Sunday, August 20, 2017

Four Peaks Gran Fondo-A Fine Local Event

Many readers of the blog have participated in our Pocatello rides over the years. The Four Peaks Gran Fondo is a three year old event which visits the same four climbs (Crystal, Scout Mountain, Pebble Creek, Buckskin) as our Pocatello rides although in a different order. The route of the 4PGF (their acronym) is about ten miles longer than our traditional route at a distance of 80 miles. Regardless of the route specifics it is an epic hard ride, but fun and scenic, not a grim death march.
Temperatures yesterday were milder than forecast. We were surprised by 40 F temperatures at the start, which is why Wes is stuffing his jersey with paper. Kelly appears in the background of that picture. The rest of the Rexburg locals appear in Jake’s selfie: Jake, John, Wes, and me. Thanks to Jake for the photos.
Congratulations to Barrie’s and the organizers on a very well supported and organized event. With a relatively modest entry fee and a generous swag bag (string pack, custom water bottle, quality T shirt, etc) a post-race meal, and an unusually beautiful finisher’s medal, the 4PGF was a real bargain for people who like to do events to get stuff. The structure of the 4PGF was perfect for a mass participation event with timing on the climbs only and not on the descents and transitions. 4PGF drew a decent amount of local talent and there was some real racing taking place on the climbs. But in the absence of timing for the overall, most people would make a fairly leisurely transition at the aid stations at the top of the climbs.
On balance, the quality of the Four Peaks Gran Fondo exceeded my expectations. I will look forward to returning in the future.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Another Chance to See Thorz Hammer Live in Rexburg

If you missed David Peck and Thorz Hammer at the bike party, you can see them live tomorrow night.

Saturday August 19th 7 p.m.

Riverside Park-in front of Rexburg Rapids

The concert is part of the City of Rexburg’s Eclipse Celebration. Please help spread the word to family and friends.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Big Thanks to Everyone for Bike BBQ 2017

I am very grateful to the members of the fine band Thorz Hammer (David, Robert, Matt, and Danni) as well to all of the members of the bike family for all of your work and support in putting on this event every year. Tentative date for 2018 is Monday, August 20th.

From Jake P: A Great Picture from the TNR

It's been a great week in Rexburg with the Annual Bike Party Monday (I will try to post a couple of pictures tonight), a fine TNR, and quite a few locals planning on the Four Summits Gran Fondo in Pocatello on Saturday.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Reminder-Two Days Until Rexburg Bike BBQ

Monday, August 14th 6 p.m.

Dave and Dawn Anderson home 324 S. 3rd E.

Please bring a side dish, salad, or dessert.

Invite your family. Invite your friends.

Live Music with David Peck and Thorz Hammer!


Monday, August 7, 2017

Ultimate Challenge 2017

The first thing that some people have noticed in this photo is the rider in the background face down on the ground. The Ultimate Challenge is always hard and always memorable. It got underway this year from Soldier Hollow near Heber at the leisurely start time of 9:30 with mild temperatures. For the past ten years, the penultimate stage of the Tour of Utah has been known as the Queen Stage and regardless of the exact route has finished at Snowbird following a climb of Little Cottonwood Canyon. This year’s route was something of a break from tradition with only two major climbs and a total distance of a little over 100 miles in contrast to previous editions with multiple climbs and a distance over 100 miles.
The climb over the Alpine Loop (Provo Canyon to American Fork Canyon via Sundance Ski Resort) began only 30 kilometers or so into the route. Even though it is a significant climb, we all felt great and managed to get over the top without any real drama. The descent of the Alpine Loop is one of the best anywhere-narrow and windy near the top. The only negative of that descent is the failure of the organizers to control traffic prior to the rolling closure enforced by the Utah Highway Patrol during the passage of the professional race.
The transition to Little Cottonwood Canyon passed uneventfully as well, perhaps until the mid-sized climbs on Wasatch Boulevard. In some naive way, I guess we expected Little Cottonwood to be easier this year due to the shorter stage. In all the times I have participated in the Ultimate Challenge, I do not feel like I have ever ridden Little Cottonwood really well. The difficulty of the climb is undoubtedly exacerbated by the midday heat in August. Little Cottonwood has been a death march from start to finish brightened only by the kindness and generosity of the spectators who provide cool misting, cold drinks, and even an occasional running push. Maybe I looked especially desperate this year, because I was the grateful recipient of quite a bit of pushing.
When the professionals ride Little Cottonwood, they do not make it look easy. But they do make it look fast and classy. If you ever need a reality check to remind yourself why these guys are getting paid to ride a bicycle and you are not, it does not get more obvious than in a side by side comparison like the Ultimate Challenge. Congratulations to Wes, Jeff, John, and Jake for a very solid day on the bike. If I ride the Ultimate Challenge again, OK when I ride it again, I have come to the realization that it ought to be on full Crusher-style gravel bike gearing. That gives me a little bike project to work on and a new strategy for Little Cottonwood that does not involve training harder and getting fitter.

Wes Parkinson and some guy* at The Tour of Utah

*Winner of the Queen Stage Giulio Ciccone

Tour of Utah proves its importance for domestic development |

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Only one WorldTour team makes for better racing at Utah |

Consider Installing the Tour of Utah Tour Tracker on Your Desktop or Mobile Device

During the Tour of Utah, I always try to keep one screen tuned to the daily live coverage. Today's stage just ended with a fine finish at Snow Basin in Ogden. Every aspect of the Tour Tracker live coverage (audio, video, commentary) has evolved and improved over the years. The depth of talent at the 2017 Tour of Utah may not be at the level of some previous editions, but the quality of the racing is always outstanding. It is exciting to watch high level professional bicycle racing on familiar roads. I am very excited to ride the Ultimate Challenge on Saturday and to see a couple of stages live.

Saturday, July 29, 2017