Thursday, January 31, 2008
She encountered interstate freeways that had been closed due to high winds, twisty snow covered roads littered with the occasional errant car stuck deep within the roadside snowbank, blowing snow that would temporarily block the road from view, white-out conditions, black-ice, car accidents that had caused certain portions of a road to close briefly, road closures that took effect 15 minutes after she had passed by the gate, road closures that were lifted 15 minutes before she got to the gate, snowbanks higher than a typical SUV, snowdrifts across the road that she couldn't see the end of, portions of the road surface that were covered in 4 inch thick ice, and through it all, she kept an attitude of "Ok, Here I go about to disappear in a great big puff of snow again! Wheeeeeeeeeeeeee!" Something like that anyway...
So Friday morning at 5:00, we depart Victor, ID in Reba the Jeepa and mount an early morning assault on Teton Pass that will hopefully be clear and allow us to reach Jackson before 6:00 to be ready to board a fingers-crossed on-time flight to Austin, TX at 7:30. Boy will we both be relieved when those wheels get off the ground. I feel like the race has already started!
Stay tuned for the race report in the coming week or two.
Point Forecast: Victor, Array 43.61N -111.1W (Elev. 6196 ft)
Hazardous Weather OutlookWinter Storm WarningTonight: Periods of snow with areas of blowing snow. Low around 16. Wind chill values between -2 and 3. Breezy, with a southwest wind between 18 and 24 mph, with gusts as high as 32 mph. Chance of precipitation is 80%. Total nighttime snow accumulation of 3 to 7 inches possible.
Ms. M is coming with me. (or more appropriately, I am coming with her.) She is prepared to run her first 100 mile race on Saturday morning: The Rocky Racoon 100 in Huntsville, TX. I am half of her race support (along with her mother) and also her pacer for the last 40 miles.
Friday: A 40 percent chance of snow. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 22. Wind chill values between -2 and 8. Breezy, with a southwest wind between 14 and 24 mph, with gusts as high as 34 mph. New snow accumulation of 1 to 2 inches possible.
This afternoon, she began driving down from her home in Mammoth Hot Springs just inside the north gate of Yellowstone Nat'l Park. As of 8pm, she is in the Island Park area on US Hwy 20 north of Ashton, ID.
We have booked a flight to Austin, TX out of Jackson Hole, WY tomorrow morning at 7:30.
Point Forecast: Jackson WY 43.48N -110.78W (Elev. 7196 ft)
Last Update: 4:06 pm MST Jan 31, 2008Forecast Valid: 9pm MST Jan 31, 2008-6pm MST Feb 7, 2008
SaturdaySlight ChcSnowHi 18°F
Hazardous weather condition(s):
Hazardous Weather OutlookSnow AdvisoryTonight: Periods of snow. Low around 11. Wind chill values as low as -7. Breezy, with a south southwest wind between 21 and 23 mph, with gusts as high as 32 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%. Total nighttime snow accumulation of 1 to 3 inches possible.
Friday, January 25, 2008
After Miss M and I flew a momentarily nail-biting set of standby flights from our respective areas into Portland on Friday night, we got up at 3am on Saturday morning to drive the 2 1/2 hours north with my parents to run the Capitol Peak Mega Fat Ass where my mom ran her first trail race, 8 miles, my dad ran one full loop, 17 miles, and Miss M and I each ran a loop and a half, 25 miles. Our goal was the full 34 miles, but due to the atrociously sloppy conditions, my lack of training, and Miss M's upcoming 100 miler, we both called it a day after 25. We then drove home, cleaned up, visited my grandparents, got dinner, and finally got a full nights sleep. End of day one.
On day two, Miss M and I toured Portland spending some time walking my Mt. Tabor hill route, driving down Hawthorne Blvd, having a great lunch at a little Thai restaurant on NW 23rd Ave, driving up to the West Hills neighborhoods to look at all the fascinating homes up there, then driving through the Washington Park area past the Rose Gardens, Hoyt Arboretum, and the Portland Zoo. When we got home, we met up with my good buddy and his family (wife and two daughter's ages 5 and 1) and we all went bowling at Big Al's in Vancouver, WA. What a blast. My buddy's 5 year old daughter is so smart, so full of energy and so much fun. We all had a great time and it was great visiting with them. I wish we could do it more often! Whew. End of day two.
On day three, My dad, Miss M, and I, drove to my sister's house for breakfast and spend some time with her and her 6 year old daughter, my adorable niece. So much energy! Where does it come from? It was great hanging out there visiting with them and catching up on things a bit. My niece LOVES Hannah Montana. And that's an understatement. I don't know much about Hannah other than she is a make-believe personality of Mylie Cyrus, Billy Ray Cyrus's daughter, which certainly doesn't add any appeal to me at all, but then again, I'm not a 6 year old girl, nor do I have a 6 year old girl of my own, nor do I hardly ever associate with any 6 year old girls. So I guess that's all understandable. Why would a 6 year old want to sit and talk with a 29 year old guy, when Hannah can be found on mylie.com? When I was 6, well... I don't remember what I was doing when I was 6, but it probably involved going outside and getting dirty or something like that and I probably didn't want to hang out with adults either unless they were going to play with me outside. My dad is great though. He will endlessly play Hannah Montana games with her and she loves it.
Anyway, it was a great trip seeing everyone and spending some time in the thick, damp, sea-level air of the Pacific NW. Miss M and I flew out of Portland on Monday afternoon and...
...went back to the icebox! It was -24 degrees in Bozeman, MT when Miss M got into her vehicle to drive home. It was -12 degrees in Idaho Falls, ID when I got into mine and began my drive home.
Often, when a high-pressure weather system moves into these areas during the winter months, it brings with it crystal clear blue sunny skies by day and beautiful, dark, starry nights where dense, super-chilled air pools into low-lying areas and creates an all-too-familiar, all-too-uncomfortable temperature inversion where the coldest temps occur on the valley's low spots and get warmer as you gain elevation. So when I decided to go skate skiing after work on Wednesday, I naturally thought Grand Targhee would be the warmer location. It was -4 degrees when I left work at 6pm. It was 6 degrees 2,000ft higher at Grand Targhee. It was warmer, but was it noticable? Absolutely not. Cold is cold. Doesn't matter how you slice it when it gets that cold. So off I went, quickly learning how important the proper wax is at those cold temps. I felt like I was gliding on sandpaper. I could "walk" on my skis uphill. I would come to a stop while gliding downhill. I had no glide. It was painfully arduous. If I had been going any slower, I would have been going backwards. But I couldn't even go backwards if I tried. The cold, dry, abrasive snow had me stuck.
Overall, it was just nice to be out on a clear, quiet night, especially when I watched the moonrise over the Teton Range.
Thursday, January 24, 2008
The following is an e-mail written by the Capitol Peak Mega Fat Ass race director on January 23rd, a few days after the event:
Only a week before the 7th annual Capitol Peak Mega Fat Ass, about 3 feet of snow blanketed Capitol Peak. After close review of the course, we decided to change the course to include trails lower in elevation that didn't have as much snow, excluding the climb up to the top of Capitol Peak. There were also major trail and bridge washouts as a result of the December storm event on the upper portion of the course.
The new 17 mile loop course was the shape of a figure eight that featured an 8-mile loop in some deep shoe-sucking mud and a 9-mile loop that climbed up into about eight inches of snow. Even though the course had less elevation gain, all the mud and snow surely put a damper on any fast times. About 130 runners toed the line, in which only 15 brave souls completed 2 full figure eight loops at a total of 34 miles. The 115 other runners opted to finish at the figure eight midpoint (start/finish area) at either 25 miles, 17 miles or 8 miles. Great job to everyone that survived all the mud and snow!
This year the Mega Fat Ass was a fundraiser for the Friends of Capitol Forest, a non-profit group dedicated to maintaining the 100 plus miles of trails throughout Capitol State Forest. FOCF have graciously put in 1000's of hours into working on trails! The Mega Fat Ass is a perfect opportunity for so many great people come together, each year, run on trails, contribute for a good cause and have a really good time. I'm always amazed with all the generous contributions people have given at this event! Thanks to everyone who donated to Friends of Capitol Forest! And thanks to all the volunteers, including the Thurston County Search and Rescue, members of FOCF and the Olympia Trail Runners.
If you left any gear behind at the finish you can pick it up at Pigtails Run http://www.marathonmaniacs.com/race/pigtailsrun.htmor at Orcas Island Fat Ass: http://www.capitolpeakultras.com/orcas50k.htmor email me your address and I'll send it. Also, if you have any photos of your experience on the Mega Fat Ass, please email them and I'll post them to the website.
Remember, the Capitol Peak 50 mile, 55 Km and Relay will be on Saturday April 26, 2008. Mail-in registration and other information about the race is available at:http://www.capitolpeakultras.com/CP50mile.htm
See ya in April!
Friday, January 18, 2008
In a repeat of last year, I'm off to Portland again for an extended weekend to run the Mega Fat Ass 34 miler in Capitol Forest, WA. I have not been training AT ALL for a competitive run of this length, but hey, I did it a year ago and I should still have some residual fitness left over from last summer. I think. I hope. Maybe? I dunno, but I'm really looking forward to getting back to the Pacific NW, seeing friends and fam, and running on dirt!
Last year, the summit of Capitol Peak was shrouded in an icy fog (hence the title of this entry and the respective video clip) with jagged ice shards being blown off the radio tower at the top as we ran around it on both laps of the course. I don't mind the fog. Or the ice. I run on ice all the time. I've been running on ice for months now. But the fog, the ice, AND the gale winds? I just don't want anyone to be harpooned by a icy dagger while running around that radio tower. Or any other time, for that matter... But I think the odds of it happening while tiptoeing around that tower are greater. Maybe it will be raining! = )
Thursday, January 17, 2008
Friday, January 4, 2008
This was the only shot I took on the mountain all day. Yes, there is a snowboarder hidden amongst the billowing fluff. I wish I took more photos, but frankly, I was too busy skiing.
Friday, January 4th, 2008...
This morning, as I began my day of work, I was alerted by a co-worker of a particularly viscious storm that was preparing to hit the Sierra Nevada Mtns beginning today and lasting through the weekend. According to my co-worker, "The Tahoe area is gonna get like 5 or 10 feet of snow today!"
Well, hmmmmmm... I don't know about that... 5 or 10 feet?!?! Let's see about that. So I got on the NOAA website and clicked on a point between South Lake Tahoe and Mammoth Lakes, CA and here is the forecast from Friday morning:
This Afternoon: Periods of snow. The snow could be heavy at times. High near 25. Strong and damaging winds, with a south wind around 85 mph, with gusts as high as 140 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%. Total daytime snow accumulation of 44 to 50 inches possible.
Tonight: Periods of snow. The snow could be heavy at times. Low around 13. Strong and damaging winds, with a southwest wind 80 to 85 mph decreasing to between 55 and 60 mph. Winds could gust as high as 140 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%. New snow accumulation of 33 to 39 inches possible.
Saturday: Occasional snow showers. High near 16. Strong and damaging winds, with a southwest wind between 55 and 60 mph, with gusts as high as 95 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%. New snow accumulation of 6 to 10 inches possible.
Now that's a storm!