Tuesday, July 23, 2013

A trip to Utah

This week was all about learning.  An educational experience like no other was provided to me by the fine folks at Scott Bicycles (and because nobody from the Cary store could go...).  I was flown out to Park City, UT to participate in Dealer Camp for three full days.  Unlike the Cervelo event I went to last year in Tucson this one seemed much more focused on the riding experience than the classroom experience.  Each day I was there product managers from Scott talked about the new lines and bikes and other stuff but the afternoons were mostly focused on getting out on the bikes themselves in one of the prettiest places I have ever been.

I took this shot about 15' into my run on Tuesday afternoon once I arrived in town.  On my left is a ~5 million dollar mountain home (I looked it up on zillow because I was curious) with what are quite possibly some of the best views I myself have ever seen.

Wednesday was another morning of eating buffet breakfast and watching the Tour followed with some seminars about the shoes, helmets, performance road, recreation, etc.  The afternoon brought with it some bike demo time and I chose a Scale 700 RC.  That's Scott's hardtail XC bike (RC stands for ''race concept'').  That's a $7500 bike that I could basically do whatever I wanted with (within the bounds of reason and rationality of course).  Later that evening we had my favorite and my least favorite event of the week (it was the same event): Scott Sprints.

I have heard of this type of competition before but had never participated in one myself.  Two fixed gear bikes are bolted onto two pairs of rollers (no front wheel so no risk of falling) which have a pair of speed sensors hooked up to them which are connected to a computer which runs a program that is basically a 500m arcade style race.  The bikes have the same gearing so the competition basically involves getting your cadence up as high as possible and holding it there until 500m has come and gone (usually around to under 30").  I signed up to race as I figured it'd be fun and if it hurt it would only happen one time.  Several competitions happened and before too long my turn arrived.  I adjusted the saddle height and mounted the steed.  For those that have never done cadence work above 160rpm I highly advise you to try it once.  For more than 5 seconds.  It is extremely difficult.  I ended up winning my race but at the end was pretty gassed and was thankful to go back over to sit down and continue watching.  Several more races happened and then eventually the "emcee" said that we were about to start the second round...  Hmm, didn't think I'd have to do this more than once.  I ended up winning the second round and the third round and by the end of my third race I was dying.  30s all out high rpm efforts are exceptionally tiring.  They make you fire off muscles that you never knew you had and overwork ones you know you have but never use!  A couple more semi-final rounds went by before I realized that I was going to be in the finals against a guy who had absolutely dominated his competitors.  Thankfully there was a short break before our race, which I ended up winning.  Both of us could barely walk afterwards and he puked up some of his dinner.  It was awesome. It was terrible.  Scott Sprints 2013 champion!! I am still sore.

One of the cooler parts of this ski/mtb/outdoor resort was the ability to take the lifts up to the top of the mountains if you were tired or just wanted to do downhill runs all day.  I think I rode up the mountain Wednesday, lifted Thursday and then rode/lifted Friday.  The resort itself was at 7000 feet but the top of the highest peak (that you could get to) was 9400 so the chair rides actually took quite a while (albeit much quicker than riding).

Unfortunately when you are not a particularly experienced mountain biker riding an ''all mountain trail bike'' with tons of front and rear travel with people far better than you...you can get into some trouble.  Luckily this scrape as well as a scrape on my thigh were all I got during my trips up and down the mountain.  I ended the trip feeling tired due to the riding and the altitude (always above 7k feet!) and the flying, arriving back in Charlotte around midnight on Friday/Saturday, happy to be home.

Waking up early to go out to Waxhaw with Melissa and Chris to hand out swim skins for the Start2Finish Cane Creek Open Water Swim was "fun" and we all also got to swim the 2 mile.  I hadn't swum in a bit so this was a relatively slow and painful experience but it provided a nice opportunity to swim and run the respective courses for next Saturday's race.

Sunday brought with it a ride in the mountains with the only negative being my second most fantastic bonk of the year (the first being my horrifying experience at Mt Mitchell!) and a problem with the man-van:

Luckily the problem was easy to fix so despite having to make alternate plans Sunday afternoon/evening with regard to transportation/towing the van is none the worse for wear.

Monday brought with it a trip to the A2 Wind Tunnel, which was so awesome that it will have to wait for another blog!


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