12 Glory Laps in 12 Hours

12 Glory Laps in 12 Hours
Last February 20th, I hiked and skied 12 laps on Mt. Glory. 19,638 feet climbed with skis on my back and 19,638 feet skied to raise money for Camp To Belong. It's snowing again and I'm ready for the 2nd edition! Click the logo for more info and ways to support camp!

Camp To Belong - Elk Mountain Grand Traverse

Camp To Belong - Elk Mountain Grand Traverse
We're racing the Elk Mtn Grand Traverse this March, a 40 mile ski race across the roof of Colorado in the middle of the night! Click for updates on our training and fundraising progress!

Peaked Sports

Peaked Sports
Driggs, ID

Monday, March 31, 2008

Within reach

The anticipation is building. April is going to be a busy month and it's about to get going here real soon. My hooves are stomping, my tail is up, and my fur is bristling. I've sharpened my horns and my claws and after swimming upstream through fluffy snow all winter, I'm in great shape and ready to spawn. I may also be just about as confused about what I am as you are.
Alpacas? Llamas? While on mybike ride up Kelly Canyon on Sunday, I passed by this farm. The hounds in the background definitely did their job in alerting my presence to their owners.
Q: What's the difference between alpacas and llamas? A: Size and fiber quality. Llamas were primarily bred to be a beast of burden, and alpacas were bred primarily as fiber producers. An average alpaca standing 34"-36" at the withers, where llamas stand 42"-48" at the withers. An adult alpaca will generally produce 5-8#s of high quality exotic uniformly crimped fiber in a single fiber fleece each year. Find out more about these unique beasts here.
Here's the new Fitzgerald's Bicycles team kit I'll be sporting this year. Find out more about Fitzy and the shop here.

My favorite part of the jersey? The print around the collar: EAT FOOD CHOP WOOD RIDE BIKE

Say hello to my little slippery friend, a 1999 Saturn SL. It slips through the air like a hair and it goes through gas like my... well, let's just say it's very economical. The little banker in me says, "Oh, how very practical."

So what, exactly, brought this little gem into my life, you may ask? How about 40mpg? A +50mpg Prius it's not, but it's also about one-sixth the price and recovering $2900 by not driving an 18mpg Jeep could happen quite quickly at $3.50/gallon. And just what, exactly, does $2900 get you? Well, frankly, it's more impressive to list everything this plastic-wrapped beauty doesn't have: No more than 4 cylinders, no more than 100 horsepower, no automatic transmission, no power windows, no power door locks, no power seats, no power steering, no passenger side mirror, no adjustable headrests, not sure about power brakes, but let's just say there aren't any, no CD player, no metal body panels other than the hood, roof, and top of the trunk, no gross vehicle weight over 2500 lbs, and best of all, no complaining about high gas prices and no regret or remorse travelling almost 500 miles on 12 piddly gallons of petrol. Perfect.

Oh, and I also should mention that I've been learning to kayak.

What?! What about the fear of doom and demise at the hands of relentless, pounding, frothing, churning whitewater?! Well, that's just a mental thing I have to get over. And after two separate sessions in the Jackson Rec Center Pool during "Kayakee Night" (that's kayaks and music sing-a-longs mixed together), I'm ready to meet Mr. Snake River upon my trusty, but yet unfamiliar 24" wide water vessel: a rented sea kayak from Rendezvous River Sports.

All this, in preparation for my full-blown assault on this year's Pole Pedal Paddle. Grrrrrrrrr... Woof! Woof! Woof!

Saturday, March 29, 2008

The next best thing to singletrack

Henderson Canyon

Runnable snowmobile track six feet above dirt

I ended up running this section of trail twice to get enough time and mileage in. I remember riding this trail last October. It probably won't open to biking til June at this point.

These snowbanks were so far over my head. It was like running in a giant frozen hallway.

45 minutes to home

20+ miles in 3 1/2 hours on mostly snow-covered dirt roads with short sections of frozen mud in 20 degree temps on March 29th? Seriously? Yup. This is the best "trailrunning" I can do at this point, which seems really out of place, because by this time in any of the past seven years I have lived in this area, I've been able to get out on at least a part of at least one of the local DIRT trails. And this year? Not so, Bucko! Hah! Let's see how you like 1 degree temps at 7am! And 40mph winds that blow and move loose snow around like sand dunes! How about six foot, road-closing snowdrifts! And then there's the near unimaginable conditions up at the ski areas: 36" in the past five days at Jackson Hole Mtn Resort with 591" so far this year and more on the way. 25" in the past five days at Grand Targhee with 546" so far this year and still counting. And it's March 29th! Oh, and did I mention that we still have only had one (maybe two, barely) day(s) where the high temp in the valley reached 40 degrees or higher? Yeah, global warming what? Is this the beginning of another ice age? (Ever see The Day After Tomorrow?) Actually, this is what the longtime locals are calling "normal".

So, today, after spending my morning at the office, I came home to 25 degree temps, partly sunny skies, off and on snow showers, and an icy wind that was less than half of what it had been earlier in the day. Perfect conditions for a run! I tried running on a snowmobile trail last weekend, and it was still too soft to run on due to all the fresh uncompressed snow so for today, since I figured the snomobile tracks were again going to be too soft, I decided to do my ol staple long run across the valley on the dirt county roads and end up in the mouth of Henderson Canyon. My goal? At least three hours. After my two hour run last weekend running along the shoulder of Hwy 31 on Pine Creek Pass, I figured three hours would be doable.

Not only was it doable, it was spectacular. Felt great. I was a bit concerned about the knees, and although they gave me a slight scare of brief pain as I began the run, it quickly went away and I ran comfortably for pretty much the entire time. The weather was cold and windy, but I dressed well enough with extra layers packed away as a precaution. Food and drink went smoothly: A handheld bottle of grape Cytomax, another bottle of Riptide Rush Gatorade, 2 powergels, and two strawberry Pop-Tarts. Yum! I love those things! With a full 2 liters in my hydration pack, I was confident I wouldn't run out of fluids. And my body held up well considering the last time I ran for three hours was... was... Capitol Peak? In mid-January? Yikes. Am I really gonna be ready for a 60k in two weeks?!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Ice Biking

When it's late March...

...and the daytime high temperature doesn't get above freezing...

...and the first bike race of the season is coming up in two weeks...

...the going may be cold...

...but the cold go out and ride their bike for four hours.

The above photos were actually taken on my ride last weekend after I spent Sunday morning and early afternoon skiing at Grand Targhee, then drove down the hill to Teton Canyon for an 8 mile skate ski. I tried to incorporate all three disciplines to help prepare for the upcoming Pole Pedal Paddle in Jackson on April 5th and as you can see by the ice buildup in the photos, the conditions were considerably better suited for skiing-type activities, but nonetheless, there I was cycling up Ski Hill road in 27 degree temps and falling sleet. Mmmmmmmmm... I love it!

The best part about riding in these kinds of conditions?

Nature-made windproofing for my toesies! Yes, that's a solid layer of ice and yes, it really did keep my feet warmer.

The worst part of riding in these kinds of conditions?

A frozen rear brake at the top of a 12 mile, 2,000ft descent down Ski Hill Road today. My rear deraillieur also froze so I only had one gear on the way down. And because my thick ski gloves were too warm on the climb up (it was too cold to take them off completely), my hands sweat profusely in them and thus were soaking wet when I began the descent. And let me tell you, coasting down an icy road at 30mph through 15 degree air with frozen fingers and shivers so violent they were giving me a bad case of the high-speed-wobbles, is not as much fun as it may sound. Luckily, I'm a masochist, and I seem to derive a high amount of pleasure out of activities like this.

My outside thermometer read 5 degrees when I woke up this morning and it warmed up to a balmy 24 degrees. After spending the morning working at the office, I came home and wanted to get a ride in. Apparently, I was looking for a bit of inspiration so I got on the net and Youtubed "Lance Armstrong" (see post below). It obviously worked. I ended up with a comfortable 60 miles in 4 hours including the full climb up to Targhee while the steady and entertaining procession of skiers and snowboarders drove down the hill waving and honking.

Grand Targhee by bike

Let's go

I'm gonna go ride my bike.

Oh, and just because, here's another one in case your heart rate isn't up yet and you still don't feel inspired. ; )

Monday, March 17, 2008

March 8th & 9th - Daylight Savings Time Begins!

The following weekend, I began by working Saturday morning. Grrrrrrrr... And when I was released from my cage, I came home and packed for a multi-sport weekend in Jackson Hole.

That afternoon, I rode from Jackson to Slide Lake, located in the Gros Ventre Mtns on the east side of the Jackson Hole valley. I barely had enough time for the two hour ride and it was another cold one (25 degrees, maybe?), but it sure was a beautiful ride.

Really, who needs warm weather with a view like this?

Sleeping Indian

After staying over in Jackson Saturday night, I got up and hit the stale, freeze-dried, melt-freeze, balled-up, ice-chunked, hardened concrete slopes of JHMR. Yow-sa! Enough of that. I'm going skate skiing. I left the group I had been gravity skiing with and skidded back down to the parking lot to exchange downhill gear for nordic gear, then traipsed off to meet up with another buddy on the nordic track. After an hour or so of good skating, I packed up the skate gear and drove back down to the beginning of the Village Road where I could park my car and begin a bike ride. My goal: Ride the one mile west to Wilson, WY. Turn north onto Fish Creek Rd and take it as far as I can until either I reach the end or I'm turned back by snow and ice on the road. Then head back to Wilson, cross the hwy and take Fall Creek Rd south as far as I can until either I reach the end of the pavement or I'm turned back by snow and ice on the road. As it turned out, I didn't make it very far north on Fish Creek. Maybe 3-4 miles.

Fish Creek Rd. I could tell the snow and ice on the road had just melted enough in the past week to allow for a halfway decent route for skinny tires.

I made it all the way to the end of the pavement on Fall Creek Rd. Felt great and ended up with another good 2 hour ride and a great day of training to prepare for the Pole Pedal Paddle coming up in a month. AND... It was a great way to utilize the first daylight savings day of the year.

Early March Road Biking in the Tetons

Well, this year, winter has been sticking around so the riding really hasn't happened here yet. BUT... Thinking winter would be winding down and with a building interest in getting the cycling legs back, I began my early season training by driving to lower elevations on the weekends primarily in search of clear roads without snow and ice and if it were warmer too, then even better. I had already been out riding in the Idaho Falls area a couple of times in late February and was getting accustomed to the clothing layers necessary for winter conditions like this and I figured it would only be getting warmer. So off I went into 23 degree east Idaho on March 1st. Below are some of the photos I took that day.

Snake River, 10 miles east of Idaho Falls. I parked at a school in Rigby and rode up to Kelly Canyon Ski Area. Since it was 23 degrees and falling when I began the ride, I started out by wearing a short sleeve jersey, a long sleeve jersey, bib shorts with Pearl Izumi Stretch-Amphib tights over the top on my legs, a light soft-shell jacket, a light windbreaker over the top of that, balaclava, mid-weight ski gloves, and neoprene booties for my toesies. Add a helmet and persimmon shades and 23 degrees doesn't seem that bad! (For the record, it was 17 when I arrived back at the car and I was feeling a wee bit chilly)

Kelly Canyon

I have a thing for red barns like this. I just think they're cool. Especially in the winter. During sunset. I like how the red contrasts with the snow and I like the nostalgia of a classic red barn like this sitting out in an open field dotted with cottonwoods and aspens while the setting sun casts long shadows through them. Ok, I'll stop the sappiness now.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

The Icebox - February, 2008

My return to the icebox was typical. It was cold. It was snowy. My tanned and browned skin soon flaked off and turned back to its customary wintry white like an ermine.

On February 20th, I drove up to Grand Targhee after work to attempt to get back into a routine of skate skiing again. I considered it to be just another ordinary nighttime ski until I witnessed the full moon rising over the Tetons. I had to stop and take some photos. That alone was astonishingly beautiful, but then watching the shadow creep over the moon during the lunar eclipse was an even better surprise. I had no clue there was to be an eclipse that night and I think the fact that it all just came together like that made it even more spectacular. It will be one of the most memorable ski jaunts of the year for sure.

Catch up from Big Bend NP

OK, I know I've been away from this for almost a month now (between my last two posts) so I'm going to attempt a brief recap so I can move along in a continuous, chronological, uninterrupted space/time continuum.

First, back to Big Bend, TX in February. Whew, that was a while ago. I left off at day two. Day three was the first day of a two-day backpacking trip into the Chisos Mtns. Day four, was the hike out, hitting Emory Peak, the tallest point in the park along the way. Day five was a 31 mile mountain bike ride through the Texas desert along the route of the Mas o Menos race being held the following weekend. Felt great to be out on a mountain bike in the desert heat, but I sure was whipped by the end. Hopping on a rented hardtail for the 3 1/2 hour ride was a tough introduction to the riding season for me. Day six was a tourist day into the Santa Elena Canyon of the Rio Grande, then a 30 mile road ride east from Big Bend NP to Terlingua with two guys who lived and worked in Big Bend. There was a small restaurant in Terlingua that offered a two-for-one burger night every Monday and apparently, it is tradition for a group of park employees to ride their bikes out there, then catch rides back with folks who drove. That was definitely one of the highlights of the trip... riding off into the Texas sunset with Burgers and Shiner Bock waiting at the finish.

And then... it was back to the icebox...

Who says winter is over?!?!

Not in the Tetons it isn't!

(JHMR file photo)

Here are the snowfall totals for the past few days here in the area:

Grand Targhee

0" 0" 14" 13" 1"
03/12 03/13 03/14 03/15 03/16

Year to Date Snowfall Total: 486"

Jackson Hole Mountain Resort

0" 0" 18" 9" 7"
3/12 3/13 3/14 3/15 3/16

Year to Date Snowfall Total: 505"

So needless to say, I made the most of having the weekend off and excercised my inalienable right to a complimentary weekend ski pass (Thank you, employer!) on what was quite possibly the best weekend of snow conditions all season so far. (Friday was by far the primo day to be up there, but alas, I was chained to a desk. Grrrrrrrrr...) I was chomping at the chain all day until finally at 5:45pm, it broke and I was on the loose running out the back door, tongue hanging out the side of my mouth, shaking my fur in the crisp fresh air.

Saturday, I met up with some friends at Jackson Hole. Wow. It... was... so... DEEP! Ahhhhhhh... I wish I had photos, but I was too busy skiing. Besides, you wouldn't have seen anything in the photos anyway other than big puffs of snow.

Sunday, was a day at "the Ghee". Not as much snow overnight, but dame! Still light and fluffy and typical Ghee pow-dah! I met up with "Crisco" and "Thard" late in the morning and we spent the rest of the day sniffing out powder stashes. I had already hiked up to Mary's Nipple earlier in the morning (see photos below) and enjoyed an exceptionally rare occurance of deep, fresh, untracked snow and sunny blue skies over a frothing sea of clouds. I wanted to stay there all day and just let my eyes wander, but shortly after arriving at the top, the proverbial clouds rolled in and it became... fah-ghee. Of course. How could that blue sky possibly last? But for those fifteen minutes while I stood on top, captivated and mesmerized, time stopped. And then, I skied down in a billowing cloud of my own making.

Here you can see Mary's Nipple, the doink to the right of the large Teton peaks

Surprisingly, it didn't take much convincing for my two compatriots to decide to do it with me in the afternoon. Neither one had ever hiked up there before, so after explaining that it was basically a fifteen minute hike for the best snow they would ever ride on, the deal was made. Again, unfortunately, I don't have any photos of the "action", but here is a sequence of shots nearing the tip of the Nip.