Tuesday, June 23, 2009

"Wow Jim, you are really shaking hard!!"

This last weekend was the High Uintah stage race. This is usually one of my favorite races, and although i debated racing it this year because i haven't been riding very well lately and think i need a little time off for recovery, i couldn't pass it up and signed up at the last minute. I was feeling a little better this week, but still not sure how i would fare on the long climb.

Race morning came around with scattered clouds and showers, but nothing too bad. We loaded up and headed to Kamas for the start, hoping for the best in terms of weather. The first groups all got off without much rain, and although it started to rain about 30 minutes before our start time, the rain eased off and it started to clear just a little. Of course, as they always say about the uintahs, if you don't like the weather just wait five minutes cuz it will change. i put my rain slicker in DC's car since his wife was driving support just in case the rain started again, headed over for the line up, and we were off.

The first 15 miles out of Kamas went down w/out much incidence, though i could already tell i was dragging a bit on the small rollers. Rich H. predictably attacked within the first 3 minutes and DC followed. There were a few surges here and there, but overall not a bad pace. Once we made the sloping turn north and started up the real climb, however, i knew i was in trouble for two reasons: 1) it started to rain and 2) i was struggling to keep contact with the lead group.

I hung in for a little, but eventually popped off the back and settled in with two other guys who had also been dropped. Soon enough, however, i was struggling to keep up with them. Although i had been able to initially maintain a good hard effort i watched as my HR dropped and i got passed by rider after rider. It was a bit demoralizing to say the least and i started to entertain the idea of dropping out. i was feeling lousy, i had been dropped by the lead group, the rain was getting harder and it was getting colder. i made it to the first feed zone before the KOM and the artist was there (he didn't race cuz his wife did ragnar so he had the girls, but he did come support us after he cheered for his wife on her last leg) with my rain slicker and a feed. I didn't need any water since it was so cold i hadn't drank much, but i gladly took the rain jacket, then promptly pulled over and said i was done. The artist talked me into pushing on, so i remounted and kept going.

The view from the top. yea, it was as cold as it looks.

Unfortunately it only got worst. a few more guys passed me as i stood there debating whether to go on or not, then i ended up doing the descent by myself. the rain was coming down hard, it was cold, and even though i had the rain slicker on my feet and gloves were waterlogged and i was getting colder and colder (i can't imagine how cold the descent would have been if i hadn't picked up the rain jacket).

i pushed on to bear river station, but the thought of another 30 miles by myself, in the rain, was not appealing in the least. I don't mind suffering if i'm in contention for a good race finish, but i just kept thinking, "i'm far too misereable for 20th place." At bear river station regrettably pulled out. I've never abandoned a race before (though the thought crosses my mind just about every race i do), but after going back and forth about whether to finish or pull out for 20 miles in the rain, the cold and wet got the best of me.

Not long after JW came along and also pulled the plug. As we sat in the car and tried to warm up the robot's kid sitting in the backseat behind jim observed, "Wow Jim, you are really shaking hard!" Yea, hypothermia will do that to you.

JW as the shivers began to set in.

Turns out more than half the field pulled out on account of the cold. DC finished despite flatting and watching the wheel car drive right past him (WTF!), and the Robot took KOM and then went on to finish with a good result.

The robot pushing it to the KOM!!

T-dub finished 3rd in the RR, the TT, and the Crit, for a 3rd place finish in the GC. Not bad considering a pro-chick from Colorado raced with them. They were fortunate that they finished the race before the rain really started to come down.

Since so many racers DNFed they decided to only use the TT and the RR for the GC results and to let DNFers race on sunday. I had to come back to SLC saturday night, but i got up a lot earlier than i wanted to and headed back up sunday am to do the TT and crit. i pulled out 2nd in the TT, but with two laps to go couldn't hang on during the little climb in the crit and got shelled off the back. Looks like i need to work on my climbing, which is considerably worse this year than last.

No bike for me this week. I'm off to houston tomorrow with a group of students for the Free Minds, Free People conference. I'm excited to go, but feeling a little overwhelmed right now trying to get everything ready.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


I've been thinking about getting chickens for the past year or two, so when i went to the surburban cowboy's house the other night and saw his chickens (and his daughter chasing them around the yard), i decided to make the plunge. I got the info on raising chickens i needed from my brother, then drove to the IFA the next morning and was soon on my way home with six little chicks: two orpington buffs, two silver wyandottes, a plymoth rock, and a black sexlink.

Cait loves chickens. She's a city girl, so besides the pet rats that she brought home from school at the end of the year one time, she's never really been around animals. you'd never know it by looking at the pictures. i don't know who was more scared (or squeeling more), the chickens or cait.

Unfortunately we had one small incident and Hannah got one of them. She's good with the chickens when i'm around, sniffing them and checking them out, but not doing any harm. She was just bidding her time to make her move, however. The other day when i was working in the garden i had brought the growing chicks outside to start to acclimate them to the sun and outdoors. They were in their bin with a wire lid on top. This was the third day i had brought them out, but after an hour or two I heard a crash and ran to the back of the house to find the wire lid on the ground, one chick flapping around outside of the bin, and the others milling around still inside. After a quick headcount i realized one was missing. i grabbed the one escapee and quickly put it back in the bin, then ran inside where i found Hannah settling into her crate with a chicken in her mouth.

RIP little chicken.

As the chicks are growing—and dang they grow fast, they grow bigger from evening to the next morning— i've started to put together their coop. I still need to build the hen house, but i pulled my old dog kennel out and have put them out on warm days to let them start to acclimate. They love it, scratching and pecking and peeping and pooping and flapping around, checking everything out.