before. This race, without Ira being there, I made a point to be a bit more conservative and watch where I would spend my energy. I was curious if there would be a split on the short steep climb, but in the previous years it wasn’t enough to break things up significantly. I reviewed different strategies in my head and knew I would be riding with some great competition in this race. I got everything ready for my race the evening before and got to bed at a reasonable time.

When I woke up in the morning, it was pouring outside here in Salt Lake City. It was pretty cold, in the 40′s but according to the weather reports the chance of rain was small so I was hoping it wouldn’t be bad but brought extra rain gear just in case. As I drove up the canyon, it didn’t get any better and I could see snow on all of the mountain tops as I drove up there. As i got closer to the race, the sun started to peak out and the temp warmed up. When I got to the parking area, it felt great outside. I took my bike and gear out of my car, set up my trainer and started warming up. It felt warm enough for me to take off one of my layers of clothing.

The second I got off the trainer and out on to the road to ride to the start, I could feel that it was much cooler than on my trainer, but figured I would warm up as soon as we got going. At 10:15, the Masters A group was off and we started calmly riding up the Hogsback ┬ánorth side. The pace was calm, but then an attack by Mark Shaefer kicked things off as my teammate Dave Swensen followed, then the entire pack caught on and the attack was neutralized. Of course I just hung onto the back for the time being, letting things feel out and letting my legs warm up. As we got over the top of the climb the rain started pouring down, and i was a bit nervous about the descent because the previous year I hit 55 mph coming down and didn’t want to be doing those speeds in the rain.

Coming down the descent the rain turned to hail and pelted our skin causing some stinging, but the good thing is the pace wasn’t out of control on the descent. By the time we reached the bottom of the descent, the rain and hail was pouring down and water was splashing up on us. We rode from the bottom of the descent all the way to East Canyon resort and back in a full on downpour. I was miserable, thinking of the Infinite Team camp when we had a similar downpour that resulted in me having to stay inside a gas station warming up for a half hour. It wasn’t quite that bad, just as wet but a few degrees warmer, but I have to admit that I was thinking if it stayed like this I would have to quit the race on the way back. But then I started thinking how badly I hate quitting and wouldn’t be able to live with it, also what my competition would think. I knew if I made it back past the start location, I could at least go further than that and hopefully warm up.

Before the turnaround, the first big attack went off the front and at the turnaround the pace snapped up to full speed along the return of East Canyon reservoir. We were getting closer and closer to the Hogsback short & steep climb where I thought I would be able to move to the front. The pace picked up incredibly hard before the climb, almost to the point where I was feeling like I was on the ropes, but as I looked at my heart rate monitor I was still in the 160′s. I knew it was probably my body feeling very cold and sluggish, so I just tried to hang on and bear with it, but my mind was wondering why it was so hard so early in the climb.

I worked my way to the front of the group, but by that time there were two riders going off the front and catching up with the rider that had broke away earlier. For how I was feeling from a few seconds earlier, I started to pick up the pace and gap the rest of the field, but it was painful and I knew that it might be hard to bridge up to the front, so I let up a little bit and allowed myself to get absorbed by the 4 riders in the chase group. By the time we crested the summit, I was with Mark Shaefer, his teammate Donald Armstrong, a gentleman from FFKR and Jeff Clawson of Canyon, then three riders up the road about 15 seconds. I hoped on back of the train and stayed there for a few minutes before I was ready to fire again and help get us up to the front.

We took turns hammering our way down the 2nd descent of the race, and the rain had stopped an the heat from the expenditure on the climb had helped me to warm up. By the time we reached Henefer, the front group was now made up of 8 people and we had a mere 30 seconds over the remainder of the field. From here on we acted almost as a team time trial and kept the pace pretty high all the way out to the turnaround. After the turnaround I could see the rest of the pack very close by, seemed like just a few seconds and I expected things to regroup at that point. An attack went off the front and we slowly closed in. Once that attack was neutralized another would go off the front. This repeated attacking seemed to go on and on, but I enjoyed it. Our group lost one rider so now it was down to seven, which I liked because I enjoy a ‘divide and conquer’ type of race.

I was excited to get to the last climb, ready for the game to get on. The weather, which was nice for quite a while, had become cold and rainy again on the climb, not to mention a big headwind. I took pulls at the front just to get my heart rate up. The pace was modest for a while and it wasn’t until the first sustained steeper section that an attack came by Cris Williams, and it wen’t unanswered as he rode off and got a decent gap. I finally took up the chase and alternated with Mark Shaefer to try and close the gap. The pace picked up enough until it became just three of us, including the Mark Zimblemann. I was in some good company, two riders that I have such high respect for and who have a pretty legendary status in Utah.

A few more attacks went off, leaving me slightly behind but it slowed down to the point where I could get back on. The first time up the climb I noticed a cabin in the distance that helped me to see how close we were to the finish. This time I made note of it and as I saw it I prepared myself for a sprint. Finally I could see some flashing lights, but I didn’t want to jump just yet because I didn’t want to get to that location and realize I still had further to go, but at the same time, as I have done in previous races, I didn’t want to underestimate the finish either. I finally saw some cones and the finish trailer, I didn’t jump, but calmly shifted down a couple gears in the big ring and started hammering away. I could hear one rider behind me, but didn’t turn around, instead I kept pushing it and as I came up to the finish I just got back in the saddle and kept the torque on. I heard someone cheering my name which felt great, but head down I pushed on until I crossed the finish line in 2nd place, my best yet race as a Cat 3.

The weather was horrible at the top and cold, so it wasn’t long until I started descending the climb to go back to the car. It was cold, but fun, thinking about how the race unfolded and the bad weather. By the time I got to the bottom I was absolutely freezing and could hardly move my hands, but I was done and that was all that mattered. I got inside my car and talked with some teammates for a minute but it took me quite a while to get warmed up. I was happy with a good result and excited to ride with such great riders with so much experience!

Random thoughts

Last night I had a hard time sleeping, I was kind of in and out of the dream state but for some reason I kept having this thought in my head that said “The more time you spend being upset about things, the less time you have to enjoy things”. I’m not sure why this was in my head, I am pretty content and upbeat almost all of the time. It may have had something to do with Boston bombings (or maybe all the bitching/drama on the Utah Cycling Association message board;).

It’s been almost a year and a half of not watching news like I used to, but I turned it on today for a bit just to get caught up on stuff, it left a really sick feeling in my stomach. I used to try to be up to date on everything with news, politics and finance, but it would leave me feeling kind of negative a lot of times. Now I just want to disconnect as much as I reasonably can.

Being self employed and no longer in the nightlife scene, Facebook plays a role in me being ‘connected’ to friends and the happenings in the world. I can manage content a bit more, which is nice. Sometimes I just have to blurt things out (like I am now) or the occasional comment on politics or religion that I often delete a few seconds after I say it as to not offend anyone (because i care about you!), it feels kind of good to unload from time to time if even only for a second.

What is really interesting is the world keeps going, crazy shit happens regardless, government doesn’t change, people seem to get more and more polarized. This happens weather or not I focus on it or worry about it or try to do something about it.
Back in the late 90′s when tech stocks were booming and the internet allowed the entire world to connect, I was certain that this world would become more united; people would be able to connect more and boundaries such as race, sex, sexual orientation, religion, politics, nationalities would melt away and we would all just be people. It didn’t quite work out that way.

Anyway here we are, in a world that seems to get more and more crazy. I just want to enjoy life to the fullest, taking in all the simple things that make life amazing. Riding my bike, being with my soul mate, earning every wrinkle and gray hair. I don’t want to care about weather or not the government is going to take my gun away or spend my money or crash our economy or turn into a police state or whatever the flavor of the day paranoia is. What happens happens, I just need to be able to flow like water.

I’m going to go put on some trance music, mow my lawn, then ride my bike and be happy. Ciao.

Tax Day Circuit Race

This past weekend I tried out a new race that I hadn’t done but always wanted to, the Tax Day Circuit Race up in Inkom Idaho, about 5 miles from Pocatello. This is a race that features multiple laps of a 8 mile course with around 700ft of climbing per lap. I wasn’t sure I would be doing it because pre-registration was looking to be pretty slim with only 1 registrant earlier in the week for the Masters A group. I talked with Ira and some of the other team members to see if anyone was interested in signing up. Ira said that he would be since he would be gone the week after for the East Canyon road race. Around Wednesday, we both decided to jump in and then registrations started moving up, and by the time registration was up we had a field of 11, not big but certainly much better than what I had imagined during the slow lead up to the race.

As we checked the weather in the upcoming days, it didn’t look good. The weather was to be cold and windy, and then the day before it said it would be rainy. We already committed to it so Ira and I drove up there, leaving around 10am. The drive up wasn’t too bad, about 2 1/2 hours. As we got closer and closer we could see some sketchy clouds, and about 20 miles to Inkom the rain started pouring and the temperature dropping. By the time we reached the race location, it was cold and wet and I was a bit concerned with the dangers of racing up and down some sketchy climbs in this weather. Ira and I decided that we would do it though, and as soon as we started getting our numbers, the weather started getting a little better, some clouds started lifting and the rain slowed down. I had my trainer so I hopped on and started warming up.

As the race started, the rain was still coming down but not nearly as bad. We had a neutral roll out that took us a couple miles up into the canyon and then we were off with Eric Woolsey setting up the early pace. The race started picking up as soon as we reached the first circuit and Ira went to the front to get things warmed up, then I would follow in with some pushing of the pace. I really wanted to make sure that the race had some intensity so when we hit the switchback leading up to the final climb I stepped on the gas and upped the speed a bit. The climb wasn’t too long on the steep section, around 4 minutes, then the descent began and it was a fast one with two cattle guards, on of which came right after a turn which made it difficult to hit at full speed.

On the second lap, Ira was at the front putting in a dig and as soon as he pulled off I didn’t really attack but put in an acceleration which took me and another Microseal rider off the front. When I looked back we had a gap so I just decided to roll with it and keep going. We put in a good pace and alternated back and forth, gaining time on the pack. By the time we hit the switchback we probably had 20 or so seconds, then plunged down the descent with speed and by the third and fourth lap had around a minute lead. I was really pushing it hard, figuring if we could just stay out of site, Ira and Mark Schaefer would be sitting in, either way we had a card to play. I could really feel the climb getting hard on the fourth lap and on the descent the pack really closed in on us. When I saw them right behind I sat up and got absorbed.

The Microseal guy was still up the road and on the penultimate climb, it seemed like no one was interested in chasing him even though he was so close, and the headwind was blowing hard. The pack almost was at a stand still at certain times, Ira would try and close it down, then I would hop on and then the rest of the pack would just sit in while the rider ahead just plugged on. We came up on the steep section of the climb and I just didn’t have it in me to stay with the riders. I let them go and they went over the climb a few seconds ahead of me while I just decided to ride the last lap in on my own, finishing the race around 3 minutes down. At the top it was great to see that Ira took 2nd place, but I was a bit disappointed that I couldn’t hang on in the end, as well as happy that I was able to get away and give it a gamble. In the end I only scored 2 points towards the UCA, but I am excited for next week where I will give it another go at the East Canyon Road Race.

Tour Del Sol 2013

Two weeks ago Angie and I headed back to St George for my 3rd Tour del Sol. This year I was able to race in the Masters A category and it would be my first time in that group as well as my first time racing with my new teammates on Infinite. Angie skipped out on work that Friday and I worked for a while but we finally left Salt Lake around 2pm. The drive was pretty crazy after we got past Provo and a snowstorm came down on us. It was nearly a whiteout for a while and I was glad that I was able to get both of my bikes packed up inside of the vehicle. The weather cleared up as we got closer to central Utah and by the time we reached St. George the weather was pleasant. We stopped in at Red Rock Bicycles and grabbed my race pack and I was able to chat with Ira, Mike and Dave, as well as some other teammates and we made plans to eat.

After we left the bike shop, we went around to the other side of the Bluff and checked into our rented condo at the Sports complex, which was a nice 1 bedroom with a den and extra bed on the bottom level. The unit was a bit dated but I loved it, a very comfortable place with a kitchen that would allow me to feel at home and relaxed. We quickly got our stuff out of the car and into the condo, then headed off to meet with the rest of the team at a place called the ‘Brick Oven’ which was a pizza and pasta place. I had a big shake before I left an that kept me from gorging on a heavy dinner. After dinner we stopped in at where Ira was staying and said hello and chatted for a while, Ira told me about the course and it made me a bit nervous so we went out in the dark and drove it in the car, then went back to the condo to get some sleep and wake up for the next mornings time trial.

When I woke up, it was windy and cold, the weather had dropped and was now in the high 30′s. The wind made it absolutely miserable out there so I had to wear a lot of extra clothes that I normally don’t wear for a time trial. I found where Ira was and parked my car next to his, then set up my bike and trainer and started warming up with him. The wind was blowing so hard that it made it very difficult to attach our numbers with an adhesive. I warmed up for a half hour and felt ready to go, and the wind started dying down so at the last moment I changed my front wheel out for a deeper dish one, which turned out to be a big mistake.

I left the start at 9:26 and the race immediately started with a hill. I paced myself pretty well but as soon as I started going, the wind kicked up again and I could feel myself blowing all over the road. I saw my 30 second man about 15 seconds in front of me but then the wind got so bad that I couldn’t even hold onto the aerobars and dropped down to my bullhorns. It was a big mistake to change out my front wheel as I rode for at least 2-3 miles out of the aero bars. My head was getting to me and I felt like I was going so slowly, but as I made the turnaround and the tail wind was at my back, I started picking it up again. I was able to pass several riders so I wondered if I had limited the damage.

After the TT we went back to the apartment and I was able to check my results with an email that was sent to me. I placed 5th, but over 2 minutes down, I wasn’t exactly pleased but it wasn’t the worst either considering there were 25 starters. I was also somewhat consoled that part of my time loss was due to using the wrong equipment or my inability to handle the aerobars in the wind, but not necessarily my fitness. I chilled out for a while, hit up the hot tub, rested and then got ready for the crit at the airport.

The Tour Del Sol criterium is one of my favorite courses; long, open and wide with two 180 degree turns. We started at 5pm which was nice, it gave us plenty of recovery time. The crit went well, a lot of attacks but it seemed fairly easy to negotiate the course and cover the attacks. On the last lap Spence Debry had a great attack and stayed away for the win. I was conservative and just made sure I was in the pack, while Mike Underhill scored a 2nd place with a great lead out from Ira. After the crit, we all decided to go to dinner, this time we went to a great place called Benja Thai, which had great sushi and thai food. It was a blast getting together with the whole team and talking, what a great crew. After dinner, Angie and I went and grabbed our favorite desert from Nelson Custard. We went back to the apartment and hung out for a while, but I had to get to bed early because we had a really early start, with the weather in the 20′s at Gunlock resevoir.

I had to get up around 5:20 in the morning to be ready for the stage start at 8am. I knew it would be seriously cold so I wanted to get there and get warmed up adequately before the start. We left the apartment around 6:30 am and got to the reservoir where I unloaded my bike and trainer and started the warmup (after signing in). I looked on my computer and it said 28 degrees, chilly! All things considered, it wasn’t really that bad however I really wish they would start it an hour later so the sun would at least be up.

The race started at 8:05 and we got going at a pleasant pace. There was an attack right before the first hill but it was easily neutralized in a few minutes by the top. When we hit the Veyo Wall, I wasn’t in the best position and had to claw back some real estate on the climb, but was up towards the front by the top. The race continued on down through Veyo and Snow Canyon and then onto the parkway through Ivins. I had a pretty uncomfortable ride because I had to pee so badly, but what can you do. I was actually really looking forward to Utah hill so I would be in enough pain to not think about it. A few attacks went off the front from time to time, and although I didn’t realize it, Spence got away again. We got passed by the 3/4′s right before the start of Utah hill and they hit the gas pretty hard.

Our group just held a steady pace and I moved up to the front of the pack, right in front of Ira and right behind the two leaders of the race, Louis Amelburu and Mark Schaefer. They set a steady pace up the climb and I glued myself to their wheel. I didn’t look behind but I am sure riders started dropping off, because we started with 24 riders on the climb and by the top there were only about 8 of us left, and just Ira and I from team Infinite. The pace wasn’t too bad, there was a time or two where it felt a little difficult to follow but I would say for the most part, I rode well within myself. Ira attacked towards the top of the climb, it took me a minute to respond but we caught back on right before the top and the turnaround.

We bombed down the climb and passed more and more of the cat 3/4 group. On the final run in to Gunlock, we caught the lead group of the 3/4′s and in the sprint to the finish line, Ira got the jump on the whole group and sprinted past Mark and Louis for the win, while I came in 4th place on the stage and moved up into 4th place overall. It was great to see Ira win and I had a blast being up there with him, not to mention had a pretty good result for myself.

It took forever for them to get the podium going but finally around 12:30 we were all done with everything and ready to head back to the apartment. We got back and I was extremely hungry, but we got showered up and went out and stopped into Red Rock to pick up some shoes for Angie that were on closeout, then ended up getting a salad at Cafe Rio. We went back to the apartment and gorged out on some great food that tastes so good after a race like that, then fell asleep for a while. Later in the day the weather was amazing so I went out and soaked in the hot tub for a bit, then woke Angie up and asked her if she wanted to go drive around. We took a ride up Snow Canyon where I had never been before, it was a short drive but nice to see. Then we grabbed a burger from Smash Burger and went back and just hung out, it was great. The thing I enjoy the most about racing, is being done and having chill time with Angie.

The next morning Angie and I got up relatively early, packed up all of our gear and got out of there before 10am. We were back in Salt Lake around 2pm and I was able to get some work done and Angie left and went to work for a while. It was a great weekend to say the least, and I was happy to finish the course with the Utah hill climb since the year before I wasn’t able to because of a mechanical issue. The following week I just trained and took it easy, with the exception of last Saturday where i rode up both Little and Big Cottonwood canyons, which took about 4 hours. On Sunday I went on the Plan 7 ride and had a few minutes to talk to Dave Harward about my training and keeping me focused, he decided to add in a “Strava” chasing day to help me mix it up.

This past week i worked on my deck a bit, trying to take of the top so I could resurface it, which didn’t work out so well because of the stripped screws and rotting wood. I finally decided that I just need to pull the whole thing out and build a new one. Yesterday I did a monster ride of 101 miles and did a few Strava segments, I feel like its good training and fun to chase. Today I finished the last of a three week block with some good efforts on my TT bike, putting in 267 miles this week and ready for a recovery week. Next week I think I will race the Tax Day circuit race.


Infinite Training Camp & Springtime

The weather is starting to get warmer and this weekend Angie and I are heading down to the Tour Del Sol stage race. I have had a fun winter spending a lot of time on the trainer but I am more than ready to get out and ride. Two weeks ago I went down to St George with my team for training camp. I left Salt Lake on Thursday afternoon and made it down to St. George around 6pm then met up with Ira and a few other team members where we stayed at a house with about 7 of us.

On Friday March 8, the team met up for a ride around the Gunlock loop in St George. The weather was extremely cold, in the 40′s, but from the house it appeared that we would warm up on the ride so we dressed accordingly. We met up at the park in Ivins and began rolling out towards the Gunlock reservoir, then the rain started coming down and the temperature dropping. By the time we got to the reservoir it was fully coming down and our clothes were completely soaked through, with the temperature dropping into the 30′s. I was absolutely freezing and could hardly feel my hands. I pedaled as hard as I could over the two climbs and my hands hurt the most, I couldn’t even shift or control my bike. I was able to make it over the climb first then we headed over to Veyo and warmed up in a gas station. My core wasn’t that bad but my hands have never been so cold and as I put them under cold water, the stinging was almost unbearable. I literally pulled my socks off and wrung them out.

We stayed in the gas station for a while, mulling on how bad it would be to go back out into the cold and have to ride back home. I was drinking a hot chocolate when Ira and a few other teammates decided to take off. I was running behind and a lot of the team opted to stay and warm up, I tried to convince a few people to ride back with me because I didn’t want to just sit around and wait. Finally I decided to just suck it up and get out in the cold, with rain drenched clothes, and ride it out. I grabbed a few plastic bags just in case it started to rain again, to cover up my hands. At first it was absolutely freezing, but there was a small climb shortly out of Veyo that allowed me to warm up as I went hard. Coming down from Veyo it started getting colder and colder with the long descent, but finally I made it back to the house we were staying at and jumped in the shower. Soon the guys got home and we got in the hot tub to warm up, then went out to eat at a local Thai and Sushi place, followed by a brief visit to Dave Brinton’s rented house where the team was having a gathering.

The next day was the one I was really excited for, the climb over Utah hill down to Littlefield and back. The temperatures weren’t much better the next day but at least it wasn’t raining. We could see snow up on the mountaintops so that wasn’t to exciting. Instead of driving to the meet up location in Ivins, we just got on our bikes and rode the 6 miles to meet up with the rest of the team. When we got there it was extremely cold and even though we had warmed up on the ride over, the wind was still very chilly. At least there was a head wind in the direction we were planning on going, which I prefer so there is a tail wind on the way home.

The team seemed to take a bit of time to roll out from Ivins, so being as cold as I was I latched on to the first group. It felt good to get going on the road and as soon as the group of riders hit the bottom of the climb, riders began drifting apart and I rode along with Mike Austin for most of the way up. At the top it was very cold as expected, and it took about ten minutes to round up most of the group. About half turned around and went back at that point but the rest of us started riding down towards Littlefield. It was a long and cold descent but at least that side of the mountain was warmer than the Ivins side. We all regrouped at the bottom and then after a bit, riders started returning up the mountain.

Ira and I were in the last group of riders to leave and quickly met up with Nate, Dave and the Brinton’s. I was hoping to get a group to go hard to the summit and see how fast we could go, and hopefully take on some of the better times on Strava. There wasn’t much of an interest in doing that but Ira and Harry were up for the game. We started pushing it hard right about the time we hit the border and Harry hung with us for a while, then it became just Ira and I. We ended up riding past all the rest of the Infinite group and by the time I reached Mike Austin I was riding alone. I got to what I thought was the top and sat back to wait for Ira, and 30 seconds or so later he caught up to me and told me to keep going because we weren’t at the finish yet. It took about a mile more and then we were done, but we didn’t stay long and rode back down towards Ivins to keep from getting cold. My chain kept skipping, I didn’t realize but it was broken and gave me a hard time putting pressure on the pedals.

We briefly stopped at the meetup location and then Ira and I headed home. We were so excited to get back and sit in the hot tub, then after that we all went out for pizza, which just tasted amazing. I decided that instead of staying another night, I would pack up and head home then. It would be a late drive but then at least I would be able to see Angie and have a day to spend with her.

Other than that, my spring has been pretty routine, just hanging out with Angie, working and training. This weekend is the Tour del Sol, time to see how my fitness is coming along. This race is always exciting, the first one of the season for me, now this is my third year doing it.