A perfect blue water day. The morning wasn't rushed, 4.30 am, milk for B, full wake up a little later and out the door at 5.15. Town was more quiet than it's been, I only saw one car and one repair truck the whole way. I managed to slide the studs on a turn, pretty cool drift. I can't wait for my mitts to show up, they shipped them wrong so maybe by the end of next week I'll have warmer hands. I'm waiting to get the mac back from apple to past the pics of Tuesday's skin up. They may be a little late but worth it. Early to bed tonight to hit the skis at 6 tomorrow to get in a little effort before work at 7.30 on New Years Day. The one good about this silly holiday, I get to start a little later but work is looooong, not off until 6 p.m. I'll get in a ski session as a lot of folks go to bed, hah!
I finished reading Arthur Nersesian's Chinese Takeout. In it the narrator/main character swims the East River, which to anyone who has been to Manhattan will agree is a nasty proposition. Bad days follow Orloff, he tries in vain to get out from under them. Productive as an artist but flawed. When he tries to swim the river he nearly drowns and feels that subtle relaxation that comes just before the lights go out, no struggle. As he swims the river he's naked no actual weight on him, but the weight of his mistakes and misgivings. A few inches of new today, making for my favorite commute, the quiet glide in darkness over untracked snow. No music, I wanted to hear the bike roll through. So peaceful, the snow still falling, no noise other than Goblin cutting through the snow. I had a full messenger bag of food for the day, my own cereal and soy milk, good stuff to start the day. Great veggie fajitas, good dinner last night, mellow night at home without the bullshit distractions.
I saw an old guy driving yesterday with an oxygen mask on. Alone in his car. I got to thinking if you need an O2 mask that bad should you really be driving? This is a rare site up here, not uncommon in Florida, one of the reasons I don't bring a roadbike when we go to see my grandfather in the land of recounts. As a road user on various levels I hope the DMV can fight the AARP and instill a policy of more frequent driving tests later in life. I don't want the elderly to lose priviledges as much as I want to make sure they are getting ones that they deserve and that their motor skills can handle.
I know that I'm ready for my break to be over when I stop sleeping. I try going to bed, even after a moderate day of a little exercise and I just can't fall asleep. Monday night was just that, I read until 1 a.m. and then finally fell asleep. I woke at 5 with B and loaded up the car to skin up Peak 8 with some friends. My first time doing a ski town staple, pretty cool to see the thirty or so others out there, going up at dawn to "earn your turns" was a cool feeling. If you don't know what skins are here is a brief description:
climbing skins are artificial animal hide that allow sliding one way very efficiently and prevent backsliding when you engage the skin to kick. The skins attach with a glue that doesn't remain on the ski after you remove them and a buckle that clamps onto the ski to hold it in place near the front.It was about an hour of uphill work, I stopped a few times to shoot some pics. The ski down wasn't great, without Scott to instruct, I got lazy a few times and stopped to think about technique. Little tricks he taught me the other day really help if I remember them. I think next time I'll keep more of the tricks in mind and not get lazy.
Eleven years ago today I blew my knee, trying to be better than I was, trying to do things I wasn't yet ready to do. Being a snowboarder and not a smart rider. Odd how random events and dates stick. I have a lot of other weird thoughts I can place to exact dates...valuable disk space being taken up. I have a problem with the motorists who by being out on the roads feel a sense of priority over the rest of us. Not that they aren't paying attention as much as the fact that they expect the seas to part so their fat ass can get through. Sense of entitlement, the feeling that they deserve what they want because of the simple fact that they think they deserve it.
Some days just stick out as good ones, mid-break but not sitting around. Shaubie got me out again on skis for a different loop up in Siberia. It was a bit colder and cloudy, the light was pretty secret, making the views and terrain different from Saturday's visit. Just the 4 of us today, Shaubie and Me, B in the sled and the dog on point. I'm happy to have the peace of mind to not care about a race until October. I'm motivated to do the winter rides, the idea of getting in 200k around Denver/Boulder is beautiful. Getting off the bike after 5 or 6 hours feels like little else.
The special olympics (or is it Special Olympics?) were in town recently, not really knowing how long a special olympiad is they still may be in town. Looking around the past few days has me confused, are they still here? The toungue-wagging blank stares are all out there, except some of them are driving and not passengers. Slow going as I weave my way around them on my way home from work, a singlespeed mtb is way more maneuverable than any SUV when the driver is seemingly narcoleptic. I try to stay out of the way and be loose on the bike as I know their bumper will find me soon enough. I hope that when the bumper finds me I can avoid the tires and just deal with body meeting ground. I like the trip to work it makes me happy, no one else out there. The peacefulness of the predawn ride is my time to listen to new musicand make my way to work without hassle. The trip home is a minefield of gaping Texans and lost Midwesterners. I stay out of the busy roads and aim for the snowy bike path or the less crowded streets. I wonder how many people are borderline retarded, are they really that clueless? Can it be that difficult to navigate a new place without acting like your five and it's your first trip to Disneyland? We're not all on vacation...
I saw a bear in a ski jacket and a backpack walking down the street on my way to work. It was pretty early maybe I was hallucinating. I'm going to try and erase the crappy foods from my diet, maybe I'll stop seeing bears in ski jackets around dawn. Because I thought it was a bear I had to get a bearclaw. One of my last for a long while. I should get up early enough to eat a decent breakfast and resist the urge to fill up on sugar. It's not a big deal to eat right, I just need to get good food around me so I don't eat more crap. I'm not trying to reinvent my diet, just put the good stuff in and not the bad. I'm feeling comfy on the single, the studs hook up just fine up front, maybe I'll look around for one for the rear. Simplicity is the best, when it's cold and early shifting is far from my mind.
The really cold weather finally subsided, leaving us with good snow and sun. We got out for a little ski on Siberia Loop with the kid in the sled, we accidently met up with friends out on the trail and had a good group for our tour. The weather was perfect, sunny but cold and clear. The snow was perfect for the three-pin touring gear, good kick and a bit of glide (the 40 pound sled added drag). The cross bikes are all broken down and ready for shipping back to IF. New team colors, clean new rebuilds and slightly different set up, I can't wait! One will be a single until September, maybe longer...
After skiing yesterday we walked off the hill and over to a new French bakery in town, how cool it was to ski and then walk over and have a croissant and coffee. I imagine it to be like that in Europe when skiing from town to town in the alpine regions and having a snack at little stops along the way. The coffee was unreal, thick, proper French coffee, I put in a splash of cream and it just sat on top, good stuff. Last night the snow we were supposed to get was held off by a cold front, we got maybe an inch not the 6 we were promised, it was too cold to snow really well. Coming in today I stopped to get mail and rolling through town (a longer ride than normal) I got to appreciate how pretty winter is after it snows even just a bit. The lights that decorate the lamp posts and the stores all done up for the holidays made me almost forget my quickly numbing fingers. Next week I'm ordering a set of snowmobile mitts and maybe continue looking for my balaclava.
Cold trip in today, I heard it was about -12, give or take. I need to find my balaclava. The bearclaw really went down fast, scary how quickly I can eat those sometimes. The lot at Daylight was such a sheet of ice that I even thought the studs weren't going to keep me upright, they held oddly enough. The single was perfect, sometimes even on the roads going slower is better, no trails today, too soft b/c of how cold it's been. Maybe it'll warm up a bit and we can get out on singletrack soon, a warmer day or two would be the ticket to firm up the trails. Through the miracle of a town job and creative holiday scheduling I got out at 8 a.m. to go skiing. I learned to telemark ski, well I started to learn to telemark ski. Trying to keep up on the blogs w/o a computer at home sux, please read meriwether's points on wilderness travel. meriwether
Today has the prototypical off-season day, normally in the season I would be trying to race the fast guys but today is a mellow, at-home, about town day. we walked around did a bit of-oh, I think it's called shopping, and enjoyed a nice cup of coffee from petal and bean. Really cool stuff, this off-season thing, I like it. No stress, no pressure to produce a good ride, cool feeling for sure. Trying to figure out a skate session for the next week or so, maybe meet the pros from Ned at XG for an evening session. I keep forgetting to eat though, one little morsel earlier in the day and now I'm not hungry b/c I'm past hunger. weird. We did see all kinds of characters walking around town, good people watching and endless possibilities for stories.
I don't remember being this cold last winter on the commute. I wish I knew what I wore that kept me so warm. I may need Meriwether's snowmobile mitts before long. I think I'm missing the boat somewhere, one component is off, and it's making me cold. I think Shaubie may be going full-boat and buying me a fancy coat, but I'd rather not ride to work in a super-guch coat, I prefer my old windbreaker and vest to the fancy stuff, something about riding in a jacket that costs a week's pay. The ride has been really nice, cold aside, the bike feels great and the legs are happy to do the short ride without any training, none of that until August. Just the winter rides in a few weeks and the new challenge of tele skiing, along with nordic skiing to round it out. I have the parts coming to make a single out of a cross bike, save the mtb for the heavy days and the cross machine for the others.
Nobody has told me just how cold it is this morning, it seemed colder than any other day so far. Maybe because I'm on the 1x9 cross bike that is faster than the single but it was butt-ass-cold. I had to stop and put on a turtlefur. It seems the soft tires on the cross bike hook up pretty well overall, not even a slip yesterday or today. I saw a few people out and about (mostly cocooned in metal) but I was the sole participant in the morning in my world. Sometimes it's like I'm hiding beneath a giant shadow as I do my commute, going into the light occasionally for a bearclaw or the Post, but usually darting about in silence and darkness except for the soundtrack in my head. Underworld on the iPod warmed me and got me through to the PO and on to work. Instead of a donut today I used the time to visit the Post Office, I feel oddly productive at that hour of the day getting things done I would normally do after work. Now I can just ride home and get on with my evening after work.
Portland seems to be very bike-friendly, lots of cool bikes around the race venue and then downtown on Friday night we saw a lot of cool rigs near the hip area of town. I didn't get to see the DOS, I'm sure Bacon thinks that's a sin. But now I may actually go skate again, X-Games park to start and then see what I can do. Anyway we had a great mellow dinner Friday night at an up-scale Thai place called Typhoon, we got out of there for less than $20 a person. Amazing food, Shaubie would have loved it! The knee thing that kept me from sleeping the other night came back in full force Friday and Saturday night, it sucked, no rest! Waking in pain and trying to stretch it out, trying to get rid of the discomfort didn't work. So, I ended up reading a good part of the night, not the best recipe for good form on the cross course. The infamous party wasn't nearly as bad as the one in Kansas City in 2000, this one was similarly packed but not the level that Kansas hit. Lots of drunk, skinny cyclists stumbling around but no real lows, except for purple bathing suit girl. Odd, that a somewhat heavy girl would walk around a party in a suit with a ton single digit body fat athletes. I heard that she is a local crazy, then her brother put on the bathing suit, Yuck! She definitely got a lot of attention. Now it's going to be nearly a month before any work is done, commuting and the odd ski session until the spring racing starts to eat away at me and the weekend long days start.
I finally have a chance to catch my breath, nats was really hard, anyone who has seen the photos will see that. The course was great, really muddy, but not too technical, bad for me. Mud is good but I need a hard course too. In the age group race I was 27th, not awful but I wasn't happy about it. The start was super fast and then guys kept falling in front of me. I was held up three or four times on the first lap. Once I got going it wasn't too slow, I moved up slowly and then when I relaized it was the last lap as a group of four bridged to me I just easily got away from them, stupid, why wasn't I going harder the whole time? Oh well, I finished strong and called it a day. The helper I spoke with at USA Cycling was very nice a few weeks ago, she spent the time on the phone to help me set up my to race at nats. The problem was that she was WRONG! I needed a UCI Elite License ($150) not a USCF License ($60) I was so pissed. I was torn with what race to do on Sunday, the Elite, and spend the extra $90? Or, the singlespeed race and see what I could find there. The extra money wasn't really the issue as much as the misinformation I was fed over the phone. So I went and bucked up for the UCI Elite. I raced and was doing better than Saturday, I had good legs and was flowing pretty well on the course. The wind on Saturday night dried out the course a ton and they shortened it too, making the laps shorter and faster, scary stuff to come. I got through about six laps before the freight train of Page/Trebon blew past me, a lap down I stopped, pulled over to the side of the course and called it a season. the guys I have been chasing all year in Colorado were lapped just a bit later, what could I do? More tomorrow.
Whenever I get in a moment that seems to be important I try to take a mental picture of it, drink in all the subtleties of it and get the texture commited to memory. A camera helps but a two dimensional image isn't as good as a four dimensional mind. Today was one of those mornings, 15 inches of new snow, 40 mph winds and pretty warm air (25 degrees). I got out of the house at 5.15 and had to run the first 20 meters b/c the drifts were about 2-3 feet deep. Cool way to start the commute! Riding down the snowpacked road I would slow and slip through the drifts and occasionally run and re-mount, good cross work for this weekend. The new tire on the front was great, tracked really well, not much need for brakes, I was steering in to the drifts to slow me and then out onto the more windswept stuff to regain my speed, nobody out there today, not even the plow guy. He must have overslept b/c the power was out most of the night. Walking into Daylight Donuts to get my bearclaw the boys were all sitting around waiting for their day to start. The white out was pretty substantial, a few times the wind would almost blow me over but I survived. The advantage I had was that the wind was blowing in my face most of the way. Instead of getting blown over, it just blew me back.
Not much to blog about lately, B is recovering from last week's surgery really well-first and foremost and I am getting over a shitty weekend at states. The kid is really good, another follow-up this morning followed by a visit to the closest thing for church for me, Whole Foods. So much good stuff and such a cool shopping experience. Good olives and cheeses today, seared tuna for dinner tonight, mmmmmm. States was bad, a crash on Saturday in the Elite race and then a flat on Sunday spelled early exits from both events. The bad shit is out of my system, two more races and the game is over until September. The clay in the dirt clogged bikes for nearly every race, lots of broken derailleurs and running over normally rideable terrain. I'm over the bad luck, ready for Saturday and Sunday, top 5 and top 20 are the goals.
The first sub-zero day for me this year, about -5 I was told. I guess with all of the recent snow and traffic in town they needed to do snow removal at 5 am, lots of graders, loaders and dumptrucks to clog my lungs with fumes on the trip in. I get spoiled, most days to see one car is a happening. The single is feeling really good, still need to do some subtle tweaks to get the postion right but it sure was good today. Not even a slip. Yesterday went well, the kid amazes me, his eye seems to want to create a new lens after the fact, not something most humans are able to do, maybe they can figure out how to allow him to really make a new lens from the tissue his eye is creating. He is such a tough little person, notihng really fazes him!