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Weekly Newsletter: February 26th - March 3rd, 2024

  • Written by Keith Huster
  •  / 
  • 7 min read
  •  / 
  • Last updated a month ago

Wicked snowstorms... tumbleweeds everywhere... and a Tour Divide training down week. This was both a low-key and wild week all at the same time. 😵‍💫

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No skiing this week 😔 🎿

This week was full of wild weather! We attempted to ski on Saturday even though we knew there was a chance that the high winds would keep the resorts from opening. The weather forecast was expecting wind gusts over 60 mph (97 kph) with the chance of snowfall rates as high as 5 inches (12.7 centimeters) per hour! 🤯

Screenshot of a Snowbird social media post describing expected heavy snowfall
Screenshot of a Snowbird social media post describing expected heavy snowfall

The winds were whipping even on the lower sections of the mountain. We patiently waited in the Creekside Lodge at Snowbird to see if at least the lower Gad Valley portion of the mountain would open. 9:00 AM rolled by and all lifts were on wind hold. The delays continued until we finally decided to leave at around 10:30 AM. The winds were still howling as we made the hike back to our car.

Snowbird did eventually open a small section of the lower mountain but that only lasted a couple of hours. We were already down the mountain, enjoying breakfast, so we didn't get to ski at all.

Keith is patiently waiting to see if the Gadzoom lift will open at Snowbird
Keith is patiently waiting to see if the Gadzoom lift will open at Snowbird

The drive home was just as wild. We drove through a massive dust storm created by the high winds blowing across Utah's west desert. The dust was so thick that we couldn't even see the mountains that line the interstate.

Driving through a massive dust storm on I-15 near Draper, UT
Driving through a massive dust storm on I-15 near Draper, UT

Sunday rolled around and we considered making the trek back up to Snowbird. Lindsey wasn't feeling great so she decided to stay home. Keith checked the weather forecast several times and finally decided to forgo skiing in favor of having a lazy day at home (more on this later). So, we didn't get to ski at all this weekend. That's quite unusual for us and hopefully the last time that this happens this ski season.

When tumbleweeds attack! 🏜️ 😆

The blowing winds affected much more than just the ski resorts. We have seen this strange event on the news a few times before but never quite like this... So, what was this event? Some called it "Tumblemageddon". 🤣

Certain neighborhoods in the Eagle Mountain and West Jordan communities were inundated with tumbleweeds. So much so that some people couldn't access or leave their homes through their front doors. Next time this happens, we will have to take a drive over to see it with our own eyes. I am sure that it is twice as crazy to see it in person.

Lindsey's focus on reading 👩‍🏫 📖

Lindsey decided that she wanted to read more this year. What does that mean though? She wasn't sure how to assess her progress since her reading has always been sporadic. Instead of setting a goal with a number, she's choosing to keep a list of what she reads. This will help determine the average for the year and maybe in the future, she'll work to beat that number. By the end of today, she'll finish her 5th book of the year! She's pretty happy about that number. If you have any recent book suggestions, please comment below.

Tour Divide training update 🚵‍♂️ 😅

Keith decided to take a much needed rest week this week. It's been several months now since Keith has really had a down week where he wasn't sick and/or traveling. The intention of this down week was allow for some muscle soreness to heal and give his body the rest that it needs to recuperate from the many hours of training on the bike.

During this rest week, Keith accomplished several other important tasks related to the Tour Divide preparation.

Submitted his Letter of Intent 📧 ✅

Keith finally sent in his official Letter of Intent to race the 2024 Tour Divide. This is the final step in actually admitting to the world that he intends to ride in this race. A copy of Keith's Letter of Intent is shown below.

Keith sent this bikepacking photo along with his Letter of Intent
Keith sent this bikepacking photo along with his Letter of Intent
Hello! My name is Keith Huster. I am 43 years old and I live in Orem, UT. This is my official letter of intent to ride in the 2024 Tour Divide race. First things first, I am not an elite, ultra-endurance athlete. However, I do plan to push my body to its full potential. My goal is to average 100 miles per day to stay ahead of the virtual "broom wagon" and within my maximum 30-day paid time off from work.

I will be riding my 2021 Intense Sniper T. The bike is full suspension with 120mm of travel front and rear. I have outfitted it with front and rear racks from Old Man Mountain as well as an assortment of bikepacking bags from Mountain Laurel Designs, Rogue Panda, and Tailfin.

I have been training hard all winter by riding long distances fully loaded and sometimes pushing my bike through the snow. I have been carrying dumbbells and towels in my bikepacking bags to test out their durability and stability. This has also been testing my ability to control the loaded bike and ascend steep mountain roads with all the additional weight.

This race is going to be the adventure of a lifetime for me and my first official bikepacking event. I have spent plenty of time riding throughout the Wasatch Mountain range as well as Utah's west desert. I feel that this experience, along with some backpacking experience, makes me prepared for the environment that is the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route.

I look forward to seeing everyone at the Grand Depart in Banff, AB.

Sincerely,
Keith Huster

Purchased a top tube bag 👝 ✅

Keith purchased and installed a Tailfin 1.5 liter, flip edition, top tube bag. He was on the fence about whether or not he needed to purchase this bag or if he could use the Dark Speed Works Speedpack 693 bag that he used for the Salty Lizard 100 gravel race. The choice to bring the Insta360 X3 camera and supporting electronics drove the need for the purchase of this top tube bag.

The Tailfin top tube bag is fully waterproof and large enough to store all of his important electronics and quick-access items. This will give Keith a secure place to store his phone, camera, batteries, power banks, and any other small items that he needs quick access to (e.g. snacks!).

Reviewed and updated his packing strategy 👨‍💻 📋

Keith also spent quite a bit of time this week going over and over his packing list. There are so many items to consider bringing that the size and weight of everything adds up quickly. Keith focused on ensuring that he has all of his necessities covered and started marking any "luxury" items as potentials for removal.

Keith is going over his Tour Divide packing spreadsheet and laying out the items
Keith is going over his Tour Divide packing spreadsheet and laying out the items

Keith also took the time to lay everything out and start organizing it just as he would for the day of the race. It's crazy to see just how much stuff he has to carry with him on his bike. The true racers go with much less but Keith wants to make this adventure as enjoyable as possible so he is only willing to sacrifice a certain level comfort.

The majority of Keith's gear that he will be carrying during the 2024 Tour Divide
The majority of Keith's gear that he will be carrying during the 2024 Tour Divide

Upcoming posts and videos 👷‍ 👷‍♀️️

Keith is still trying to find time to work on the Las Vegas posts. Hopefully, he will be able to find some time this coming week to work on them. Lindsey has started taking a look back at some of our prior trips and adventures that we haven't yet shared. She is currently working on a few videos and blog posts from our friend Yi's visit last year.

We hope that you are enjoying our newsletters. Can you imagine what it is was like to see all those tumbleweeds? Have you ever seen anything like this before? Let us know in the comments section below.👇 💬

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