Drive My Bike


Denied
July 30, 2009, 3:19 pm
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This morning I had a great ride to the office. It was cooler this morning than it has been for a long time, and even though I pushed the speed, I felt strong, and I wasn’t overly tired when I got there. Then I got to the office…

LockedOut

…and realized I had forgotten my keys and wallet!

I was the first one at the office, so without my keys I was locked out. Doh!

I did have my cell phone, so I was able to handle a couple of appointments I had scheduled, but then I just had to sit and wait for someone else to show up to let me in. I figured I’d take the picture above to commemorate the moment.

Oh well, at least it was a nice morning to be stuck sitting outside. 🙂

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And So It Is Over
July 27, 2009, 4:12 pm
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This was the first year that I ever cared much about the Tour de France, and it sure was fun to watch the race play out each day. Thee weeks of getting up early to watch, or setting up Tivo. Three weeks of checking the standings. Three weeks of wondering if Lance will pull it off. Three weeks… and now it is over.

LanceTour2009

When the tour started three weeks ago, I had no idea what I was in for. I knew the Tour was the most famous bicycle race in the world, and that Lance Armstrong was making his comeback, and I knew it was a big deal, but that was about it.

Well, in the last three weeks I have learned more about the Tour de France, and bicycle racing in general, than I ever could have imagined. Words like “Peloton”, “Breakaway”, “Attack”, and “Stage” now roll effortlessly off my tongue. I even know who Phil and Paul are. 🙂

What a race it was! It was exciting each day to see the unique elements of that day’s stage, and to begin to understand the strategies that each team was going to try. I learned all about the unique scoring of the different stages, and why certain riders chose to pursues different goals.

On the final day it was beautiful to watch the peloton roll into Paris, and to see the tradition play out as Team Astana took the front and “protected” their leader. Then there was that final sprint… wow… so much speed!

It was great fun!

I now consider myself an avid cyclist and have put in a lot of miles over the last year. I have a great deal of respect for all of the riders in the Tour. Just getting to that level of athletic ability is something that few in this world can hope to achieve. Then, when I watch guys like Lance Armstrong, Andy Schleck, and Alberto Contador conquer something like Mont Ventoux on Stage 20 with so much power and control, I am simply amazed.

It was great to see Lance do so well in his comeback bid. I know that some are disappointed that he didn’t win the overall, but for a guy his age who has been “retired” for so long, I think he did an incredible job. Based on the announcement of his plans for Team Radio Shack, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Lance at the top of the podium next year.

You can be sure that I’ll be watching.

(Photo courtesy of hyku)



Saturday Morning Canyon Ride
July 18, 2009, 8:58 pm
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This morning Dave and I road to the top of Emigration Canyon, a beautiful canyon in the northeast corner of the Salt Lake Valley. We started at about 6:15am, and it was a wonderful way to begin a Saturday. Who is Dave you ask? Well that’s another story…

EmigrationWithDave

Last Thursday evening I was sitting around the house and I just got kind of restless. I should have been really tired because I had done an intense spinning class that morning, and those usually completely wipe me out, but for some reason I just wanted to go for a ride. I decided to keep it simple, so I didn’t change into biking clothes, I just grabbed my helmet, announced my intentions to my family, and headed out the door. I didn’t really want to go far, I just wanted to get out and enjoy the night. I couldn’t decide on a good route, so I just started weaving through the neighborhood, and I eventually ended up on the road that is my main route for my commute to the office.

It was about 9:30pm, and was getting dark. As I pulled onto the main road I noticed another bicyclist a block or so in front of me. He was easy to spot because he had two really good red flashers on the back of his bike, and he was wearing a bright flashing headlight on his helmet. With a lighting setup like this I figured he was an experienced rider, so I decided to catch up with him and say hello.

As I got closer he must have sensed me coming up behind him because he pulled over to the right a bit to allow me to pass. (I later learned this was because he wears a good rear view mirror on his glasses.) I pulled alongside and said “How’s it going?”. That’s pretty much my standard greeting to other riders, and within a few seconds I can usually tell if the person is friendly and interested in talking at all.

Well, he was definitely in the friendly camp, and he responded in kind. We started talking about the weather and how it had finally cooled off a bit that night so that it was pleasant to ride again. He said he usually rides in the morning, but he had some schedule changes so he was trying to get a ride in that night. I shared that I had only been riding for about a year, but that it had become quite a passion of mine. I asked how long he had been riding, and how often he rides. He said he had been riding for probably 20 years or so, and got started when he lived in Europe. He mentioned that his son is training for a triathlon and so the two of them usually go for longer rides on Saturday mornings. I mentioned that I had been riding on Saturday mornings lately, and had been trying to find people to ride with. I mentioned that I had been doing more challenging rides lately, and had successfully ridden up Traverse Mountain, but had been thwarted by the heat when I attempted to ride Big Cottonwood Canyon a week later. We continued our biking discussion, over a few miles, and a few stops for red lights. He mentioned that he was getting close to home in a few blocks.

Then a curious thing happened. He said, “Well I would ride Emigration Canyon with you this Saturday morning.”

It kind of caught me off guard, and my initial reaction was to decline the offer, but for some reason I found myself saying “Yeah, I would meet you for that. What time?”

“How about 6:30? There’s a little dirt turn off at the mouth of the canyon, and we can meet there.”

“Okay. Sounds good. By the way, my name’s Scott.”

“I’m Dave. Do you have a phone number?”

I got his phone number, we shook hands, and agreed once again to meet at 6:30am on Saturday. Dave pedaled off one way, and I went the other.

It was done. I had just agreed to meet a stranger, that I knew little about, to go on a ride that I knew little about, early Saturday morning. That felt a little crazy.

All day Friday I was stewing on this, and a few times I pondered ways I could call and tell Dave that I would have to cancel: Family obligations, Too tired, blah blah blah. I’m glad that I didn’t do that.

Needless to say, we did meet this morning, and it was a great ride. We talked about all kinds of things on the 45 minute ride up the canyon. We reached the top a little after 7:00am, and paused for a few minutes to rehydrate. There were some folks up there enjoying the morning view, and one of them shot the picture at the top of this post. Then we saddled up again, and enjoyed the exhilarating 20 minute ride back down at about 40 miles per hour.

Oh, and one more thing about Dave. He’s 63 years old. When he told me this I was shocked, because when I met him that night I would have guessed he was in his early fifties. Not only is he an avid cyclist, but he also water skis, and does serious rock climbing. (By serious I mean… he backpacks in, climbs over 1000 feet to a summit, climbs down, backpacks out… yeah, serious!).

I hope that I’m that full of life when I’m 63 years old.

I would never have met Dave if I hadn’t started riding my bike to work a little over a year ago. Nor would I have ever known how cool the bicycle community can be, a community where two strangers can meet, and in a few minutes have enough in common to decide to meet up for an early morning ride. It reminded me once again why I love riding my bike.

Dave, if you read this, thanks for sharing a great ride with me this morning!



Enjoy A Ride This Holiday Weekend

As you celebrate this Independence Day, I hope that you’ll be able to get out and enjoy a bike ride “just for fun”.

PH02298J

There are lots of things happening this weekend. America is celebrating Independence Day. The Tour de France begins. People will be taking time off and celebrating.

The gym that we belong to is putting together a group ride on Saturday that sounds like a lot of fun. It’s mainly for the holiday weekend, but they are also taking advantage of the Tour de France coverage. The gym will have the live coverage of the Tour de France first stage setup on the big screen, and a group will be getting together in the morning to watch the race together. Afterwards we’ll all hop on our bikes, and ride a timed 15km “stage” of our own, ending at a local bike shop, where there will be prizes and free stuff given out.

I think that sounds like a lot of fun, and I’m really looking forward to riding with a group, as well as the fun of some friendly competition, and of course I’m always one to enjoy free stuff. Also, since I’ve only been into bicycling for the last year, this is the first time that I’ve really been interested in watching the Tour de France. I’m excited to be in a room with a bunch of other bicycle geeks to see how Lance Armstrong and the other riders will do.

I was told by the event organizer that this get together is not just for gym members, so non-members are welcome to join the fun. If any of you Utah riders are interested, the event will be at Lifetime Fitness, 10996 River Front Pkwy, in South Jordan. The Tour de France coverage should start around 8 or so, and the ride should start around 9-9:30. I plan on getting there by 8. I have no idea how many people will be showing up, but if you read this and decide to be there then I’d love to meet you. I’ll be riding a white Rocky Mountain road bike, and I’ll probably have a blue and white jersey on. I’ll also probably be wearing my Keen commuter sandals. Hopefully that narrows things down a bit. 🙂

Whatever you do this weekend, have a safe time, and I hope that you can get out and enjoy a fun ride.