Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Playing in the Aspens

I'm on the road for the 2nd straight week. Last week was a short trip to LA, this week a long stay in Toronto. I only had time in California for a couple amazing vegan meals and a hit of perfect weather. In Canada, the weather has been cold and rainy but we've done a lot of walking around the city to some interesting restaurants. At night, I watch (and practice with) the Italian channel and go to the hotel gym.

I'm looking forward to getting home and enjoying a few more mountain bike rides before winter arrives for good.  The last few weeks, we've seen the aspens take center stage! We've started riding our road bikes on the trainers at night, but the weekends are all about MTBing. The following photos pick up where the September Single Track Adventures blog left off.

Wednesday Snow 10/1 - Not a great start to the month!
Friday MTB 10/3 - Snow in the Shade
Armstrong-MidMtn 10/4
Aspen Carpet
Raise your hand if you love Tommy's 2 Step!
Big Intersection - North Face runners everywhere!
Bonanza Sunbeams
Jenni's 10/5
Worth a Detour
Basement Tile Project - Gears and European Coins
After Work Ride on Glenwild Loop 10/9
Happy MTBer 10/11
Loose Moose 10/12

CMG 10/18 - Only a few Aspens still showing off

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Moose Murder

I read murder mysteries for a release from work stress and instead of watching some of the television shows my husband watches for his work release. I stay away from gruesome story-lines and choose authors that can combine a unique plot and leave me guessing until the end. The latest murder in my life isn't in a novel, but in my neighborhood and it is causing stress rather than relieving it.

This murder occurred on a Friday morning in September. I actually didn't hear about it until last weekend when my friend Tara mentioned it. I immediately jumped online to read the reports and comments from both strangers and neighbors. Take a moment to read about this murder and investigation.

Sept 23rd Report - Moose Shot in Summit Park
Oct 3rd Report - Moose Shooter won't face criminal charges

I've been trying not to be judgmental and hoping that the shooter would help us understand more of his situation. I haven't seen anything in the reports, but even if I did it wouldn't change how upsetting this is. I consider moose like some consider their family pets. I've spent hours admiring these majestic animals from every window in our house. I've been there just hours after a birth, watched a mating ritual, and have seen mama teaching her babies how to do moose things. I have moose pictures throughout my blog posts and so many more special moments that didn't get on camera. I haven't seen this year's mama and calf since the shooting and that definitely worries me.

A tender moment in early September
I'm sad that one of my neighbors feels that a gun is necessary to hike our trails and so many others share his views in the comments. I'm angry that his unleashed dog merits more respect than a moose. I'm frightened for the calf that is now motherless and is experiencing snow and danger all alone. I'm disappointed that our Utah DWR (Division of Wildlife Resources) did not issue any criminal charges and set a precedent for more moose murders. I'm cautious as I ride my mountain bike on the same trails and past the crime scene, keeping an eye out for a hiker with a limping dog that may try to shoot a warning shot my way.

Emotional MTB on Friday evening on neighborhood trails now known for the moose murder
Park Record columnist Amy Roberts put many of my thoughts into words earlier this week. No matter if you agree with us or not, I hope this moose murder doesn't go unnoticed. If you or loved ones carry a weapon, please remind them to be careful and respectful. If you have inside or outside pets, cherish your moments with them. If you recreate in my neighborhood or other areas where murders have occurred, don't let the bad stuff keep you from enjoying your life and the outdoors!

Saturday, September 27, 2014

September Single Track Adventures

We are experiencing another wet weekend. I've never lived in a rainy climate and after this summer, not sure if I could. It is difficult to give into the weather dictating activities. I always put off riding the trainer until the last possible moment, but I'm destined for some time in the basement today.

We spent the morning watching the Women's Elite World Championship Road Race on an Italian internet feed. As I mentioned in last week's blog, this is an important week for cycling and today's race was the final outing for the women. The Americans put up a good fight even after losing a couple teammates in a massive crash. They animated the race, with sprinter Shelley Olds grabbing 6th place. USA is still holding at 4 medals, but we have one more chance in tomorrow's men's race. Overall, the Americans are doing a great job in all the events, including local Tanner Putt with 13th in the U23 road race!

With rain last Sunday then a week in San Francisco for work, and knowing that it will be several days before the rain stops and the trails dry out, I'm experiencing mountain bike withdrawals. I took several photos over the last few weeks of our single track adventures, but here are some favorites.

Starting the weekend with pizza for breakfast at Silver Star Cafe
Saturday - Waited for Mid Mtn Marathon to wrap up, then enjoyed the quiet Deer Valley trails
Sunday - Armstrong Leaf Carpet on our way to Pinecone

Sunday - Spiro Switchback
Sunday - Moose Visit
After writing about Park City Mountain Resort's Epic status and new owner Vail Resorts, I decided to visit all three resorts during the week. 
Then followed that with a full sweep when we rode Mid Mountain trail from Deer Valley thru PCMR to The Canyons on Saturday.

Tuesday - Hike at PCMR for Dad's Birthday
Wednesday - Road Ride to Deer Valley
Deer Valley Aspens
Thursday - MTB Rob's to The Canyons
Sun dropping fast at The Canyons
Turn Around
Buck Visit
Saturday - Tandem MTB navigating Mid Mountain at Deer Valley
PCMR from Mid Mountain
Deep Thoughts at The Canyons
It's now been a week since I've been on the mountain bike or actually any bike so no wonder I'm going thru withdrawals. On a positive note, that persistent saddle sore has finally healed. Guess it's time to wrap this up and reacquaint myself with the trainer. 

Sunday, September 21, 2014

2014 UCI Road World Championships: Americans with 4 medals and counting

Today was the 1st day of the 2014 UCI Road World Championships in Ponferrada, Spain. Four Americans stood on the podium for the Team Time Trial (TTT) and many others were participating. This is a fantastic start to the week of races and I can't wait to see how many medals we end up with by next Sunday.

But of course, you already knew that because American non-cycling media has been providing excellent coverage! If you follow cycling, you are seeing the results on FB, Twitter, and even Universal Sports. If not, you are seeing the news that the US has 3 Gold Medals and 1 Bronze across the bottom of your football game, tennis match, or car race. In fact, non-sports networks are covering the news just like during the Olympics.

What, you aren't seeing this? You didn't know that Carmen Small, Evelyn Stevens, and Alison Tetrick have shiny new hardware thanks to years of hard work and sacrifice. Carmen and Evie have golds along with their teammates on Team Specialized-lululemon, a couple of major US sponsors. Their male counterpart Tejay van Garderen is also in gold along with his US based Team BMC Cycling. Not to mention, a very close 4th place for Team Optum Pro Cycling only 7 seconds from a podium in the women's race. Optum is a US Team and one of the only all-North American professional teams in the world.

Ok, seriously, what a wasted opportunity. Next year, the United States hosts the 2015 World Championships in Richmond, Virginia. If this were the Olympics and the US was host in 4yrs, there would be plenty of coverage in preparation for the upcoming event on American soil. We don't have Universal Sports, but I hope they are giving Richmond plenty of plugs to get Americans excited about this major event. I also hope local networks are discussing the 2014 Worlds across the East Coast and encouraging non-cyclists to get involved, become volunteers, and support cycling!

Our American athletes deserve more than this. I'm not going to get into all the issues the NFL has had lately, but why can't a network or sponsor spare a few minutes of screen time for cycling on such an important Sunday. It is the World Championships! Race winners earn the right to wear the championship jersey in 2015 and wear championship stripes the rest of their career. It's a really big deal!

Not all American non-cycling media is ignoring this great achievement, Bonnie Ford (ESPN & Olympics writer extraordinaire) wrote in-depth articles on these racers in July and has reposted them during the day. I encourage you to take the time (maybe during that next football commercial) to learn about these athletes.
     Small is biking thru challenges
     Evelyn Stevens breaking ground for women

Alison and Tejay have fascinating back-stories as well. Alison is temporarily racing with Astana Be Pink out of Italy, on loan from Team Twenty16. and Tejay has Montana roots, but is now married to a former woman racer and living in Colorado. He finished 5th at the Tour de France and just won the USA Pro Cycling Challenge. We always hear the excuses about not showing women's cycling, but in today's case, not even being a man was enough. In fact, Tejay called today's win "The highlight of his career". Maybe we'll see it on Top 10 or the evening news, but I'm not going to stay home or dvr it.

I'm sure there are a handful of non-cycling American media sources sharing news of the 2014 World Championships, but it isn't what it should be. There is no shortage of photographers and journalists that would be happy to submit work to mainstream networks and media outlets.

I know I'm preaching to the choir, but this is a way I can provide both coverage and my thoughts to this issue. We need to show our pride in American success! We need to ask for coverage of athletes we respect. Those that don't expect the world to cater to them and rules to be broken for them. We need to tell sponsors that we won't put up with "bad" athletes and will buy more of their products if they back "good" athletes that have an international presence, represent American success, and bring home medals.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Park City Mountain Resort is now Epic?!

What a week for Park City! On September 9th, we got word that Park City Mountain Resort (PCMR) would still be open for the 2014-2015 season because they had agreed to pay the $17.5M bond. If you aren't aware of the three year litigation battle that has been taking place, here's some history. Skiers, employees, and the community were happy with the news but still cautious about continuing lawsuits and the uncertainty of the 2015-2016 season and beyond. Little did we know, that two days later there would be more news.

We lived in Park City for 10 years before becoming season pass holders at PCMR. Although the terrain and snow might not be at the levels of Little Cottonwood, we really enjoy the convenience and community feel and are going into our 3rd season as pass holders. We are also huge fans of the trail system that PCMR supports along with Mountain Trails. There are miles and miles of single track that aren't there just to appease the lift-riding downhillers. As PCMR pass holders, we are showing our appreciation for year-round recreation.

The history of PCMR is shown on their website as part of their 50th Anniversary celebration. In 1963, Treasure Mountains Resort opened with help from a $1.2M loan from the Kennedy Administration. The name change came in 1971 and through the years, the resort has brought jobs, athletes, tourists, the Olympics, and so much more to our community.

So on September 9th, all was back in order. PCMR employees were safe for another year and we weren't concerned with losing money on not just season passes but tickets or passes at another resort. Then, on September 11th, we got news that Vail Resorts had purchased PCMR for $182.5M cash. Sure, that was always on the table and in the rumor mill but after the news of the bond, the timing seemed a little odd. Was this the plan all along? I imagine someday there will be a Sundance movie that will uncover all the drama that we haven't been privy to.

Word spread quickly! Work projects were put on hold to check media reports, send texts to those in the know, and check on season pass status. Immediately, we heard that PCMR was now Epic. Wait, we already knew that - ah, you mean part of the Vail Resorts Epic Pass. Great news for some of the locals that ski The Canyons (taken over by Vail Resorts last year) and had purchased Epic Passes. Amazing news for all those that buy the Epic Pass and travel to all the resorts. They can now come to Park City and get a 2-for-1.

But what about the Park City locals that believed in PCMR so much that we bought our 2014-2015 passes early on? We stood by our community, our slopes, our trails. Word is still out. Reports say that we will have the opportunity to upgrade to an Epic Pass, but no confirmation yet on the cost or on honoring pass upgrades at PCMR like parking, night skiing, and fast tracks.  Within an hour of hearing the news, we did receive a letter from PCMR that stated they would provide refunds. Update: PCMR pass holders have several options and can keep their upgrades! We chose to upgrade (additional $25 per pass) to an Epic plus Fast Tracks. We now get all the Epic Pass benefits plus we don't lose our PCMR Fast Tracks.

The good news is that as part of the purchase, Vail Resorts must keep PCMR employees for the 2014-2015 season. This has to be of some relief to our neighbors and friends. I would hope that the benefits are equivalent or better making the transition less stressful. When Vail Resorts took over the Canyons, 42 employees were let go in the first couple months which was a small % but still made an impact on the community.

In the last few days, whether at work, a restaurant, or on the trails; all the discussion is about Vail Resorts and what it means for Park City. Unless it is a realtor, the talk is negative which is normal for any kind of change.  I wish Vail Resorts, like any corporation in this position, would have had a list of FAQs ready and posted on their website. Obviously they are either still figuring things out or waiting until lift ticket prices for the season are announced and will let us all in on how and if things will change at PCMR. Update: There is now a comprehensive list of FAQs on the website!

According to Vail Resorts CEO, Rob Katz, it sounds like most things will stay the same. Also looks like next year there will be a lift between PCMR and The Canyons and the entire 7000 skiable acres will be called PCMR. I imagine this is an easy excuse to jack the ticket prices for both resorts this year, but we'll see. Let's get back to why realtors are happy.

Vail Resorts inherited 600,000 square feet of development approvals. This is one of the biggest concerns for Parkites, including us. We will likely hear construction equipment and have trail detours for the next 10 years. There are plenty of rumors about how Vail Resorts has operated in the past and many have seen it occurring the last year at The Canyons. Granted, a corporation with money can also bring many good things to the community, which we've also seen.

The only thing certain is that over the next year, we will see change. Some will be good, some bad. I am going to stay positive and trust that Vail Resorts will keep the employees and vibe that make PCMR feel like an extension of our community and not a corporation. I also hope they listen to (and become) locals who know that keeping the single track world-class and the development to a minimum is the right thing to do.

Everyone now also knows what we've known for years, which is PCMR is Epic no matter the season!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Summer Blog Break

I obviously have stopped blogging over the past few months, but now that Labor Day Weekend has arrived and Summer is ending, it's time to get back on it. Friends, family, and readers have asked for updates proving that my husband and parents aren't my only readers. I started blogging 3 years ago with a goal of weekly posts and until this summer, was able to keep up.  I really enjoy writing about our adventures, it's just finding the time to do it.

So much has happened in the last 3 months, I can't even remember all the details. Many times, I was so busy or had to keep my hands on the handlebars, that I failed to capture the moment in photos. Twitter and FB were easier to keep updated, but even those outlets were neglected as the summer flew by. With all the cycling, I found several new Mailbox Mondays but have more to track down.

Here's what I do remember. You don't need (or want) to know the work details, just that a 40-50hr week is something I haven't seen for months. It should start slowing down in the next month or so as several projects finally go live and start to stabilize. In addition to everything else on my plate, sto studiando italiano! I'm loving the intellectual challenge and starting to get the hang of it. 

 - Basement Remodel continues after a water leak on Memorial Day Weekend 
 - Tulsa Tough  9 days! - Lots of volunteering and rode 2 Gran Fondos
 - Home 5 days - got in over 100miles of training
 - Work trip 6 days
 - Home 5 days - rode 4 days and packed for Italy
 - Italy 12 days - not enough words/photos to describe the awesomeness of this adventure!

 - Italy (continued.. tried to find a way to stay, but had to come home)
 - Home 24hrs
 - Work trip 4 days
 - Home 17days!! - Big training weeks with over 100 and 150miles & moved back into basement
 - Half The Road Utah Screening and my Q&A with Nikki Wangsgard - great experience!
 - Work trip 4 days

 - Home 24hrs
 - Cedar City Grand Prix and Tour of Utah 4 days - Volunteer, live tweet
 - Home 11 days (I planned to take vacation but projects in critical stage so had to work before/after/during)
 - Tour of Utah Women's Edition - live tweet
 - Tour of Utah Ultimate Challenge - very proud of my accomplishment & glad the training paid off!
 - Tour of Utah Stage 7 & After-Party
 - Cancelled work trip (gained 3 days)
 - Basement still not done, but livable - just in time for husband's sister and family to visit for 4 days
 - Work trip 5 days
 - Home (hoped to visit friends in Driggs but had to cancel for weekend work emergency)
 - My body punished me for too much activity and not enough sleep with sinus/cold for last week

And that brings us to Labor Day Weekend. I don't have another work trip scheduled until late September unless we can find a way to get to Interbike. I'm starting to ramp up the cycling again after a couple weeks of recovery and looking forward to mountain biking in the fall colors.

Thanks for being patient with my blog break while I enjoyed summer. I'll be back to it shortly and plan to scrivo italiano di tanto in tanto.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Half The Road: Salt Lake City Screening - July 15th

I'll get back to blogging soon, I have so many stories! After Tulsa Tough, I had a few days home, then a week of work travel, then another handful of days at home before we flew to Italy for 9 days of cycling! Home for 24hrs, then another week of work travel. I'm home for a couple weeks before another week of work travel followed by the Tour of Utah which includes 2 women's races! I'm busy helping with the Zappos.com Cedar City Grand Prix and Tour of Utah Women's Edition plus training for the Ultimate Challenge!

The most important news for now is the Salt Lake City Screening of the Cycling Film Half The Road
Watch the trailer on the website and join me at the FREE screening on July 15th!

Update: I was asked to moderate the Q and A session with Nicky Wangsgard after the film and it was such an amazing experience! The audience had so many great questions, I didn't even have to fill in with mine. After an hour, we had to leave the auditorium, but we could have kept hearing stories from Nicky all night.