I reconnected with some old friends and went to Wild Iris, WY this weekend. One of my favorite spots on earth for sure. It is just outside of Lander, WY, and if you're not a climber, there isn't really much of a reason to go, but for climbers it's shangri-la. With names like the Lord loves a hangin', the devil wears spurs, and when I was a young girl I had me a cowboy you can get a sense of the wild west feel of the area.
We got a late start on Friday and rolled into our campsite at about 1:30 a.m. The stars were so spectacular and bright that I had to sit and look at them for a while before nodding off. Getting out to places like these make life so good. Next time I'll have to bring the kids.
Hard race today as evidenced by the 19 who dropped out and 6 who missed the time cut. A total of 112 riders finished the stage today and 159 began the prologue on Monday. Current rate of attrition - 29.5%.
I was hanging out near the Lisa Falls pullout cheering the guys on. It was cool to see Burke hammering in front of Paco & the chase group. Hawes must have made his move right before they got to where we were on the rode because he only had a 15 second or so gap on the chasers. Amazing ride by him to stay away to the top. When I saw Nate, everyone around him was wearing the mask of pain, but Nate was pretty much breathing through his nose looking relaxed the whole time. Next year, I think Nate takes the Utah's best jersey back. Right, Nate? At any rate, awesome job this week and it's been fun watching you mix it up with the group.
From the back end of the race,Osvaldo "Ozzie" Olmos finished 110 of 112 today just inside of the time cut. For the GC, he is an hour and 31 minutes adrift of Mancebo, and 16 minutes behind the second to last racer. Tomorrow should just be a formality, as he is solidly in last place. You have to be good to finish last at the end of a stage race. ESPECIALLY a race that has 30k feet of climbing in basically 3 stages (1,2,4). I saw him come by at the end and was planning on giving him a little push up the hill for a minute, but decided against it. I see the crazies do that in the TdF, but after they busted 11 guys for hanging on cars a couple days ago, I didn't want to get anyone in trouble. Anyways, chapeau Ozzie. Way to grind it out.
During the tour this year, I was inspired by Kenny Van Hummel, the dutch rider who was in last place for several days of the tour de france. Then Kenny crashed and was forced to abandon. I decided to highlight this year's last place rider of the T of U. Before I start I should mention that I'm sure I could never hang onto his wheel during a race, so this isn't derogatory in any way, simply showing how good even the last place guy is.
Our man Osvaldo Olmos-currently bringing up the rear.
Osvaldo Olmos from California Giant Berry Farms is currently the last place rider ("Lanterne Rouge") of the Tour of Utah 56 minutes adrift of race leader Paco Mancebo. The next closest competitor is just over 45 minutes behind, so Osvaldo is solidly in last, but a brutal hard stage with alot of climbing awaits on Saturday so alot could happen between now and the end of the stage Saturday. Some info about Osvaldo: He has been racing for 10 years, is from San Luis Obispo (not far from my former home of San Jose) likes to eat strawberries straight up, and would like to visit Italy. Read more about Osvaldo here.
The race began with 159 riders for Monday's prologue and 20 riders have dropped out or have been DQ'd so far, leaving 139 to start the time trial Friday--an attrition rate of 12.5%. Several of the DQ's happened when riders were hanging on team cars up the mountain--but not Osvaldo. To still be standing at this point of the race is commendable. Good luck during the rest of the race.
Having the Tour of Utah this week has been really cool with guys like this racing this year:
Watching the euro races on TV has totally spoiled me. It's frustrating that the Tour of Utah doesn't have more media coverage. It sounds like it has been a great race so far, but it is hard to tell in the 30 seconds that I've seen of it. Maybe next year that will change.
Q: "Hey, where was Peter the apostle buried?" A: "Probably somewhere in Germany. (laughter) I thought you were talking about ____'s Blog" (He's supposedly buried in Rome, but he could still be in Jerusalem)
Statement: " I could totally be a nudist. I feel so comfortable with no clothes."
I took a long lunch break (without lunch) to see the Tour of Utah roll through my neck of the woods. Jami and the kids met me up there and we found a neat little spot on the road to watch next to some awesome guys who gave our kids drinks and chatted us up. After seeing mountain biker after mountain biker roll up the road giving us false alarms that they were the race, the group came around the bend and were flying up the hill.
They came by so fast it was all a blur, but I could pick out Burke Swindlehurst and Floyd Landis in the group. Neither Jami nor I saw Nate until we looked at the pics that she snapped. Nate was front and center in many of them and pushing the pace. Chapeau Nate.
I believe in aliens. I admit it. Is that strange? I dunno.
There are approximately 200 to 400 billion stars in our galaxy. Only in the last few years have scientists been able to see planets "tugging" on their star. This is the only way other planets have been discovered as they typically don't have luminance that someone could see 200 million light years away. Also, the planets that are large enough to tug on their star are planets like Jupiter which have the mass of about 318 earths. In my mind, I'd say that the chances of pretty sky-high that there is another rocky, watery planet like ours somewhere where people hang out at the ocean, and go sightseeing, and eat burgers and fries and maybe even catch a sports game now and again. Or at least their version of all that stuff.
Other interesting factoids about space:
Astronomers estimate that there are 100 billion galaxies in the observable universe. (Could even be more than that!)
The sun is 35,000 light years away from the galactic bulge at the center of our galaxy, the Milky Way.
We are on the Orion arm of our spiral galaxy.
The sun's revolution around the galaxy, or a galactic year is approximately 225 million years. That means our sun has only orbited the galaxy 20-25 times in its lifetime. Humans have been on earth for about 100,000 years or so or about .0004 galactic years. I know I'm a nerd, but this is really cool stuff to me.
Last week I went to Zion National Park. I used to always say Zion's. Anyways, the church boys were having a superactivity down there and I was designated as "the guide" since I have experience with ropes, etc.
Ben on the Hoodoo summit of Angel's Landing.
I have never done any canyoneering so I was kind of excited to check it out. Before I go any further let me say that I've always viewed rappelling as a mode of transportation for getting around places while climbing and have never sought out rappels for the sake of rappelling. Sidenote: That place in August is sweaty! Yikes it was hot. We did two canyons: Orderville and Pine Creek. The way the permits worked out everyone in the group did the Subway except for me & my bro-in-law Ben. We did Orderville and it was cool. Orderville isn't a very narrow slot canyon so it was mostly just fast hiking with a few obstacles along the way like short raps, wading through poo errrr stagnant pools. Ben resorted to the adult diaper method of wading so as not get get his shorts wet with stink water.
Ben using the adult diaper technique through the quagmire.
We covered about 10 miles and then Orderville emptied into the Narrows where the virgin river is and ran into about a 1,000 people. I heard every language there except english. Ich liebe Zion.
Mini falls in Orderville.
The next day we did Pine Creek. The canyon itself is only a mile or two long, but there are alot of obstacles & swims to do along the way. It went pretty uneventfully except for when the rope sunk in an 8 foot deep lake, when I bruised my right butt check falling onto a log, when several kids nearly got hypothermia from being wet in a cold canyon--thank goodness I brought wetsuits for them, and several people tried (unsuccessfully) to remove themselves from the gene pool. Just kidding. It went pretty good but all that stuff did happen. Back to the rope sinking - I was sending some kids down the rap line into the big cathedral lake while Ben went bobbing for ropes in between dry heaves down below us. After 4 or 5 tries he finally got it and there was much rejoicing. I was rejoicing because I wasn't going to have to bob for ropes with Ben. Everyone else was rejoicing because they were happy.
Last rap out of pine creek
We ended up making it through the canyon in pretty good time and had plenty of time to enjoy the swimming holes on the hike back to the road. I love swimming in rivers.