Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Camp Lynda

 Organized by Coach Lynda Wallenfels, the “camp” is a series of rides in and around the trails of St George, UT.  Lynda is a mtb coach (surprise) based out of Santa Clara, Ut and even though I don’t really “know” her that well, is one of those people you can’t help but like.  This was the eighth iteration of this annual event and the plan was to have three good rides over a 3-day span (Friday through Sunday) showing off some of the area gems as well as the True Grit course.

It’s about a 9hr drive in good weather (we saw NO police in Utah until just outside St George) and as you may imagine it’s largely a desert environment – it’s about 1.5 hrs from Las Vegas


Before I forget, I have to mention that the drive from Green River to I-15 is AMAZING – google images for San Rafael Swell please!!!

Allegedly there is some nice riding in this area but it’s (supposedly) best on a moto because it’s just so damn vast and vacant.

Anyhow, the gist is the drive was pretty neat save for the ~2hr stretch between Fruita and Green River.

We rolled in on Thursday night, had some sushi and I got ready for a ride the following morning.  Billed as a 34 mile out and back (~3-4hrs), I prepped as such. 


A group of ~25people showed up at the Starbucks to ride.  I wasn’t sure what to expect but planned to ride mostly tempo to save my legs for the race course preview the next day.  That sort of worked until the group split into two as I was too fast for the slow group and too slow for the fast group.  Feeling good, I ended up hanging out near the back of the faster group (think Josh Tostado fast) and all was going well as we reached the end of the out and back route – which was closer to 20 miles from the start.

Some of the people didn’t want to ride back the way we came as there was a fair amount of sand involved.  Fair enough, I don’t like riding sand that much.   Especially uphill.  So one of the locals said there was an alternate way back that would add a few miles but be faster overall.  I liked the sound of that as it would put us closer to 3.5 hrs.

  • High temp = 82
  • TSS = 369.1

Sour Patch Kids were a big hit as most everyone was out of food – thanks Andy!  We did loop back to part of the trail but I skipped out and hit the pavement home.  Some Bison steak and toffee cake (that rhymes) got me ready for the next day.


After Friday, I wasn’t going to be surprised by anything today and packed for the Tour Divide (at least it seemed like it).  Today we’d be previewing the True Grit 50 course – except for the start/finish stretch which happens in downtown Santa Clara.  The race promoter was there to hand out maps and address course changes for this year.  Neither of which really made sense to me at the time as I was a St George virgin.

As we got out of the car, I was given a big bro hug by Matt (from Chicago) for saving his life with the sour patch kids.  He proudly whipped out his zip-lock baggie grinning ear to ear.

Today would be slightly different as most of the people planned on going out at a race-like pace.  That meant I just had to hope to keep people in sight.  We started at roughly the Blue Flag shown below.

I kept the group in sight for about the first hour or so of the course but eventually the prior day slowed me down and I lost track of both the group and which direction I needed to head amongst all of the intersections.  Checking the GPS with the map against the maze of trails put me further and further behind.  I ended up missing the loop by the yellow marker in the picture above as I mistakenly followed two people who intentionally skipped this loop.  Kinda hard to see but that side loop starts and finishes at the same point and then somehow you continue on through the same intersection – close up below.  I’ll hit that when I come back mid-March.  Curious to see how this is all staked out come race day.

All told that loop looks to be about 6 miles, 1,300ft and ~45-55 min.  So add that to the 4hrs and change it took to finish the remainder of the course, subtract 5-10 min for stopping and route finding.  Maybe another 10-20 for fresh legs and I’m shooting for 4:30 come race day which would have put me in the top ten age group last year.


Plans were to ride ~20miles on the renowned Gooseberry Mesa but the weather decided to spoil those plans as well as my plan to take the scenic route home through Zion/Bryce/Capitol Reef.

Anyhow 98.6 miles, 11,329ft in 10hrs 54min was a great end to a 766 TSS week!

It’s pretty cool to see what a few hard days will do to your “fitness” (ignoring the debate about TSS, anaerobic activity and “fitness”) – for this we’ll just assume that the “blue” line is a representation of fitness.  You can also easily spot the increase from the Fruita weekend last year.

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