Monday, March 30, 2009

Saturday Morning Sucked

Remember the whole "Primus Sucks" thing? You don't? Well fortunately you have me to explain. Back in the day, all of the cool people (everyone who listened to Primus and thought that they didn't suck) had at least one sticker that said "Primus Sucks." These stickers would often adorn skateboard helmets, snowboards, and the bumpers of really cheap cars.

The casual observer would see these stickers and think, "hmmm.... I wonder why that young man feels it necessary to express his disdain for 'Primus', whatever 'Primus' means." The casual listener would listen to Primus and think that Primus did actually suck, due to Les Claypool's crazy voice or Ler's random and screachy guitar. However, little did the casual observer/listener know that Primus didn't actually suck, so the whole thing was very clever.

Anyway, Saturday morning was kind of like that. The casual observer would think that waking up at 5:00 am to go uphill a few thousand feet on a splitboard or skis, when ski lifts exist less than 3 miles away, only to turn around and snowboard/ski down in less than 1/10th the time would totally suck. However, those of us lucky enough to be in the know realize that it actually doesn't suck. So again, I feel very clever in saying that Saturday morning sucked.

Here's the documentation of some laps on the "Mini Chutes" (the name and the pics lifted from Adam's site), and how badly it sucked:

Here is one of me (and as Adam mentioned, this was at least 3 days after the last snowfall):

Here's one of Adam:

This morning consisted of more suckiness. I woke up to find 8 inches of snow, as measured by Utah County's official snow meter (a metal table on my back patio, which seems to accumulate snow more quickly than anywhere else in my yard). I had planned on turning a few solo laps in the "Mini Chutes" again, but got scared off by the potential road conditions above Sundance and getting buried alone. So I worked for a few hours in the basement and headed up for some first tracks at Sundance instead.

You can imagine my disappointment when I pulled into the Sundance parking lot, to find only about 1 inch of snow. That's right, at the base of Sundance, they had 1/8th as much snow as I had on my metal table on the back patio.

I was already up there, so I figured I'd better get a run in. And anyone who's been to Sundance much knows that the back mountain can have an entirely different weather pattern than the front mountain, so I'd better check it out.

I'm glad I didn't turn back, because my first run down Bishops featured about 15 inches of untouched Utah Smoke. I played around on the Flathead lift for a while, which can have some of the best terrain at Sundance, but I was scraping bottom a lot so I headed back to Arrowhead. Bishop's looked pretty tracked out, so as I thought of which line to take down, I remembered Adam's recent post about a run to the far north side of the Arrowhead lift. I traversed in that direction only to find a rope that somebody had apparently forgotten to remove. One skier had proceeded me, so I ducked under the rope and followed the tracks to find huge stretches of untouched snow.

Each time back up the lift, I'd look over at my tracks on Hill's Headwall and pick out the next best line down, until there were 5 of my tracks and 1 track left by the skier.

Not a bad morning. Not top 3 of the season, but definitely better than my top 3 work days of the season (well... except for that one day when my boss visited from Cali and I convinced her that we should spend one of the days snowboarding, and it happened to be a powder day).

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Ask and Ye Shall Receive

Last week, I pleaded with Winter to give me a severance pop. Winter came through for me. Big time.

Yesterday morning, I met Mark in the LCC parking lot at 5:30am. Apparently, cutting a skin track at 6am in zero visibility only sounded like a good idea to Mark and me, because we were the only people in the parking lot.

We started up toward upper Days Fork, and within minutes we were somewhat lost. We couldn't see anything and we were cutting the track. Fortunately, Mark was able to find the route, but not before we cut what may be the world's worst track - apologies to anyone who had to follow that.

Dropping into Days:

The powder shots were, well, good (when are they not?):

Being able to see where you're going is totally overrated:

Just before I sprayed Mark:

This morning, we went back up to Scottie's Bowl for a refill. Since I don't have any pictures of my own, and since a description will not do it justice, I'll let you see the documentation from Dug and from Adam.

Okay, maybe I'll steal just one of me from Adam from this morning:

Go visit Adam's writeup for a bunch more great pics.

And thanks, Dug, for making me feel self conscious about waving my arms "like all hip hop and sh!t" in most of my pictures...

Friday, March 20, 2009

Little Shredder

An extreme ski video such as this one deserves an extreme song - you'll want to crank up the volume for this one:

First of all, the cameraman for this video needs to be fired (although the cameraman would like to point out that skiing with a camera is not easy)

Aubrie scared me with a high-speed crash during this day, so I enrolled her in a class with hopes that someone else could convince her that turning wasn't just a waste of time. She knew how to turn, but didn't like to. Since the class she's now making turns all the way down the mountain. I'll make another video sometime, hopefully before summer.

Monday, March 16, 2009

I Need a Severance Pop

Winter and I had some good times. Really good times. But then I went to Saint George for the Desert Rampage race and had a great time racing my bike. During the next two days after the race, I woke up before the wife and kiddies and road the JEM/Goulds/Hurricane Rim loop and also had some fun down at Paradise Canyon.

I was over Winter. I had moved on. I was ready to come home and continue getting some serious action from my bike (okay, so from my multiple bikes - when it comes to biking, I guess you could say that I'm a fundamentalist).

But since I'm a total player, I got home and decided to get a little bit more action from Winter on the side. One more backcountry touring session on Thursday morning ought to do it. And then maybe one more touring session with Adam on Friday (which he wonderfully documented). Okay, so one last skate ski session with Chad up at White Pine on Saturday and Winter and I would be through.

After our brief reunion, I've realized that I was wrong to leave you so abruptly, Winter. Turns out I'm not over you after all. I need some closure. I need to feel the glide of snow beneath my skate skis one more time. I need to float through the bottomless powder during one more run.

What I need from Winter is a severance pop.

Can you just give me one more fling, Winter? One last refill in the mountains should do it, and then we can call it quits for good (until December). One more week. That's all I ask.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

AMC Registration - RIGHT NOW!

Okay, so nobody will read this till it's too late, but if you register for the American Mountain Classic today (Sunday, March 15th), you get $50 off of the registration fee. Tomorrow is full price. So hurry up. I'm registering right now. Click here to register.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

San Jorge

What's not to love about the Desert Rampage? Mountain biking in great weather, great course, good venue for families, reunion with friends, 12pm start, other good riding options, etc.

It was nice to sleep in and be able to eat a full breakfast before the race. I think it helped enough that I may need to consider waking up super early on future races so that I can eat some waffles 3 hours before race time.

Somehow I forgot to pack just about everything for this race. My helmet, bib shorts, and sunglasses all got left home. My bib shorts were still air drying in the laundry room when I got home. My 1 year old actually took my helmet out of my bag and hid it behind the chair in the front room. I still can't find my shades. Fortunately, Mad Dog Jesse's wife came through with a helmet, and Nails came through with the shades. I kept it real and wore the baggy shorts that I did remember to pack. Fortunately I remembered my bike and my shoes...

I was blown away by the number of Exp 30-39 riders. We were three full rows deep at the start, and had 33 finishers. It was great, I felt big-time starting with all those racers.

The pace was pretty fast right out of the gate. I can see why, because once the 1-track started, it was tough to make many passes during a lot of the first lap because we were so bunched up. I felt good. Surprisingly good. My heart rate was high, but my legs felt good. I did get some passes in and was eventually able to settle into a rhythm.

During the 2nd downhill of the 2nd lap I was following Kyle from the 20-29 group and hit some rocks pretty hard. I thought to myself, "dang, that could cause a pinch." Next thing I knew, Kyle was pulling over with white crap spewing out of his tire. Sorry dude. I guess just thinking about it was enough. My bad.

I felt like I slowly moved up through the field throughout the race. Having such a huge field was fun because there wasn't ever a time where I didn't have a carrot and where I wasn't acting as a carrot for someone else in my class. My endurance felt pretty good, but my legs started feeling some signs of cramping during the 3rd lap, but fortunately never got bad. I made at least 3-4 passes on the 3rd lap, so I felt like I stayed pretty strong.

I finished in 11th place at around 1:36, making for 3 laps with an average time of 32 minutes each. 3 years ago, on my first race ever, I did 2 laps in 1:32. Most humbling day ever. Maybe next year I'll shoot for 3 laps in 1:32.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Wind Crash

By the time I picked my bike up from Racer's, I was too late to join the scheduled lunch ride so I headed out for a ride from the shop's front door. I headed to the mouth of Rock Canyon and hopped on the BST. I had a headwind that wasn't too bad until I got to Slate Canyon. I tried out a few of the trails south of Slate, but the wind got fierce enough to blow me off the trail so I went back to Slate.

I had some extra time so I headed up Slate with the wind at my back. If you've been up there, you know it's steep - steep enough that you have to focus on keeping your front wheel on the ground. I rounded a corner, the trail got really steep, and suddenly the wind changed directions so that it was coming down the canyon. "Good", I thought - "I'll have a tail wind on my way back to the shop."

Suddenly, the gental headwind turned into a gale-force wind coming down the canyon. I'm no weather vane, so I can't guess as to the speed, but however fast it was, the wind lifted my front wheel off the gound and started to tip me backwards. I shifted my weight so I wouldn't flip completely over. The wind turned me sideways and my Superfly was suddenly a parachute and I was behind it. The bike pushed me down the trail I had just come up. The wind wasn't slowing down, and the trail was steep, so I flailed under the weight of my bike and the wind for another 10 seconds.

I wish you had been there. All this story needed was someone to laugh at me while I tried to lift my bike off of me.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

We're Famous

Chad found this video clip of the skijoring race we did a couple Saturdays ago, and it includes part of our interview with pctv. If you watch long enough to see some of the other racers with their dogs, you'll see why I was able to pull of the W (some of the other dogs were struggling a bit with the concept of pulling a skier). They should have shown Sora and me - Racer has Sora well trained and she can haul-A.