Sunday, December 20, 2009


Well my birthday is coming up. I'll be 28. I'm still not sure how I feel about that, but I'm sure I'll write about that later. I've always taken a bit of pride in getting old and being single in Provo, UT.

Like I got away with something.

Kinda like I got through a whole ride on splash mountain without getting a drip of water on me while everyone around me got so soaked they had to go home and change.

Today I was told that to progress any further in life I needed to get married. Makes sense given the emphasis my religion places on families and such. However, when he said the word progress all I could think of was dropping 45 minutes off my Leadville time, or squeezing in 1 more lap at the 12 Hours of Sundance. That's the kind of progress I'd like to see every year.

Maybe we are on different pages.

Or completely different books...

Or maybe I am just a hopeless menace to society...

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Group Rides are Under Way

We had a great turn out for the Saturday ride today. 13-14 guys (including a gal, thanks to Heather for adding some gender variety) showed up and rolled around west mountain. Good times. Stories were told, new friends were made, and everybody got a chance to pedal around for a bit. Not a bad day.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

One Piece at a Time

So the latest bike build is coming along rather slowly. One piece at a time. Just like the Johnny Cash song except it won't quite be free. I'm almost sure I could pull it off, taking one part/bolt from the shop each day over a few years, but quite frankly I don't want to wait that long for my dream bike. Oh, and I guess it really wouldn't be fair to Racer's Cycle Service.

Either way its going to be sweet.

So far I have this much:
Yup. That's it. A seat collar. A blue seat collar. Bit by bit, piece by piece she's really coming together. But don't worry, by mid January everything should be here...I hope.

PS Thanks to Kye for the seat collar. It was a Christmas present I wasn't supposed to open yet...

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Building Bikes

To this day one of the most exciting things is to plan out and build a bike. I don't know what it is, but there is something about scouring through parts and comparing different builds that just gets me flat out excited.

I also happen to be a numbers guy. So comparing weights, prices, price to weight ratios, and all that just makes for a good time. I currently am in the habit of using excel spreadsheets. They get kinda big. Ask Kyle or Rick.

As of right now I just finished building a fixed gear commuter. (Notice it is NOT a "fixie" but a "fixed gear". If it were a "fixie" a pair of girl jeans, a white belt, and cup holder for my soy latte would be prerequisite items to riding)

I've had the frame for a year. Its the Surly Traveler's Check. Basically a Cross Check frame with couplers so it can come apart and fit into a standard size suitcase, thus negating the need for over-sized luggage fees when traveling. I got it last year for my trip to San Francisco (oh, silly, its not what you think...) and have put it to good use since. I only have to fly with it like 20 more times to save enough money on baggage fees to justify the cost of the frame....

Anyway, I've had it kicking around the last year with spare parts on it, built up about half a dozen different ways, depending on what parts I needed from it. However, every bike needs an identity. The bike has horizontal drops in the back so late this summer I obtained a rear flip flop wheel, got some decent single speed cranks this fall, and just this last weekend finally built up a front wheel to complete the bike.

Granted I am going to pull half the parts back off next week when I fly home with it, but for now she's finally complete.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Next Level Training: Featuring Coach Dan

A few guys in the area have expressed interest in stepping it up this next year. Getting a coach is a great way to do that. Now here comes my shameless plug for....myself.

As an avid cyclist, masters student in exercise physiology, and pending level 2 USA Cycling certified coach, I figure I should start putting my experience to good use. Which is why I've come up with....drumroll please....
Next Level Training.
Yup. That's right. I am officially selling myself out as a coach. Don't worry, I will still be more than happy to listen to any training questions you may have out on the group rides...I'll just expect some form of payment if you want an answer; like a pack of Mike and Ikes or a few grains of CarboRocket.

I've been working with a few guys in the area for the last few seasons and I think they would agree that having a method to the madness is quite beneficial.

The good things is that now there is a more economical option to those of you who are looking for a bit more structure in your training. After looking around at coaching prices I can assure you hiring Coach Dan is quite economical. After all my reason for coaching isn't to get rich. If I wanted to get rich I'd start a bike shop. I just like helping people. Especially when it comes to bikes.

So if you are interested check out the blog. Give me a call or email and we can chat more. I'd love to work with you so we can all put "fast" at the beginning of our names.
Check out the blog:
Next Level Training
Wondering if getting a coach is right for you? Look here:
Rationale for Hiring a Coach

Monday, November 30, 2009

Thanksgiving Cannon

6 years ago in the late fall of 2003, after a very successful year of Dry Ice Bomb holidays, my mind reached a level of unease. While blowing up random objects with soda bottles filled with dry ice was fun and entertaining, I knew there was more out there.

I knew there was a potential not being reached. So I dreamed. And as a direct result of that dream, harnessing the absolute power of dry ice I bring you....

The dry ice bomb cannon.

Invented by yours truly in 2003 and powered solely by the explosion of a 20oz soda bottle of dry ice it generates enough force to launch a can over a 26 story building. you see here, the power to smash a TV.

After several years of experimentation with multiple brothers involved, the cannon has returned, better than ever.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Rah Rah!

On my way to school today I noticed a poorly parked car as depicted in photo A:Photo A

Not only did this car stick halfway out into the road, but it wasn't even straight.
I didn't think much of it until I got a little closer and observed a certain little sticker on the back:

You really can't see it very clearly in the picture, but the sticker says:
"BYU Cheerleader"

I guess they aren't much smarter in college than they were in high school...

Saturday, November 21, 2009

"P.H.A.S.T. Dan"

I know you aren't allowed to pick your own nickname (which for the record I didn't pick it, just how to spell it) but from now on I will be P.H.A.S.T. Dan.

This one time I rode my bike fast, so Nails started calling me Fast Dan. I think the "PH" spelling of fast adds some character:


Probably won't catch on, but I thought I'd give it a try.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Stupid Zoobies

I rekindled an old flame today. It has been at least a month (probably more) since I have ridden my road bike. Maybe its a good sign that I am finally growing out of that phase of life.

Or maybe I never will.

Despite the fact that my 2009 race calendar ran up a tally of 20+ mountain races, and only 5 on the road, yet I still own a nicer road bike than mountain bike is a sign that I am still clinging on to something.

Which brings us to our first item: A stupid zoobie.

As I was walking out of the PE building with my bike in tow, leaving for a late afternoon ride today, some kid behind me with absolutely zero preliminaries blurts out, "How much did you pay for your bike?"

(Side note: This actually happens all the time. People seem to know that road bikes tend to cost a touch more than the Huffys they rode as kids, and love to hear people say out loud how much they paid. Get a frickin hobby)

I was quite taken aback at first that a complete stranger would ask such a personal question. Was I asking him how old his mom was? Or how much his girlfriend weighed? (standing next to him)

Of course not. I may have my own quirks and quite often show an immense lack of social awareness, but good heavens, even I know where the line is that designates something as "too personal". Why don't you just ask me the size of my jock strap while your at it?

As I stared at the seemingly innocent youth, trying to determine if he was actually sincere, or just playing some kind of sick joke, he added "If you don't mind my asking"

Oh, sure. Just like how old ladies at church can get away with saying ANYTHING about ANYBODY as long as the offending comment is followed by the standard "bless his heart" disclaimer.

In this case the "if you don't mind" comment only solidified his stupidity and persistence. I stalled, stammered, stuttered, and stared back, not sure what to say. A million ideas ran through my head as to how I could respond.

I quickly began to add up all the parts and their respective costs, wondering if I could even come up with any kind of total monetary value. However, the first part I came to was to the saddle, the limited edition SLR. Sure it cost a couple of bucks, but take into account the hours of eBay searching, bidding, waiting, rebidding, stressing, losing, re-finding, bidding, stressing, and finally winning; there was no way I could put a monetary value on it.

And the list went on.

Each and every part was handpicked, scoped, weighed out, saved up for, reviewed, and installed by hand, by yours truly. (And just why don't I race road anymore?) The only thing original left on the bike was the frame, a few logo stickers on the frame, and the shifters.

After running through the options, I finally mumbled something about how the original retail value was something like such and such amount

"Wow" he mused. Yeah, wow is right, I thought to myself, I should have just bought the thing, left it stock, and dumped my money into a fat diamond ring, maybe I'd be married by now.

He then proceeded to tell me how expensive bicycles are, but that you can find really good used ones for $200.

I didn't dare say a word about my seatpost...

Monday, November 16, 2009


So the snow finally hit. However, I refuse to let it keep me inside. So this winter I have resolved on a secret (well not any more) strategy to keep me in shape: Use the snow to my advantage. I am planning on using the following off season tactics to help me maintain the appellation "Fast Dan"
  • Cross Country Skiing
  • Snowshoeing
  • Snow Shoveling (I happen to know many widows who pay top dollar for selfless service acts)
  • Snow Blowing (I also know many rich widows who own snow blowers and pay even topper dollar to have their drives snow blown)
  • Snowman Building
  • Snowball Throwing
  • Snowcone eating (I like grape)
Any additional ideas are welcomed.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Temper Tantrums, Motley Crue, Dancing With Myself, and Last Ride of the Season

4 Items of Business tonight:

I threw a temper tantrum today. Now you may be thinking it was some kind of modified adult version, but no, it was full on 2 year old style anger management.

The only thing adult about it was the language used. For those of you who know I attend BYU, lets just say I shouted a word starting with "D" and ending in "arnit". For those of you who don't know about my affiliation with the religious institution after the order of Brigham, use your imagination as to what came out. You're probably right.

My infantile outburst came somewhere around the halfway point of my ride this evening. I was halfway up between the rock pile and the top of Dry when I hit a steep, loose rocky pitch that has a tendency to make back wheels lose traction and slip.

It wasn't a particularly technical section, not nearly as bad as parts of upper Frank, but add the following factors up and you can maybe see why it happened: A) my rear tire was practically bald from 4 days of Moab, B) My legs are still burnt out from 4 days of Moab C) I lifted weights with my legs yesterday D) I've been in a semi grumpy mood lately, probably a result of the slow but sure onset of the realization that I am going nowhere with my life.

The moment I slipped and had to clip out and put my foot down I became quite outraged. It wasn't even the hardest part of the trail. The bike was promptly thrown into bushes and I began to weave a tapestry of profanity tight enough to hold water. (Ok so I really just said "dangit" but oh, my thoughts of what to say ran wild) Either way my actions resembled that of a young child, attempting to communicate the disappointment associated with not getting a lollipop. It was bad.

Approximately 5 seconds after the event finished I picked up my bike. I came to my full senses at how silly I must have looked, even looked around to make sure nobody saw my tantrum, remounted my bicycle, and proceeded to ride up the rest of the hill. It was an embarrassing event, but apparently not so much as I am now writing about it to tell both of you who read this blog.

The night of the Helloween ride, Aaron Smith shocked and amazed us all by smoking the pipe, at night, and in costume. How was this done? you might ask...well, quite simply, he simply sang "Jumpstart My Heart", by Motley Crue. Since that night I have questioned the powers of 80's rock, but it wasn't until tonight that I attempted to utilize the secret power of the Crue. As I came around to the top of Dry Canyon I found the song on my iPod, cranked it up as loud as I could, and began singing along, as loud as I could. When I arrived at the corner marking the start of the pipe I beheld a middle aged couple (probably just done smoking the pipe themselves, hiker style) staring at the pipe.

I paid no attention to the multitude nor did I give heed to what they thought of me. I continued along my merry way, singing "Jumpstart" as loud as I could and bombed the pipe with all the confidence in the world. NEVER underestimate the power of the Crue. Which brings us to point #3

Blink 182 once covered a song "Dancin' with Myself" and while the implied meanings are completely different (I won't go into what the song is about here, but I am sure you can use your imagination to figure that one out) I found some parallels in my newfound ability to sing and dance, even when nobody else can hear the music. My new lifetime hero, Adam Lisonbee taught me this while on our trip to Moab. Dance, even if nobody else can hear the music. And so I have. I also sing. Its kind of embarassing, but hey, my name is Dan, don't you ever tell me how to live my life.

I think today may have been the last good ride of the season in Utah County. Snow and rain are expected the rest of the week, and once the trails bog down its tough to find them dry till spring. I rode everything I could tonight, (and on a side not woudl strongly recommend a light slightly larger than a MiNewt if you plan on doing much single track in the dark) and just soaked it in, not knowing when the next time I would be able to hit all my favorite trails in the same day again....soon...I hope...

Well, that's all I have to say about that.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Still New to Me

I still consider myself a new mountain biker. After all those years as a roadie, I got used to picking my favorite roads and routes to ride on the road. Now, however, I get to pick from a whole new assortment of trails.

I am still finding new trails, new ways to ride trails, and new ways to connect them. The first year I started calling myself a mountain biker, I rode 4 trails: 1) The old race course 2) Dragon's Back to Frank to the Alter then straight down 3) The Big Springs Lolipop, and 4) Bonneville South at Bridal Veil across Squaw Peak road

That was it. The only 4 trails I rode last year. By combining those 4 routes I rode all I could ever want. I even did multiple 10 hour+ rides on them in preparation for the 12 hours of Sundance race last year by riding the same trail 4 or 5 times, then moving on to the next.

Mountain biking was still so new to me I was fine with it. In fact I loved it. The thrill of bombing down sweet single track was a feeling impossible to capture on a bike with skinny tires and drop bars limited to paved lanes. I could have ridden the same trail every day and still gotten a kick out of it.

Well, over a year later and I'm still fining new trails. It seems like every week I find a new favorite ride. I try new trails I hear about, meet people on trails that show me new places to ride, and even explore a little on my own. And its a blast. This month, up Rock Canyon and down Squaw has been my new favorite ride. I've only done it a few times but am getting better at that stupid rocky climb up Rock Canyon, and faster down the descents. The views are awesome (title picture on the blog is looking out over Utah lake from the Squaw Peak road) and the riding is just the right balance between hard and fun.

Overall it is definitely the ride of the month...until I find a new one next week...


Stole this from Adam. I believe this says it all about the Moab trip this weekend. However, I will write a bit more...later...

Sunday, October 25, 2009

So much for secret training rides

So after an entire summer of riding at night, riding alone, and riding on secret trails, routes, and hills, all for the sake of nobody knowing my super secret training rides, I find out this last week that every single ride I've been on, is posted publicly on

I thought the web based training log was great, at first. Until I realized that every workout I've done over the last year is posted for every one of my competitors to see. Not only the ride, but my heart rate, lap times, and interval sets, all there for anyone to see.

Talk about your all time back fires

Thanks Aaron for the heads up. I'm currently tracking all your rides on there too, so come spring, we'll see who has the edge on who....

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Intern Dan

This week marked a turning point in my life. I finally got to go on a lunch ride with the big kids. The corporate professionals with real jobs, families, and a little thing I like to avoid known as "responsibility", all go ride mountain bikes during their lunch breaks. Well, on Friday it finally worked out that my school schedule allowed me to go the same time they all went.

I was excited to get my chance to show what I had. It was a much appreciated internship with the who's who in utah county.

And it was magical.

We even invented a new term, "Toking the Pipe" referring to riding up the pipe on Dry. None of us actually managed to Toke the Pipe, but we all gave it a fair shot.

We even resorted to full on time trial start attempts, with Kenny and Rick holding Aaron upright so he could get a strong start. Still, no dice.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Tonight's Why

I never really know what to title these posts. Halfway through I always end up writing about something completely different than I started.

Tonight, I just got back from watching "Race Across the Sky", and believe it or not, it has made me think a lot about life, where mine is going, and what I want out of life. (yes, this will probably end up deeper than I originally intended, and who knows if I'll even post it. It's likely fate is to end up saved as a draft, like a good 90% of the other posts I write)

Either way, the movie got my brain spinning about life, the purpose, and what really matters. Its funny to think that a movie about endurance mountain biking has got me so spun out on what really matters, but it has. Everywhere you look you can see and hear different voices trying to tell you what matters in life.

I can turn on the TV and hear the media tell me I need to dress or act a certain way to be important in life. I can look at ads telling me I should buy their product in order to be cool and have any kind of self worth. I can even feel pressure from those around me to do what they do, believe what they believe, and value what they value. (While this pressure is very much unintentional and inadvertent, it does exist)

But I ask again, what really matters in this life?

After watching that movie, a few things are starting to solidify. To this day, the greatest words I believe ever spoken to me came from one of my best friends, Calvin Cahoon. Those of you who know Calvin know he likes to talk. A lot. So it only makes sense that eventually some of the most profound words I've ever heard a human say came from his mouth. Earlier this year while driving back from Leadville he made the comment "All you need in life are friends and family. If you ain't got that, you ain't got nothin', but if you've got that, you've got everything"

I'm not sure why that hit me so hard, or why it sunk so deep when it was spoken by Calvin, but it did. Maybe because Calvin knows life. Maybe hearing it from someone who has seen as much of life as he has made it all the more real.

Not long ago I was 100% positive all I needed in life was my own house (with a spacious garage) and a large "family" of bikes. I could live close to trails and open road, go riding every day, road or mountain, train, get fast, go to work, go to bed and be the happiest man alive. I was 100% positive I didn't need friends to slow me down, girls to waste my money, or family to waste my time. All I needed was my self. I lived like that for a while. Dreaming of the day my ideal life would come true.

Well it turns out I was 100% wrong. Over the last year or so I have seen Calvin's prophetic words come true. The more I think about my friends and family, the more I see a reason to live, to ride, to exist. This life is about people. Not about beating them in races. Not about getting them to buy your product and make money off them. And not even about how you can get them to do what you want them to do. But about loving them. Its about getting to know people for who they really are, and genuinely appreciating that.

I think about all my friends in the cycling world. Every single one has left an imprint on my life, just as much as every ride I have ridden has built me into who I am. It's the casual weekend rides with Mark, Kevin, and Larry, the intense training rides with Kyle, the sweet times around the fire at 24 hour races with some of the best people whose company I've ever enjoyed. Its about watching Racer smile, cause he gets to ride his bike in Moab (despite having 58 dislocated ribs) watching Craig come in after cranking a sub 1:20 on a beach cruiser, and watching Karson rally 6 inches off the ground on our homemade dirt jump.

Its about watching dear friends reach new heights, ride harder, have more fun, and being there to share it with them.

Its about doing what we love to do, with the people we love doing it with.

That is what matters in life.

Family and friends.

I am 100% confident that even if I never got to ride a bike again (heaven forbid) I could still die a happy man, from what I've learned, and who I've met.

After watching "Race Across the Sky" this all hit home. As I sat in the theater full of members of the Utah County cycling family I realized something. One thing had brought us together, and while the exact activity doesn't matter, it was a common ground we all shared, and it made us a family.

As I sat there, listening to story after story about participants in the Leadville Trail 100, people coming back to the sport after getting hit by cars or having both knees replaced (Larry, you're still my hero) and what hit me wasn't that they were back racing a 100 mile mtb race, but what knocked me over like a ton of bricks was the response of their loved ones. Watching a man tear up when he talked about his wife getting hit by a car, or watching little kids scream "go dad!" as their beloved daddies finished the race, or hearing Dave Wiens go on about spending time with his family and how supportive they are. That right there is what life is about.

Cycling is great because it gives us all something to work at, an area to improve ourselves in, and a huge sense of achievement. However, what is any of that worth if we don't have someone to share that with? What is the point in getting faster and stronger if we do it alone? What joy is there in riding our guts out, only to go home to an empty house?

As the movie ended, it showed individuals finishing who weren't in the top 10. However, by the looks on their faces, the hugs from family, and kisses from loved ones, you'd have thought they were on top of the world. And that, my friends, is what friends and family will do for you. Put you right up there on top of the world.

So thanks. Thank you to everyone who has ever let me ride with them. Thank you for sharing your conversation and thoughts, and allowing me to share mine. Thank you for being some of the best friends anyone could ever have. Thank you for letting me be a part of your family.

Now if I could just get the lousy ball rolling on getting a family of my own...

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Why

A personal essay on Dan, by Dan

I like to ride bikes. A lot. I've never been able to pin point the exact reason why, and don't think I ever will. For every different season of life, there is a different reason to ride. For every different mood of the day, there is a different motive to pedal.

I've ridden to get away from the stress of school, to relieve the pain of heartbreak, to celebrate the joy of finding someone new. I've ridden to get in shape, to stay in shape, to lose weight, to get fast, to gain endurance. I've ridden with friends to enjoy their company, to share my life, to listen to theirs, to share my woes, and to listen to theirs.

I've ridden to be alone, to bask in the solitude of an empty road or serenity of a remote trail. I've ridden to the sound of nothing but leaves in the wind, to the sound of my own heart beating, my own breath gasping, my own joints creaking, and my own chain squeaking. I've ridden to the sound of Led Zeppelin, U2, Beyonce, The Killers, The Cure, The Who, and Johnny Cash.

I've ridden away from people, places, problems, and feelings, and ridden into strange places, new places, new people, and strange people. I've ridden to the store for food, to the doctor for physical healing, to the church for spiritual healing. I've ridden to friends houses to visit, to the bank for money, to work to earn money, and to the bike shop to spend money.

I've done things on a bike that have pushed my known limits. Accomplished feats I never dreamed possible. Ridden faster, further, longer, over bigger hills, down steeper hills, around lakes, around mountains, over mountains, and across fields. I've finished rides that that seemed impossible, reached summits that seemed unreachable, cleared trails that seem impassible,

I've ridden my bike into cars, trees, holes, ditches, bushes, logs, snowbanks, ice sheets, rocks, and rivers. I've broken skin, bones, wheels, handlebars, seats, spokes, and helmets. I've torn jerseys, shorts, and socks; scraped knuckles, knees, shins, chins, paint, and carbon. I've ridden into physical injury, with only scars now to remind me of the pain. I've ridden into emotional healing, with only memories now to remind me of the pain.

Riding has taught me to be tough, has taught me to persevere, has taught me to take pride in my abilities, and humility in my shortcomings. I've worked hard, I've slacked, taken the hard road home, taken the easy way out. I've gone the extra mile, climbed the extra hill, pushed the harder gear, felt the pain of exertion, and appreciated the joy of relaxing.

I've ridden to train, to get fast, to win races, to finish long events, to ride from Seattle to Portland with my dad, to sprint, to time trial, to practice handling, to practice popping wheelies, to practice riding with no hands.

I ride to think. I ride to ponder. I ride to let my mind wander. I've had my best ideas while out on my bike, and my worst ideas.

I've ridden to get away from pain, ridden to feel the pain, and ridden in spite of pain. I've ridden to prove to myself I could, ridden to prove to others I could, ridden for noble reasons, ridden for foolish reasons, ridden out of humility, ridden out of pride. I've been out on my bike during the highest of highs, when it felt like the even the top of the world was under me, and I've been out on my bike at the lowest of lows, when I felt like nothing was worth living for.

I've ridden myself into who I am. Riding has allowed me to shape, mold, build, and rebuild myself into existence. Out on my bike I am able to deal with life and cope with what is real. Out on my bike I have been who I was, am who I am, and will be what I am to become.

Riding has given me what I have, made me who I am, and taught me what I know.

And that is why I would rather be out on my bike.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Cecil's Secret Stash

Saw this outside the BYU student center today. Go ahead, zoom in. Yup, it really does say "Cuban Cigar, INC"

Friday, July 3, 2009

Watch your back Lance

So Lance IS going to do Leadville again this year. And I suppose he thinks all this "racing in France" stuff is going to help him get in shape for a quick 100 miler on the dirt. Well, Lance, all I can say is watch your back. Fast Dan and Captain Nails have been on a secret little training schedule of their own. (which just might involve us riding our CompuTrainers every day with the same stage you're racing in the tour pre-programmed into our bikes. Except we don't have domestiques to draft off the whole time...)
So when push comes to shove, and you're happy to get close to 6 hours...we'll just see who's smashing the 5 hour mark...

See video here

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Missing Dork Discs

Check this out:
Click Here

This is hilarious. Cannondale is having to recall almost 1,300 bikes because they were shipped without the dork disc. The first thing anyone who actually rides bikes does is take the thing off. Poor Cannondale.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Monday, June 1, 2009

Completely Obsessed

(Basically the point of this post is to prove to myself and both of you who read this that I am hardcore...if that kind of vanity upsets you, please skip reading this)

I spent last week in Seattle for a school research conference. I was there Tuesday to Saturday.

I got to see my mom and dad which was really nice.

I got to learn a lot about science and stuff. That was really nice too.

I didn't get to ride my bike every day. That wasn't very nice.

I did get to rent a sweet mountain bike and ride one evening after the conference was over. I pretty much warmed up for 30 minutes, rode my brains for 30 minutes, then cooled down for 30 minutes, somehow hoping it would make up for the 3 days off I was forced to take this week. That was kinda nice.

I missed a couple of races that week because of the conference. That wasn't very nice at all.

However, it's never done any good to complain, whine, or otherwise lament things you can't change. So I just accepted the fact that I was going to miss a few races (one of them being the Intermountain Cup race at Sundance....missing that=not very bloody nice one frickin' bit)

As I got home Saturday evening, having been off the bike for 2 days straight, I promptly turned on my computer, started up iTunes, and started packing my little shuffle full of songs to take me around the alpine loop. Never mind it was 9:00 pm. Never mind it looked like a bit of rain might kiss the valley. Never mind all I had eaten was some airplane biscott and a Fresca. I was going.

While my computer was on, a friend started chatting with me. They asked how my week was and how my races went. I explained that I had been in Seattle all week for school stuff and hadn't gotten a chance to ride much, let alone race.

"Oh good" my friend replied, "if you can miss races like that, it shows you aren't completely obsessed"

"Sure" I typed back. "I'm not completely obsessed"

I almost took it as an insult.

I figured it would just be best to leave it at that and not mention how I sleep with my bikes in my room, how I make social plans around training, how I've skipped major family events for races, or even how I actually feel dirty when I'm forced to skip a day of riding....

Oh, yeah, sure....I'm not obsessed at all

Monday, May 18, 2009

Shameless Plugs

Today I am here to put in plugs for 2 guys that saved the day for me:

Elden "Fatty" Nelson and Brad "Biggest Stud I"ve ever met" Keyes
First off, I've been rather sick the last several weeks and my stomach has not been able to handle a whole lot. Not exactly conducive to racing bicycles, where food seems to be a necessity as far as providing energy for riding. (I've tried other substances such as Boonen's "Cocaine Diet", Tommy Simpson's "Speed Diet" and even Racer Gibson's "Candy Diet", but my tummy doesn't seem to like to take anything in lately.

So you can imagine it was with some hesitation that I drove the hour to Soldier Hollow (or let Mark drive me there, anyway), paid an entrance fee, and signed up to race, having not eaten anything solid in a few days. However, to my rescue came CarboRocket, the ultimate drink created by Brad Keyes. I'd been on the CarboRocket diet for a few days preceding the race as it seemed to be the only thing my tummy liked.

I was a bit nervous on the start line as I wondered if my tummy would cooperate for at least the 2 hours I needed it to for the race. Well, needless to say, everything went just fine, thanks to the wonderful, sweet, fulfilling, (not to mention delicious) concoction known as CarboRocket. I made it the whole race with zero tummy aches, plenty of energy to hold a good pace the whole race, and a sweet taste in my mouth. Thanks, Brad! Best stuff ever invented.

Next shamless plug goes to Elden. After the race we thought it would be a good idea to go ride around Lambert Park in Alpine. However, to our dismay we discovered I had a bit of a mechanical issue going on with my bike. As we sat there trying to figure out what to do, Mark remembered that Elden lives only a few blocks away.

So we ventured over and asked for a hand. He was more than helpful in gettting us back on the trail and I tip my hat to him for being the super ride saver of the day. An absolute gem of kindness. Thanks, Elden! Nicest guy ever.

Well, now that that's done, I'll go back to riding my bike....

Sunday, May 10, 2009

5 Mile Pics

A face not even many mothers could love

Secret Training

The first year I raced bicycles, Kyle and I had an ongoing battle for who could ride up Squaw "Puke" the fastest. I held my own for a few weeks until he threw down a 23 minute climb time. Nothing I could even come close to without a V6. Since that year (2006) I haven't really tried very hard to best my Squaw time...until now. My new secret training ride is just that...Squaw.

(Now that it's not a secret anymore, I'm fully aware everyone in Utah county will start kicking my trash at the ICUP's...)

Either way, I forgot just how pretty it is up there...

(Really the entire purpose of this post was to post a picture of my could maybe say I am slightly infatuated with it)

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Rain and sick

It rained this weekend. I have been sick for the last week and a half, so I secretly hoped the rain would cancel the race. No dice.

However, to my advantage, the race was re-routed from 11 mile loop down to a 3.5 mile loop. I managed to fake it for 45 minutes and not come in dead last.

It was super muddy, super wet, and super fun. I'll post some pics as soon as I get them from Kyle. Kyle, on the other hand, double flatted, bringing his total "mechanical" count to 8, I think. That's a fairly high number, when you take into account that there have only been 3 races. I am 97% confident that as soon as Kyle gets through a whole race without some kind of bad luck he's gonna kick everyone's trash. THE Kyle I met so many years ago is back. THE Kyle that knows how to lay down the hurt, push it further, and make it hurt even more. I am definitely excited for him.

As for me, I just gotta get healthy so the 16 year olds quit beating me up the hills....

And, Racer, sorry for making you flat on the muddy part. Joel paid me to clip your front tire with a "Ben Hur" style wheel spike I have installed on my rear hub...

PS Is it weird that for some reason this weekend got me just a bit excited for 'cross season to start already when its only May?

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Conspiracy Threory

I have concluded that between and Mother Nature itself, there is a conspiracy theory whose sole purpose is to make me slow. My computer either tells me it is going to rain/snow, so I don't ride, or it doesn't tell me when its going to actually precipitate, causing me to get all ready to ride, then not, thus making me slow.

Don't worry, I'm on to you...

PS I finally finished the Pueblo post....

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

24 Hours in the Old Pueblo

Several months ago, and probably under the influence of heavy prescription medicine and/or NyQuil (probably a combo of both), Nails and I somehow talked ourselves into doing a 24 hour race...duo. I've suffered through a 24 hour race before, but that was on a 4 man team, and I think the word "suffer" is the only real solid memory I have from the experience.

The combination of having the slowest lap times, 941 MPH winds fold my tent almost in half so that the top was pounding my face like a spring loaded club while trying to sleep the night before the race, inhaling approximately 3 metric tons of dust, developing a wheezing cough that sounded like I'd smoked enough to keep Joe Camel in business myself the last 20 years, feeling nauseous enough to want to vomit after every Little Debbie Oatmeal Cream Pie I ate.....well, I think that pretty accurately describes my first impression of 24 hour racing.

Luckily enough for me, the guys on my 4-man team were fast enough to make up for my complete lack of 24 hour racing competency, pulled some sweet fast times, and got us on the podium. It was a magical moment.

It may have been in the aftermath of that event, after my brain had blocked the 23.5 hours of pain and and pleasantly remembered the .5 hours of positive happy time (I learned all about how the human brain can cause itself to "forget" or block super traumatic experiences in life as a "defense mechanism" in my Psychology 111 class at the Coug. Great stuff they're teaching over there at that fine institution. Its also where I learned important life lessons such as: any Mormon freshman girl will buy any male over the age of 21 any meal anywhere on campus, in exchange for 30 minutes of attention, or 10 meals for a diamond ring)....anyway, I am thoroughly convinced it was after some serious defense mechanics on my brains part that I agreed to do another 24 hour race...duo none the less.

Looking back, doing a 24 hour race in February is a great way to stay motivated to workout all winter. Granted you can only ride a bicycle in a garage for so many hours before you feel like your brain is either going to explode, implode, or just break up into petite morsels and fall out your nose bit by bit. So it forced us to come up with new training techniques.

My personal favorite December training secret was snowshoeing with a back pack full of diet soda (8 or 9 2-liters is just about right). Everyone should try this. (and by "everyone" I mean everyone with great medical insurance and a desire to grind away enough cartilage to require a double knee replacement within 4 months)

So we trained. We rode 12 hours of Temecula in January as a warm up/training ride 3 weeks before the big race and decided that just maybe we did have the mental characteristics to do a 24 hour race duo (and by "mental characteristics" I am referring to insanity, stubbornness, lack of rational thinking, and sheer stupidity)

Either way we rolled into Tucson, AZ late Thursday night, set up camp and slept with visions of night racing, dancing through our heads. Friday we got up, ate some hearty flap jacks courtesey of Tamer, and went out to preride the course. Relatively flat, nothing too technical, ideal for an ex-roadie like me who struggles with basic mountain bike maneuvers such as "turning".

Saturday we got up, complained about whatever we could find to complain about, tried to pretend like we weren't nervous, and got ready to race. Mark took the first lap and threw down a pretty fast time. Just fast enough to send me off in a hurry as I had a secret (and by "secret" I mean I pretty much told everyone) goal of my own to beat Mark's first time. 1 mile from the finish on my first lap I went through a rough and bumpy section that was just enough to bump my chain apart.

Visions of earlier in the week when I had not snapped the masterlink on my chain all the way, thinking to myself "it'll snap into place the rest of the way as I ride" ran through my head and I cursed my stupidity (not out loud, mind you, I signed the BYU honor code) I got off and pieced my broken chain together and ended up with a time just 2 minutes slower than Marks....about the time it took me to think of every BYU approved cuss word, get my chian tool out and fix the thing.

We continued on the first day, holding steady laps and into the night. Thanks to my dad who was at home watching the results on the internet, I got hourly texts telling us what place we were in. Climbing steadily through the night, we kept the laps steady and even started pulling up on the the first place team. By noon the second day we found ourselves a mere 12 minutes back off the first place team. Not bad after what ended up being 25 hours of racing. We took our 2nd place with pride

The trophies they handed out were pretty much the coolest things ever. But we didn't win, so we just got a cool ceramic tile. Hand painted. And a bit of cash, not bad. Definitely worth going for 1st next year.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Camp Nails 2009

Thanks to everyone who participated in this years "Camp Nails" it was a huge success. And by success, I mean we got to ride our bikes all day long in shorts and short sleeved jerseys . The kind of days you can only dream about during Utah winters. My cheeks even got a little rosy from the sun. Talk about sweet times in the saddle.
Here's a break down of our intense training camp:

Day 1
Mark and I decided this year to raise the bar on our training camp with an opening day prologue up Woodland Hills Drive on road bikes. We were very aware that by starting such a tough camp with such an intense day would drive a few of the less dedicated riders away, but the point of Camp Nails has never been to coddle the weak. So Friday afternoon the group headed out for probably the toughest Day 1 in Camp Nails history. The group seemed to take the opening flats pretty well. We pushed the pace through Springville and really dropped the hammer in Spanish Fork. We were putting out more watts than the Provo Police Department puts out parking tickets in a whole month. We were laying down speeds fast enough to break the BYU Honor Code. (I haven't read it all the way yet, but I'm pretty sure there's a clause in there regulating how fast you can ride a bike)
Anyway, so we creamed through Spanish Fork with our average pushing at least 15-16 mph. (Probably closer to 16.7, but I really wasn't paying attention) We got to the base of the climb in record time and started the grind up. We knew the climb would be treacherous, but we forged on like truly dedicated cyclists.

Before I knew what was happening, Mark was out of the Saddle and rallying the group. I had no choice but to follow. I dropped a few gears and not only matched his attack, but launched a counter that completely left the group in the dust. I could feel the burn in my legs, but the suffering only pushed me on, giving me the motivation to go harder than I ever had before. As I settled down into a solid pace, my legs felt so strong and I felt so fast I had to actually check my computer to make sure that we were indeed going up hill and gaining elevation. I was on fire. So imagine my surprise when on one of the corners, I see the rest of the group only a bike length away. I could tell Mark was a little put out by my driving the pace so hard with so much of the climb left, but I didn't come to Camp Nails for a tea party and book club discussion, I was here to ride. So ride we did, all the way to the top.

As we reached the summit, a few of the locals were out to watch the finish. They were fully aware of all the glory on the line for whoever reached the top first. Knowing Mark as well as I do, I decided to play it out, and take advantage of one of his only weaknesses: Little Debbie Oatmeal Cream Snack Cakes. As we sprinted for the line I strategically pulled one from my jersey pocket and tossed it to the side of the road. Mark, being the predictable "always thinking with his stomach" typical guy he is, had no choice but to forgo his chance at eternal victory in the hill climb, and stopped to pick up the Little Debbie Snacky Cake.
Despite the questionable tactic employed on my behalf, I felt great about my victory as we started down the hill.

Overall a great group to ride with that day. Some serious hammer heads who drove the pace all the way home, but hey, I didn't get into this sport for fun.

Thanks to all who made it to Day 1, a great opening to Camp Nails 2009

Day 1 Roster:
1. Mark "Nails" Johansen
2. "Fast Dan" Nelson
3. Lil Debbie

Day 2
For the second day we traveled a bit down to St. George, land of the eternal mountain bike trails, sunshine, and retirees in Lincoln Towncars. We headed out Friday night and ended up making the decision as a group to camp out at the parking lot/trail head of the area we would be riding. Despite the fact that we already had a paid reservation at a 26 star luxury hotel/penthouse suite in the business district of downtown St. George, we chose to camp on the dirt, so as to "become one" with the soul of the earth, in order to better improve our own individual spiritual relationships with the dirt we would be spending so much time riding over the course of Camp Nails.

Morning rolled around and as the dawn cracked, we packed up our things and waited for the sun to rise. Our day was to start at the very moment the sun crested the jagged horizon in the eastern distance. Or....maybe we slept in till 9. I really don't remember.

As we rode off, we decided as a group that this was to be the best day of riding ever. Or at least the best day that week.

We started by doing like 21 laps of Zen, give or take 20. We then headed back to the car to meet some of the less dedicated riders who didn't feel the need to get a jump on the day like the rest of us (OK so actually we just forgot to call them to let them know we were already there) and off we went to do several hours on the race course. After what seemed like 10 or 11 or maybe only 1 laps of the race course, we headed out for Barrel Roll and did a few loops out there. As I began to feel the pain of several hours of riding on some rather rugged terrain, I began to respect Craig and John for being total studs, riding on rigid single speeds. I tip my hat to you fellows.

On our way back we even had a little brush in with some celebrities. As we headed back from Barrel Roll, we saw THE Lynda and Dave. We figured they just hadn't ever gone home and had been out riding since last week's Camp Lynda. I tip my hat to you fellows.

After stopping by the car to replenish vital supplies, we headed out for another race course loop and Zen lap. We rode back into town with one last field sprint up a large hill, which, I don't know if you knew this or not, but I'm kind of a big deal, people know me, so I naturally rose to the occasion and once again won the sprint. 60% of the time, I win all the time.

Overall it was a pretty sweet trip. Good friends, good times, and lots of riding. It seemed like such a hard training bout I could hardly believe it had only lasted 2 days. So while I'm now a broken man, trying to recover, I know I will be a better man for it when the racing season hits this spring. I mean in two weeks....

Day 2 Roster:
1. "Captain" Mark "Nails" Johansen
2. "Fast Dan" Nelson
3. "Trouble Maker" Craig Farnsworth
4. "I don't know if he has a nickname" Aaron Smith
5. "Pops" Kevin Johansen
6. "John Boy" "Sabrosa" Hansen
7. Rob "Tamer"
8. The entire Cougarette Dance team