Friday, July 23, 2010

Playing catch-up

I've been playing catch-up the past couple of weeks trying to get miles in on the legs before LOTOJA. I had enough of my Garmin Edge 305 shutting off because of a known defect that Garmin won't fix because it's out of warranty so I got a 500 and it seems to be a much better device then the 305.

Since July 1st I've managed to get in 475 miles on the legs and after Wednesday's ride up Butterfield I feel like I'm finally turning the corner on my fitness. I'm hoping to put a few more miles on the legs next week with the Tour de Park City next weekend.

Big rides included Strawberry-Wolfcreek and Coalville-Kamas-East Canyon.

Still hoping to get out on some dirt and hit Bench Creek before fall.

Friday, May 07, 2010

2009 Giant TCR Advanced 2

Most of the product reviews I’ve seen are after using a product for a short period of time. Motor Trend does follow-up reviews on some cars after a year in use why not do the same for bike gear? I decided to share my thoughts on my Giant TCR Advanced 2 after riding it for one.

This is a bike I purchased a year ago. I was not given this bike and receive no sponsorship from Giant. I’ve put close to 1000 miles on this bike including the 210 mile LOTOJA race. I have done two upgrades on this bike a Richey Carbon bar and Shimano RS-80 wheels.

This bike has seen rain, hail, sand and plenty of sun in the year I’ve had it. I didn’t like the seat that came with the bike but most people find a saddle they like and stick with it anyway and changed it. I also had an opportunity to swap the Race Face aluminum bar with a Richey Carbon so I did that as well. Using the geometry of my old aluminum touring style bike I ordered a medium frame and should have gone down to a small. I’m 5’9” with a 30” inseam and the reach across the top tube is almost too far for me. But that’s my fault not Giants.

The ride on this bike is like a dream. One of my first rides on this bike was up Wolf Creek Pass and it definitely is a climber. The bottom bracket feels stiff when out of the saddle and when seated the geometry of the frame makes leaning forward comfortable. On the flats this bike feels smooth and takes small bumps easily. On the descents this bike really shines. It feels very smooth when descending down mountain passes through the curves it holds it lines. At one point I was surprised to look at the computer and see 50 mph as it didn’t feel like I was going that fast. The Mavic wheels however seems to be the biggest disappointment. As happy as I was with the carbon frame some of the benefit seems to be negated by the Aksium’s inability to absorb road vibration.

Overall I’m extremely happy with this bike. If I could buy another road bike right now I would probably give serious thought to the Giant TCR line as it seems to be the best value for the dollar.

Pros: Great entry level race bike, stiff enough on the climbs but not so stiff that you feel every pebble on the road. Bike is light on the climbs and holds the lines on downhill.

Cons: After riding a non-racing frame didn’t like the extra stretch on top-tube. Seat included with the bike wasn’t my style. The Mavic wheels are a little heavy and almost too stiff.

Summary: I really have enjoyed this bike. The seat and wheels aren’t my favorite but for the price, $4200 msrp, I feel like you get your money’s worth out of this bike.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

First Race of the Year

Today was the new Hell of North, or Antelope Island road race. For the second year in a row the weather was a factor. I did better then last year though staying with the pack for the ride out to the end of the causeway and back and 3.5 laps. I finally got dropped on one of the climbs on the backside. I though I could make up ground on the downhill but misjudged the speed of the group as an attack was taking place.

I then spend the next 25 miles doing a TT out to the ranch and back. I was actually happy with my performance with this part of the race as I was able to keep a consistent pace and was able to actually pass one person in my group at the base of the final climb. My time from the turnaround was actually faster coming back then going out by 90 seconds. Not sure where I finished, I think top 15 as there were only a dozen or so in the main pack after lap 2.

Here is my Garmin data.

Monday, September 14, 2009

I already paid to race so why not race.

I wasn’t planning on racing LOTOJA, I had already canceled rooms, my longest ride in the past month was two hours, but I decided to do something I’ve never really done at a race. Just ride for the fun of riding.

I think my laid back attitude was a little too laid back. It started off by missing the start of the race. I got to the start only watch what I didn’t know at the time was my group round the corner. I wasn’t too worried knowing the propensity of the cat 5’s to race hard from the go and catch a lot of the other groups ahead of them, and the official told me to go ahead and head out solo anyway. I took a pretty easy pace down the road and could see a group just ahead of me. I had no idea what group it was but decided I needed to catch them before they made the turn north and the neutral roll-out ended. I caught them right after the turn and to my surprise I found my start group. I quickly found the Trop brothers and we started the long race together.

Right after Preston Don and I found ourselves separated from Dennis and slowed down as we waited for Dennis to catch up to us. We soon found ourselves pretty much alone as we started toward the climb up Strawberry, once we reached Strawberry I decided to push myself and see how I felt. I told Don I would wait for them at the feed zone and pushed up toward the feedzone.

Don came through not long after me and we waited a few minutes for Dennis. As we started toward the final climb of the canyon we noticed a group of relay riders coming through. Don and I both knew this was our chance to catch a ride and have a strong group of riders help push through the wind. We jumped on and enjoyed the ride into Montpellier, it was all I could do to hang on. I did come through for a pull but that lasted about 10 seconds before one of the relay riders decided I was going to slow and came around. I was pretty spent coming into Montpellier and wanted to quit. Kim and Sara convinced me to keep riding with Don and we started toward Geneva Summit. My legs were pretty gone by this point and before hitting the real climb I had already dropped off the back of Don’s wheel. He looked back at me and I just waived him on. I figured I’d just take an easy pace into Afton where my day would end.

About 100 feet from the summit my legs started to feel good. I got my second wind and pushed things a little harder. I found Kim and Sara parked off the side of the road just before the feedzone and told them I was done. They again convinced me to push on as the feedzone was just ahead. I did, and stopped at the feedzone for a while and Dennis caught me. We worked together leaving the feedzone and I told Dennis I would wait for him at the top. My legs felt good climbing Salt River and I waited a few minutes for Dennis at the top. Unfortunately, Dennis was pretty spent and didn’t stay with me on the decent. Just before Afton a group of riders came through with Dennis at the back and I latched on.

Again at Afton I tried to quit but everyone convinced me to just ride to Alpine with Dennis. But on the first climb out of Afton the group we had caught dropped Dennis and that was the last time I saw him. I got into Alpine and at this point who wants to quit? The hard part is over and I continued on and caught Jared just before the feed zone at Hoback.

Jared and I decided to ride together and at this point my left calf was cramping and I knew I had pulled something in my right leg. I did what I could to trade pulls with Jared and he was kind enough to do most of the work.

After the bike path a group of about 15 riders caught us I went with them. I did feel bad about leaving Jared but wasn’t sure how the wind would affect the ride toward the village turn off. Soon after the village turn off the pace of the group picked up, attacks went off and were countered and since there was no one in my group I decided just to float off the back and enjoy the ride in. Not long after that Jared caught me and we continued riding to the finish. At the 500 meter mark I spotted two guys taking it easy into the finish. With all apologies to Jared, it seemed that this was too much for the competitor in me. I geared up and took off for the finish making sure I had enough speed that neither of the two riders could catch on as I rode past and finished hard just under 12 hours. I couldn’t believe I just rode 206 miles with pretty much no training.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The season that wasn't...

Hard to believe I only did one race so far this year. The chaos that has become my life this summer has presented some new challenges and turned my focus to other things. What is really sad is my mountain bike only saw dirt twice this year so far.

I did decide that despite everything I'm going to attempt LOTOJA anyway with the goal of just getting to Afton and seeing how I feel. I've got a great support crew from my former neighbor and good friend Big D and his wife, who told me if I pull him all the way to Jackson his wife and sister-in-law would hand me feeds, to the Bull Elk and his family who offered a place to stay Friday night. After this weekend I can turn my focus to just riding for fun again and hopefully doing a few cross races this year and building a good base for next season. I am sad though that once again I'll be riding a mountain bike for cross instead of a real cross bike but there is always next year....

Monday, July 13, 2009

No racing for you!

I haven't blogged in almost two months! Sorry I just haven't been doing a whole lot of riding. No racing as well. Did get out Saturday with the Bull Elk. We decided to do the Kamas - Big Mountain loop counter-clockwise with the climbing at the end. I thought it was easier actually. We did run into the Echo Triathalon on our way out.

Did manage to get a good 92 mile ride in.

Maybe Strawberry - Wolf Creek this weekend?

Friday, May 29, 2009

Sun Valley

Since it rained all weekend in Fruita the Bull Elk and I decided to go to Sun Valley. We found a great campsite right on the single track.

Saturday we got out for a 2.5 hour ride 

Got some rain Saturday night but then Sunday we found the demo tent, Chad decided to demo a 30 lbs free-ride monster.  

Sunday night we camped along the Salmon river


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