Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Bear Trap 12-27

I finally made to the back country. The avalanche danger has been high for last 2 weeks. The rain crust from Thanksgiving is really making a mess of the snow pack. Bear Trap canyon on the north side of Big Cottonwood is my safe bet when the snow pack is sketchy. I climbed the south facing slope up to the ridge line. Desolation lake is just off the ridge. You can see the "spine" of the Wasatch Crest trail in the background.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Snow Biking

My day started off with some freezing ski runs at Brighton this morning. It was around 0 degrees . Janie and I came home early so I called Berk to see if he wanted to go riding. Berk is always up for a ride. We started riding about 3:00 and I had the brainy idea of climbing up to Sun Crest on the road and descending the new Maple Hollow DH trail. This was my first time back on the bike in 10 days and I could feel it. Riding up the Sun Crest road with a 28 lb. mtn bike was a lot work.
There was more snow than I expected at the trail head. It was was axle deep and the drifts were pushing 18 inches. We weren't going any where at the top. I thought that if we could get of the ridge and avoid the drifts we navigate the snow. We rode down Elk Glen drive to the north and entered the trail on the double track road that intersects the upper portion of the trail. We actually were able to ride the road and about 800 yards of the single track. It was a wild ride with 12 inches of powder and disc brakes that didn't do much except squeal.

We pretty much had to hike our bikes down from the first ladder bridge to the paved road. Hiking down kept our heart rates up so it was warmer than riding the road down the road.

It was a beautiful view of the valley on the slow descent. There were some snow squalls coming off the Great Salt Lake highlighted with a pink glow of the setting sun. It was worth a good laugh. We either need a warm spell to melt some snow or have a group skin up the trail on skis to pack down a trail.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Nite Ride Dec 11

We have kept up our weekly night rides for the last 3 months. Our light purchases have paid off. This was by far the coldest and snowiest night yet. Craig and me were the regulars and Jamie joined us for his first ride in Corner Canyon(CC). We meet a guy, Scott at the trail head and we decided to try Clark's trail. The gate was locked at the bridge so we went down and tried Ghost falls via the CC Road. Clark's would have been challenging if the gate was open. The snow was about 3-4 inches near the gate. The lower section of the shore line trail was 90% snow free. The CC road was 70% snow free and had car tracks all the way up to the top of Ghost Falls(GF) Trailhead. The above picture is at the top with only about 3 inches of snow. The gate at the top of GF was open and we had fresh tracks all the way down. The upper trail was a blast with 3 inches of dry snow. I was bringing up rear and I had more control making a fresh line rather then follow the other tracks. Our lights seemed to double their light output with reflection from the snow. We took a right at the fork and descented the north lower section of Ghost falls. Since this is south facing most of it was snow free. Great ride eventhough our feet were cold. I'm bidding on used pair MTN shoes that are a size larger so I can wear extra socks.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Maple Hollow DH Trail

After hearing all the hype from some fellow cross racers I had to try out this new trail. I had my wife shuttle me to the top on Dec 1st. The top part was cut through some tight oak trees. Similar to the new section of the lower part of Jacob's Ladder. The trail was surprisingly wet and sticky. Clarks just a few days early was firm and dry but it still remained wet on the shady parts of the trail. I suppose since the trail is new the ground has not been compacted like Clark's. The trail crosses a double track road and then descents rapidly over some very loose rocks. Then trail starts to take life as I goes over a small ladder bridge and leads to the "hole". I walked this section since I was alone and I didn't want to screw myself up for the last CX race. With a low seat and some practice this will be sweet. The trail has A and B lines marked with a Black Diamond or a Blue Square. The conditions were pretty sloppy so it was too difficult to carry enough speed to take the jumps and make the transistions. If we get a good freeze the trail should be firm enough to get familiar with the speed needed for the ramps. Nothing is super big that a DH bike is needed. The trail then follows the natural gully features of the canyon with some steep and bermed quick drops and rises. Keeping your speed up is key to make it up the other side on these. The trail ends with a series of nicely bermed turns and like eye candy, bike porn at its best.

Monday, December 8, 2008

CX Draper #11

Last race of the season and only 24 points separate the 5th through 10th overall places and I'm holding steady at 8th. This race is double points so any of us could take the lead. I wanted to keep Matt and Jamie close. I know on most races they are usually a few places ahead of me.

The start was at the bottom of the hill near the bridge. I kept a good pace up the hill and when we crested the hill I'd say about 15 riders were ahead of me, Matt and Jamie were a couple places ahead. The run up was long but I was feeling good and held my position through out most of the lap. At the top of lap 2 I notice Eric M was is in the pit area with a flat. Ouch, that hurts. The crowds were loud at the top and someone yelling "Go mike" which turned out to be Mark. Thanks for the cheer.

I kept Matt close but Jamie must have got a lead on Matt. Jason W was close on my tail in the 2nd and 3rd laps. 4th lap I sucked Matt's wheel all the way to the top and Pat was in reach about 200 yards ahead. We gained some time coming down to the rodeo turns and up the hill by the bathrooms. I made an attack towards Pat in the parking lot and yelled at Matt as I passed him that we can catch Pat. I had a lot speed coming around the paved turn down to the dirt parking area. I almost caught Pat as we approached the single track. I knew this part well and I just flew down the trail. As I chased Pat on the NW corner of the track I was thinking I just had to keep him in reach until the run up and then I would attack on the run up.

I hit the loose sand corner and my bike slid out from under me and whole race just went in slow motion for a few seconds. It felt like I had just fallen skiing and was sliding down a mountain. It was a pretty graceful slide. The slow motion button was abruptly changed to fast forward. I jumped back on my bike and peddled as fast I could to catch Pat. My fall and remount was so quick that Matt didn't have time pass me. My heart was red-lined and the adrenaline was pumping. I almost crashed on the next turn and went wide to avoid another fall. Matt passed me on the turn and told me to shake it off, and we could still catch Pat. Jason had caught me too as we climbed up the single track to the bridge. He asked if I was ok, I couldn't talk, I was trying to recover but I knew I had nothing in the gas tank. Jason passed me on the run up like I was standing still. I was walking up the hill giving it everything I had to get my bike over the last barrier. As I descended the hill to the first obstacle turn I could see that Matt and fallen but recovered quickly. There was a big gap in front and behind me as I descended to the bridge. There was no way I could catch Matt. I took a steady pace up the hill thinking there is no use in killing myself, just keep a good gap between the kid behind me. As I passed the last barricade I heard some spectators cheering on the kid behind me. I had a good 100 yards on him before he stood up and was attacking me, I answered his attack and gave it everything I had. Which was enough to get across the line with about 30 yards to spare. What a race, I finished 10th, 8th overall.

Monday, December 1, 2008

CX Wheeler #10 Nov 30th

Turned out to be cold and cloudy morning for cross. To make matters worse I forgot my toasty Craft gloves. Similar course as #8 with some added slalom turns in the main run up area. I was #6 in the call ups. I started out strong and fast and took lead just in front of Eric Miller. It was great to have the lead going into the hole shot (the course had sharp right turn then narrow off camber section for 100 yards then a 180 turn). We went down the gully and then circled back to a nasty large off camber hill. I kept the pace and kept the pole position in the "belly" woods. I really like this narrow single track section and thought I would try and put some some distance on the pack. I came out of trees with about 100 yard gap and charged towards center slalom course. The crowds were cheering as my name came over the PA, "Mike Rossberg #1228 is in first place". Eric and 3 others closed the gap as we approached the run up barriers. I kept the lead down the hill by the river as we circled back north to ponds I could feel myself losing steam. I gave up the lead on the back straight away. As we ended the first lap I was in 3rd after 10 minutes of glory I was spent. I struggled to keep a decent pace in the second lap as it felt like everyone was passing me, but in reality I only lost about 10 positions. Matt Davis and Jamie Kent passed me.

The lead group was not far ahead, as I could clearly see them only one turn ahead in the slalom section. The 3rd lap I got back a rhythm and to my surprise Eric went down in the rooty leaf covered slalom turns which allowed me to ride on his wheel out to the north of the lap. I could tell Eric didn't have head back in the game from the fall, he was taking turns wide and going of the track. I sucked his wheel for 1/2 of the east straight away which nice to have little recovery from my insane max heart rate first lap. I fast rider passed both of us and chased hoping Eric wouldn't have the gas to follow. It worked, I stuck on the fast guy's wheel and never saw Eric again. I was in small group of 3 in the 4 th and final lap. I stayed back and the let the group of 2 set pace. We dropped one by the pond and I stayed about bike length behind Stephen B. He seemed like a young rider, he accelerated in north end trees which I matched. I drafted off him on the east straights, he attacked again on the south single track section, I matched. I put the hammer down on the road going north to the finish. We sprinted side by side for 200 yards but I had more left in the tank. I had a good gap going into the final "hole shot" where the finish line was. Finished 14th, 3 behind Matt. VERY VERY FUN!

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Friday, November 21, 2008

CX Wheeler #8

Wheeler was a great race. I finished 8th out of a huge field of 60 Men's C riders. It was nice to be part of the call ups because the start was sketchy. They shot us down a dirt road heading south then we turned right to an off camber slope. I was cut off and my front wheel almost caught in this guys derailure. I had to put my foot down but I kept my position. Next we had hard U turn then we were off in the woods.
I kept good position the first lap around 10th. I try to keep count but my brain gets starved for oxygen. The laps were very long, 10 minutes which meant we only did 4.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

CX Heber Mud Fest

This is my first post of my blog. Thank goes out to Mark N. for encouraging me to blog. Cyclocross race #7 was a butt kicker. I'm not sure what happened but I was not running on all cylinders. I was in 3rd place for 1/2 of the first lap and then the mud just seem to get deeper and everyone around me was getting faster. My buddy, Craig, who has been finishing like 30th, passed me on the 2nd lap and took 15th. I felt good before the race, I even put down Red Bull an hour before the race, which I haven't done before. Even with a pathetic finish I think I moved up a spot to 2nd overall. It helps when the number one rider was a no show for the last 2 races.

The Heber Valley was foggy for the start of Men's C flight at 9:30.