St George Training Camp

IMG_2437 Uhl in Eagle, ID – Heather and I went down to Saint George, Utah for a mini-training camp of long rides in hot weather. After the spell of warm weather a few weeks ago, riding when it’s only in the 50’s wasn’t doing it for us so we decided to head south and ride where it was really warm.

IMG_2475We got some good rides in, though we didn’t hit it as hard as we thought we would at the start. With a hectic week leading up to the trip combined with the travel, we took the first few days easy with only 1–2 hour rides. But we slowly increased durations and ended up going to Enterprise and back on Thursday giving us a nearly 5-hour ride with over 8,000 feet of climbing.

2009-05-10CropWe did one more short, but hard ride on Friday, then had fun with family at the pool before we left. After travelling home we were both wasted on Saturday, but still did a long ride on Sunday; an Emmett Rd – Horseshoe Bend loop for another 4+ hours. So my totals for the week are almost 20 hours of saddle time with a TSS of 1,086!

BTW, more pictures from the trip are posted to my Facebook profle.

Long Weekend in Saint George

IMG_2045 Uhl in Eagle, ID – Heather and I headed down the Saint George, UT for a weekend of warm weather riding. On Saturday we did a ride which we've always wanted to do; St George to Enterprise and back. We've gone north past Veyo on Hwy 18 before and know that there's some decent climbing up that way.

We chose Saturday to tackle this ride since it was supposed to be the warmest of the three days of our trip. We left before noon, when it was still a cool 40-something degrees in town. Riding up through Snow Canyon was as scenic as it always is. Even taking pictures while riding no handed, gives you some great shots. You can just point a camera in any direction and you're guaranteed to get a decent picture.

IMG_2032Fortunately the climbs kept us warm on the way out. While there were a couple downhill and flat sections, it was mostly uphill. That is until we hit the summit of the last climb...6150 feet above sea level! Mind you, St George is around 2,600 feet, so there was lots of climbing, though it never got very steep. It was cool to see my Garmin Edge 705 read exactly the same as the summit sign.

Then we descended down into Enterprise and that was one super-cold descent! I was thinking to myself that it was a mistake to continue on; we should have just turned around at the summit! IMG_2034But we descended all the way down to Enterprise which wasn't that much further. Even though it was only 35 miles away, it was like a totally different climate zone...snow as far as the eye could see. It must have been 40°F and we were both shivering from the frigid descent. Nothing like traveling to a warm place so we can climb to where it's the same temperature as home!!!

Continue reading "Long Weekend in Saint George" »

Riding in Saint George

Click to view activity on Garmin Connect Uhl in Eagle, ID – Heather and I went down to Saint George, Utah for New Year's and was able ride outdoors for a change. We took the first day easy and just rode up Snow Canyon and back. On New Year's Day we rode up to Gunlock Reservoir. In the canyon there was still snow on the ground and some of the shady spots on the pavement had frost on it. On Friday we rode up Snow Canyon and I did a VO2/LT interval to Hwy 18. Then we rode north on Hwy 18 to just past Veyo, then turned around and came back the same way. It was a bit chilly up on the shelf but it was nice to finally ride outside.

Here are the links to my rides on Garmin Connect:

Visit to Saint George

IMG_1661_Wide Uhl in Eagle, ID – Heather and I headed down to Saint George, Utah for a long weekend to spend some time with family. I had already shipped my Kestrel down as now my Trek is my new training bike. This way we both have bikes down there for when we visit in the future. We typically go down for about a week in December as well as a few weekends here and there through the winter.

IMG_1696 We flew down on Thursday morning and then did a short ride (Garmin) to the Tuacahn Amphitheatre and then through the Kayenta community. The next day we rode the old Gunlock Reservoir loop (Garmin) that they used for the former Tour of Saint George/Chums Classic/Tour of Hurricane. They scratch-graveled a large portion of the road as Heather found out when she came down a month ago. It was so thick it was a pain to ride in and made her time really slow. But after a few weeks, it was much better and most of the loose stuff was only on the outer edges of the road.

IMG_1725 On Saturday we did a nice ride (Garmin) we hand not done before. We headed out towards Gunlock Reservoir, but then made a left up Old US Hwy 91. We had never ridden this stretch of road so we didn't know what to expect. It's an alternative route to Las Vegas (116 miles) but we only rode to the top of the climb. It was a great climb with beautiful views but coming down we learned that the road was pretty rough. It has lots of small crack that were fine at 10 MPH but not at 30 MPH! Once we got home we went to the community pool with the family and enjoyed a nice dinner.

Tour de Park City

IMG_1493 Uhl in Eagle, ID – While Heather has a tendency to write a dissertation for her race report, I'll try to make mine shorter. We drove to Park City on Friday and checked into the Newpark Hotel. Since they're a race sponsor we got a pretty good deal on a "luxury" suite and it was just that, luxurious. We picked up our packets and because they were understaffed we helped a little bit with registration. We also deposited our spare wheels and I gave them two personal feed bags for the 50- and 100-mile personal feed stations.

My race started at 7:00 AM. With only 14 Category 1–2 racers they combined us with the Category 3s. I was glad they did because doing a 170-mile race with a small pack would have sucked. So with the 3s we had about 35 riders total. We headed out northwest towards Coalville. The temperature was fairly cool but I knew it would get pretty warm so I went without arm- or knee-warmers. The pace was really mellow for the first couple hours so there was a lot of chatting going on...felt like I was on a charity century.

IMG_1497 Then we all agreed to stop at the 50-mile feedzone, as opposed to just riding by and grabbing handouts. I needed to stop anyway as the first of my two personal feedbags was supposed to be there. So we stopped and I looked through each of the piles of feedbags which were organized by category, but nowhere was mine to be found! So I went over to the tent and asked if maybe they had it there but still no luck. So I grabbed half a banana and a couple bottles of plain water. I also needed a bathroom break so by the time I got back on my bike, most of my group was gone so I had to chase to get back on. Fortunately they weren't motoring, but I did push it harder than I should have and unnecessarily burned a match.

A little while later things started to pick up; riders started attacking and pushing the pace. We rode a 6-mile section of dirt road, but it wasn't that bad as it was treated so it wasn't loose or washboarded. The attacks continued and eventually a couple riders got off before Evanston. There was a neutral feed station so our group slowed down and grabbed bottles. Again, just plain water so I was really glad I brought a lot of gels and PowerBars with me.

Continue reading "Tour de Park City" »

Heather's Tour de Park City

IMG_1498 Heather in Eagle, ID – This is the first year of the Felt Tour de Park City, which has a 170 mile USCF race and different tour options (52, 108, or 170 miles). There was preregistration and day of registration. There were 900 people who preregistered and another 300+ who did race day registration. The race promoter, Riley Siddoway, tried to make the race such that you didn’t have to have your own support. He had feed zones at Miles 25, 50, 75, 100, 125, and 150. He said that volunteers would hand up water, drink stuff, gels, bars, and fruit at every station. You could also put your own bottles and other food into sacks and label them with your bib number and what mile feed zone you wanted to pick them up and they would be shipped to that feed zone. The only thing is you had to stop and pick it up. The promoter implied that you could not have your own support, which helps ensure that everyone will go slowly through the feed zones.

Last night Uhl put bags with bottles and boiled potatoes to get at mile 50 and 100. They gave us timing chips to get our exact time. I used a 12-27 and was so glad I had that 27. I started with two bottles of Accelerade, 8 PowerGels (non-caffeine), and two bags of Blocks. Uhl started with two large bottles of Accelerade, 8 PowerGels and 3 PowerBars. They decided to combine the Cat 1 and 2 men with the Cat 3 men. Right as they lined up Richard announced that they would be scored together and share the same purse. There were five Women 1-3; I was the only Cat 1 and the others were Cat 3 riders. I talked with Richard Blanco about combining us with another category. He said that we could ride with the Cat 4 and masters women. We lined up behind the Master’s 45+ men. I asked Richard if we couldn’t go with them. He delayed their start time by 5 min and started us with them. That was nice since they had a pack of 25 or so.

Continue reading "Heather's Tour de Park City" »

Booth-Duty at TechEd Developer

IMG_1386 Uhl in Eagle, ID – I just got back from a week in Orlando, Florida for the Microsoft TechEd Developer conference. It was a somewhat of a short notice trip. Much earlier in the year I had filled out an application to work at TechEd, as working at conferences is a good way to touch-base with your customers. As a program manager Microsoft likes you to participate in a couple conferences a year. Well time passed and I didn't remember receiving a confirmation that I had been accepted. So, a couple weeks a go, it was a surprise to me when I received an email that I only had one day to make my hotel reservations!

I flew out on Sunday so I could make a short conference worker training on Monday. Since the conference didn't start until Tuesday and I'd have the rest of Monday free, Heather decided to come down with me for those couple days. She flew stand-by and lucked out by getting the last seat possible on the leg from SLC to Orlando! If she hadn't made it, she probably would have just gone back to Boise. The perils of flying stand-by!

IMG_1395 It was nice to have Heather there the first couple days. The hotel was really nice and we spend a lot of time together. We ate some yummy food at the Bahamas Breeze, who is known for their coconut encrusted shrimp, which we both enjoyed! We also split a delicious, Dulce de Leche cheesecake. Yummy!

Then on Tuesday Heather left for the airport super early in the morning while I got ready for "booth-duty". My job was to answer questions about our product at the PerformancePoint Server booth.

IMG_1419 Typically there were two of us at a booth at a time and I only had one, three-hour shift per day, except for one day where I had two shifts. Aside from that I attended sessions and then one night I went out to dinner with my team. Overall it wasn't a good experience but by Friday I was ready to come home.

Good thing we brought a trainer

Img_1013Uhl in St Geoge, UT – So it's supposed to be warmer down here in southern Utah, but this week it's not warmer by much! Glad I got my long-ish road ride in on Monday since the temperature has dropped since then. Sure it looks beautiful and sunny out the window, but it's only the high's are barely breaking 40°F.

Since Heather loves riding on a trainer, she brought one along with us on our trip. It was a good thing since I also succumbed to riding it as well, though not for very long. Heather, on the other hand managed to complete some tough, long workouts in the middle of the living room while our niece provided constant entertainment.

She got her first "bike" for Christmas along with her first helmet (ok, it's really a tricycle, but she can't say that yet). She hasn't quite got the hang of pedaling the thing, but I'm sure she will quickly. She's a fast learner. At first she didn't like her helmet, but once we got it adjusted, she wore it constantly, even when she wasn't on the bike!

Img_1021When we weren't riding, Heather and I traded off taking our niece for walks around the neighborhood. It's fun to see how interested an 18-month old is in even the most mundane least to us boring adults. She loved watching the "wa wa" (water) in the fountain at the entrance of the subdivision. She was tireless running back and forth in the backyard of grandma's house. It was fun and relaxing spending time with family without much else to do.

Riding on Christmas Eve Day

Img_0984Uhl in St George, UT – We're down in St George again for Christmas  with Heather's mom, sister and niece. This time we brought a better bike to ride. We shipped Heather's old Javelin ahead of us and plan to leave it here so we always have a bike to ride when we come and visit. The only thing we brought with us on the plane was a PowerTap wheel and a trainer. Even though this is southern Utah, it can still be chilly. Besides, Heather really likes her trainer when it comes to her workouts.

Since the forecast for the week is unseasonably cold and today is supposed to be the warmest of the lot, I decided to do the old Gunlock Reservoir RR course from the old Chum's Classic Stage Race. This is the same ride I did last Christmas. Like last year, I was gasping a for air as the elevation is higher than Boise. But my legs felt good and I kept the pressure on the entire ride with a couple forays into VO2 territory on the hills.

Img_1034squareWhile it only was in the 40's F it was still nice to be on the road. It looked like I wasn't the only one getting a good ride today; I passed a bunch of riders going the other direction on the Gunlock road. It's also nice to be with family on the holidays. Heather's mother always decorates her house so festively during the holidays. Then of course, there's our niece who's always entertaining and very photogenic!

Day at the Track

Img_0929aUhl in Eagle, ID – Today we took a quick trip to the LA Velodrome so Heather could get some track time in before the USA Cycling Talent Pool Qualifier event (.pdf) next week. We flew out standby which is always sketchy and it almost started out on the wrong foot. As they were doing the final boarding at the gate in Boise, we hadn't been called yet and saw that there were other standby passengers with distressed looks on their faces.

We learned that a United flight had been cancelled so many paying passengers filled the Delta flight, which looked wide open the night before. After waiting through most of boarding we finally get called up but were told that there was only one seat available! We had to decide whether we'd split up and figured that If I didn't make it to Salt Lake City, i wouldn't make it to LA in time, so Heather should just go. She got her boarding pass and waited before boarding, since they were still making final headcount. Luckily, there was yet one more seat still open, which I then received. Whew...that was close!

The flight from SLC to Los Angeles was not as exciting and we got into LAX and rented a car and headed to the velodrome. I guess they were having a game at the Home Depot Event Center as the Goodyear blimp was hovering about. Since the velodrome building is a multi-use facility there were some boys volleyball matches going on the infield. The infield is surrounded by floor to ceiling netting so balls don't make their way onto the track. But with all the people, the inside temperature was much warmer than during Elite Track Nationals.

Continue reading "Day at the Track" »

Double Sickness

Uhl in Eagle, ID – So much for not getting sea-sick. Today I woke up and felt like I had vertigo; slightly nauseous and dizzy. I was actually surprised that I didn't get it while on the ship as I easily get motion sickness when I'm a passenger in a car and I don't look out the window. But I guess its fairly common to "land sickness" when you return to land after you've been aboard a ship for an extended period of time. But that's not the only thing that's going on, I also have a fever.

During the last few days of the cruise, our niece, then Jen, then Heather's mother all got sick sequentially. Symptoms were nausea, diarrhea and slight fever. While some people call this the "stomach flu" allow me to dispel that slang misnomer: there is no such thing! The true "Flu", or influenza, is a completely different type of virus that actually doesn't survive in the stomach. Influenza is the seasonal disease (typically winter) which causes high fever and body aches along with other symptoms like a cough and can last for days. Viral gastroenteritis, usually caused by a genus of viruses called Norovirus, is completely different and typically only causes intestinal symptoms and lasts only 24 hours. It was made popular a few years ago due to outbreaks on a select number of cruise ships. The reason why it's common on cruise ships is that this family of viruses are highly contagious. So being in close contact with other people, as on a ship, will allow it to spread rapidly.

So once Heather's family came down with it, I thought I was being extra careful about being close to them and didn't enter their cabin. But by midday today, my intestines were feeling worse and I had a slight fever. So today was a forced day off the bike and hopefully I'll be better in 24 hours.

Return Home

Img_0915Uhl in Eagle, ID – This morning I woke up early and tried to watch for dolphins out our window but no luck. I think we were already too close to the San Diego port. We docked around 7:00 AM, but there's a lot of customs and security stuff that needs to happen before people can debark. And since our flight wasn't until 2 PM, we didn't request early debarkation, so we had plenty of time to hit the restaurant for the last time and finish packing our carry-ons. We did tag our large luggage and let Carnival handle those. This made for much easier debarkation.

We went to breakfast and hung out with Heather's family. We took some final pictures then we debarked and picked up our luggage when our number was called. I had heard horror stories about debarkation but went smoothly and three were no long lines. The luggage is set out in columns, arranged by debarkation number, which made our bags easy to find. We took a cab to the airport and had plenty of time to explore the other terminals, before returning to our gate at the commuter terminal. Our flight had no issues and we were back in Boise by 6 PM.

Since the ship gym was closed this morning, when we got home I jumped on the rollers for 15 minutes to spin the legs out. During our cruise the seas were mostly calm and the rocking of the ship wasn't too bad. Once we were on land, I didn't notice the rocking you feel when getting off a boat after a period of time. But once I started riding the rollers, I found my self "swaying" side to side on the rollers, at the same frequency as the ship did!? Funky! My legs felt fine but I was feeling a bit tired as I didn't get much sleep last night. Between switching time zones, daylight savings time ending and all the travel, I definitely feel jet-lagged! Hopefully a few good night's sleep in our own bed will cure that.

Overall it was great trip. I was impressed with Carnival as a cruise line and was extremely happy with the service. I was hesitant about the hole tipping thing on cruises, but after the cruise I realized how a tipping pay structure positively effects the service you receive. We ended up giving each of our staff a little extra something, on top of the gratuity that's automatically included on your account. You could always, reduce the automatic amount, but in our case we never received poor service. Actually, it was some of the best service we've had, regardless of the type (restaurant, hotel, etc.).

Check out the 2007 Cruise photo album too see more pictures of our trip.

Cruising Day 7 - Back at Sea

Img_0882Uhl in International Waters – The last few days have been more of the same routine. Workout, eat, hangout at the pool, eat, do some activities, get the idea. We decided not to get off the ship at Manzanillo. It was more of an industrial port and it sounded like it would be a long taxi ride to get to a nice beach. So we just hung out on the ship that day and enjoyed the somewhat warm, but hazy weather. Seems like it's much more humid at the ports than when you're out at sea.

Img_0897cropWe spent one night dancing to Latin music at one of the dance clubs. That was fun. The food has continued to impress us most of the time. We did stay up late one night so we could attend the special midnight buffet. They setup the Empire dining room with a huge display of carved fruit, ice sculptures and extravagant looking desserts. They opened it up at 11:45 PM for picture taking, then at 12:30 to eat. Heather and I were near the front of the line when they let us in at 12:30 and I went straight to the desserts. I got a sample of almost every dessert and even though they looked impressive, they didn't taste that good. Both the desserts at the Empire and Lido dining rooms were better. That was kind of anti-climactic.

Img_0908_2We went to a couple more shows and watched a couple more movies. We also took a tour of the galley, where they prepare the food. It was impressive. They said they spend about $450,000 on food alone for each cruise! They also use approximately 45,000 eggs during a weeklong cruise like this. Amazing! We got to see the inside of the Empire galley and it was impressive. It looked huge, but since it was empty, I don't think we got a sense for how chaoticImg_0895_2 it must be during the middle of dinner. I'm sure the atmosphere would be quite different then!

When we came back from dinner yesterday, we were surprised to see there was no towel animal on our bed, then w e noticed it hanging from the corner of the room. It was a monkey! We attended a towel animal tutorial today and we learned how to make a dog, elephant, rabbit and seal. Some of construction makes you wonder, "How did someone think of this!?". But I guess the same goes for origamy.

Cruising Day 5 - Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo

Img_0749Uhl in Zihuatanejo, Mexico – When I woke up, I grabbed the camera and went up to the top deck to take pictures of the sunrise. While up there I met a couple from San Diego and chatted with them for a while. Then while looking out I could see something in the water...dolphins! I ran over to the side and tried to get as many pictures as I could. I managed to get a few shots with the dolphins in mid-air. I saw a mother and a baby breach side-by-side! That was cool. After they were out of sight, I went down to Deck 3, hoping to see more dolphins, but at a closer vantage point. Taking pictures from Deck 10 with a pocket camera, doesn't really cut it! But I never did see any more dolphins.

After that, I went to the gym. I had just been doing easy workouts on the various cardio machines, then some core work and light lifting. I hadn't tried the stationary cycle until yesterday. It's the typical health club, electronic ergometer, with inaccurate wattage and all. But at least it had toe straps which I was able to adjust to get a snug fit. Img_0793So today I tried to do 2x15's. I set the resistance to a decent wattage but it definitely didn't coincide with my PowerTap. I set it so that it felt like around 250 and did two, 15-minute LT intervals. I did monitor HR and it seemed a bit low for the perceived exertion, but that's to be expected on a ergometer like this. The saddle was huge and I couldn't get its height adjusted to my liking. I still got a decent workout in and then I ate breakfast.

After the workout we got ready to go to port. At Zihuatanejo, we had to be "tendered"; since the port is so shallow, we anchored out in the bay and the lifeboats would take us ashore. We packed up our beach stuff and headed down to the lifeboats. It was a short jaunt from the ship to shore then we talked with the people at the information booth. After much discussion, we decided to go to Ixtapa Island, which seemed like it would have the best snorkeling and most protected beach from the waves (for our niece). It was a two part trip: First, you take a taxi over the hill and past Ixtapa city to get to a dock. Then, from there you pay $3.50 to take a small boat that ferries you to the island. The taxi drive only took 20 minutes and we got to see a bit of the countryside.

Img_0822The ferry was quick and it dropped us off on a small dock next to a cozy beach. We walked along the beach and were solicited to stay at sections of beach in front of the various bars/cafes. We didn't want to sit in those areas as we felt we'd need to buy something, which we weren't planning on doing. So we walked all the way down to the end of the beach where we met Nacho. He was a long-haired, dark-skinned Mexican who was really nice. He only spoke broken English but he was very friendly and let us use his chairs and umbrellas he had set out, without pushing us to buy anything.

We went in the ocean and I put on my swim goggles an swam alongside the shore. The water was perfect temperature; not too warm, not too cold. We hung out some more, then Heather and I decided to go snorkeling. We snorkeled on the other side of the ridge, at another beach. This is where most of the snorkelers were. Heather and I held hands as we snorkeled out from one end of the small bay to the other. It was weird how one second you're in warm water, then you'd go through a section of cold water. There were a lot of fish around the reefs at the sides of the bay. Lots of bright florescent-colored fish. The fish ranged from only a couple inches long to about a foot. We didn't see anything that large. The visibility was OK but it was somewhat rough on this side of the island so we didn't venture too far out.

Img_0863We came back to our spot at Nacho's and I did some more snorkeling. After relaxing a bit more we headed back. So back on the boat ferry, then another taxi back to Zihuatanejo. Once we got there, we walked around all the little shops. It's a pretty little harbor town; much cleaner than Acapulco. Jen bought some more jewelery, Heather's mother bought some vanilla and I bought a coconut ice cream cone. They say you shouldn't pay full price for anything, so I even negotiated with the ice cream lady and got one scoop on a cone for $1, less than what they were asking for a one-scoop cup.

We took the life boats back to the ship and then showered and got ready for dinner. While getting ready, we could see them lift the lifeboats back up onto the ship. It's quite the process. We noticed that the lifeboats are rated to hold 150 people each! They weren't that big, but I guess in an emergency as long as it doesn't sink, that's all that matters. When were tendered, they only put about 40-50 people on each boat.

Cruising Day 4 - Acapulco

Img_0652 Uhl in Acapulco, Mexico – After three and a half days at sea, we finally arrived at our first port stop: Acapulco, Mexico. Heather and I both worked out in the morning. Then I hung out on the top decks as we came into Acapulco harbor. On the way you were able to see sea turtles swimming in the coral blue water. That was pretty cool.

As we pulled into port, there were people with PA systems blaring music and singing on the dock. We decided to avoid the rush to shore and ate lunch while all the people with excursions debarked. By the time we were ready to go ashore there wasn't a line. We decided to just walk to the beach right next to the port. Now we were warned about how forward all the street vendors and taxi drivers were in Acapulco, but I was still surprised at how we were hounded by people offering city tours, t-shirts, and even little kids selling chicle (gum)!

Img_0687Then on the beach there were areas where umbrellas and chairs were setup but were hosted by some cafe/bar offering food and cervezas. We declined those offers as well and found an empty spot on the beach where we parked it. We swam a little bit but we made sure there was someone always at our stuff. Even as we sat their vendors walking the beach would come up and offer more stuff. Jen was interested in getting some jewelry so she engaged some of them. Once when she was talking to one, another vendor who just left was trying take her camera out of her bag which was sitting on the ground! She stopped him and from that point on didn't really talk to other vendors until we were back on the pier where there were tables of jewelry setup.

Img_0712The water was nice, but since it was the harbor, it wasn't very clear. After we were done with the beach, we started walking back to the pier and stopped at local grocery store. We had to have an offcial (not sure if he was police) help us across as there were no crosswalk signals and the drivers around here don't seem to stop for people. Heather's mother and sister bought some cheap soda since they cost extra on the ship. We walked back to the ship and decided not to take a taxi to see the cliff divers of Acapulco.

Once back on the ship, we watched the Celebrity Infinity depart. It was docked behind us at the port. I took a bunch pictures and then we went to dinner. Food was awesome and I ate a ton. Dinner with our niece is always entertaining and she was a real ham tonight. There weren't any good movies on tonight so we ended up watching Letterman and the stupid pet tricks. That's always entertaining!

Cruising Day 3 - Still at Sea

Img_0615Uhl in International Waters – Early this morning, while looking out the window I saw dolphins! I woke Heather up to show her and we watched as the dolphins played in the wake of the ship. Our cabin is on Deck 1 and towards the front of the ship, so we had an excellent view. It was cool! Unfortunately, by the time I got my camera out they were gone. From now on I'm going to be on a dolphin watch and have my camera ready!

So we've been on this ship for two and half days now and have getting into a routine. When we get up, we head to the gym and get our workouts in. Then, immediately we'd go to the Lido deck to get a light post-workout meal. I usually keep it simple; fruit, cereal, yogurt, etc. Then we'd come back to the room and shower and go back for our "real" breakfast. Since I'm not working out as long as Heather is this week, I usually go to breakfast by myself at the Empire dining room. I discovered that they have some really tasty baked apples. With the open seating, you end up sitting with different people each meal. I've met some really interesting folks. I sat with one woman who's boyfriend's was named after Yul Brenner. So there are at least two Uhl/Yul's on the ship!

Img_0621After my breakfast I'd usually meet up with Heather and hang out with her while she ate her breakfast. Then we'd go hang out by the pool. We'd eat lunch at some point, then head back to the room. They have TV's in each cabin and they have a limited number of channels. While channel surfing yesterday, I caught what looked to be The Flying Scotsman...and it was! There are three channels which they continuously show three different movies each day. So we got to the room last night in time to watch the evening showing. Not a bad movie, but the cycling scenes weren't very realistic.

Then by the evening we'd go to dinner then either go to a show or hang out in our cabin. Last night was "Formal Night" so we got all dressed up and headed to dinner. I brought my beat up old, gray suit (the only suit I own) and Heather borrowed a dress from her mother. Dinner was excellent, yet again.

Tonight being Halloween, a lot of people in costume for dinner. Even our little niece got involved! After dinner we went to the costume contest and some people really went to town! After the contest we went to the dance club and danced a little bit then decided to head to bed.

Set Sail

Img_0550Uhl in San Diego, CA – Today we set sail on a cruise of the Mexican Riviera. Heather has cruised before but I never have and didn't know what to expect. Since most of our travels are cycling-related, we really have only been on to other "real" vacations; one to Hawaii then another to Club Med in Cancun. We really enjoyed the all-inclusive aspect of Club Med. You can participate in lots of activities or you can just hang out at the beach all day. A cruise didn’t seem as attractive to me, but I was only going on perception, not experience. So I helped out with the research to find a cruise for the family. After reading many reviews and ratings online, we settled on an 8-day cruise of the Mexican Riviera on the Carnival Spirit.

We flew into San Diego this morning on ExpressJet. We decided to not fly stand-by on Delta. We knew the ship wouldn’t wait for us if we missed our flight so we decided to book full tickets. The good thing is that ExpressJet has a non-stop from Boise to San Diego, our departure port. San Diego is also very convenient because the airport isn’t huge and is only a couple miles away from the port. Had we chosen a cruise out of Los Angeles, things would have been more hectic.

Img_0577Our flight went smoothly and we took a taxi from the airport to port. When we arrived, there were lots of people and luggage everywhere. The cruise line had people who could take your bags so you embark with only your carry-ons. They would then deliver the rest of your luggage later on. We decided to forego that option and carry our bags ourselves. This was kind of a pain, especially for Heather with her huge duffle bag. It was kind of chore getting onboard with all the luggage, but by the end of the day, we were glad. We had our bags with us immediately when our cabin was available at 1:30 while some of the other passengers didn’t receive their luggage until 8 PM!

Getting on the ship was a process, involving passport checks, security screens and picture taking for later purchase from the ship’s photo shop. We walked onto the ship on a bridge that took us onto deck 2. Once onboard, I was surprised how nice was as far as roominess and décor. I was expecting hallways to be smaller and have a bit more of a “naval” look, but the interior of the ship was like a fancy hotel.

Img_0555_3We went up to the Lido deck where lunch was available. The whole point of a cruise is to eat as much as you can and they start you out the minute you step onto the ship! The food at this first lunch was good, but not great, so my expectations were set pretty low early on. Once 1:30 rolled around we went down to our cabin and I was very impressed with our room. We chose an Oceanview room. Even though we didn’t plan on spending too much time in our room, we wanted to be able to look out and enjoy the scenery. We also didn’t have to choose between a smaller portal window or the picture window because on the Spirit, all exterior guest rooms have at least this sized window.

I was also impressed with the overall size and quality of the room. The bed and pillows were extremely comfortable and the bathroom was larger than I least for a ship cabin. Heather told me stories about her prior cruise, so I think I was expecting something the size of a phone booth. There was also ample closet space so you could unpack everything and keep luggage out of sight. This helped make it feel roomier as we’re so used to living out of our suitcases on most of our cycling trips. Hotel rooms typically don’t provide enough closet and drawer space to unpack everything.

Continue reading "Set Sail" »

Track Nationals Team Pursuit


Heather in Los Angeles, CA – Our team name was the Underdogs. Shelly Olds started us off, I was 2nd, and Kele Murdin was 3rd. We had a good start lap. Then it went downhill from there.

Unfortunately, I was the weakest linImg_0509k in our pursuit. I did not have good exchanges and I couldn't hold wheels. It was more stressful than fun for me. I could tell that Kele and Shelly were not happy with me at the finish. I didn't feel like I ever got a break during the pursuit. We rode a 3:54.

The gold medal went to Two Queens and a Fred (Sarah Hammer, Dotsie Bausch, and Jennie Reed) with a time of 3:34. The silver medal went to South Bay Wheelmen (Neva Day, Christen King, and Becky Quinn) 3:45. The bronze went to the Underdogs.


Track Nationals Points Race

Img_0461Heather in Los Angeles, CA – There were 22 of us who started. I started on the rail. We rolled out for the neutral lap and the race started. We were crawling the first few laps. I was really scared that I would fall off. Megan Hottman attacked and stayed off to win the sprint with 90 laps to go, Becky Quinn 2nd, Neva Day 3rd, Shelly Olds 4th. We were going slow again, so attacked with two to go for the sprint at 80 laps to go. Becky nipped me at the line, I was 2nd, Cassandra Holman 3rd, Theresa Cliff-Ryan 4th. There were several attacks. I was not in good position and found myself chasing, off wheels for a while. The sprint with 70 laps to go saw Theresa 1st, Becky 2nd, Christen King 3rd, Cassandra 4th. The sprint with 60 laps to go saw Kelli Jones 1st, Bri Kovac 2nd, Jennifer Triplet 3rd, Shelly Olds 4th.

The sprint with 50 laps to go saw Catherine Fiedler 1st, Becky 2nd, Cassandra 3rd, Theresa 4th. There was a lull I attacked hard with Katherine Lundby on my wheel. The pack was looking at each other and didn't respond. I rotated with Katherine two times and she was weaker than I was. I realized we would lap the field and I pulled for three or four laps by myself to make sure it would happen. We had the sprint lap at 40 laps to go I won, Katherine 2nd, Catherine 3rd, Shelly 4th. Shortly after that sprint I was trying to catch the field. There were women getting dropped because they picked up the pace for the sprint. One woman was going slower than I expected and I tried to go under her and ended up riding on the blue line to get by her. I got a warning for that. The sprint with 30 to go saw Bri 1st, Catherine 2nd, Becky 3rd, and Cassandra 4th. I attacked again and was off with another rider for several laps, but we didn't rotate well and were absorbed.

Img_0479The sprint with 20 laps to go saw Christen 1st, Becky 2nd, Catherine 3rd, Theresa 4th. The sprint at 10 to go saw Becky 1st, Shelly 2nd, Christen 3rd, Catherine 4th; I was 5th but NO points. There was an attack with 8 laps to go. I went up to cover it and then the pack caught us. I was blown and could not contend the final sprint Becky 1st, Shelly 2nd, Cassandra 3rd, Neva 4th. Becky won by 1 point (OUCH!) (29 pts), me 2nd (28 pts), Katherine 3rd (23 pts), Catherine 4th (19 pts), Shelly Olds 5th (9 pts). I cooled down for 10 min on the rollers before the awards ceremony.

Track Nationals Scratch Race

Img_0434_3Heather in Los Angeles, CA – I warmed up on rollers for 20 min with a two pushes. There were 21 of us who started the 10 km scratch race. I used a 92.5 gear (48 x 14). There were a lot of attacks, but it never seemed really hard. I planned on attacking with 6 laps to go. A break away group was caught with 7 to go. I planned on attacking but worried about doing it just right instead of just doing it, so I got pinned in. Christin King attacked and got off and soloed to a national title. I was left in the chaos behind and finished 10th. Becky Quinn was 2nd. I cooled down on the rollers for 10 min.

Track Nationals Pursuit

Heather in Los Angeles, CA – I warmed up on the track for 58 min. I did 2 x 500 m pushes with splits of 19.0, 18.8 (I had to get out of aerobars to pass a rider) then 18.2, 18.1 (I caught a bunch of riders at end of lap and had to ride uptrack). Then I did one flying 250 m at 17.9. It felt really good. Then I did a 1/4 lap pursuit start. I warmed up on the trainer for about 30 min before my pursuit. I did 2 x 30 sec pushes.

I was in the 6th heat. I used the 92.5 gear (48 x 14). My lap times were: 24.441, 18.113, 18.342, 18.851, 19.439, 19.959, 20.207, 20.442, 20.563, 20.594, 20.642, 20.473. I cooled down on the trainer for 10 min. Dotsie Baush won in 3:44.4, Christin King was 2nd in 3:47.0, Neva Day was 3rd in 3:55.4, Angela Coggan was 4th in 3:56.4, Kele Merdin was 5th in 3:58.5, and I was 6th in 4:02.1. In the final Dotsie won, Christin 2nd, Angela 3rd, and Neva 4th.

Track Nationals Mass Start Test

Heather in Los Angeles, CA – I warmed up for a while on the track. I was going to get on the track for 5 min then get off and stretch. There were so many people on the track that I decided to just stay on. I warmed up for a bit on my own and then jumped on a train with Neva Day and Kristin King. I tried to surf at the back. However, I didn't do it right. I was supposed to swing up when the front rider did so they didn't think I was dangling off the back. I learned after the fact. I was still off their wheels a bit, but I tried to get more comfortable riding close. I stayed on while they took the pace up in the sprinters line. I came off the track for a little bit to rest and let Uhl know my plan.

It was awful trying to merge back on again. One rider told me "It's like merging onto the freeway, sometimes you just have to cross your fingers and pull on." I got back on the track and took a few laps. Then I did two laps at pursuit pace (18.2, 18). I rested for a bit and then got on the track to do a flying lap. It was so hard to get an open place to do it. I finally got an opportunity and went for it. Unfortunately I ended up coming on the back of someone going much slower in the sprinters lane and people stacked up the track so I couldn't go around. I almost crashed.

I was able to do the flying lap but Uhl wasn't able to time it. I also did a half lap push trying to use the banking. I spun down on the trainer. I warmed up on the trainer for about 20 min. I did two 30 second pushes. I did the mass start test in a 92.6 gear (48 x 14). We only had two laps to wind it up. I sprinted hard and went for it. After the 500 m I really died. I was slugging the gear at the end. I heard from a sprinter that I didn't accelerate near enough before I went into the sprint. My lap times were: 16.928, 17.456, 18.568, 19.682, 20.288, 20.711, 20.999, 21.103. My 500 was 34.285 and 2 km was 2:35.739.

Elite Track Nationals

Img_0422Uhl in Los Angeles, CA – We're back in sunny southern California at the LA Velodrome, this time for USA Cycling's Elite Track National Championships. I'm here to support Heather as she competes in the Mass Start Test, Pursuit, Scratch and Points races. Though I'd love to give the pursuit a try, I won't be able to due to the tight scheduling between the women's and men's pursuit. Since we flew in early, we had enough time before open practice to check out the beach. I was able to go for a nice run along the beach while Heather made some business calls at the car. After my run I jumped in the ocean to cool off and while the water was cold, it felt so nice. It reminded me of the one big downside to living in beaches like this!

This evening was open practice for the riders and Heather got some track time in. Tomorrow is the Mass Start Test and since she's never done it, she's been practicing the flying start and figuring out what gear she's going to ride. I don't know how often I'll blog, but it looks like is doing live coverage for the event. So if you want to follow along, checkout the race coverage schedule. For full results you can go to USA Cycling's results page.

Scratch Race

Heather in Los Angeles, CA – We started with seven women; two from one team and two from another team. We started off pretty quickly. I was still hesitant about catching wheels and spent a lot of time on my own. It was very frustrating for Uhl, who kept yelling at me to pull off and then immediately swing down to catch the wheels. Attacks kept going and I was always in a position of chasing. Shelly Olds attacked with 8 laps to go and got a gap. With three laps to go I ended up on the front chasing and didn't make a good enough effort to pull off until 1 lap to go when the other four women blew by me. I ended up finishing 6th.

Points Race

Img_0395_3 Heather in Los Angeles, CA – We started off with eight women; there were three from one team (Becky Quinn, Christen King, Neva Day) and Shelly Olds, Katherine Lundby, Catherine Fiedler, and I. Becky Quinn, was the one who caused my horrific track crash in 2004. We did 64 laps, with sprints every 8 laps. I used a 90 gear (50 x 15). We started off doing a paceline. Then the games started. I was more nervous than I realized once the race began. I didn't want to be really close to anyone.

Poor Uhl was trying to yell instructions to me, and I could tell he was REALLY frustrated watching me race. To tell you how bad it was, he was saying things like, "Get on that wheel," "When they swing uptrack you swing uptrack," "Higher" (everyone was higher than I was...they were really uptrack and I was on the blue line), "Look before you move," "Pay attention to what's going on around you." The first part of the race something would go and I would hesitate, so I would chase and catch back on. I was definitely not in a draft very often.

The first sprint was a mass sprint won by Becky, and I had nothing to do with it. The second sprint Neva Day took off early and held it to the line, but there was a group sprint for the other points won by Becky, then Shelly, again I was nowhere around. The third sprint Catherine Fiedler took off early and won it followed by Shelly and Becky, again I was not in contention. The fourth sprint I took off really early and was off for several laps and was nipped at the line by Catherine to get 2nd in that sprint. I tried to keep going after the sprint, but everyone was right there. Neva and Catherine sat up once they crossed the line for points. The fifth sprint Katherine Lundby won and I got no points. The sixth sprint Christen King set tempo on the front and held it to the line for the win, but I wasn’t there again.

They slowed down after that sprint, and I attacked with 14 laps to go. I opened up a good gap. My intent was to try and lap the field, but with a team of three, there was no way they were letting that happen. I won the seventh sprint and held it to win the final sprint. Those points put me in 3rd place. Becky Quinn won (18 pts) with Catherine 2nd (15 pts), me 3rd (13 pts) and Shelly 4th (12 pts). It is so fun to be off by yourself. All of a sudden you have tons of supporters. Uhl was happy when I was off by myself. Then he yelled things like, "Stay low" and "Bend your elbows and relax", and "Keep pushing it." Several people congratulated me on the ride afterwards. While I was off Roger Young (Manager of the velodrome and MC for the event) talked about how I can get off and stay off. He would know since he ran the PowerBar team from 1996-98.

Back on Track


Uhl in Eagle, ID – Heather and I went to Los Angeles this weekend for the SoCal/Nevada track championships. Heather's getting back into track riding and will be riding at Track nationals in a couple weeks. So this weekend was basically "practice" as she hadn't been on a velodrome in over three years. We had already shipped Heather's track bike to the hotel so it was nice to fly without a bike. We stayed in Carson only minutes away form the Home Depot Center where the LA Velodrome is located.

This is the only indoor velodrome in North America and is a 250 meter wooden track with 45° banking. When I first got there I was amazed at how steep the banking was. You really don't get an idea for the steepness until you're standing on the infield looking up at it. I've been on the 7-11 velodrome in Colorado Springs, but that was 333.3 meters, with less banking. This track is intimidating! While I got Heather's bike setup, I had to take it out for a spin around the "boards". I made sure I got plenty of speed while on the straights before moving up track on the corners. On this track you have to be going 16 MPH on the banking or you'll slide out.

Once I moved up I was reluctant to go real high as it was scary! Without a cyclo-computer I wasn't sure how fast I was going so I played it safe and went fast! I wound it up and took a few laps at good speed and it was a rush! You can really feel the G-forces on the corners. I managed to remember to not stop pedaling and slowed down onto the apron. It was so fun that at that point I became really excited for the Idaho Velodrome and Cycling Park to open this spring.

Img_0388_2But after that short ride, I mainly played a support role to Heather as she raced. One aspect about track racing is that there's a lot of waiting around. There are a lot of events and there's an order to them, but there's no exact schedule because all the TT events and even number of heats for mass-start races are determined by how many people register. So while you may have an idea when you're racing, it's best to just plan on being there all day. Heather did the pursuit, points and scratch races. I'll let her race reports detail them out, but I will say coming here for practice was a really good thing. This is the first mass-start track race Heather has done since her horrific crash back in 2004. It was obvious in the points race in that Heather was staying way clear of everyone else. It was like there was a "bubble" around here that she wouldn't dare let anyone in. By the scratch race she was doing a little better, but still was reacquainting herself with track navigation.

Img_0390I also got to watch some of the men's races and that was cool. Their packs were bigger and Rock Racing brought their whole squad so they were just dominating the mass-start events. The keirin was also interesting as there's an electic bike that was the pacing vehicle. It paced the riders up to a certain speed, for a given number of laps. Then it pulled off and the riders have three laps left to race. Watching all this track stuff really got me thinking that maybe my focus next year will be on track cycling!

Park City Reunion

Img_0171Uhl in Eagle, ID – This weekend Heather and I went down to Park City for an informal family reunion. We stayed at The Canyons and enjoyed some time at the pool and lots of great food. While we were there, it just so happened that the Jeep King of the Mountain tour was going on. So we went up and watched the men and women bomb down a dual-cross course, two at a time. It was fun and since we planned this weekend off, we didn't feel guilty about not riding...but we still hit the fitness center at the condominium we were staying at.

Trip to Reno

Img_0116Uhl in Eagle, ID – I was feeling really fatigued after the Twilight so I decided to take two weeks completely off the bike. The timing worked out well as I was able to tag along with Heather on a work-related trip to Reno. Her training was during the day so I was able to do some light cross-training and hang out by the pool while Heather was in class, then we'd go out together in the evenings. Reno is an interesting little town and I was struck by how clear the sky was. I don't know if it was due to a specific weather pattern, but all three days we were there the sky was crystal clear and the air felt even less humid than Boise, making it very comfortable for walking around in the evenings. There was none of the smog that seems to get trapped in the Treasure Valley or, worse yet, Salt Lake.

We stayed at the Peppermill which had a decent fitness center so Heather was there every morning getting her workout in. No bikes on this trip so she had to make do with the elliptical trainer. I did some light lifting and did laps in the pool during the early morning. It was nice that the pool had a couple lap lanes going through the middle even though it wasn't a standard rectangular shaped pool. I also got to watch a couple stages of the Tour. They have this sports betting area down in the casino with TV/computer stations that people can use to research the sports they are betting on. Versus was one of the sports channels they provided so I was able to plug in my headset and watch the tour. It was a fun trip and we got a chance to visit a town we both have never been before.

Heather's Criterium

Heather in Eagle, ID – It was raining and awful for the crit. I got a bad start and the first few laps had to keep closing gaps. I almost got dropped a few times. I went for a prime and lost. There was a jostle in the second to last corner on the final lap and I lost out so finished 13th. Kele Murdin won, Lisa Howard 2nd, and Jenny Trew 3rd. I finished 5th in GC.

Tour of Walla Walla – Criterium

Img_0229Uhl in Eagle, ID – Today I was on the sidelines rooting Hugo, Ted and Heather on while they raced. In a stage race you cannot start the next stage if you don't finish the prior stage so no criterium for me...not that I'd want to, anyway. I actually felt worse this morning than I did yesterday, so I was glad I wasn't racing. I need some serious recovery time to get out of this hole. But it was fun watching the others race.

Heather had a slow start to her race as she was at the back for the first few laps. She didn't look too good and I was worried she'd get dropped. But eventually she moved up to the front and tried going for a prime (but missed it). Img_0233_3In the final sprint she did OK with a top ten. She was at the front through the second to last corner, but someone took a terrible line forcing her (and some other riders) to brake. Bummer! But she still ended up getting 5th overall for the stage race.

We stayed for part of the men's criterium and Hugo was right there in the top 10 riders the whole time we watched. I knew he was looking kind of smug before his race! Ted was also up there and seemed to be comfortable in the pack.

While we didn't see the last half play out, Remi M. won it with Matt W. second and Tim R. about Boise representation! Add to that list Sam J. with 3rd overall and Justin R. with 4th, and you can see why even though the field sizes are small here in Boise, the racing is so tough! Boise's got some great talent for the size of town it is. No wonder I find it hard to break top-5 in the local races! Hugo and Ted finished with the main pack. Overall Ted was 32nd and Hugo was 54th.

Continue reading "Tour of Walla Walla – Criterium" »

Heather's Waitsburg RR

Heather in Waitsburg, WA – There was a chance we would get rained on during the race. I wore arm and leg warmers and was glad I had them most of the time. The first lap was really chill. Suz Weldon's team pretty much set tempo for the first bit. We even took a pee break; I decided not to stop to pee, but the easy pace was nice. There were a few attacks that opened up good gaps. Suz and her teammates didn't chase, even when the person off was in GC contention. Kele Murdin did a lot of work chasing things.

There was a prime sprint at the end of the first lap. Kele got a flat a few miles before the sprint, so we were all nice and rode slowly. Kele came blazing to the front (over the yellow line) and took off for the sprint and won it. The pace up the climb wasn't that fast. We basically rode tempo. There was a headwind, so I don't think anyone wanted to try anything. I decided to go for the QOM half way up the hill. I was in bad position until about 200 m to go. The window opened and I slipped through. I sprinted and won the QOM, Mara 2nd, Suz Weldon 3rd. The climb was not hard enough, so we had a huge group going into the last lap. A few more people attacked and got off. Extended chases brought them back.

Coming into the hill, a single rider was off. We caught her at the bottom of the climb. We started out steady on the climb for a little bit. Then the attacks started. Sarah Barber attacked, followed by Kele Murdin, then Sarah attacked again, and Mara put in the final attack that shattered things. Mara went off to win the race, Suz Weldon was 10 seconds back (so she kept the leader's jersey), Sarah was 3rd. I finished 6th. Mara won the QOM competition.

Tour of Walla Walla – Waitsburg RR

20070421crop Uhl in Waitsburg, WA – With only a few hours between the time trial and the road race, there was only enough time to eat and rest a little bit, but not nearly enough for a 95-mile road race! This year Ted and I staged early and didn't miss our start like we did last year. The first time up the hill was neutral and it truly was as I only averaged around 250 watts for the climb. But at the top the racing started and things picked up. I stayed tucked in near the back of the pack.

With a medium-sized pack on a single lane of these narrow roads, there was a bit of an accordion effect at teh back, so there was a lot of braking going on. I wanted to move up, but with tempo we were riding there weren't any opportunities to move up. When we were riding by a house, a couple dogs came running toward the pack. There was a lot of braking and I heard a tire skid, then a loud pop! I had visions of people crashing but no one went down. But as things got settled and people got pedaling again I noticed it was Ted who got the flat! I stayed back while he got his wheel change, then I tried to pace him up. Ted was pulling hard and I wasn't sure, with my lack of power, how much I'd help. We traded pulls a few times, then the wheel van came by and we jumped in its draft.

Continue reading "Tour of Walla Walla – Waitsburg RR" »

Heather's TT

Img_0216Heather in Waitsburg, WA – This is a 6.8 mile TT. We started before a small climb this year. I was able to ride our TT bike. I tried to start out moderate and work into it. I only had cadence as an indicator of how I was doing. I kept trying to push it really hard all the way. I caught quite a few people. Several people missed their starts and had to start late. Suz Weldon won in 16:57, Kele Murdin 2nd in 17:21, Patricia Bailey 3rd in 17:30.65, I was 4th in 17:30.74 (ouch!), Mara Abbott 5th in 17:40. I was very happy with this TT, especially since I had some time off with knee issues.

Tour of Walla Walla – Wilson Hollow TT

Img_0218Uhl in Waitsburg, WA – Today is a double-stage day in the Tour of Walla Walla. This morning we raced an out-and-back 6.7 mile time trial. Then this afternoon is the 95-mile Waitsburg road race. My legs weren't feeling that great during my warm-up for the time trial. When I did a couple efforts it felt inordinately hard for the given wattage. But at least with time trials, I control the pace so maybe it will go better than last night's road race.

The course was slightly different than last year in that we started a little bit sooner on 8th Street. This put a nice little roller right at the beginning just after you've gotten up to speed. This threw me off as my start ended up being harder than I wanted and I really suffered for the next few minutes. Img_0219After about five minutes I felt a little bit better, but due to the rolling, slightly uphill outbound section, it was hard to get into a rhythm. I kept pushing it all the way through to the turnaround.

The return trip wasn't so bad as we had a tailwind coming down. I'm sure glad I had a 53/11! I was able to pedal the whole time and try to maintain my speed through the rollers. I really pushed the last kilometer, right through the line. My time was 16:33 which was only good for 34th place. I say "only" because TT's are my forte and when I have my legs I'm usually in the top 20 in this caliber of field. Ted finally got to beat me in a TT in 27th place while Hugo had a stellar time trial with only the use of aerobars (no disk or aero wheels) and was 42nd! Heather had an OK time trial as well.

Heather's Kellogg Hollow RR

Heather in Waitsburg, WA – We started with 21 riders. It was cool so I wore arm warmers and knee warmers. There was a strong wind it seemed all over the course. This wasn't part of the stage race, so we had fewer riders than will be doing the stage race. We started out with a 1.5 mile neutral. Then the race was on. It was chill for a while. Kele Murdin attacked on the flats. Then we settled in. On the climb to the feed zone, Mara Abbott  picked up the pace. Unfortunately I wasn't in the right position and got gapped off. On that climb a group of six got away: Mara, Kele Murdin, Suz Weldon, Sarah Barber, Patricia Bailey, and Lea Stralka. I worked like mad to try and bridge up.

A group caught me and they just weren't willing to work hard enough to catch. The break was within sight for so long. I attacked on a hill and Gina Kavesh went with me. I just couldn't drop her and she wouldn't work with me. We caught Lea, who got popped off the front group. Again we were caught by the group. I attacked on another hill and Gina went with me. I managed to drop her on the next climb. However, the group caught me again. I decided to sit in once we hit 10k to go. The pace was just painfully slow. Coming into the finish I didn't commit myself to sprinting, but there was one person I didn't want to win. I did sprint but not soon enough. Lea won the sprint for 6th and I was 7th. Kele Murdin won.

Tour of Walla Walla - Kellogg Hollow RR

20070420crop Uhl in Waitsburg, WA – This morning Heather and I drove up to Waitsburg, Washington where we are staying for the Tour of Walla Walla. The race name is really a carryover from the initial years of the race. Slowly the stages have migrated to Waitsburg, about 25 minutes north of Walla Walla. This year three out of the four stages start and finish in Waitsburg. Hugo and Ted also drove up and we are all staying in the wonderful host home of Laverne and her two dogs, Molly and Obie.

I haven't been feeling great all week, but I was hoping that would change by this weekend. But yesterday's pre-race ride didn't bode well. Both my perceived exertion and my wattage during my efforts, weren't that great. I had a feeling before I even started today's stage that this weekend was going to turn into a "training" race for me!

Today was the Kellogg Hollow road race, which for the Pro/1/2 men was 2 loops of an undulating course for a total of 62 miles and almost 5,000 feet of climbing. We started out neutral for a mile to get out of town, then the race started for real. The pace was fast from the get-go and anytime we'd hit a steady climb it would get pretty least for me. I was really struggling on the climbs. I was having visions of getting dropped early on and I tried my best to stay with the pack. On one of the flatter sections, I moved to the front and tried to bridge to a small break that was developing. I gave it my all and then totally blew. It was awful! I could barely hold onto the pack when they came flying by. At that point I knew it was going to be a long weekend!

Continue reading "Tour of Walla Walla - Kellogg Hollow RR" »

Central Valley Classic Criterium

Heather in Fresno, CA – The course was very interesting. After the start finish you went straight for a block and then did a 180 degree turn. You rode back for a block and turned right. There was a straightway with a left turn. Then a short straight followed up a left turn. The road curved and then you made the final left turn onto the start/finish stretch. Someone told Betsy and I we could preride the course. We went to get on near the start/finish and were told we had to enter the course before the last turn.

When we got there, we were lined up in the very back. It was very bad to be lined up in the back on this course. The 180 turn ruined everything. You could come into it with great position and lose it or come into it with bad position and come out worse. The worst part was gappers kept getting in front of me on the 180 turn, so I was constantly passing the same people. Needless to say, I didn't have fun today. Betsy didn't either. Tina Pic won it. I was just pack fill. I came out in 20th GC.

Central Valley Classic TT

Heather in Fresno, CA – There was a headwind out and some wind on most of the course. I rode Mike Shumake's Cervelo TT bike with a Zipp 606 front and Zipp disk. The bars didn't have me really low. The saddle was also a little high. I used Rebecca's saddle and computer for speed. I sprinted for 10 seconds at the start and then took three minutes to build into my pace.

It felt hard and my legs were having issues turning the gears over. It was hard with only speed to go off. Christine Thornburn blew past me 20 min into the TT; she started 90 seconds behind me. I caught two other women. Katheryn Curi blew by me with 1 km to go; she started 2.5 min behind me. I didn't have my best ride. Christine Thornburn won in 39 min; Dotsie Baush 2nd in 39:29; Katheryn Curi 3rd in 39:53. I was 21st in 42:40 (3:34 behind Christine).

Central Valley Classic RR

Heather in Fresno, CA – Rebecca, Cari, Anna, and Kate were all supporting Betsy and I. They stood with my bike in line for the start when I used the bathroom. The race started 30 minutes late. We had a neutral 1 mile start out of Raymond. Then we made the turn onto the course and the racing started. The climb started a little bit later. Colavita had Sarah Tillotson driving the pace up the climb. Betsy popped off on the climb. I hung in and so did a lot of others. The pace just wasn’t high enough. The first lap was pretty much just tempo.

Then a TIBCO girl got off and they let her go. I was going to bridge up to her, when several women told me my front skewer was open. I looked down and they were right. We were going slowly so I pulled over and tightened it and caught back up to the pack. Then I decided to get a bottle from the car in the caravan. Rebecca pulled up and the commissar yelled that they had to approach me from the other side. I went to the driver side and got a bottle from Rebecca. Then I caught back up to the pack. I was frustrated that the TIBCO girl was still out there and had almost a minute.

Continue reading "Central Valley Classic RR" »

Merco Road Race

Heather in Merced, CA – We started with 120 riders. I started near the front. The first lap was pretty chill. There were a few attacks. On the back side of the first lap there was a huge crash, which took out half the field. It happened right next to me. Luckily the carnage stopped before it reached me. Both Betsy and I squeaked by that one. There were a lot of attacks, but no one went hard enough long enough to make it stick.

I attacked a few times and covered several attacks. On the last lap some woman got off solo and the pack was so slow. I thought the pace would pick up toward the finish so I could move up. However, the pace was slow and spread across the road so I couldn't move up. I was stuck and never had a chance at the finish. I couldn't even sprint. Brooke Miller, TIBCO, won. I finished 33rd with Betsy 35th.

Merco Criterium

Heather in Merced, CA – I went to line up early so I could get a good start. There was a crash in the men's race ahead of us. They had to stop the race because the crash was 50 meters from the  start/finish. They stopped that race while the ambulance did its thing. Then they restarted the race with 12 laps to go. So not only did my warm-up go away, but I was in a bad start position also. There were 110 women who started. The race wasn't really fast, it was just hard to get good position. I felt awful for the first 10 laps. I was at the back. Then I got into it and moved up. I actually attacked and countered and lead the pack through the start/finish once. Then I got swarmed again.

The entire race was fighting positioning. The race was just not fast enough to shell people so we were constantly being swarmed. There was a crash early in the race that happened right by me, but I squeaked by. On our third lap to go, there was a huge crash near the front of the pack, taking down a lot of riders. I happened to be on the other side of the road, so I wasn't affected. Then on the last lap there was another big crash. Luckily I was on the other side of the road again so I missed it. I had bad position and finished 26th or so. Brooke Miller, TIBCO, won it, Suzane de Goede, T-Mobile, 2nd, and Lara Kropsh, TEAm Lipton, 3rd. I finished 25th and Betsy 51st.

Old Stomping Grounds

2007_02_21crop Uhl in Sandy, UT – Yesterday we drove from St George to Salt Lake City and we're staying here for a couple nights since Heather has some business to do. I managed to get out for a great road ride today. I headed south on Wasatch Blvd and went up South Mountain. I tried pushing the hills and I kind of had to, since I only had a 39x23. Even when I raced this last year I had a 27-tooth rear cog, so today with the stiff headwind, I was crawling up it at 52 RPM! I figured it was great strength training!? The weather was just too nice to not ride; which was my original plan for this week after Valley of the Sun.

Photo_022107_001I headed down the fairly new, Suncrest Drive into Alpine. I meandered through Alpine from the back way and made it to the Highland Hwy. I decided that I was feeling good enough that I wanted to do more climbing so I headed up American Fork Canyon, part of the scenic Alpine Loop. This is a ride that Heather and I did often when we lived in Pleasant Grove. It's a beautiful ride. But I knew I'd be hitting snow at some point, but hopefully I'd be able to at least get to the Timpanogos Cave.

Continue reading "Old Stomping Grounds" »

Leaving Phoenix

Img_0064Uhl in St. George, UT – We drove from Phoenix to St George today and it took forever! Because it's President's Day, there was lots of holiday traffic, plus there was some torrential rains which caused a few nasty accidents both in Kingman and Las Vegas. Hoover Dam was also backed up and it took us about 45 minutes to get over the dam.

Img_0069So we're glad we split the drive up and will be staying in St George tonight. Then tomorrow we head to Salt Lake City where Heather has some business to tend to. Looks like I'll be washing bikes yet again when we finally get home. Our bikes are now covered in a nasty film of road grit and salt!

Heather's VOS Criterium

Img_6999Heather in Tempe, AZ – Here is the Valley of the Sun crit report from my point of view. I wanted to sprint at the end for bonus seconds...that turned out to be nothing more than a wish. The crit started with a prime on the first lap. I started at the back (never a good idea). Betsy and Cari rode so well. I would see them up front and try to make my way up there. There was a crash through one of the corners that I again missed by an inch. I honestly don't know how I survived that one. Then on the back stretch a few laps later there was another crash. They took two women off on back boards. I tried to attack and get away, but was quickly brought back. In the end I didn't have the positioning I needed to be a contender in the finish. Cari lead out Betsy. Betsy ended up 11th, I was 16th, and Cari won the Cat 3 crit! Way to go Cari!!! That moved Cari up to 2nd in GC for the 3s and I stayed in 7th.


Img_6957Uhl in Tempe, AZ – That's basically what Heather and I were in today's criteriums...filler of the pack. I had nothing left in my legs today and just hung out at the back of the pack for most of the 50-minute criterium. With about 15 minutes to go, I started moving up but when I got up near the front of the field but I didn't have the power to stay there and thing were getting sketchy with 5 laps to go. So I just stayed safe until the finish and finished with the same time.

Before and after the race I had to deal with the issue of my missing placement in yesterday's road race, along with a bunch of other Cat 2's. Long story, short: I ended up getting 23rd yesterday with a 5 second bonus for third in the KOM on the fourth lap. I didn't realize there was a rider up the road at the time. I'm still not convinced the "final" results are totally correct—there were still people protesting when they started our awards ceremony, but I don't think it would have changed the top 10 at all. So overall I was 11th.

I'm sure Heather will write her super-detailed race report later, but to summarize, she also finished with the pack in the criterium and held onto her 7th G.C. position. Overall a decent weekend.

Heather's VOS Road Race

Heather in Tempe, AZ – There was a fiasco getting to the RR start. Something happened on I-10 and we were crawling at 5 mph. Luckily we were able to get off and take a back road. We arrived in plenty of time. It was really windy and 85 degrees. It was a beautiful day. I knew the wind would make the race. This race normally comes down to a sprint finish. The wind was from the southeast, so we had a tailwind up the hill and a head/crosswind everywhere else. As soon as we made the first turn onto Hwy 87 Expresscopy started attacking. Nothing stayed away in that headwind. We made the turn onto Hwy 387 and had a kicking tailwind. We flew up that climb. I stayed at the front and tried to figure out where to sprint from for the QOM and finish.

Continue reading "Heather's VOS Road Race" »

Where's Uhl?

Img_0037crop Uhl in Tempe, AZ – Not in the results!? Here's the story...

So today was the 90-mile road race stage for the Valley of the Sun. There was a major wreck on I-10 that had traffic backed up for miles. A quick look at our road atlas and we decided to get off at the next exit and figured out how to get to the start from the back-side. Fortunately we left early enough that it wasn't a problem, but since they didn't postpone the start times, I wonder how many people didn't make it?!

I didn't bother warming up since it was such a long race and fairly warm out. I was mainly concerned about getting enough fluids and I had two large bottles on my bike with one large bottle in my jersey pocket; all filled with Accelerade. They also had nuetral water at the feed zone so, I was pretty sure I was covered in the hydration area.

Continue reading "Where's Uhl?" »

Heather's Valley of the Sun TT

Img_0031Heather in Tempe, AZ – I rode my Cannondale with aerobars and a disk; no TT bike for me. I stood up and sprinted off the start ramp for about 10 seconds. Then I sat down and eased into my TT pace. I caught my 30 second person in the first 5 min. I chased my min until the end. I did pass the 90 sec person towards the end. My HR wouldn’t go up. I used a 53 x 11-21. I was in the higher gears mostly. It was a tailwind out and headwind back. Kori Seehafer won it in 32:10, Ferrat was 2nd in 33:35, Catherine Dickenson was 3rd in 33:38. Betsy was 11th in 34:40 and I was 12th in 34:41. Not my best TT ever.

Valley of the Sun TT

Img_0028Uhl in Tempe, AZ – Today was the time trial about 50 miles west of Phoenix. The weather was beautiful with blue skies and warm temps. There was a slight wind but that seems to always be the case out here in Buckeye. Since Heather and I knew that we both wouldn't' be able to use the Javelin today, we had brought a second disk wheel and clip-on aerobars for her road bike. What's odd was that the start order was alphabetical for only some categories, while others seemed random. The Category 2 men were alphabetical, but based on first name!? If they based it on last name, we would have had plenty of time to use the same bike, but as it was, Heather had to use her road bike. With a disk and clip-ons, it wouldn't be too much of a disadvantage, but her position won't be as low as it would be on the Javelin.

We also brought two trainers since we knew we'd be warming up at the same time. We found a good parking spot near the registration booth and port-o-potties. I warmed up on the TT bike with a normal wheel, then switched to the disk for the time trial. I didn't have a PowerTap and just did my usual warm-up by feel. I felt pretty good but my legs weren't feeling as great as I thought they'd be after the taper I did. Probably from all the sitting in a car the last couple days.

Continue reading "Valley of the Sun TT" »

Warm Phoenix

Img_0005_1Uhl in Temp, AZ – We did a lot of driving the last couple days with an overnight stop in St George, Utah and now we're at the race hotel in Phoenix, Arizona. I should say I did a lot of driving—Heather worked on her laptop and made phone calls most of the way down! The weather is great here; it was about 70°F when we arrived yesterday afternoon. We drove through a few snow squalls on the way down so our freshly cleaned bikes got pretty grimy from all the road splash.

We also went by Lake Mead and over Hoover dam. We both have never been here before, but the lake reminded us of Lake Powell. The dam is certainly impressive. They are building a bypass highway that will be high up on an elevated section. It looks like a huge project and it won't be complete until 2008, but even in the construction phase, it's already incredible. The pillars stand emminently over the curvy, switchbacks of the old road. The tops of the pillars where the highway will be looks like it will be twice as high as the dam is!

Img_0023Anyway, we made it to Phoenix just in time for Heather to make a business appointment. So by the time we checked into the hotel, it was already late in the afternoon and I still had to clean bikes from the wet roads earlier. So after cleaning bikes, I didn't get on the trainer until late. I did a quick 30-minute pre-race workout with some efforts and my legs felt OK. Today is the TT and we're both starting in the early afternoon. Stay tuned!