Archive for May, 2008

Utah Billy Goats

| May 31, 2008 1:05 pm

by Franz and Ann Kelsch

We posted three ACTC rides doing some of the new Utah Billy Goats. This time it was just Ann and Franz doing the rides. We will be posting them again in August if anyone can make their way up here. Here is an account of each of the three rides.

Kolob Canyon – Zions National Park

There was a forecast of scattered rain, but the day seemed fine enough. It was much cooler than yesterday, but still warm enough that when we started at 8:30 am, we didn’t need any arm warmers or jacket.

We decided to leave from the hotel in Springdale and head to Virgin, Utah (about 13 miles) and then take the road up Kolob Canyon. That climb from the highway is 20 miles and gains 4,700 vertical feet. With all the climbing we were glad it was not hot like yesterday. The sun started to come out from behind the clouds and we were thinking this would be a nice day after all.

The road winds in and out of Zion National Park. After riding about 10 miles up the canyon, it started to get rather windy. I mean very windy and a strong head wind. Biking up a hill into a head wind is not a lot of fun, but we were determined to finish the route. The sun was no longer to be seen and as we looked off to the side we could see darker clouds forming.

Dark Clouds up Kolob Canyon

When the road turned we started to climb again and the wind was not quite as strong, but after about 15 miles up from the highway, the road leveled out and the wind was real strong, so strong that I had to get off the bike because I thought I was going to fall over. We decided that was enough so we turned around and headed back down the hill. The temperature had now dropped from the mid 50’s to the mid 40’s.

We made a stop at a parking lot, about 10 miles up from the highway and chatted with a ranger. He said it was hailing down on the highway. Oh dear we thought. Could we beat the storm? Soon it started to rain and the wet and the cold combined made it a miserable descent. Even though we were going down hill it seemed to take forever to reach the highway.

We were totally soaked (although Ann was smart enough to bring a rain jacket). Even though we were pedaling as hard as we could, we felt very cold. Finally we made it to the hotel. I guess this is a ride we will always remember.

Alpine Loop

We decided that with the prospects of a sunny day we would head out to ride the Alpine Loop. We left on the tandem from our Utah home around 10 am and headed up Provo Canyon on the trail. We had to then go up on the shoulder of the highway to the turn off up North Fork, up to Sundance.

We could see the snow capped hills on our left with the spectacular view.

Provo Canyon

Continuing on past Sundance we finally made our way up to Aspen Grove. Shortly after that we saw that the road was closed.

Alpine Loop Road Closed

We figured that only applied to cars so we went through the opening in the gate. We figured that it was just wide enough for a bicycle. What a great opportunity, to bike on a road that was closed to traffic. There was some debris on the road, mostly pine needles. But nothing that was difficult to cycle through.

We stopped to take some photos.


About 9 miles up from the Provo Canyon highway we finally made it to the summit. We were now at over 8,000 feet elevation.

Alpine Loop Summit

GPS at summit

We decided to descend down the American Fork Canyon side. Here we found a lot more debris that on the Provo Canyon side. At one point we had to stop and walk around some big bulldozers that were clearing the road from a landslide, I guess getting the road ready to open. We eventually made it down to where the road was closed to cars coming up the canyon so we were no longer on a closed road.

Down the canyon we made a stop at the Timpanogas Cave National Monument. At the snack bar we bought our lunch.

It was a wonderful bike ride and the scenery was unmatched, the weather was perfect and it was great to bike on a closed road.

Squaw Peak

We rode the tandem up Squaw Peak today from our Utah home. It is about 4.6 miles from the highway and about a 1,800 foot climb. Only the top part got real steep but it was a constant climb all the way up. From the top we had a beautiful view of the Utah Valley.

Hey Franz, watch were you are going!


Tour of the Unknown Coast – 5/10/08

| May 14, 2008 5:58 am

by John Pugliese

On Friday, May 9th I hitched a ride with a non-member colleague up to Humboldt County for “California’s Toughest Century” ( Since we didn’t leave until after 5pm, and stopped for dinner, we showed up to the hotel at 12:30 am. To make matters worse, my buddy was going to do the 100k ride and felt no sense of urgency on the trip or on the day of the ride and we showed up to find no more breakfast, no route sheets and no other 100 milers.

Frustrated and about to resign to do the 100k, a worker suggested that everything was well marked (I’ve heard that before) and that I may be able to catch them. I took this as a challenge and decided to go for it, even if I pulled in late. The first 30 miles followed much of the 100k route, so I was with others through the incredible redwood forests of the Avenue of the Giants.

By the third stop, I had left the 100k group and caught up to many 100 milers. My sense of frustration finally subsided.

There was some minor climbing and figured this wasn’t that bad. Then I stopped to take some photos at the coast when another rider had stopped.

At 77.6 miles he looked up on his GPS and told me that we had not done HALF of the climbing yet.

He pointed ahead and mentioned ‘the Wall’, which I had previously dismissed because there seems to be many unwarranted ‘walls’. So he told me that it was over 18% grade for half a mile, and then turn to provide the ‘Never Ending Hill’, which was less of a slope but incessant.

The picture doesn’t illuminate the severity, but it looked like it could be difficult in a car, or would have fit into a European hillside or the Great Wall of China. As I got closer, I saw a few riders zigzagging their way up and decided to pass the stop at the base for fear of not starting up again. I stayed straight and was able to pass yet more riders. The next photo was taken during my brief stop at the top, but doesn’t fully capture the grade.

Ninety degrees to the left of the above picture was the start of the ‘Never ending hill’, with more immediate climbing. I passed more riders who had to stop or walk, but got passed by several others who passed by in SAG vehicles. It didn’t seem that I was completing any distance due to all the climbing and had to turn of the odometer. A group had stopped around mile 90 and there were fire trucks for a car (no rider involvement) but I just kept going.

It was a big sense of accomplishment to cross the finish line and hear the ring of cow bells and receive my finisher patch. I wasn’t out to set any speed records and with the breaks I took, I probably doubled Lance Armstrong’s time from the 90’s, but it was an awesome ride. I couldn’t have done it as easily one year ago and I credit ACTC for providing the Billy Goat climbs of the area which provided ample training.

Central Coast Double – Dave and Deb’s Honeymoon

| May 13, 2008 10:27 am

by Deborah Hoag

I went into Central Coast Double relaxed and not focus on the ride. I took Friday off and spent the morning replanting my baby heirloom tomatoes plants. My bike (Blue Gardena) turned 10 years old this month and weight 21 pounds when I bought it. Unlikely a baby, it has lost weigh over the years. Thanks to a new set of custom rims.

The morning starting temperature was about 45 degrees, but my understanding the temperature was going to feel like 30 degrees. I dressed warmer than on Mulholland. I rolled at 5:40A with about 160 other riders, the 200 milers: David Hoag, Clyde Butt, Paul Duren, Ken Holloway, Rick McCaw, Lyresa Pleskovitch, Craig Robertson, Cindi Staiger, Ehud Yuhjtman, and Paul Vlasveld, and the 100+ milers: Laura Hipp, Cheryl and Steven Prothero. The joke was why are you and David not on your honeymoon? I grabbed on to Ken Holloway’s wheel, however, I backed off because the riders seemed to be all over the place. We rolled at a very fast pace. For the first 20 miles, my heart rate went between 163 to 176. I questioned the price I was going to paid for doing this. I had to force myself to focus and ride hard. When I finished Mulholland, I still had a lot of energy left. I was able to big ring it over the last rollers, and David had told me he crawled over the rollers in 2007.

Our first major climb was Santa Rosa Creek, which I had done on Great Western Bike Rally, when I was first starting to ride. It sure seemed easy this time. Edud rode with me for awhile, until I told him he 17 hours to complete the ride. And yes, Kitty was behind me talking to Anthony on the climb. Hearing them talk was very relaxing, because I knew she was going to finish and I was right there with her. Kitty had taken first place last year in the stage race. When I reached the top, Kitty rolled up for a short stop and rolled off. I was never to see her again even with a hurt knee, until the end of the ride. No more hello Kitty.

We dropped down Santa Rosa Creek and headed north for 42 miles on the coast with a tailwind. David and I rode with Edut and Paul V off and on along the coast. The ride was rider’s dream, tailwinds, which ever way a rider turned there was tailwind. After the coast, our next turn was up Ferguson Nacimento for 7.4 miles. What a view and a great climb! At mile 110, David, Steven, Cheryl, Laura, and I reached the lunch stop at 2P. David and I left at 2:20, when Paul V was coming in.

The ride was a very uneventful ride. After mile 145, we hit 25 MPH. We were flying and laughing about what a dream ride this was. We pretty much had tailwinds to mile 180, which we reached at 6:30P. At mile 180, we turned in to headwinds, now I was paying the price for going out hard and keeping the pace up. For about 8 miles, I was riding in the headwinds, however after the headwinds I was still was able to big ring it up the small rollers and stay in my double climbing the hills. We rolled in at 9:30P. Two down and one more to go. It crossed my mind if I DNF on CC, then no Terrible Two. What a bummer more pain!

The food and support were excellent on this ride. There were several rest stops with everything a rider needed. The Quacks were out in fill force to help to support this ride. And of course the Sag driver with the blasting radio. Every turn was marked. This ride was fresh change from the lacking services we received at Mulholland