Friday, August 20, 2010

Peripatetic Summer: Utah, Idaho, and Wyoming Adventures

These past couple of months, a more appropriate title for this blog would be "Livin' in Driggs, Workin' in Park City, Drivin' all over Utah-Idaho-Wyoming for bike races and triathlons."  It has been crazy, but great.

Here I am the last weekend of July, taking in the scenery at Happy Jack Recreation area in Laramie, WY.   The next morning Joanne & I toed the line for the Laramie Enduro mountain bike race.

It was the third time I had done this race ('06, '07 and now '10), and Joanne's second time. It is flawlessly organized (thanks to Rich Vincent!), all proceeds go to non-profits, and the vibe is awesome. We were pretty worried about thunderstorms, because we got soaked during our short Friday afternoon pre-ride...but race day dawned beautiful, and stayed that way.  Whew.

Here's Joanne on our Friday pre-ride, checking out a section of race trail: the dreaded Headquarters climb. It seemed easy when we were fresh on Friday, but was crushing at the end of the race on Saturday.

500 racers competed; about 125 pro/experts, and 375 sport class (which would be us).  We all raced the exact same 111K/70-mile loop...a savory blend of 1/3 dirt roads, 1/3 atv trail, and 1/3 sweet singletrack. Total climbing was about 8,000 feet, most of it coming during the last half of the race (brutal!). 

Dinner with the gang at our friend Galen's the night before must have worked, because Joanne & I each took about 30-minutes off our previous best times; I was 6hrs. 58min (good for 53rd overall), and Joanne was 7hrs. 47min.  It was really hard, and hurt more than the Boise Ironman 70.3 that I did back in June...but we loved it.

After a week at the Outdoor Retailer show in Salt Lake, and a good weekend at the Baffin Park City store during the Kimball Arts Festival... it was up to our all-time favorite town for a quick getaway: Ketchum, Idaho.  I've been going to Ketchum/Sun Valley since I was a toddler, and still can't believe I never moved there.  Joanne agrees; so, whenever we get the chance, we visit.

I've mountain biked all over the western U.S. and Hawaii these past twenty years, and place Sun Valley firmly at the top of the list.  Long, flowing, yet challenging singletrack winds up nearly every canyon, and can all be accessed via bike paths from town.  It's simply amazing.  There's even more to the north, up by Stanley, if you have the time.

Greenhorn, Lodgepole, Adam's, Fox, Chocolate, and Oregon Gulches are all epic loops which can be woven together for hours of singletrack bliss. This picture shows Joanne near the top of the Greenhorn-Lodgepole loop.  I mean, wow! 

Icing on the cake is Ketchum's great selection of nice, casual restaurants; a chill, friendly vibe held by everyone you meet; and a core downtown that is completely walkable, with free parking. What a concept!

It was tough saying good-bye, but we somehow managed.  Back to life in the working lane...which ain't all bad. 

A triathlon is coming up for me this weekend at Jordanelle reservoir near Park City, and then a big birthday weekend up in Driggs...including a bike tour of Star Valley, WY with my brother Curt (he of New York residence) & friends. Gotta squeeze it all in these last few weeks of summer!

Here's to summer adventures; I hope you're all enjoying a few.