Saturday, September 26, 2009

Enjoyed the Spectacular fall colors on my Alpine Loop- Cascade Springs ride

What a beautiful day for a ride. I still have a little fitness left over from my Lotoja training so I decided to get out and enjoy the SPECTACULAR fall colors with a 50 mile ride with 5800 feet of climbing. John and I met at the summit of Alpine Loop. He climbed from the Provo Canyon side and I climbed from the American Fork Canyon Side. We rode the 15 mile round trip out to Cascade Springs together.

Looking back down American Fork Canyon

View from the summit of the first of the quakies starting to turn at the base of Mt Timpanogos.

The red, pink and orange colors appear to be at their peak this weekend. Wow!

Action photo using my iphone. Not that easy to do while riding.

Monday, September 14, 2009


12 September 2009

LOTOJA XXVII Report (7th report in an ongoing series)

I love this race. I admit, there are times every year when the wind is blowing in my face and my legs are contemplating cramping, that I wonder why I have paid money to suffer on the bike for 10+ hours, but by breakfast the following day, I’m already making plans to do it again.

This was a very unique training year. In years past, I’ve had a routine of training with the OC boys and getting in a series of spirited early AM rides during the week and a bunch of long rides on Saturdays during the summer. Since the move to Utah in May, I’ve been left to train mostly on my own with an occasional ‘group’ ride on Saturday with my boys John and Brian and Irvine transplant, Paul Badger. John and I did a couple of centuries, including 1000 Warriors, in August and Paul joined us for 80 miles on one of the rides (his longest training ride of the season). I really missed the hard pace with several intervals of the Irvine morning ride. In place of that ride, I mostly did solo rides up American Fork Canyon – no sprints, no intervals – just

riding. I knew the lack of preparation was going to come back to haunt me……

Mark, Bob and Paul showing off our Lotoja Tattoos at registration. This was something new this year to help stop non-registered racers from taking the place of registered ones on race day.

On Friday, my facebook update was that I was going to think positive. No longer whining about not training, now I was focused on “fresh legs’. That line of thinking paid off. Friday night the Emmett clan, mom, dad, John, Beth, Jack, Lily, Kristin,

Brian, Jackie, Annie and I enjoyed what has become a traditional pre-race meal at the Olive Garden. At other tables were Tyson and Julia Manning, Mark and Mindy Facer along with Corte and Cheri Haggard. At another table Paul and Kim Badger were having dinner with Paul’s cousin and at a 4th table was the Robles clan - Casey the racer and his support team of his dad, wife, sister and brother.

Peter and Janet Harker were at Peter’s brother enjoying dinner without the hassle of waiting in line for an hour.

Post-peach ice cream photo op. Did I remember to thank my parents for opening up their house for the 7th year in a row?

After our ‘too late to do any good carbo loading’, it was back to Twin Pine Ranch for the ‘never too late to do any good homemade peach ice cream’ It’s a lot of work for mom and dad – especially mom, who in recent years has been required to do more and more of the ‘heavy lifting’ – to get the house ready, garage cleaned out and all of the peaches cut and pealed and the ice cream made. They keep offering up their house for the pre-race gathering and I know that all of us – both friend and family, really appreciate it. It is a busy night of arranging support, filling musette bags – mostly with food or gu that won’t be consumed, but also energy drink (Hammer Perpetuem for most) and an assortment of Hammer Endurolytes and Ibuprofen. . In recent years, John and I have zeroed in on turkey meat rolled up with a cheese and mustard for our any-thing but sweet snack. This year I was very happy to eat my treat in Afton (mile 120). John was so excited that he made one for Afton and a second for Alpine – too bad he dropped the one in Afton and as has become an all too frequent a happening, John beat his support to Alpine and was left on his own like Bear Grylls to fend for himself the last 40 miles (thank goodness for the neutral support at the end of Snake River Canyon).

My brother Tom was also riding this year. Two years ago in his first full Lotoja ride, he beat my time by a few minutes. This year he was even stronger. He planned to ride in the so-called ‘Fun Ride’ – a non-competitive class that leaves first at 5:45. As it turns out, being first on the road is not always a good thing. In his case it meant a long day in the saddle and most of the miles done solo. When riders finally started to catch him they were always the fastest riders of the fastest groups. He needed to be caught by guys like me, but alas, I started almost 50 minutes later and there was no way I would see Tom until I got to Jackson.

Tyson and Peter at the Start line

My start time with the Master’s 45+ was 6:34. Starting with me would be Peter, Paul and Mark. Corte opted to sign up with the Master’s 35+ group just so he could get a 3 minute head start with Tyson. This was not going to be pretty. Our group of 70 Masters was full of former CAT 1 racers who had thoughts of setting a new course record. Not my style of racing, but at least we had an early start time.

Just before our start, I stopped for a photo op with Trent Eyre – something I’m sure will be forwarded to his brother Tait who was not able to participate this year because of his new church calling as a counselor in the Irvine Stake Presidency (I’ve already apologized to Tait, but I’m not sure he bought off on the sincerity of the apology!).

Once I slipped onto the start line, I could see that I couldn’t get across to Peter, Paul and Mark, but I soon caught them as we literally raced out of town. No warm-up. We’re cruising down 2nd North at 25+mph and I looked over to Paul at about 3rd West, less than ½ mile into the ride, and said sarcastically, “how’s this pace?” His reply, “See you later.”

We weren’t even 1/3 of the way to Preston when we caught the 35’s. Corte and Tyson were near the front as we rolled by. After that our group became a little disorganized with the 35’s and 45’s mixed together. Eventually a big group of 35’s went by us and I followed – alone, which is a no-no. It took a couple of minutes to figure out the rest of my group was behind so I set up and waited. I apologized to the guys at the front of my group when then caught me and it was not big deal. I’m pretty sure they realized the old man wasn’t going to make a solo break away 15 miles into the race.

We reached Preston en masse – both 35’s and 45’s mixed together. I tried to stay near the front – the race text message to Kristin said that I was in 3rd place at the first time check. Yup, I’m a powerful rider….. My brother Bill was once again at the control as support in Preston. He hooked me up with a musette bag with two fresh bottles of Perpetuem. Bill, aka, YPR, is AWESOME. He’s up at the crack of dawn, drives into Logan to watch baby bro Tom start at 5:45 then stops by Twin Pine Ranch to pick up musettes for John, Tyson and me. His willingness to do this takes a ton of stress off others who are doing support for the rest of the race because they don’t have to race to Montpelier. Thanks Bro!

Snapshot of Tom's day. Many long lonely miles in the saddle.

I missed Brian in Preston. He was waiting for the relay teams to arrive, but a rash of flat tires outside of Preston had the group delayed. Eventually they got the timing chips to Preston and he, along with his Aunt Shelly and her friend were off on their 50 mile ride to Montpelier. Shelly also rode the final 46 mile section to complete almost 100 miles on the bike for the day. Brian said his portion of the ride went well. That shows what over 500 miles of riding since Lotoja last year will do for you. After arriving in Preston, Brian joined up with Kristin, Jackie and Beth in the support vehicles.

Just outside of Preston, about 20 of the 35’s an 45’s stopped for a nature break. Peter, Mark and I included. Tyson and Corte kept rolling. At the start of the Strawberry climb I was with Peter in a large group of mostly 35’s. I had talked to the race official on the motorbike going into town and he told me that he planned to separate the two groups after the feed zone and would hold the 35’s back. Peter didn’t know this was going to take place so he wasn’t aware that main group of 45’s were a couple hundred yards up the road and pulling away. I told him the situation and told him I’d help get him back up to our group so we rolled up to the front of the group only to have some guy at the front yell at us for racing. I told he we were 45’s and trying to chase back on so he lightened up. It took a few minutes but Peter and I worked together and caught back up. I knew I couldn’t handle that pace all day so I patted Peter on the back and told him to race hard and make us proud. I then sat up to wait for Mark, Corte and Tyson who were less than a minute behind.

About half way up the climb, John came by with the leaders of his CAT 5 group that had started 20 minutes behind us. John looked strong. Later I learned that just after passing us, he lost the wheel of the 4 leaders. He blamed seeing us as the cause of a bell going off inside telling him that the pace of the leaders was too much. A couple of days after the race John amended his story as to why he let the leaders get away, he told me "Because they were freaking faster than me." That's an excuse I can relate to. Near the summit, Ben Kofoed said hello as the leaders of the CAT 4’s passed us. Ben’s won and been on the podium in past years as a CAT 5. This was not his year as he was forced to spend 30 minutes in a port-a-potty and gave up any chance of a podium finish.

John racing down Strawberry. He looks like he's on his way to his fastest time ever. 9:41. Wow.

Mark leading a 'Red Burro' down Strawberry

At the false summit a strong group of CAT 5 riders caught us. I said to Corte, “Let’s try to hang with these guys over the summit” – easier said than done. I did my best to hang on, but after a few minutes I knew Corte was off the back and that Tyson and Mark would probably explode right along side me if we tried to hold on. The last mile of that climb is deceptive. Never has Corte been stronger so it was a no-brainer for Mark, Tyson and I to back it off at the summit and take a nature break while we waited for Corte. Just as he rolled up, Mark and I jumped on a small but strong group. We caught Tyson off the bike just over the summit and he never had a chance to jump on. Corte also missed this train. Mark and I stuck with these guys and worked a fast pace with them all the way to Montpelier. It was the hardest – outside of the climbs and the final 6 miles – all day. Mark and I were able to enjoy a leisurely 5 minute stop in Montpelier talking to the girls while we waited for Corte and Tyson to roll into town.

Paul is my hero. Long Day. Big Smile.

Brian and Shelly

Kristin, Jackie and Beth are the BEST!

Julia, Mindy, Cheri and Kim

Julia later told Annie that Tyson was a little depressed and in pain with a sore back at the thought of having to ride the last 120 miles on his own and was very happy to see that Mark and I had waited.

We all stuck together on the Geneva Climb. I was a little disappointed at how hard this supposedly easiest climb was. This year it really kicked my butt. We had a fast descent . Tyson noted that his top speed was almost 55 mph – the fastest he’s ever gone on a bike. That’s pretty good descending for the rookie.

We had our only real tail wind of the day for the first few miles heading toward Salt River. I grabbed a fresh water bottle at the neutral and the climb was on. This is the toughest climb of the day. Headwind, heat and steep. We each set our own pace. I was off the front but always in view of Tyson with Mark trailing him and Corte bringing up the rear. At the top, Tyson and I made a porta potty stop while Mark took a horizontal position on the asphalt of the view area parking lot just past the KOM timer. We ended up waiting at least 20 minutes for Corte. Had he flatted? Bonked? Mechanical? We chatted and consumed some of Mindy’s grapes then finally decided that Corte was a big boy and could make it on his own.

Off we headed for Afton. We jumped on a pretty good group that came by us and I don’t think any of us went to the front as we rolled into Afton. It was Tyson’s first experience with ‘Rumble Strips’. I have more nightmares about rumble strips than I do about my first experience with wasabi and squid sushi in Japan 35 years ago.

Did I say Tom spent a lot of time on his own?

Tyson off the front on Salt River

Last big climb of the day

Mindy feeding grapes to Mark - How did we miss Corte rolling by?

In Afton we asked Cheri about Corte. “Oh, he’s up ahead about 20 minutes”. Do’h, he must have rolled over the top while Mark was lying down and Tyson and I were either not paying attention or in the porta potty. Oh well, let’s go get him.

Thanks to his sneak attack on Salt River, Corte was off the front

Sitting in behind the Cat 4 Women in Snake River Canyon

These girls stayed in the front allowing us old men to stay out of the wind

Right outside of Afton we hooked up with the four leaders of the Women’s Cat 4 group. They were racing for the podium and couldn’t risk working with us so we sat on and enjoyed not having to work. This year the wind was blowing as usual, but was mostly a head wind so you could hide unlike last year when the wind was coming it at 9 or 10 O’clock and there was no where to hide because the rumble strips prevent any kind of echelon riding.

We found out in Alpine that Kristin had missed John at the feed zone. She had passed him on the road in with what she thought would be plenty of time, but parking and getting the iced bottles ready took more time than it took John to fly into town. John has a good attitude and knew that he could get some water at the neutral at the end of the canyon. Note: at the end of the race I witnessed what looked like a husband berating his wife for missing him in Alpine. She was crying as she said, “but I didn’t even have time to go to the bathroom!” It’s a ton of stress if you’re one person supporting a fast rider. I can’t say enough about Kristin. Her organizational skills really shine Lotoja day. She coaches Beth and Jackie along with newbies like Mindy, Cheri and Julia. She’s the BEST! Honestly, I couldn’t do this race without her.

Soon after we heading into the canyon, Mark, Tyson and I hooked up with two of the girls we had been following. The stronger rider, from Porcupine Racing was apparently off the front. They were setting a good pace and I was content to follow. I might have been tempted to follow a couple of other small groups that went by, but I knew my limit and while I felt like I had a little reserve in the tank, I was pretty sure Mark was closer to his limit because he’d been fighting off cramps since the first climb. I wasn’t sure about how much Tyson had left, but I knew he was content to sit in with Mark and me.

About 2/3 of the way through the canyon I spotted Corte up ahead. As we went by I slapped him on the butt. He said he jumped on the back but couldn't hold on for long. By now the girls had picked up the strongest rider who had been off the front and we stayed with them into Jackson. On the new section, I saw a group of about 15 come by us. I could see the barn door 10 miles up the road so I jumped on hoping Mark and Tyson would be able to go with me. They did – for a while…. Mark popped where the bike trail merged with the highway. Tyson stayed for a couple more miles as a random group of 7 worked a fast double pace line. Tyson finally popped and I stayed with these guys to the finish.


Mark hooked up with a fast guy and came within about 10 yards of Tyson at the finish, and they both finished a minute behind me. It was over for us. Not my fastest time, but without a doubt the easiest race ever. I rarely was at my limit and for the first time ever, I didn’t even come close to cramping. Maybe the Optygen works!

Corte rolled through about 20 minutes later. All in all a good day with the four of us working together for almost the entire day. I have my work cut out for me convincing Mark to come back and ride Masters 55+ next year.

Great guys to ride with

Shep and Tom. Early start, Fast Finish. Sub 10 hours for Jeff and a mostly solo sub 11 for Tom.

Hmmm, didn't we just see Mark on his back about 100 miles down the road?

T Manning gave it his all..... and then some.

Selected Results below. Check out how close Casey came to missing the sub 11 hour time:

39 417Bob EMMETTNORDAS 10:49:34.875

40 419Mark FACERNORDAS 10:50:40.083

28 426Peter HARKERTEAM SHO-AIR 10:08:11.856

56 402Paul BADGERNORDAS 13:03:22.294

29 333Tyson MANNINGNORDAS 10:53:39.126

35 322David HAGGARDNORDAS 11:15:44.033

9 5318John EMMETTNORDAS0 9:41:08.412

23 5337Casey ROBLESNORDAS 10:59:58.447


Starting the Recovery with cold water on sore legs.

Tres Emmetts - Tom, Bob and John. An hour after the finish and the sun's still up!

1000 miles!

John (six starts, six finishes, two podiums), Corte (six starts, five finishes), Bob (seven starts, six finishes)