Uhl in Eagle, ID – We're about to head out for the Valley of the Sun Stage Race and we're both looking forward to it. My taper is going well and I should be at +10 TSB on Friday for the time trial. I've finished upgrading our Javelin Arcole TT bike with a Vistion Carbon Trimax bar. How do you like the pink handlebar tape?! Had to use up the leftover from Heather's Cannondale. Unfortunately, we won't be able to share the Javelin this time; they already published the start order and there won't be enough time between our starts. But since this is an A-priority race for me, I get to use it! Heather will just ride here Six13 with aerobars and our Falcon disk. I'll try to keep our blog updated while we're down there, so stay tuned!
Uhl in Eagle, ID – We just got back from St. George, Utah where we spent Christmas with Heather's family. We headed to the airport early Friday morning, during the first real snow in the Treasure Valley...I actually had to shovel before we left! But due to a delay and a missed connection, we spent part of the day at the SLC airport and didn't get down to St George until mid-afternoon. We were flying stand-by, as usual.
So Heather and I decided to just take Friday off and spend time with family. Our little niece Melanee, was the center of attention during most of our visit. She's only 8 months old and growing like a weed. For the most part she is a well-behaved little girl, but got a little fussy when auntie Heather or uncle Uhly held her for more than a few seconds. Seems like she didn't like our baby-handling skills! But to prove it wasn't just us, she got a little cranky at times, even with grandma...so we're not taking it personally!
On Saturday we headed out to do some in-line skating. Heather's sister and I skated while Heather rode her brother's old mountain bike. St. George has a great network of bike paths and since they don't get much snow or frosts, the paths are really smooth. It's great for in-line skating, unlike many of the sections Boise Greenbelt. It was mostly an "easy" workout for me, but for fun, I threw in some sprints on a few hills we encountered. Not sure sprinting on skates will translate to a neuromuscular workout on the bike, but it sure felt hard. So it must have done something?!
Uhl in Eagle, ID – After a long day of travel, we are finally back home in Eagle. Sunday after the criterium, we got Heather's bike packed up and decided to go out and drop it off that night, instead of waiting until Monday. What we thought was going to be an easy task turned out to be a stressful adventure...at least for me. I tend to get easily stressed-out when things don't go as planned. Through a comedy of errors at three different drop-off locations, we finally got the bike dropped off, but it took us two hours to do so! After that we were able to spend some relaxing time together and sleep in Monday morning, since we were taking a late morning flight.
Uhl in Parker, CO – After two days and many calls to FedEx it seems that my race bike has been mis-directed again, this time to Sacramento, CA! If that didn't happen, there still could have been a chance to get the bike by today, but now there's no hope. So I'll definitely be riding Heather's cow bike for this race. We're lucky that none of our races overlap so it should be doable. All I'll need to do is swap her Speedplay X's for my Zero's then adjust the saddle position. But we'll have to race our medium-weight crit wheels today instead of the superlight LEW wheels packed with my race. Oh well, FedEx has just been demoted in our books.
Uhl in Parker, CO – Since we both have separate race and training bikes, it makes it possible to ship our race bikes to our destination ahead of time, rather than leave our bicycles in the "care" of the airlines. Besides, the airlines have started charging so much that even when flying cross-country, it's still cheaper to ship our bikes. Plus, you can purchase extra damage insurance; a good thing when your bikes are worth more than your car!
We recently had a couple bad experiences with UPS, so this trip we went back to using FedEx. We shipped the bikes on Monday and the tracking information that night said it would be delivered on Wednesday. But when I checked the tracking status on Wednesday, I noticed that one of our bicycles, was on the truck to be delivered, while the other was still showing that it was in Henderson, Colorado?! I thought maybe the tracking status just didn't get updated, but I should have gotten a clue when even that night, it still didn't show any updates.
Uhl in Eagle, ID – We just got back today from a short trip to Colorado Springs for the wedding of a good friend of Heather's. We left on Friday and spent most of the day at the SLC airport. Being that it was Labor Day weekend I guess a lot of other non-rev's decided to travel on Friday as well, so we didn't make it on our original intended flight and had to hang out at the airport for a couple hours. But we finally did make it to Colorado Springs that afternoon in time for the dinner on the eve of the wedding. It was the first time Heather and I met the groom and he seems like a really great guy.
Uhl in Eagle, ID – After another poor night's sleep last night I wasn't feeling too great this morning, but I figured entering the master's race should be too bad. We drove down to "old town" Pocatello and found the course. There’s a lot of construction going on downtown, with whole sections of road completely torn up. Being that it was Sunday morning, there weren’t too many people about so it kind of felt like a ghost town. The course was rectangle, with a long start/finish stretch that had a stiff headwind. The backside had somewhat bumpy pavement and a little chicane we had to negotiate.
In the Master’s 35+ race there were only about 9 riders. Some of them had just raced the 45+ race just minutes before. I hammered from the gun and went to the front for a lap. My legs were really fatigued and it felt like I had nothing in the tank. Yesterday’s race took a lot out of me, probably since I’m still recovering. So I just raced conservatively.
Uhl in Lehi, UT - Yesterday we drove down to Utah for the Thanksgiving Point Classic this weekend. The weather was perfect for a drive and we even had a nice tailwind most the way to help the gas mileage.
This race is another cross between a stage race and an omnium — what I affectionately call a stagium. This race follows stage race rules where a rider must complete each stage to continue on to the next one. But rather than basing overall results on time, it is based on points. The points go twenty deep for each stage. For the first four races the points go from 35, 30, 26, and so on down to 1 point for 20th. For the fifth and final stage, the time trial up South Mountain, the points go from 20 down to 1, in 1-point increments. This means the time trial is less of a factor, which is good for me since it is an entirely uphill time trial and I don't climb as well as the best Cat 2S climbers.
With the points going twenty deep, it means that in the other stages, everyone will be sprinting even for 20th place. This will make pack finishes very hectic and extremely dangerous. In a normal timed stage race, only the top three riders get time bonuses while everyone else gets the same time. Here people will be duking it out for 18th place. So I have a feeling the sprints will be like a miss-n-out, where people in the back of the front group will be sprinting just as hard as the front group. Fortunately, I've got three teammates, Ted, Ben and Jim, who are driving down today so we can work together and hopefully stay out of trouble. I think if we race smart and stay safe, we each have the opportunity to do well.
For those of you in Utah, if you want to watch us race, the most exciting races to watch are the Provo criterium Thursday evening or the Thanksgiving Point criterium on Saturday. Here are the details:
Provo Downtown Criterium
Thursday, May 25, 250 West 100 South, Provo
6:45 PM Women Cat 1/2/3
7:45 PM Men Cat 2
Thanksgiving Point Criterium
Saturday, May 27, Thanksgiving Point
4:30 PM Women Cat 1/2/3
7:15 PM Men Cat 2
Uhl in Phoenix, AZ - We shifted sleeping arrangements last night and I finally ended up getting a good nights sleep. What a difference that makes...my resting HR was down to 39 and I felt much better. Heather was going back down to Maricopa with her mom, so I scheduled a ride with Jim, whom I met last trip and invited Kevin as well. We decided to meet at The Fountain in Fountain Hills at 11 AM. Since I was feeling better, I decided to make today, my long day. I ended up driving out to and parking near McDowell Rd. I used Google Maps to figure out my route to and from Fountain Hills so I would end up at about 100 miles. If Jim's estimate of 50 miles for today's ride was accurate, parking near McDowell and riding there would give me the extra 50. I parked at a church meetinghouse on Lindsay, just off McDowell.
From there I took McDowell eastbound to Usery Pass. I went up then down Usery Pass and made a right on Bush Hwy. The whole time I was heading east, I had a slight headwind. When I got up to Beeline Hwy I made a left towards Fountain Hills. Now I had a kicking tailwind. Not only that, but this section of Beeline had some of the smoothest pavement around with no debris in the shoulder. Maybe this was the ride we should have done yesterday?! I probably averaged 28 MPH on that section of Beeline.
Once I was partway down Beeline, I could see The Fountain off in the distance. It was quite impressive as I was still probably 5 miles away. It provided a good confirmation that I was going in the right direction since I had never ridden in this area before. I made a right on Shea and then on Saguaro and headed towards the fountain. When I got there the fountain was going off. I guess it goes off every 1/2 hour for about 10 minutes. I had some time to kill so I just hung out by the lake. The fountain is even more impressive when you're right next to it. After some research I learned that it shoots up over 500 feet in the air!
Uhl in Phoenix, AZ - Today starts with my race at 10:30 AM. I got much better sleep last night and my resting HR was reasonable this morning. Heather, Ted and I all drove downtown together for the criterium. We got there early so there was no stress or rushing around like yesterday. I signed in and took my time getting my bike and trainer setup. It was a beautiful blue sky day and there was a slight west wind. It was a little chilly when we first got there, but it was just about right for racing.
I got on the trainer and started doing my warmup routine. At first my legs felt like cement. They typically feel that way as you get into a stage race, but after 10 minutes they started to feel better. I did some pushes and my HR and wattage looked good. My legs were definitely feeling the race efforts. My criterium started fast and I was at the back. It took me a good 5 laps to get into the rhythm of a criterium. My legs weren't used to the power-levels needed for a crit.
When they started to feel better, I quickly worked my way to the front. I stayed in the top 15 riders for the last two-thirds of the race. We were only racing for 30 minutes so I was expecting the pace to be higher, but it wasn't too bad up front. I kept my eye on the top-five riders. With 1 lap to go I was in third wheel and I thought I was doing pretty well. But due to the course, all the action takes place on the back stretch and we were swarmed right before the second to last corner. When I watched the mass enter the corner I eased up in case there was a crash and took it easy on the last corner as well. Then I stood up to sprint and made up a few places so I ended up 19th or so.
Uhl in Phoenix, AZ - For some reason I could hardly sleep last night. I felt like I was laying in bed all night. I think I only got four hours of sleep. Maybe it was due to the time trial...the first hard effort of the season really jolted my system? I don't know. I ended up getting up at 4:17 AM before the alarm went off. I wanted to eat early since I had a 7:30 AM start, but I really didn't feel like eating much. I just staired at my breakfast for quite a while. I did manage to get some calories in but not nearly enough for a 57-mile race.
I felt sorry for Ted as he had to come with me this early to go out to the road race course since his race followed mine. While loading the car, there was a coyote walking around the neighborhood! It looked liked it was trying to find a way out of the subdivision and didn't seem too concerned about me. It was about 42° this morning and it was still dark when we got to the course. The volunteers told us to park straight in on the north side of the road. Since we couldn't see the start area, we just started walking down the road so we could sign in. After walking for a while we realized that the starting area was further than we had thought. But since we had gone that far, we figured we might as well keep walking! We finally found it and I signed in. We were going to get a feedzone parking pass but decided that we wouldn't need it for my race. Since my start time was approaching we jogged back to the car so I could get ready. That jog ended up being my warmup. When I got to the line I had only 10 minutes to spare.
Uhl in Phoenix, AZ - First stage race of the year and I'm glad it's starting out with the time trial. Since we had a minivan, Laura and Trish joined us which saved them from renting a car. My field was one of the earlier fields to go off, but they didn't mind hanging around the TT venue until the women's field went off later in the day. We stopped to pick up a trainer on the way out. Last time were were in Phoenix, I had met Charlie from the Brumby's club. He put me on the mailing list and I have become sort of an "adopted" member. When I mentioned I needed a trainer for the weekend, Sterling, head Brumby, hooked me up with a couple who lent me one of theirs. In their neighborhood, we got a kick that they didn't have speed bumps, they had "Speed Humps"!
Driving down was fun. Both Laura and Trish are a hoot. We talked about time trialing and I gave my thoughts on how to pace for a TT and stressed not going out too hard. There wasn't too much traffic on the way out and we had time to make a pitstop on the west outskirts of Phoenix. Then we continued to Buckeye, where the TT course was. It was really dusty out today from the windstorm they had on Wednesday.
When we got to the course, there were already a lot of cars there. The first riders started at 9:00 AM. Luckily, we found a parking spot pretty close to the registration tent and starting area. The day was overcast with a slight west wind. I setup my road bike on the trainer to warmup. I got a good warmup and my pushes felt pretty good, although they didn't feel as good as yesterday's ride. My heart rate was a little high this morning so I think I was feeling the travel a little bit.
Uhl in Phoenix, AZ - Today we're leaving for cold Boise, ID. We've been staying with family friends from Heather's youth. They've been great hosts and we really appreciated their hospitality. They also were taking care of a dog named Max, which Ted befriended pretty readily. Ted and I would walk Max almost every day. On a walk, Max was a ball of energy, always wanting to run. We found this field that was mostly enclosed and Ted and I had a great idea: We would each stand at each end of the field and alternate calling Max to us. It worked great and Max would run back and forth to the point of exhasution. Even after that, he'd still walk ahead of you and pull on the leash with good resistance. That is one strong dog!
Uhl in Phoenix, AZ - Like yesterday, we headed out early to meet up with the Landis crew. On Sundays, they do the "Round the Mountain" ride. This ride heads south towards Maricopa. Then it turns right and heads to the west side of South Mountain. From the turn to the town on the other side, it's pretty much a full-on race! Heather and I did this ride years ago in December when we're both totally out of race-shape. The time we did it they stopped just after the right turn and broke into groups. Heather and I chose the fastest group. A few minutes later as I was struggling to hang on in the gutter, I felt the impact of my decision. I subsequently got dropped! This time I've been training a lot more so we won't have a repeat of that!
There were more riders at the start than yesterday. Then as we rode out, people would join in from various places along the roll out. I think we had probably 70 riders by the time we hit Maricopa Highway. The pace picked up on the highway, but I felt pretty good, even in the wind. I was only mid-pack thinking that we'd stop after the turn. As we made the turn the pace didn't ease up. Of course, Ted was already smartly at the front. The pace started picking up and the race was on! At this point there was a crosswind from the left so everyone was in the righthand gutter. I knew I had to really push it if I wanted any chance of making that lead group. I started moving up using a combination of passing on the leeward side and wind side. When I finally got to the front of the cluster of riders I was passing, I could see the lead group already had a gap of 200 meters. Time to really hammer!
Uhl in Phoenix, AZ - Ted and I did Landis Cyclery's group ride today. Being a Saturday, this is the day they do loops around the Ahwatukee Foothills area (Pecos Rd, etc.). We had a good sized group, I'd say about 45 riders and strolled out to "the course". I met a rider named Charlie, who was a really nice guy. We talked about cycling (duh!) and how he recently got into it and has been progressing well.
Once we got to the ride area, we did a small push up a gradual incline. I was towards the back so I pushed it to move up to the front. It felt pretty hard, even though it didn't seem like it should have. Maybe it was the cold temperatures or lack of warmup. We then cruised down to Pecos Rd where we opened it up all the way to the end of the road. It was a good effort for about 3-4 miles. As long as I stayed out of the wind it wasn't bad, but going into the wind to move up was pretty hard for me. I did manage to get up there for the "sprint" but had no idea where the sprint line was, so I went all out to early and got passed to the real line. Ted was just ahead of me and did better, maybe top 5 in that sprint.
There were three more sprints on the ride, and I won two of them and Ted won one. I wasn't sure if that was a big deal because the strong team that had been pushing the pace earlier on Pecos, pulled off after the first sprint and did their own ride. Still, Ted and I were happy with our sprints, and we both made a couple friends. Later, upon looking at my PowerTap data, I realized that those sprints were pretty good (at least for me), and I was only 7% off my all-time best 12-second power.
Uhl in Phoenix, AZ - Yesterday we only rode an hour and half in anticipation of today's ride, Tortilla Flats. This is one of my favorite rides down here. Heather and I have ridden it at least once during every trip we've taken to visit her folks who used to live in Sun Lakes. This time it won't be as epic as before because we'll be starting out from Higley, not Sun Lakes. When Heather and I did it from Sun Lakes it was epic...over 6 hours in the saddle!
Today I'm estimating around 4 hours. We headed out west towards Apache Junction and it seemed like we had a tailwind. Due to the warm weather, the air in the valley has been smoggy to the extent that they issued health advisories. But once we got past Apache Junction it was crystal clear and beautiful out there. Ted and I agreed that we'd ride at our own pace, so no need to wait for each other except at designated spots.
There was little traffic on the way out. We stopped at Tortilla Flats and bought some water, then continued east up the hill. I kept my HR at 155 and it felt pretty good on the 5-mile climb to where the pavement ends. We regrouped and turned around and descended. I hit 51.7 MPH on the descent...fun! We rode separately out of all the ups and downs until the last downhill, then we went into team time trial mode and booked towards Apache Junction. The wind had shifted and we had a tailwind on the way back. We were cooking at 30+ MPH! We stopped to get some refreshments and then enjoyed the tailwind home. We did it in 3hr 53 min. I think the wind gods were smiling on us today!
Uhl in Phoenix, AZ - Today the three of us met up with Jim, whom we met on Sunday's century. Jim lives way up north in Cave Creek. He showed us a ride that meandered through the Carefre highlands and then over to Bartlett Lake and back. Heather and I had done the Bartlett Lake section before, but not long climb that leads up to it. We kept the pace pretty easy the whole time. Ted and I would sometimes go ahead while Heather and Jim took a more leisurely pace and chatted. The section of road going to the lake was awesome with hardly any traffic. This was nice as we could ride side-by-side and talk. There were a good amount of hills, but we kept the effort level down keeping the wattage around 250.
Once we got back to Carefree, Jim graciously invited us to dinner and we had some really yummy food. We still had to ride 5 miles back to the house, but it was mostly downhill. We got back as the sun was getting low and Heather and Ted picked some grapefruit from Jim's trees. Seems that everyone has citris fruit tree in Phoenix. Heather is a big fruit lover so she was in heaven!
Uhl in Phoenix, AZ - Today Ted and I headed out on our own while Heather attended to business. We rode out over Usery, then over to Saguaro up to Beeline then back. It was a 3.5 hr ride and we tried to keep it zone 1-2. Anytime the road would start to climb a little, Ted would end up pushing harder than I'd like. I wanted to keep my wattage below 300, because I knew if I went over that for very long, I wouldn't be able to go for 3-4 hours. I usually just dropped off his pace and we'd re-group later. It was a beautiful day and it was so clear once we got outside the city limits. On the way back, Ted started to bonk. At first I wanted to blame it on his fast pace early on, but then I learned he hardly had anything to eat that morning. We stopped at a store while we both refueled. He felt better the rest of the way home and overall it was a great ride.
Uhl in Phoenix, AZ - Arizona is a popular place for cyclists and there were a number of Sunday ride options to choose from. The popular, Landis Cyclery's Round-the-Mountain ride is really a race that can be pretty hard. But there was also an organized century going on today that sounded like it had a good turnout last year. The best thing about an organized ride is all the rest stops. No need to pack your jersey pockets with tons of food, this century had planned rest stops every 20 or so miles.
Heather came with us figuring that we'd just be doing a zone 1-2 ride. Nice, easy base miles. When we got to the start in Chandler, there was already a line to register. It was also pretty chilly, at least for Phoenix. I think it was 43°. The line steadily grew as more people showed up. We stood in line and registered and then got ready to ride. We headed south and Ted and I were like eager beavers ready to push the pace.
Uhl in Phoenix, AZ - Here we are in warm, sunny Phoenix! My teammate Ted and I are anxious to get some good miles in. Heather will join us for a few rides, but mostly will be meeting with potential clients. We rented a minivan from Enterprise Rent-A-Car and, even though the all the Phoenix airport rental properties are being revamped, we had a pleasant experience and were impressed with the friendly staff. This is picture of Ted basking in the warm Arizona sun.
From there, we were off to the FedEx Home Delivery distribution center not far from the airport. It was a close one, but Ted and I were able to pickup both our bikes. We had shipped it to the home we are staying in, but there was no one to sign for it yesterday when they tried to deliver it. I called FedEx and told them to hold it so we could pick it up, but they couldn't guarantee that this would happen. So we were relieved that they had them when we stopped at the distribution center. Ted and I built our bikes and went for a quick 1.5 hr ride. The route we took wasn't the greatest due to construction everywhere, but it was great to be riding outside in shorts and short sleeved jerseys!
Uhl in Eagle, ID - Tomorrow we're headed to Phoenix for some warm weather training. Phoenix is a great place to train because it almost never rains, is at least 55-60° this time of year, and has a pretty good size airport that is easy to get in and out of. It also helps that Heather knows a ton of people there so we can usually find a friendly place to stay.
Heather is actually going to work during the trip, but my teammate, Ted is coming along and he and I will be doing some good riding. Since I just got over the flu, I was worried that I lost a lot of fitness and wouldn't be able to ride as much as I want to. Today I did my first 20 minute interval. I did it as a force interval, which means a low cadence in a big gear. The interval didn't feel that hard and after I downloaded my ride from my PowerTap, it revealed that the wattage was pretty good. So maybe I will get some quality saddle time down in Arizona!
Ted and I already shipped our bikes to Phoenix via FedEx Home. As long as you can deal with your bike being in transport for a few days, using a shipping company is not only cheaper than the airlines, but you can actualy insure your bike for damages. I find it obscene that an airline can charge you $80 bucks, each way, yet not cover damages! So I shipped my Serotta, which is my training bike. I did take the PowerCranks off, knowing that my hip flexors aren't ready for the mileage we're going to be putting in. Once I return, I'll get back on the PowerCranks.
Uhl in Salt Lake City, UT - Since we saw my folks in October, we decided to spend Christmas with Heather's family. Heather went down early to do some business then I joined on Christmas day. It was a nice day and got to just hang out with family.
Uhl in Larchmont, NY - It seems that we're always going to New York to deliver something. Last time it was the iMac, this time a digital camera for my mother. We also were glad to be going now and not during the holidays. Since we typically fly standby on Delta, flying during the holidays can be problematic. It was a short trip but we spent quality time with my family and had two dinners where other relatives showed up. It was a nice trip.
Uhl in Tucson, AZ - We're back in Tucson with Heather's mom for another active adult community "play and stay" deal. This time we're staying in Green Valley about 25 minutes south of Tucson. Since the season is over, we didn't bring our bikes, but they did have three mountain bikes in the garage of the model home we were staying in. Heather was religious and rode every day. I rode once, but couldn't stand riding a bike without clipless pedals, so I ended up going to the fitness center and running instead. Oh, and I did do some driving around in the golf cart they supplied with the guest home.
We looked at all the model homes and checked out the surroundings. We also stopped by the Green Valley Pecan Company store. This area is great for growing Pecans and has the largest orchard in the continental United States. Pecan trees are fairly tall and the orchards are irrigated so even though it could be 90° in the desert, the temperature in the orchard is like 73°! I bought some pecans to take to our upcoming trip to New York so my mom could make a pecan pie. They had an interesting CD with a video on how they harvest and package the pecans. To get the pecans off the tree they have these huge machines that have giant padded claws that grasp one of the main branches coming off of the trunk and just shake the tree! The pecans fall, then another machine plows them into linear piles and yet a third machine will come and pick them up. Quite the process!
Tucson is really pretty this time of year and gardens in some of these manicured communities are brightly filled with all sorts of colors. At one house we were looking at there was a multi-colored butterfly hanging out on some really bright flowers. Just to the south is an observatory so there is a lighting ordinance which says that there can't be any light that shines out or up. This makes it great for seeing the stars at night. You could see the Milky Way when you go out at night.
Uhl in Tucson, AZ - Since I didn't finish the race yesterday, technically I wasn't allowed to start today's stage. But I wanted to see what the circuit race course was like so I snuck in just to ride a few laps. I made sure I stayed at the very back of the pack the whole time so I couldn't have any affect on the outcome of the race. For the few laps I raced, the pace wasn't as fast as it was during the road race. It actually felt easy to me. The climb on the back half of the course was more of a big-ring grinder. The only downside was the course was pretty rough. After three laps my scouting was done and I pulled myself.
Uhl in Tucson, AZ - This morning is the road race and it is a good thing we're starting early...the temperatures have been above normal for this time of year. It was getting close to 90° every day. Heather started a little bit before me but I still had time to take a picture. My race was interesting...even though the flyer said Cat 2's would have their own race, they decided to combine us with the Pro/1's for both the road race and circuit race tomorrow. They would still score us separately, but the whole dynamics of the race will be change. Not to mention...I'm not sure I would be able to hang on the climb racing with the Pro's!
As expected, my race started fast and we were doing 34 MPH on the flats. I was able to hang on, but I was feeling at my limits a couple times. The first time up the climb I got dropped and had to start chasing. Fortunately there were some people behind me and we organized and started to paceline. It took us a half a lap, but we finally did catch, just in time for some more attacking to occur up front. Now I was at my limit and decided that if I got dropped this next time up the hill, I'd pull myself. As predicted, I got dropped on the hill and called it a day. I rode in with another straggler, but he kept going while I called it quits.
Uhl in Tucson, AZ - Even though Bogus was supposed to be the last race of the season, Heather and I had the opportunity to go to Tucson on same weekend as the Tucson Bicycle Classic. The main reason we were going was to scout out active-adult communities with Heather's mom. One of the communities had a "Play and Stay" package where, for a low price, you could stay in one of the model homes and checkout the amenities and figure out if the community would work for you. Since the bike race was going on, we decided to race as well. I knew I wouldn't be in very good shape since I barely held my peak for Bogus, but I figured I would race and at least see the courses for next year.
We flew out this morning and should have had plenty of time before Heather's early start time. Wouldn't you know it, us being cheapskates we went with Budget rent-a-car and had major issues upon arrival. It seems that somehow they didn't have a minivan available, despite the fact we made the reservation a week ago!?! What's the purpose of a reservation then! We waited almost an hour and actually got one that was returned by another customer. Now making Heather's start would be cutting real close!
Uhl in McCall, ID - This weekend Heather and I celebrated our 11th wedding anniversary. I planned a surpise weekend getaway. Heather knew we were going away, but not where. I told her to bring her mountain bike stuff and packed up the car then we headed north. We stayed at the Brundage Inn (pictured). We did lift-served mountain biking at Brundage Mountain two days as well as the infamous Loon Lake Loop. This ride was awesome and Loon lake is really gorgeous. It was a great weekend and we had a lot of fun (and no crashes)! Checkout more pictures in our photo gallery.
Uhl in Manhattan Beach, CA - For some crazy reason, I thought it would be fun to try a big national criterium again. Heather's teammate Nicole had asked Heather to race it and help her out. I decided to go along and try racing the Pro/1/2 field. Well, to make a long story short, it made the Boise Twilight feel like a walk in the park!
First of all was the field. The field limit was 175 riders...and it was full! Then there's the course, a dog-leg with a hill and pretty tight turns on either end, making the back of the pack slow down to 8 MPH twice per lap! So we, those of us at the back, had to accelerate from 8 to 34 MPH, twice per lap! The speed was just incredible. So you're wondering why I was at the back...I can give you tons of reasons: my legs were feeling flat, I didn't line up early enough, I was caught behind a couple crashes, or I was testing my "hang at the back" technique just to find out it doesn't work in a crit like this! But I won't bore you with more excuses...I just wasn't fast enough! With 5 laps to go, I made a concerted effort and gave it all I got and started to move up. I think I did a pretty good job, thinking that I may have finished in the top half. But published results only went 70-deep and has some missing numbers. Oh well.
Heather, on the other hand, made the trip worthwhile. She covered every significant attack to keep Nicole fresh for the pack sprint. It worked and Nicole ended up getting 2nd, right behind Ina Teutenberg, who probably has the best women's sprint in the world. So not bad, Nicole and Heather were happy with that result. Heather actually flatted with two laps to go, but at that point her work was done. This is a picture of Heather and Nicole with Rick, who works at Five Ten, one of Team Basis' sponsors. Rick is a really nice guy and puts in a lot of work supporting the team.
Uhl in Pocatello, ID - We drove back to Pocatello last night for another race put on by the Idaho Cycling Enthusiasts. The course is a 25-mile loop that we did four times for a total of 100 miles. part of the course is very similar to the road course from the Gate City Grind stage race. But the difference is we go up the "Gap", a small canyon where the road snakes and climbs for about 4 miles. From there there we descend, the turn and flatten out, then a gradual descent to the start/finish. Since this was the first year of the race, the field wasn't that big, but there were some heavy hitters. This was also the first road race that I have participated in with primes! One on the first lap and another on the third.
Uhl in Pocatello, ID - The criterium was today and my goal was to just hang with the pack. I'm still not in stage race form. Heather raced first and had a good race. There were some tactics involved so Heather would win overall and without any teamates she was at a disadvantage. But she pulled through and won the criterium and the overall. My race was OK. I was able to hang in the race and get to the front a couple times, but nothing spectacular. Even despite this, I got 10th overall. It was a small field, but hey, I can still say I got top ten!
Uhl in Pocatello, ID - Last night we drove out to Pocatello, Idaho for the Gate City Grind Stage Race put on by Rob Van Kirk. We've known Rob since our Utah days. He's a super nice guy and puts on a great race. In the morning we had a long road race. It was multiple laps of about a 20-mile course. It had a couple hills on it but they weren't too long, though in years past I've gotten dropped on them. Today I was feeling pretty good and even got in a break for a short time. But the pack wouldn't have it and I stayed safe in the pack for the finish.
In the evening is the Time Trial. I haven't been time trialing really well so I wasn't expecting much. I worked as hard as I could on the course, but I just couldn't go very fast. My time was pretty bad but, hey, it's still just training, right? Wait until August when I peak!
Uhl in Park City, UT - Just the day after the Time Trial, is the road race. Last year we had a rest day in between but not so this year. This put people who did the time trial at a disadvantage because racers only doing the road race were fresh. Knowing the course and reading about how the Elite races played out a week earlier, I decided that no breaks would get away and it would probably come down to the last climb. So my strategy was to conserve as much energy until the last climb.
The pace was pretty high at times but with a big pack of about 75 riders it was easy to find a draft. Coming into the climb up to Park City, a rain storm started. I actually made it over the top of the first hill with the lead group, but wasn't dilligent about getting to the front on the next, longer hill. So I started the climb about mid-pack and was slowly slipping backwards through the field. I thought I would be able to stay in contact but that hill was longer than I remembered and it took forever for it to level off at the top. I just couldn't go any faster and I was fantasizing about hitching a tow rope to any of the riders passing me just to get me to the top. The field was pretty strung out so I rationalized that there must have been some attacking at the front. I was off the back of the main group, but there were some other stragglers behind me.
I got with a group of about six riders and we tried to catch but by the time we went under the underpass, it was a lost cause. At that point we were just working to finish this awful race and end the suffering. Oh well. By the steep pitch going by the town of Park City, my legs were done and I just TT'd into the finish. I got a disappointing 49th.
Uhl in Kayesville, UT - For the second year in a row the USCF Masters National Championships is in Utah. As I mentioned in my last post, the TT course is on Antelope Island. Today the weather was much nicer than yesterday during the pre-ride. There were tons of little bugs around the dirt/sand parking lot, but they didn't seem to be biting. Later I learned that a couple weeks earlier all the Elite riders got eaten alive. Maybe all the mosquitos were still full!?
I got a decent warmup but my legs weren't feeling that great. I started out pretty tame as there is a small climb in the initial mile. Then I descended and had to fight (like everyone else) a headwind on the way out. When I turned around I started to pick it up and passed a couple riders who started before me. I ended up riding a a pretty good ride as far as my fitness goes, but it was still slower than last year. Last year masters nationals was in August, when I typically peak (I'm a late bloomer). So I only got 15th this year as opposed to 9th last year.
Uhl in Kayesville, UT - Last night we drove down to Kayesville, Utah and stayed with a friend and his family from Heather's mission. Today we drove out to Antelope Island to pre-ride the TT course. It was the same as last year, but I wanted to pre-ride it to job my memory. Heather motorpaced me for most of it, so it went really fast. Drafting behind our car is really too easy for a workout, but that wasn't the point. It was sure fun riding the course at 35 MPH!
When I was done, we switched and Heather got on her bike and rode home, while I drove. The wind had picked up so she had to deal with a nasty crosswind on the causeway. Once we got to the mainland I tried to motorpace her as much as possible without interfering with traffic. We got back to the house and then showered and had a nice evening with our host family.
Uhl in Eagle Mountain, UT - Today was supposed to be the last and final stage of the Tour of Utah. It was a time trial in Eagle Mountain over by Cedar Fort. The weather looked ominous when we left the hotel, then while driving over we saw the results of a nasty hailstorm that just went by. When we got to the race location, we weren't sure what the deal was. That brief storm had passed, but the skies didn't look good and it was super windy. Things were delayed but no one knew for how long. It was a pretty chaotic scene. Some people were warming up on trainers, others hanging out in their cars or in the entranceway of the church building we were parked at. After about an hour, the officials finally decided to call the stage. Heather and I both agreed that this was a smart decision but it was amazing to hear how some people were ticked off. Personally, I probably would have benefitted from doing the TT but when it comes to issues of safety, I err on the side of being too safe. So the GC results after yesterday's road race is where everything would remain.
Uhl in Nephi, UT - Today was the epic stage of the tour of Utah. It was a 55 mile road race finishing with a 9-mile climb up the south side of the Mount Nebo scenic loop. The course originally was supposed to come up the north side, out of Payson, but the loop is still closed due to the snow pack this year.
The updated course heads east from Nephi to the town of Moroni on mostly flat roads after an gradual climb out of Nephi. In Moroni we do a turnaround loop and head back the other way. Then about 5 miles before returning to Nephi, we make a right and head up the Nebo loop. The race started with with a couple breakaway attempts but came back together quickly. Then a reknowned time-trialer took a solo attack and got up the road. Most people weren't too concerned, but it took a while before we brought him back. Then, as the road started to rise a little before the turn off to the "real" climb, things got frisky and the group started to break apart. I managed to stay in the lead group, trying to conserve as much as I could. But by the time we hit the climb I was toast. I dropped off early and rode at my own pace. I still ended up top ten for the day, but didn't make up any places on GC. But thank goodness for Merle...he lent me his 27-tooth cogset which I was in probably 90% of the time.
After crossing the line I immediately found some water, ate some food and then headed back down the climb. I stopped to see the women go by, then rode at a brisk pace back to the Nephi so I could get the car so Heather could avoid the windy ride out of the canyon. This picture was taken while I was waiting in the parking area at the bottom of the descent. I still felt bad about not bringing both of our 27-tooth cogsets so Heather could have one, but she wasn't too upset about it. I guess it's because of her background as a masher. When I met her her average cadence in TT's was like 75 RPM!
Uhl in Lehi, UT - For Heather, this would be her second criterium of the Tour, but for me it was the first. This course is a lot nicer than the one Heather did in Provo on Thursday night. It made use of the Thanksgiving Point parking lot for half the course, then made it's way out to a couple really smooth roads with a slight downhill by the start/finish line. I'm not particularly fond of parking lot crit courses, but this one was great! Heather had a decent race and had to deal with some women that didn't understand stage racing tactics. But she was entertained by the antics during the race. I didn't get to watch much of her race because I had to warm up for my event.
My race went better than I expected. I hammered from the gun to start things off. I felt better than I expected but not dominant, so I had to play off of other people's attacks. As we were coming into only a few laps to go, things got really strung out. There were a couple people off the front and I felt decent. I wasn't sure if we would catch, but I could still possibly get a podium spot. Then coming into the last corner, I though I wouldn't have enough punch to sprint for third, so I let a guy come around me. Then I stood up and started sprinting. I was surprised to find that I had pretty good speed and was gaining on him! But I didn't have enough road to overtake him and ended up 4th. I guess I should have given it 100%, even though I was disappointed with my sprints during this morning's stage.
A friend of ours from my Intel days, Merle came out to watch. He brought his kids who were excited to watch us race. Another couple from our old neighborhood in Pleasant Grove also came out to watch. It was nice to see familiar faces.
Uhl in Lehi, UT - Today was first stage of the Tour for me, and Heather's 3rd. It was a circuit race starting at Thanksgiving Point, finishing up the 6-mile climb on South Mountain. My category did four circuits on a flat course nearby Thanksgiving Point. On two of the laps they had points sprints. Then we would head up the east frontage road over Point of the Mountain and then head up the new South Mountain road. I tried to contest for a the points sprints but I ended up getting swarmed and didn't have enough leg speed. After that I realized I should just sit in on the climb. When we hit the climb, I made sure I was always out of the wind at the beginning. We had enough of a headwind to make a difference. But as the pack disintegrated, I unded up alone for the second half. There was a rider just ahead of me that I would yo yo back and forth with, but I never could overtake him.
When we got to where I thought the finish was, I learned that the finish was about 1 KM further up! This was bad news as I divied out my energy thinking that the finish was at the 4-way stop. To add insult to injury, this was the steepest section of the whole climb! I really crawled up that last section, but fortunately, things were so spread out that I didn't lose any places...but I surely lost some time on GC. I also only had a 25-tooth cog and I think Heather had a 23. During the steep part, I could only think of how Heather must be hating me for not bringing both our 27-tooth cogs with us. I will have to borrow one from Merle for Sunday's epic climb up Mount Nebo.
Uhl in Lehi, UT - Today is Heather's birthday as well as the second stage of her Tour of Utah. The women got to do a long road race without too much climbing to break things up. The course was similar to a Utah district road race course we did years ago. Since it was an out-and-back course, I didn't get to see much of her race. This picture is of the women's field heading out at about mile 6 at the entrance of The Ranches at Eagle Mountain (that's Heather towards the back of the pack in her Basis orange!).
After she went by, I drove a mile to the finish and got on my bike to pre-ride the TT course which we would both do on Monday. The course used the same roads as the last five miles of this road race course. On the way out there is a gradual climb of about a mile then a two mile descent down to the flat section headed into the new town of Eagle Mountain. The pavement was all brand new and really smooth. The turn-around was a mile past the main circle. I rode the course pretty easy but it felt good. It was my kind of course. When I got back I did some stretching then changed and waited for Heather to finish. Two hours later Heather came in with the pack.
We didn't stick around for the mens Pro/1/2 race but later we heard that the field had a really nasty crash coming into the finish. Yet another day that I was glad I was racing the Masters 35+ category!
Uhl in Provo, UT - Today we drove down to our old stomping grounds in Utah. The Tour of Utah is a new race that, for the Elite riders, starts with a criterium in downtown Provo. Since my form is still lacking, I decided to race with the Masters 35+ instead of torturing myself in the Pro/1/2 field. So my race doesn't start for a couple days. After seeing the Provo criter course I was kind of glad. The Start/Finish line is on Center Street, then only a couple hundred yards past you have to do a complete 180 turn around the median and go the other way! That means every lap the pack would slow down to 8 MPH then have to accelerate back up to speed. Heather raced while I took photos. I'll let Heather write the details of how the race unfolded, but from my perspective the race looked pretty tame with everyone content with a pack finish. No one wanted to waste energy with five more stages to go.
Uhl in Larchmont, NY - Time to deliver the iMac. Heather and I flew to New York to see my family. My niece and nephew always make it exciting! The family is doing well and they are very excited to finally get with the times. I got couple educational software titles for the kids and they really seem to like them. Of course, nothing could be as exciting as the cardboard box we shipped the computer in! Makes for a great car for Lucas.
Uhl in Boise, ID - My parents finally got tired of hearing all this great stuff about email and the "Internet" so they finally decided to buy a computer. As the family tech-guy, I purchased an Apple iMac G5 for them. I had it shipped to me so I could set it up (and play with it) then Heather and I would take a trip to New York and deliver it. It's a great little machine. Mac OS/X has such a cleaner UI than Windows XP. I hope it's still easy enough to use for my folks!
Uhl in Park City, UT -Today my age group (30-34) did a 75 mile road race. It was similar to the Utah District road race course we used years ago but in the reverse direction. I got a quick warmup on the rollers and then rolled up to the line. The weather was cool, about 65 at the start, but hardly any wind.
The race was semi-active from the start with a couple riders escaping before the descent by Jordanelle Reservoir. The pack was content with letting them go, but up the first real climb another guy escaped in pursuit of the 2-person break. Once we got to Kamas, then the pace started picking up and there were a flurry of attacks. I was feeling good so I was active at the front to make sure I didn't miss a major break. Then as we got closer to the feedzone, I got with a group of a few riders and started rotating. I knew that the feedzone would be hectic since it was on a completely flat section of the course, so I wanted to be up front and avoid any chaos. I was able to get a bottle from Heather and then a guy attacked. Since I was in front I decided to latch on his wheel. There was still a single rider up ahead and I didn't think a two or three-person break would hold for very long so I didn't pull through.
He asked if I was going to work and I told him that it was too early, but I'd take some 'tempo' pulls. Once we made a left-hand turn I looked back and noticed the field was really strung out. For some reason I thought everything would be clumped together. As we came upon the lone breakaway rider, I looked back and noticed that there were breaks in the field. So in order to "break the elastic" I attacked, hoping peole would come with. No one got on my wheel at first, but after a few seconds they were on me and we started rotating.
Uhl in Park City, UT - Today I participated in the United States Masters Nationals time trial. Masters nationals is an age-grouped championship that is broken out into age categories. For most bike races, masters races are for ridres 35 years or older. But for Nationals, the first age bracket is 30-34. Heather and I drove down yesterday and checked into our condo. Park City really supported this event as many of the local resorts have heavily discounted rates for the racers.
The time trial was actually on Antelope Island. There is a road on the east side that heads south a ways. My TT was 34k, out and back. We left early in case there was any traffic from Park City to Kaysville. We got to the island fairly early for my 10:56 AM start time. Since riders had started at 8:00 AM, there were already tons of people parked in the event parking. We had to go to the end of the dirt/sand lot and park next to a sailboat on a trailer which a lot of huge spiders made a home.
I got a good warmup and got to the start with 6 minutes to my time. I went down the road the other way and then turned around so I made it with exactly 1 minute before my time. The rider 30 seconds in front of me missed his start so I was the second rider to go off with the only other rider starting 1 minute before me. I get up on the ramp, switch to the right starting gear and then get on the bike. I started out with a short sprint then eased into it. The course started on a slight climb that is bigger coming back. I knew that I didn't want to push it so early so I tempoed up it. The downhill was fast and I was in the 11 tooth cog for most of it. Then I eased into a rhythm as the course basically weaved left and right with only a few small rollers before the hill at the turn around.
Heather in Boise, ID - Uhl’s big goal for the year was Master’s Nationals, which was held in Park City, UT. The TT for Master’s Nationals was held on Antelope Island. The Utah State TT was held on the same course as Master’s Nationals, so we made the trip down so Uhl could race the course. I did the TT on my road bike with aerobars and my PowerTap wheel; the power data indicated I was still sick. I had a distinct disadvantage without the aero bike and wheels.
Uhl in Highland, UT - Heather and I drove down to Utah yesterday for the State Road Race and Time Trial Championships. The TT course is the same one that will be used for Masters Nationals in two weeks so riding the course was the main reason we came down. The road race was just going to be some more training miles for me. Heather didn't race the road race because she had her collarbone pin taken out on Wednesday and was told "don't crash for three weeks." OK, doc!
Having Heather available to give feeds was a bonus for me since my race was 99 miles and it was supposed to be 97 degrees today. I knew I wasn't going to have a good day when I got on the trainer to warmup and just felt awful. I didn't sleep well the last couple nights and was tired when I got up this morning. But I thought maybe things would pickup once I got my HR up. No luck...my legs felt heavy and I just felt tired.
Heather in Boise, ID - On Sunday we drove to Farmington to participate in the Utah State Crit Championships at the Davis Tech Center. My parents and sister, Jen, came to watch us race. I told them not to expect much from me, given my performance the day before. It was the Utah State Criterium Championship; I could win the race, but I couldn’t win the State title. There were 10 women: three from Binghams (Kelly Crawford, Kris Walker, and Chris Ferrerio), two from a Park City team (Margaret Douglas and Karen Dodge), Crystal Yap, Laura Howett, Courtney McBeth, Tiffany Callahan, and me.