Monday, September 19, 2011

LOTOJA 2011 Prologue

Just like LOTOJA the event is too large to just show up and do (you gotta train for months and months, it really starts sometime in the early spring with your first bike tune-up, and your first Saturday training ride with friends and fellow LOTOJANs), LOTOJA the blog entry begins well before the starting gun releases you (and about 50 other) cyclists through the starting gate. In a way, every cycling blog entry to this point has been a pre-LOTOJA blog entry, but for purposes of the actual LOTOJA blog (series, you know how this goes, there will be more than one) we will start at the beginning of LOTOJA week.

As per tradition, LOTOJA takes place the Saturday after Labor Day: "LOTOJA is a one-of-a-kind race and a fitting end to the cycling season in the Rocky Mountains." What that quote doesn't mention is that everything else in your life will be on permanent hold until this race is over. The list of things neglected, postponed, canceled, per-empted, placed on hiatus etc, because of LOTOJA is lengthy and frankly a bit incriminating (just ask my kids) but high on that list of activities that LOTOJA pushed to the proverbial back burner was the Mount Timpanogos hike that (along with a century bike ride) was part of La Canadienne's goals for 2010. The fact that she didn't ride 100 miles on her bike until August of this year is all on her. The lack of a Timp Hike in 2010 was all because of LOTOJA. The plan was to hike on Labor Day (2010) but as we got closer to LOTOJA I got more and more worried about a last minute injury and the hike never happened. Which Brings us to: Timp Hike 2011:

The original plan was for a date-hike. La Canadienne and myself, but we spent most of the summer riding together, until we didn't anymore and we missed it, so it became a group hike. The Red-Zilla's were undecided until about 9pm the night before (I told them I understood, that I wouldn't have risked LOTOJA 2010 for the hike) and the Swedes signed on the night before as well. We pushed the start time back from 5am to 6 and collected the crew

La Canadienne, theoretically excited about the hike but still not thrilled about being awake. If 'Zilla & Sweidsh Matt are smart they won't get too close.

Unfortunately we weren't the only group of friends itching to climb the mountain. By the time we got there the parking lot was full and we had to 'hike' almost a mile just to get to the trailhead.

Worth it though. Beautiful day, gorgeous scenery. In fact I'll let the art tell the story:

Only misfire of the day was the fact that I (taking a page from my experience drinking warm gatorade on any bike ride longer than an hour) froze all our water bottles, anticipating a hot summer day that would melt them in a matter of a few hours. I ended up carrying half a dozen ice bricks on my back all the way to the summit. Note to self, that was dumb. Don't do it again.

My favorite Rodzilla video. I think the thin air at 10,000 feet was making him feel a little light-headed and giddy.

"The hills are alive with the sound of music ..." Swedish Liz actually did break out in song and punctuated it with the rhetorical "Uhhh, could it be any more beautiful?" *ans: Maybe? But probably not.

*I guess I don't understand the function of rhetorical questions as colloquial devices.

Resting up for final push to the summit*

* we actually stopped at the saddle (11,070 feet). Time and prudence kept us off the rocky climb along Timapnogo's spine to the actual summit at 11,400 feet

The Swedes, looking serious and contemplative. Perhaps they came to the mountain looking for answers?

The crew (minus our Canadian climber) stopping for a snack

[Hiking] with Rodzilla. Everybody makes it to the top at pretty much the same pace. Nice.

Here are the Garmin stats:

The activity did takes its toll however. Rodzilla (the downhill king) forgot that only works on bikes with wheels. He went charging down the mountain, only to come up lame about halfway down with a bad knee. Well, a knee that was bad already and didn't respond well to the abuse. For myself, the lingering cough I had for the past two weeks, the one I figured was allergies or left over symptoms from a case of Strep throat two weeks earlier, became more pronounced and seemed to have purpose. Not a good sign. The entire hike took almost 10 hours door to door and pretty well used up Labor Day. Our kids whose patience has already been severely tried by six months of cycling were not amused. So it was beautiful and fun but came at a cost. It remained to be seen exactly how costly.

Thursday I spent making last minute adjustments to Saxo bike (including borrowing La Canadienne's deep dish Carbon Fiber wheels and carbon fiber bottle cages)

The wheels because they are more aerodynamic and offer a smoother ride, the cages because they look really cool ... but don't grip a water bottle very well as I would discover later.

Later that evening I picked Rodzilla up from work and we headed to Layton to pick up our pre-race packets.

Still time enough to back out , but that time is rapidly disappearing.

LOTOJA volunteer: "I know people know you as Rodzilla but you have to sign your actual name on the waiver or we won't let you race."

No iconic LOTOJA calf tattoo this time. This year it's a wrist band and LOTOJA stamp/seal half on the band, half on your wrist, so you can't pass it off to someone else. Too bad, I like the calf tatt.

We pick up our SWAG and I somehow let myself get talked into purchasing a cherry tomato red tech fabric T-shirt. Not sure when I'll wear it ... maybe to spin classes this winter.

Rodzilla had Friday off, so after a leisurely AM ride he put the SS on his truck and he and Red Rider headed north to Tremonton (about 20 miles from LOGAN) for the night.

Note the super deep-dish wheels. It was an eleventh hour gift from Red Rider (with advice from Swedish Matt). Rodzilla will not receive another gift of any monetary value until his youngest child has graduated college .... about 2020.

Next up: Early morning Logan, Utah 9-10-11.

1 comment:

  1. Could the bikes be any more beautiful?