strava loves me not

September 24, 2012

I’ve said it before, I love and hate Strava, as I love and hate myself.

Today, we hates it. Good cloud cover, intermittent drizzle, so I went long (for me), and routed myself to get a couple good warm up climbs before I went for the Strava PR on Clarks for my big finish. I realize my Clarks PR will be minutes slower than some of your Clarks PRs. It’s not a contest.

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.

Okay, it’s always a contest, but it’s not a contest I’m in any danger of winning. That’s why I pursue PRs instead of KOMs. I’m a realist.

So anyway. I hit the base of Clarks from the west, which gives me a nice launching pad, and I stay safely in the Serena zone for the first quarter mile. But the higher I got the more painful it got, and I passed right through the Serena zone, barely noticed the Monica Seles Zone, spent a few minutes in the Maria Sharapova zone, and did the last half mile squarely in the Azarenka zone. I think a badger tried to mate with my leg because of the sounds I was making, but I couldn’t see or feel anything, so it’s hard to say for sure.

I finally get to the garage, I save and upload my ride to Strava, and scroll frantically, looking desperately for the cute little PR symbol.

And Strava acts like I never rode Clarks. I mean, the route map clearly shows I rode Clarks, but Strava shows no Clarks segment.

The other day, I crashed for the second time trying to PR Upper Anne’s, losing my glasses, all the skin on my right knee, and wasting 20 minutes in the Sharapova zone. This is so much worse.


not my job

September 5, 2012

Like the man says, “Happy companies are all alike; every unhappy company is unhappy in its own way.”

We’ve been in this brand new building for less than a year.

This has been the view from the big stall for over two weeks:

While that’s handy for sharing squares, it’s not handy for regular use.

The janitor had been spotted entering the bathroom, picking up the toilet paper dispenser, changing the rolls, and putting it back on the ground.

Here’s what it’s sposed to look like:

See how handy?

I am sorely vexed.

oh no i didn’t

September 2, 2012

Let’s just get this out of the way right up front–I woke up at 5:30 in my brother’s Park City house to pouring rain, thunder, lightning. I went upstairs to look at the radar on the computer, and in addition to the giant thunderstorm over Park City, there was another Isaac-sized storm coming from the west.

So I went back to bed.

Did I mention I hate riding in the mud and rain? I hate riding in the mud and rain. I’m a fair weather racer. Well, I’m not really a racer at all, but I’m definitely a fair weather event rider.

But my day was not without misery. Because when I woke up later at about 9am, the sky was blue and the weather calm. And I hated myself. Despite a morning of pancakes, eggs, and watching the dogs frolic in the backyard, I was in the words of Kim and Holden, “pretty mopey.”

When we decided to head down to Davanzas for some lunch, I declared that before showing myself in public, I would have to remove the category number the P2P folks had sharpied onto my calf the night before. And Liz happily volunteered her Mr Clean Magic Eraser.

The first pass she took at my calf with the wet eraser felt pretty good, and got a good bit of Sharpie off my leg. She rinsed it out, and went in for another pass, which also felt fine and took off most of the number.

But a bit of sharpie remained. So Liz went in for round three, because she’s a perfectionist, and this time, well, I’m not gonna lie, I kinda felt like she had pushed a nail or five through the eraser, and was vigorously scrubbing it up and down my calf. There may have been some shouting and kicking.

Here’s what my calf looked like last night:

Let’s take a closer look, shall we?

You know how in The Mission, Robert De Niro’s character feels bad for being a slave trader, and carries his sack of armor up the waterfall as penance?

I guess it’s like that. But really, I hate riding in the rain.

But just fer fun, here’s the leg today:


model toe

August 28, 2012

I need some redemption from some of the catastrophically bad nutritional decisions I made during the Ultimate Challenge ride (that’s right–I’m blaming my poor performance, not on any lack of fitness or toughness, but on bad nutritional decisions). The best way to get that redemption is to suffer through the Park City Point 2 Point race. Makes perfect sense.

So I picked up one of the many entries floating around available from people who entered way back in whatever early season month registration opened (and closed 7 minutes later), but who are too smart to actually DO the event.

Okay, I may not be thinking especially clearly here. I acknowledge this.

Anyway. Sunday, I was helping to set up a bunch of chairs, and I rolled a giant chair cart weighing about six thousand pounds up onto my right foot, most likely breaking my middle toe.

Can you tell which toe I’m worried about?

From the bottom:

That’s not magic marker.

You know the worst part? Not that this will feel especially uncomfortable this Saturday around mile 70 of 80 miles and 14,000 vertical feet of technical singletrack. (I did a Corner Canyon broken toe test ride yesterday, and while the toe did keep reminding me of its status, it never said “ride P2P and I’ll go gangrenous on you.” So I think I’m good.)

Nope. The worst part is that Eber’s wife, Cicely, looked at the pictures and said “He doesn’t have the prettiest toes to begin with.” Which is more than just mean, it’s so totally not true. I could be a toe model. Well, could have been.

ultimate fun ride

August 12, 2012

Eric Morgan, CEO by day, ultimate cyclist by other parts of the day, got me n Ricky n Jody to ride the Tour of Utah Ultimate Challenge, which is a super fun, super relaxing 105 mile ride from Park City through Kamas and Heber, up and over the Alpine Loop (Sundance side), through Alpine, over Suncrest, along Wasatch Boulevard, which is by the way, a totally sucky, not at all flat section that leads directly into the bowels of Hell, namely, Little Cottonwood Canyon, and only finishes once you’ve climbed 6 miles to Snowbird (entry 2, not 1, but entry 2).

The other guys rode strong all day. They kindly waited for me until I finally wore out their patience along Wasatch Blvd, when the rubber band snapped for the last time. I never saw them again. Not even at the finish. Not even later. I still haven’t seen them.

The LCC climb will count as one of my darkest hours (Ha! I WISH it was only an hour!). Darker than Churchill’s dark hour for sure. Luckily the pros were hot on my tail at Tanners Flat (flat? FLAT?!), so I had to sit and watch Adam Lisonbee chase the pro riders up the hill in a dress for about 40 minutes, after which I remounted and staggered the last two miles to the deserted finish line. Well, not entirely deserted. The caterers were still there, putting everything away.

A big shout out to the family and friends at the top of Suncrest, who upped my finishing likelihood from 35 to 42 percent. If not for the rest at Tanners Flat (!) I wouldn’t have made it. But I was meant to make it. As I pulled up to the hamburger stand at the Snowbird plaza, my left pedal broke in half. See? It was meant to be.

king’s peak

July 23, 2012

You think I don’t know how long it’s been since I posted? You think I don’t get itchy when I notice someone’s blog feed, and mine doesn’t even make the cut because it’s been so long?

Okay, I hiked King’s Peak this weekend with some neighborhood fellers. Here’s a little video of it (I don’t really do pictures, unless 60 fps counts):

We approached King’s Peak from the North. Kind of like how the Fellowship approached Mordor. Kind of.

We hiked in from Henry’s fork, camped just south of Dollar lake, but short of Gunsight pass, then the next morning hiked up to Gunsight pass, and took the shortcut traverse to the right rather than descend into Painter basin, and up to the peak (totally the way to go, you shave two miles this way). On the return, we descended the toilet bowl chute just east of the base of the peak. This is waaaay more direct, but is not for the faint of heart. Some of our party practically ran down this 2000 foot, 45 degree chute, and others practically crawled down it. And then you’ve still got a mile or two stroll back to camp, where there was much rejoicing, and maybe a little skinny dipping in 40 degree water.

We hiked out on the third day. And that’s all I’m going to say about that.



July 9, 2012

I’ve experienced the pain of having to put down my iPhone when I get in the shower. The disconnectedness.

I don’t think Holden has.

It’s a little hard to see in this pic of Holden working the tramp board.

But you can see it when he lands.

There it is. Cell phone in hand. Whew, someone might text him mid jump, but now he won’t miss a thing.

I say, stop fighting it. Like the alien weapons in District 9, just embed the suckers already.

more ohhhhhhh

June 30, 2012

I have three kids, and they couldn’t be more different and more similar at the same time.

Maybe I’m overstating just a bit.

But still. Maddy was always very cautious. Not a big fan of danger or exposure.

Holden falls kind of in between. He’ll try almost anything, but only when he’s sure it’s the right thing to do. He’ll drop cliffs Ian drops, after he sees Ian drop them.

But Ian has no real danger filter.

Today me n Holden n Ian headed out to corner canyon for some dirt, and after we dropped Ghost and mid Canyon, we were about to hit lower Rush, which Holden had ridden, but not Ian, and I said to Ian, “okay, there are lot of jumps on lower Rush that can catch you off guard. You’ll hit several in a row that are super smooth, and then suddenly you find yourself launched. So, ease into it. Be careful.” You know. Cuz we aren’t exactly BMX champions or anything.

So Ian just takes off, and while I hang back to make sure Holden is good, I lose Ian.

Until I come around a corner and run over his bike. But not him. Because he’s off the trail and down in a ditch.

(Of course, my first thought was, hey, wait down there while I get a better angle.)

It all worked out.

It just got me thinking. Thinking about Maddy. Then watching Holden and Ian as we were riding home. And thinking.



who are you talking to?

June 26, 2012

Driving home from work this week (from Thanksgiving Point to Suncrest, along the Timpanogos Highway), I spied a local version of a minivan (a big black Escalade) with a Mitt Romney bumper sticker.

I just don’t know where to start.

You’re driving along the Timp Highway toward Alpine, Utah. In a giant Escalade.

If there’s a redder town in a redder state in the country, I don’t know about it.


So, just who are you talking to with that bumper sticker? Your neighbors? A potential employer? Your father in law?

In 2004 over 70% of Utah citizens voted for Bush, with zero counties going Blue. None.

And Mitt Romney is Mormon. Which means in 2012, about 90% of Utah citizens will vote for Romney.

Which means that putting a Mitt Romney bumper sticker on your car in Alpine, UT, is kind of like putting on a bumper sticker that says “I breathe” or “this giant Escalade is black.”

Seriously. Who is the audience for that sticker?


wait, how old am i?

June 21, 2012

Yesterday I had lunch with my mom.

My mom is 81 years old. I am well over half her age. Yup. Old.

She takes one look at me and says “so, what’s with the shaggy hair and no shave?”

I say “what, I hate shaving and Kim hasn’t made me a haircut appointment.”

She kept looking at me funny all during lunch.

When I walked her out to the car, she said “okay, so next time we have lunch, I want your face shaved and your hair cut.”

“Mom, I am old. I have 3 kids, I have a house and a job, and I’m the decider.”

So this morning I shaved (first time in a couple weeks). And asked Kim to get me a haircut appointment.

I don’t understand.

the weekend in movies

June 18, 2012

Okay, the title is a bit misleading. I mean, I did see Prometheus, which I loved despite its flaws, but by “weekend in movies” what I really mean is, I did some stuff over the weekend, and I filmed some of it, set it to music, and went ahead and Vimeo-ized it.

I’ll start with the second thing first. Got Ian, his old friend Kolby, and his new friends Megan and Rachel out on the boat Saturday afternoon. A good time was had by all, near as I can tell.

But before we hit the lake, I headed up AF with Eric Bright and Brandon Banks to hit some dirt, with the primary goal of finding our way over to the new-ish Mill Canyon stuff. I heard tell of a 32 switchback climb. Turns out, yes, yes there are 32 switchbacks.

I got a little self-indulgent while I was watching a rough cut (first cut), and I wanted a song on it, so I popped Pink Floyd’s Shine On You Crazy Diamond, and, well, I just couldn’t cut any more after that. Sometimes the best iTunes feature is “sort by song length.”

Anyway, here it is, featuring the mud/mill downhill, and the mill switchbacks. There are 32 switchbacks. I think I got em all, but I don’t feel like counting again. I had a hard enough time counting them the first time.



June 13, 2012

There’s this great scene in In Bruges . . .

Okay, I guess I need to set it up a bit (some spoiler coming, but not enough to spoil the movie, which is awesome, and you should definitely see it this weekend).

Two hit men (Colin Farrel, Brendan Gleeson) are told to lay low in Bruges (natch) for a while because their most recent hit went bad (sent to kill a priest, and an altar boy got caught in the crossfire. Ralph Feinnes, the bossman, can stomach a lot, but not kid killing).

Eventually, the bossman comes to Bruges to kill Colin Farrel, to punish him for killing the altar boy. Because that kind of killing, even if accidental, is beyond the pale.

So, Ralph Feinnes is chasing Colin Farrel, and accidentally shoots and kills a dwarf instead. Except, the dwarf is on a movie set at the time, and Feinnes thinks he’s just killed a child.

And he says “ohhhhhhhhhhhh.”

I’ve been feeling like that a lot lately.

“Ohhhhhhh. Now I get it.”

have a what?

June 7, 2012

Sure, I’d heard the word “Havasupai” and I’d made the usual jokes–“have some soup, aye.” “It’s a Grand Canyon franchise of Zuppas.” And “that sounds like some really bad pie.”

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.

Turns out Havasupai is the perfect family vacation.

Although, I now have 7 band-aids on my feet, six thousand bug bites all over my body, I have cankles like a pregnant woman retaining water, and I walk funny.

these feet are no longer made for walking

Good times.


Remember all those old Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup commercials, where someone is inexplicably walking down the street eating out of a jar of peanut butter like a homeless person?

So, when we visited City Creek Mall downtown over the weekend, and made the mandatory stop at the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory for some fudge (spawning the phrase now written on my office window “the fudge counter is always packed”), and saw their brave new confection “Chocolate Dipped Bacon Strips” I, of course, had to partake. I mean, bacon? And chocolate? Shyeah.

Welllll . . . not so much.

of course it looks yummy. they could make my spleen look yummy dipping it in chocolate

what we call the hopeful “please be good” stage

reality sets in

disappointed resignation. “at least i still have this diet coke. i love you diet coke.”

ian was not impressed.

In short–two great tastes, NOT great together. No creepy man appeared behind us to bless the union.

Also, me n Holden n Ian hiked and skied the main baldy chute at Alta yesterday (Memorial Day). It was good. Unfortunately, the Contour died just as we got to the top, so only still shots for the descent.

ian showing some leg

holden navigating the mank

yes, i was there too


May 24, 2012

Mostly I hear the word “crickets” in the context of telling a joke, and then hearing, you know, crickets. As in, silence.

This week I made a quick trip back east for a conference, and, to take a cue from Jim Gaffigan, after we ate, we set up a place to eat, and then we went and got something to eat.

And by something, I mean crickets.

Well, not just crickets. We also had tongue tacos. And the most delicious guacamole I’ve ever tasted.

pretty good food. except for that weird one on the right

But the crickets stole the show. On account of them being disgusting.

those are all arms and legs in there. and mole

John and I figured, we’d order lots of stuff, like scallops, quesadillas, and other yummy stuff, and in the middle of it, we’d try the crickets.

Because when a swanky Mexican restaurant puts Cricket Tacos on the menu, I mean, you have to order them. Don’t you?

Yes, yes you do. So we did.

ready to kill any crickets that might still be moving.

All I kept thinking was “Grab my arm.¬† The other arm. My other arm.” That’s how it works in my head.

not as awesome as i’d hoped

Let’s have a post mortem for the crickets.

Attractive presentation. Terrible taste. Gross texture. Not for eating. Nice novelty factor. Can’t believe people really eat crickets.

So, A-

I have confessed to quite a few failings in this space, from being a lousy handyman to falling down stairs to cracking the toilet seat by sitting on it.

Have we tired of this gimmick? Well, if by “we” I mean “me” then no, no we haven’t.

Here is a picture of my toothbrush.

I realize that’s pretty uninteresting. But now you know, I have an electric toothbrush.

Lemme esplain. No, there is too much, lemme sum up.

When you brush your teeth with an old fashioned analog toothbrush, you put toothpaste on the toothbrush, stick the toothbrush in your mouth, and brush.

Well, when you use an electric toothbrush, you do the same. Except you also push a button on the toothbrush to start the toothbrush head vibrating wildly.

So sometimes, you forget. And by you, of course, I mean I. I forget. And I push the button just a smidge too early. Which starts the toothbrush head vibrating. Violently. Near, but not IN, my mouth.

Which sprays toothpaste all over the counter. And the mirror. And my face.

But don’t worry about me. It only happens about once a week. I’m fine.

Over the last few years it’s been hard to get the core team together for anything, much less a lunch ride. Back in the day, I rarely rode with anybody but the core team. But life happens, and some have moved to Chicago (not Bob, who has not moved to Chicago (Brad did), but still owns the rights to “Chicaaaaaagoooooooo!”) and Seattle (where Bob actually moved to), and we work at different places (except me n Ricky now work together), and whatever, yada yada yada.

In a strange confluence of factors, we got a quorum of the core team together Wednesday for a Corner Canyon (a quorum = at least 2/3 of the core team) lunch ride. (From Draper pool, up full Ann’s, up and down Jacob’s, Ghost, across BST/Mike Weir, and back to pool).

Of course, in this new Strava-based world, riding “together” really means regrouping at junctions to apply CPR, oxygen, all that. Which is okay. We all ride alone between junctions and trailheads, really. Don’t we?

Also, I am sorely vexed. Notice in this video that I am about 2 seconds behind Cori on the Jacob’s downhill. Then go to the Strava feed and notice how Strava game him a podium time of 4:06 (second overall), and Ricky got a 4:30, good enough for 12th overall.

Strava gave me a 7:30. Watch it Strava–I’m going to burn the place down if this keeps up. A podium on the Jacob’s downhill is like my Swingline stapler.

Strava has drawn me here. I will never be rid of my need for it. I hate and love Strava, just as I hate and love myself.

Something like that.

[also, the song was made by my son ian. just him and fl studio. it’s called strobe remix.]

One of the nuggets rattling around in my brain, surfacing from time to time, causing me to stare vacantly for a few seconds in recollection, is this clip from Saturday Night Live:

And you know, comedy shows provide the best and most accurate news. While not as funny as FoxNews, The Daily Show is at least more fair and balanced.

With that in mind, I totally believed the SNL clip. My long tug of war with Hollywood Video should have ended with their bankruptcy.

But this week I got this:

a cry from the grave. for money.

Really? But Seth Meyers said . . .

Maybe it’s cuz the movies I rent are so awesome?

k, not all of these were for me

Apparently my long national nightmare isn’t over. Yet.

Okay, I know it’s a little pass√© to talk about the Stravas. But if you’re like me, and you just got into Strava this season, then for good or ill, it is transforming the way you ride.

Actually, make that for good and ill. Maybe mostly ill.

Like today. Me n Ricky are sitting in staff meeting, trying to decide what time to meet at the Draper pool for some Corner Canyon. Meantime Kim pings me about something I need to do at home. So Ricky goes to the pool, I go home, and ride from Suncrest. He’s coming up Ann’s, I’m heading down Ann’s, and when we meet, we’ll turn around and head back up Ann’s and up to Jacobs.

Soon after I pass through the brand spanking newly opened tunnel at Potato Hill, I hear/see Ricky coming the other way. As he flies by me he says “turn around, ride fast, I’m on Strava-fire!”

In other words, “can’t talk now, if I slow down, my PR will be in jeopardy, and my Strava followers will think I’m slow.”

So I flipped around and chased him up Ann’s through the tunnel, and up to the Peak View trailhead, where we both promptly got off our bikes and laid down to die. But screw it, cuz we both got PRs on Ann’s, and Ricky got a podium on the Full Ann’s. And I don’t think we’d spoken to each other since he passed me going the other way.

And then we climbed Jacob’s and did a no-stop downhill of Jacob’s and Ghost, where I was hoping to beat my PRs on both, and maybe break into the top 20, which I haven’t been able to even sniff since one of my first few Strava attempts established my high mark for those runs that I keep missing by a minute, even though I simply could not go any faster with a motor and 10 inches of travel, a situation, by the way, which has caused a Matrix level of distrust for Strava that makes me think there’s an Oracle or Source somewhere at Strava headquarters that I need to hunt down and kill.

After we split up, I had one more Strava moment in me, so I passed the switchback from Canyon to Brock’s so I could get a running start at the Brock’s segment and go for another PR. As I lay dying (ha!) in the Peak View parking lot, at least two people came over to ask if I was okay.

Damn straight I was okay–I knocked 24 seconds off my old PR. I was so happy I could have died right there.

Until I got to my computer to see all my segments, and noticed that once again, Strava had foiled me on my Jacob’s and Ghost downhills.


bonus footage

May 11, 2012

It’s Friday afternoon, and I have nothing to say.

So, here is a video I made of a ride me n a few of the local teenagers did this week.

Yup. I strava’d even this.

Also, we now celebrate May 11th as the official end of the Year of the Great Suck.