Sunday, June 27, 2010

Failures in the Kaibab

We took the annual run out to the Rainbow Rim Trail this past weekend, we had a group of 8 this year after a few of the amigos bailed on me. (You know who you are and your dead to me.)
We parked at the Locust Point trail head and then did a down and back to Paraswampits, had lunch back at the vehicles before heading out to Timp. I think this may be the preferred route from now on.

I had great plans this year of taking my new HD helmet cam and making a spectacular offering for your enjoyment. However, due completely to user interface, I have an hour of excellent footage shot upside down. Arrrrgg, I will continue to effort towards inverting the clips but I wouldn't hold my breath.
So with a dearth of video footage I do have a few screen shots that I was able to flip. Landscapes show up OK but pictures of people/action just blurs.

Example A: trail shot--reasonable quality

Example B: Marshall in action--blury

I did take one still shot at the North Timp lookout. This is the whole group sans the kid who doesn't like to stop. All good guys except the two on the right who are of questionable moral character. Notice the upside down camera on my helmet.

A couple of more shots I salvaged to try and show the epic nature of this trail. No pictures do justice to the scope and scale of the Grand Canyon.

In order to redeem myself I may need another trip out, this time taking extra precaution to put the camera the right way.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Mark v. Virtual Mark

I have at my disposal a nifty little gadget called the Garmin Edge 305. My wife gave it to me a couple of years back, I believe it was a birthday present. It looks like this;

As you can see it has the ability to show many different bits of info including but not limited to speed, distance, heart rate, elevation, time, cadence, maps, sunrise/sunset, laps, heading, total ascent/descent, and calories burned and many variations on each.
The application that we will be speaking about today has the somewhat unfortunate nomenclature of the "Virtual Partner." This has nothing to do with some e-babe that I can have long talks with to discuss my innermost feelings. My wife says that I can't talk about feelings anyway because, according to her, I have none.
But I digress, the Virtual Partner (VP) is a training tool in which I can ride a certain course or route and save all the information within the gizmo to be used later. Then I can ride or race the same route with/against myself.
Here is a screen shot of how that looks;

The "distance behind" can become "distance ahead" and the small black circle denotes my location in relation to the VP or as I like to call him Virtual Mark. I have started to hate Virtual Mark, that guy is a jerk who has no regard for how I suffer to keep up. He will drop me without so much as an adios and never look back.
Okay, maybe it is my fault that I set the course up after having a very good day on the bike but it is still demoralizing to have to turn myself inside out to try and beat that guy.

Today I attempted an ascent of Utah Hill with Virtual Mark as my training companion. I rode the course exactly one week ago and got beat by 2 miles so I was looking for some redemption.
I give you the map I made with my Garmin and Topofusion.

So by pedaling my guts out and using some big ring power, I beat Virtual Mark to the summit by 330 ft. Score one for Reality Mark. As I began the 8 mile descent, I held that spacing for about 3 miles and then the distance ahead number began shrinking rapidly. I poured on the speed but to no avail. The distance ahead quickly became distance behind and the number was spooling upward at an incredible rate. I was going 36mph and this joker was leaving me. "Who is this guy" I wondered, " What's he got that I don't have?"
I was out of gears and out of pedal power and I could not close the gap. By the time I hit the bottom I was half a mile back and still losing ground. He built up a .63 mile advantage at the Kayenta turnoff and I knew that I had 7 miles left to catch him.

But Virtual Mark had other plans, I am sure that somehow he knew I was putting on a better showing than the week before and he was having none of it. He kept the hammer down the whole way home. I was blowing stop signs, drafting vehicles, risking life and limb and generally being that biker that we all hate. Slowly the numbers stopped getting bigger and began diminishing.

I still got beat by .42 of a mile.

Next week your mine Virtual Mark and when I pass you on the home stretch I am going to virtually punch you right in your smug, virtual face.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Two time loser

A week ago a couple of my "friends" wanted to ride to Springdale and back. Total mileage on that ride is a little over 80. I agreed, we met at the specified hour, and the 40+ mile trip out facing a headwind the whole way. Breakfast was had, water bottles where filled and we started back. By this time the wind had changed and we faced a headwind the whole way back. It was hot, 90+ degrees by this time and I was feeling terrible.
In the booming metropolis of LaVerkin my rear tire was subject to a catastrophic failure. The entire structure of the tire blew out. We were only a couple miles from the bike shop in Hurricane so I stuck a dollar bill over the hole and cautiously made our way to Over the Edge Cycles. I asked for the cheapest tire they had, knowing that I had two brand new tires at home ready to use. They sold me this for $5

They said it had been in their shop for a couple of years and were happy to see it go. I'll bet they were happy, worst tire ever. At 15+mph the tire shimmies and goes squirly. I shouldn't complain because it got me home. Thus ended one of the worst days I have ever had on a bike.

I tell you that story to tell you this story;
This morning I had mounted my brand new Gommitalia tire and headed out for a solo assent of Utah Hill. The temps were perfect, the wind was non existent and I was feeling spry. At 2 miles from my house...kaboom, rear tire goes again. In a moment of distraction I had hit something and put an angry tear in the sidewall.
I had no dollar bill for a fix and I would rather leap into a pit of enraged vipers than call and wake my bride from her treasured slumber. At this point I should tell you that I am an Eagle Scout and my ingenuity knows few boundaries.

Here's what I came up with:

You are looking at the tear with thick and leafy plant life pilfered from someones front yard holding the tube inside. Am I not crafty? I again limped home, a perfect morning ruined but with new fodder for the blahg. Tomorrow I will attempt Utah Hill again, I will be racing Virtual Mark, I hate that guy. But that is a story for another day.