Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Me, my bike, and a camera, what else do you need?

Since Gina's been out of town, I haven't known what to do with myself. It's especially interesting without a car... although so far it's been great going completely "car free" for a few days. Tonight was a beautiful afternoon and evening, so I headed out on my bike, camera in tow, towards downtown SLC to see what I could find. This is where the Chrome bag comes in really handy! Shoes, camera equipment, a bike lock, and my trusty hat all fit quite nicely.

I am going to try a few HDR images if I can ever get the Photoshop CS3 free trial downloaded, haha, all 450 MB of it. I took some photos with that very intent, so I hope they work out. If they work, they'll be in the next post. For now, here are some teasers:

The "lighting" was beautiful all evening
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Yes Timmy, that's a flag...
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When you walk or ride (anything other than a car) you notice quite a few more deserted alleys.
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And of course the Wells Fargo Building. I really like the lines on this one, maybe I'll try it in B&W.
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Sunday, July 29, 2007

I like to ride my bicycle...

...ahh the eternal words of "Queen." My response: "Yes Queen, I sure do..."

Saturday I had a couple of options... 1) Ride the Chalk Creek Road Race (50 miles) 2)Ride with the Cyclesmith Team to Henefer (don't ask where that's at), or 3) Ride with a high school buddy that I haven't seen in way too long up to Snowbird. I choose option 3 please Bob. The day was made even better by getting in a partial ride with Gina before heading out to meet Jeff at the point of the mountain. Gina and I rode up Emigration Canyon until I had to turn around to be able to meet Jeff in time. Gina kept going to the top and got there in record time for her! Way to go G. I headed down, and here's what my day ended up looking like:

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Yep, that's a darn steep hill. 9% grade with pitches up to 11%

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

The dope

If they didn't before, everyone now knows there are cyclists that use performance enhancing drugs. This post is short and sweet about the sport I STILL love.

There is nothing like the "sssssss" of the tires and then the gust of air that the peloton pushes as they speed by in a bike race. The first time I experienced it, I was hooked, it's intoxicating. I love the competition, suffering, dedication, and being outside trying to will your body to go harder against mother nature, not to mention the mind games, strategies, and teamwork. However, in the upper tier of the sport, a major "weed out" is occurring. Guilty cyclists names are being thrown out as cheats and liars which inevitably draws others into the interrogation light simply due to the human urge to stereotype and put everything (and everyone) in some sort of grouping. That's OK, stereotyping happens, but I am proud of the sport I do and there are so many good things about it that it propels those involved to weed out the cheaters. This occurs in cycling more than any other sport that I have seen. A few cycling teams even have their own doping control programs that administer more tests in a single season than the entire US Anti-Doping Association performs across ALL sports in an entire year! That is showing the world that something is being done about the problem. After learning that, does it surprise you that more cyclists get caught cheating than in other sports? To end my rant and rave, could you ever imagine the following happening to somebody in another sport ? I can't.

Taken from Pezcyclingnews.com:

"Immediately after the stage, it was announced that Christian Moreni (Cofidis & Italy) had failed a drug test earlier in the race. Not only was he immediately disqualified, his entire team was asked to leave the race. To illustrate the seriousness of the situation, Moreni was arrested after the stage and driven-away by the police whilst still wearing his race clothing." (Emphasis added)

It doesn't happen in other sports that way, as we've seen here in the USA, so the sport of cycling gets a pat on the back for that. I love my sport.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

No bus route

I've heard many excuses for not riding mass transit, but the one I hear the most is that there is not a convenient bus route that matches where the person wants to go. I thought this was the case for me personally for a long time until I discovered deadheading buses. Imagine the typical US city with a downtown in the center (generally) surrounded by suburbs. Buses run in the morning carrying the throng of people from the suburbs to the city center. Because there are fewer people going away from the city center in the morning, they run empty (what is called a "dead head run") from the city center back to the suburbs to then pick up another load of passengers. Any bus scheduler will tell you that it is almost impossible to avoid some dead head runs, but the good news is that most bus companies will still let riders travel on the dead heading buses. In my example, I travel from near the city center against the majority of traffic. I never thought there was a fast bus that traveled in that direction so I would either drive or wake up obscenely early to ride my bike or take the combination of TRAX and the 811.

If anyone is familiar with the 811, you know what it's like. It's a 93 series bus generally, which means that it tops out at 55 mph on the freeway and wasn't even built for the freeway to begin with. It's generally packed with people (most of which wouldn't be riding it if they knew of other options) and stops every few yards as it lumbers along it's route. Not to mention that air seems to seep right through the windows as well as through the floor and doors... and roof and everywhere. This provides the opportunity to get the sauna feeling in the summer and the ice cream isle feeling in the winter. I thought the above were my only options that I could ride until I saw a dead heading bus one day completely empty. You can imagine the situation... me, standing on the 811 (because there's no where to sit) huddled next to the most pleasant people in the world and as I gaze out the window at the mountains, I see a nice commuter bus (see pic below) cruising by completely empty! So I said to myself, "Self, I REALLY need to be on that bus!" I emailed UTA that day and they informed me that I could ride those dead heading buses. The next day I caught one.

I was hooked! It was just as fast as driving because the bus makes no stops until it gets back out to the suburbs (or Orem in my case). It's a straight shot at 75 MPH from Salt Lake City to Orem and it is amazing. It affords me about 40 minutes extra studying time, reading time, or SLEEPING time. Hello, who wouldn't want to catch an extra 40 minute nap to and from work? So I ride a dead heading bus (there are many of them) nearly every day and going to work is so much more enjoyable now!

If you think you can't ride the bus because there is no route available to you, it may be worth contacting your local transit authority and asking them if there is a dead heading bus that may fit your schedule. I have been emailing UTA once every few months asking them to advertise the dead heading buses, so I hope they do one day. I hope they don't change the route that they run, but at least advertise them!

Most people however can ride the normal express buses (VERY fast options=Bus# 801-810) easily. In addition, many large companies will offer cheap bus passes to their employees which makes the commute drastically cheaper than driving and just as fast with nearly front door service in downtown SLC. Even if your company doesn't give you a cheap pass, a monthly express bus pass (including TRAX and all other buses) is $107. With just a little arithmetic and gas at $3/gallon, that means you would only need to make about 11 trips from Orem to SLC and back to break even on a monthly pass (assuming you get 25mpg). Many people make more than 11 trips to SLC and back in a month, so it's quite cheap. Not to mention less wear and tear on the car and the ability to arrive at work much more relaxed.

oh yeah, and if you're looking for pics of our Bald Mountain hike (cause I know you are...), they can be found at The Bradlee Duncans

Sunday, July 15, 2007


Well, July means it's time for the Boy Scouts' 50 miler in our ward. This year we picked Havasupai for it. We were there Monday through Friday of this last week hiking, swimming, cliff jumping, wreaking havoc on other campers, etc. We had a blast and there were a few newcomers to the 50 mile hike. They did great and we had a great time. The weather was perfect and warm while the water was just cool enough. My legs hurt a bit, but they're doing better now. Here are some pics, enjoy:

Being there (yes, even with all the people) really gives a sense of why the Havasupai tribe believe that the waterfall and creek is a direct manifestation of God's power and love for the people. It is a humbling place and there is definitely something magical and spiritual about the area.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Collegiate Cycling National Finals (Finally)

After leaving for the Virgin Islands, Lake Powell, and then having Justin leave for Alaska, I finally got all my pictures that I (and Katie, good job Katie) took at National Finals. Justin had them on his computer because I couldn't fit them all on one CF card (now I have a bigger card though, hehe. Bigger is always better, eh?). Anyway, to give a little background, the U of U cycling team had a few people that qualified for the Collegiate Cycling National Finals in Lawrence, KS and here's the story.

An acquaintance of some of the team members was absolutely awesome in letting us crash in his living room. (Cam, thanks for the genuine Kansan hospitality bro) And his room-mates were great in dealing with a bunch of sweaty bike racers for nearly a week too! Thanks guys. We had a great time and our team had some great placings overall. I only qualified to race in the team time trial, which we did OK in. And as a team, we were quite happy with it even though we didn't place really great (not last though, haha). Justin was the Veteran and showed us all the ropes while Mitch represented for the U of U also. In the road race, T-mo and Brian ripped it up with T-mo placing really well (I'll have to remember what he placed and edit this post, but it was like top 20 IIRC out of nearly 150). Brian placed in the middle of the pack somewhere on a brutal 90 mile course through the rolling Kansan hills in 90 degree weather that was ridiculously humid for us Utah folk. The crit was a great time and the town really knows how to support a bike race, they showed up in droves packing the whole crit course a couple of people deep. Katie did great in her events and showed everybody what a Utah girl is made of. It was a great race and we were sad to leave (especially because we had a 16 hour drive ahead of us to go home, ouch). Good times were had by all. Now, because there are so many pics, here's a slideshow of some of the better ones.

Evening Ride

Today, being such a nice day and all, needed to be filled with as much biking as possible. So Gina and I headed out after we got off work and went for a tour around SLC. It was a pretty good ride at about 17 miles and she did awesome! Just take a look at this elevation plot!

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She's pretty tough, because just coming up from downtown to our house is nearly 1000 feet of climbing. And of course, we gotta have the picture from the ride.

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Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Virgin Islands trip

Ahoy! Gina and I returned a few weeks ago from a 10 day sailing trip with her family to The Virgin Islands. We chartered our own 40 foot Catamaran named "Clarity." Gina's older brother Tom captained our vessel and the rest of us, okay mostly us guys, worked hard as the sailing crew. We really loved the sailing and I think we got the hang of it pretty good. We had great food, okay amazing food, that we prepared right on the boat. We spent our days sailing, swimming, snorkeling, eating...you get the idea. Needless to say, we had so much fun! It has been slow getting back into work and day to day life and my mind keeps drifting back to the awesome memories we have made. Take us back to paradise...

Ode to Judd

This post is about Judd (mostly because I have pictures of him from lab, but because he's a good guy too). Judd started working in the cardiovascular physiology shortly after I did. We put our lives at risk there everyday (just kidding). Here's Judd playing with beta mercaptoethanol

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Deadly stuff, it will work it's way into your skin and denature proteins. Believe me, you do not want your proteins denatured.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Flat tires all around

Flat tires on a bike suck. Synopsis:

Slept in = missed 3 earlier buses
Fast shower = not clean enough (hoo-wee!)
no breakfast = cranky
Utah roads and watching traffic instead of the road = two pinch flats = missed last bus too

Rode to Gina's work to get the car to drive to work, but my fast patch job didn't hold so the front slowly started losing air and I barely limped it in to Gina's work. Then she says that she's going to get off early (yay!) so I can't drive the car to work. That means I work from home today. A day in the life of me.