Sunday, July 26, 2009

A Good Week of Racing

This week was fairly successful for me out at the races.  Every thursday night we put on a criterium at the north end of UVU.  It has been a fun summer racing and I was able to pull out the win this week with some pretty stiff competition.  Above is the video of the sprint finish.

Saturday my friend Eric Ellis and I headed up to Coalville for the Chalk Creek Road Race.  It was a really mellow course that we took at a fairly mellow pace.  It came down to the sprint and Eric and this other kid took off so I tried to catch them but ended up not being able to pull myself back to them.  I took third and Eric took second.  We were hoping for gold and silver but the other guy beat us to the punch.  It was a pretty fun race though.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Ruth Lake

One of my finer qualities is that I am perpetually late. It doesn't matter really what it is, if I plan to be there at a certain time I am 15 minutes late. I think the only things I am ever on time to are bike races and work... most of the time. Throwing my gear in the back of the truck I made the rounds picking up our crew and we made our way to the Uintas. It was Robbie, Brett, Eric, and Sara, who would accompany me on this trip. The destination was Ruth Lake situated about a mile off of the Mirror Lake Highway.

Packing in was made more eventful thanks to Robbie and his thousand pound 7 man springbar tent. I ended up carrying it after deciding that having two people take a handle isn't very "efficient" on a single track trail. It was a short walk to where we set up camp. I threw up my hammock and everyone got their tent situation squared away before we headed up for some climbing.

The Uintas provided some amazing views and some awesome rock. I can't pick out any route in particular that was my favorite because they all were fun. Even the easy routes were the type that just made me feel glad to be able to call this great sport a hobby. As dusk drew on we decided to head back to camp. I guess I took some magical shortcut through time because I left last and made it back first. I even had time to try to make it look like I had been there forever.

Mosquitoes are ever present in the Uintas. Living in a fog of "OFF" and smoke from the fire are the only ways to find sanctuary from the little suckers around dusk. They didn't make using the rest room that comfortable either... if you notice me scratching my butt the next few days you will know why.

Before I knew it the campfire talk was done and I was in my hammock looking up at a cloudless sky full of stars (this may very well be the first trip this year it didn't rain on). It was a comfortable night with only a few interludes spurred by bugs doing fly by's. I felt as annoyed as the guy on "Top Gun" that spilled his coffee when Maverick buzzed the tower. I wish I felt satisfied when I killed a mosquitoe... I feel a little better when I catch them about to bite me, but if you catch them in the act and you smash them its your blood that comes out and then you still get the itch so there is no real satisfaction. Those blue bug lights are the only real way I feel satisfied watching them die... is that weird?

Awaking to Eric and Sara making a fire to get breakfast going I struggled free from my sleeping bag and sat down to make a bowl of dinosaur egg oatmeal... it has eggs in it that turn into dinosaurs when you add water.

The Climbing was insanely good. I loved every second of it. Eric had a strong day throwing up this awesome 5.11 that had some way fun moves. We all climbed, froze in the shade, and cooked in the sun. Eric had a pretty big fall when leading that 11. The trip was a success, and once we had our fill of climbing we packed up and made the short hike out. I was once again accompanied by the tent made of lead. The only damper on the trip was that we didn't really notice the toll booth on the side of the road and we ended up with a 75 dollar ticket. sucks. That will hurt my already thin wallet... but I suppose you can't put a price on fun.

Robbie up on top of the 5.11 getting ready to head back down
I don't know why most of these are of Robbie...
Refilling the water.
This is the tent I carried.  It didn't smell to pleasant in there when morning rolled around.
My bed... Does it look comfortable?

Eric just finishing up on top of the first climb of the trip.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Snowboarding in July?

In search of a furlough from summer days, Tucker and I went looking for snow on a cloud-covered day. Tucker had been at Snowbird the week previous and noticed that there was enough snow up on Hidden Peak to have some fun, so he gave me a call.

We met up at the park and ride as the day turned dreary. We drove up in a slow drizzle arriving at Snowbird to a more crowded parking lot than we had anticipated. There was an acoustic music festival and a mountain bike race going on so we walked around enjoying the sounds and the smell of rain hanging in the mountain air. We made sure they would let us up the tram with our boards and we bought our 12 dollar tickets to the top.

Tucker said there was a lot more snow the week before but there was enough to build a little hip jump and to hang out for a few hours. I hiked down from the tram deck to the snow on a muddy trail in my flip-flops. Needless to say we caught a few funny looks from people while we were walking around with our snowboards.

The jump was fun and for a little while we caught some blue sky. The day couldn't have been any better. Up at the summit it was 55 degrees and it felt like spring skiing. Eventually we decided to hike back out and Tucker decided it would be a good idea to go straight up this rocky steep section... I decided that was not the best course so I told him it was stupid (I can be kind of a jack) and I walked up the easy snow path and caught a couple switch backs. After huffing his way up to meet me he agreed that his path was less than ideal. It has taken many years of being Tucker's friend to know not to follow his lines snowboarding, biking, or hiking. You always end up on rocks, in the bushes, or wheezing your way up this horribly steep path. We got to the tram and luckily made it down before Tuck got sick and puked. (He didn't drink enough water or eat enough food.)

On the drive home we decided we needed some nourishment so we stopped at this restaurant called Neils Fish House on 123rd S. in Draper where fish tacos blew my taste buds away. Really. Go there and get a taco. 
My beard.
Tucker getting ready to go.
Tucker and I just finishing up building our little jump.
flipy flip flippin.
Me catching some sky.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Another Adventure Tuesday

I had a long list of "to do's" this morning (job interview, watching the Tour de France, buying a churro at Costco, etc...) so adventure tuesday got off to a late start. Robbie, Brett, and I met up with some new friends, Forrest and Caroline, at the mouth of American Fork canyon. The plan was to hit some climbing walls that would be in the shade. We started off at "Division Wall" which is located just inside the northern most entrance of North Mill Campground.

We strung up a couple climbs and had a good time. The shade kept us pretty cool in a day where the sun would cook the desire to climb right out of you. Eric Montandon showed up before to long and we finished up where we were and headed down to "The Membrane". Eric lead a fun route while we waited for another group to finish up on the climbs that we wanted to do.

Amidst these two walls these two guys showed up that were gnarly good climbers but unfortunately not good dog trainers. They had this massive crazy brown dog with ratty matted hair that would just bark and bark... chew up a log, and then bark some more for no good reason. Brett, being the dog lover that he is, decided to pet the thing and his hands came away smelling like moldy cheetos. At one point the crazy thing was grabbing huge rocks out of the river and bringing them up to us. A misplaced throw by a kid in their party lead the dog into the middle of the river where I almost found myself hoping he would be swept away. I like dogs... just not that one.

We packed up all our gear, grabbed some grub and hit up a little place up in Alpine called sliding rock. It's a natural water slide fed by ice cold run off, so it is what you would have to call refreshing... It was unusually packed so we didn't stay too long. I did have the hilarious opportunity to watch a kid slip and crotch himself on a rock. I have learned that I am not what most would call compassionate. If they aren't seriously injured I just laugh... so thats what we did. Don't worry he was fine, after a minute he could even stand up straight.

Adventure Tuesday was a success and we were glad to have Forrest and Caroline come out with us, they made the day that much more fun.

Forrest and Caroline

All hangin out in the shade

Forrest going for the roof

Really all we do is hang out and say we go climbing.

Robbie and I bobsled style.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Stirring Early

5:15 a.m... a once dreaded time in the morning. My alarm is one of the more annoying things on the planet but I try to respect it by only hitting "snooze" a couple times. At this point in the morning twilight I am not all too excited to be up and getting ready for a ride, it is not until I step outside into the cool morning air that I really feel good about my decision.

Early morning is a time of day that many people hate but the more you are out in it the more you appreciate it. I make it down to the shore of Utah Lake before the sun peeks over the mountains painting everything a more vibrant shade. Downtown Provo is a more welcoming place around this time. There is hardly any traffic and people are just starting to get to businesses preparing for the day. I grab a bagel at Gandalfo's and sit outside on the ground to watch everyone.

Finishing around 9:00 a.m. I roll into my driveway and head inside to be greeted by Dave, my dog. Early to bed is the hard part... but the way everything is in the morning makes it worth it. (especially with forecasted temperatures in the mid 90's)

Friday, July 3, 2009


Last night at our UVU crit race Eric Ellis and I formed a break away and were gaining a lot of time on the group.  We were doing a 40 minute race and with around ten minutes to go we were rounding the corner before the finish line when Eric's tire completely exploded.  It was as if a gun went off. He maneuvered it perfectly saving himself from any injury but completely destroying his tire and rim.  I dodged around him and skidded ditching my bike and landing in the grass.  It was chaos and all I could do was laugh.  Poor Eric just got that bike not even a month ago and he destroyed a 400 dollar wheel... All in all he was pretty lucky to come out of that unscathed.  We were doing over 20 mph into that corner.  The rest of the race it rained and we all had a good time.

Venturing to Maple Canyon

conglomeratenoun |kənˈglämərət|Geology coarse-grained sedimentary rock composed of rounded fragments (>2 mmwithin a matrix of finer grained material :the sediments vary from coarse conglomerate to fine silt and clay.

Maple Canyon lies just outside of Fountain Green, UT, a rather small town east of Mona.  Tuesday night Eric and Whitney Montandon, Robbie, and packed up and drove to our camp spot up Maple Canyon.  We arrived around 11:30 p.m. and set up camp.  I threw up my hammock and they all threw out on the ground.  After a cup of tea and a muffin I pretty much sacked out mid-conversation. 
On occasion when camping you wake up and the sun is on you and there are bugs in your ears, annoying bird chirps and it just plain sucks.  But this morning I woke up and opened my eyes to a canopy of green leafs against a slightly overcast day, perfect temperatures, birds singing (just far enough away to sound pretty instead of annoying) and my hammock and sleeping felt so comfortable I felt glued in position.  There were things to be done so I struggled my way out of my comfy cocoon.  We planned on doing a climb up on "Hiji Rock" called "Exit Wound 5.9+" which is a 3 pitch sport route a ways up the canyon.
After some pancakes, provided by an able chef (Eric), we loaded up the cars and drove up the canyon and started the mile hike in.  I have never seen anything like Maple Canyon.  The conglomerate rock formations completely blew me away.  Climbing that type of rock was a little unsettling at first because rocks will pull out on occasion. The climbing was easy going and I was constantly amazed by the view.  Climbing affords you a perspective on the world that many rarely see.  We brought along a camera but had some malfunctions and lost the majority of the pictures from this climb which is tragic. This is a pic I got of the climb from
Robbie had some technical difficulties as well... he got one of his carabiners stuck in the chains at the top of the first pitch.  After a frustrating few minutes he finally freed himself and made the scramble up to the last pitch.  
The last little bit of climbing was the most challenging and when we made the top and enjoyed the view the sun started to cook.  Robbie and I were shirtless and really wishing we had some way to cover up.  After getting the rappel rigged up we hurried off the top.  PBJ's were calling us to hurry down to the car.  We cleaned up shop and scarfed down what food we had.  
We wanted to do a couple more climbs before we left so we grabbed some more water and headed to a wall called "Pipeline".  The place just had a "narnia" feel to it.  I loved it. The sky darkened on us and the rain hit pretty hard telling us it was time to go.  The rain combined with the cool temperatures that moved in also made us abandon our plans of swimming and goofing off at a rope swing on the way back.