Sunday, December 25, 2011

Wasatch Holiday Racing Series

This year some SLC friends have planned a few rando races that have, coincidentally, coincided with holidays. This has been great for me as I'm trying to put myself into good enough shape to improve on last year's race results at Jackson and Targhee. The great thing about these local get togethers is the variety of ski equipment used. Anything from Trab world cups to BD megawatts with all sorts of stuff in between. At the end of each event I think everyone has had a blast regardless of where they finished relative to others, etc.

 First, we had a "turkey trot" on Thanksgiving at Brighton. Andy had a good write-up here. The Vert 120 was in early December and Christmas Eve was the Christmas Eve Rando Rally. All of the "races" took place at Brighton who has been very friendly to us this year (Thanks Brighton!) Whether because of the poor snow pack this year forcing may to ski/skin at resorts, or because of real interest in randonee racing, the attendance at all events has been great with several people on race gear at each event.

The Christmas Eve race was super fun. I think it ended up being about 4,800 vertical or so and about 9 or  10 miles distance in about 2:20 (Guessing a bit here--I forgot my watch). I passed and got repassed a few times so it felt like a real race! Chad (Powder Keg guy) and I were back and forth a bit with me a bit faster on the earlier climbs, Chad faster on all the descents, and then about the same on the climbs towards the end. I pulled into the last transition just as he finished ripping skins--I knew I wouldn't catch him on the descent with my Grandma descending (to be fair, I was trying not to wreck my race skis so I was skiing more methodically on purpose). Man, those descents through chowder and crust are really hard on race skis! At least for mere mortals like me they are. Jami asked what is easier in the races: the climbs, or the descents-I think the answer is the first 30 seconds of each. After that it starts to hurt a bit and neither feel "easy," especially if the descents are off piste.

I feel like we need some kind of club name or something to give some mountain cred to the fast guys we have here in the Wasatch. Team Wasatch? Wasatch SkiMo? I'm excited to see how the Doraises, Samurai, Tim and other locals do in a couple weeks at the races. It should be a fun exciting weekend of races again in Wyoming.

I even convinced little brother to come out! If nothing else, at least it was a nice, beautiful day.
Big thanks to Andy & Jason for putting these together. It's been a blast!

Monday, December 19, 2011

December Training Update

Last week 12/12-12/17 I ran 20 miles (10 trail, 10 around town) and had about 20,000 vertical feet of uphill skinning. I can feel the fitness coming around. I feel much better than last year at this time. The Jackson race is now less than 3 weeks away, so hopefully I've done enough to improve on last year and finish somewhere mid pack this year. I can't remember ever wanting to just be average! Oh, the shame.

Our holiday racing series in the Wasatch continues this upcoming Saturday with the Christmas Eve Rando Rally. Come check it out! We'll be done in time for everyone to do their last minute shopping...

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

No SkiLink!

This is a letter that I sent to Rob Bishop, my Congressman about the proposed "SkiLink" from Canyons resort to Solitude in Big Cottonwood Canyon. 

Dear Mr. Bishop,

 I am writing to you today because of your recent comments in the news about the proposed “SkiLink” gondola connecting Canyons resort to Solitude. I think that this project is ski area expansion masquerading as traffic reduction. I am disappointed by your decision to support this project and I think the project is misguided.

 Keep in mind that to even get to the proposed gondola (from Canyons) one would have to get to the top of the mountain by buying a $90 lift pass at Canyons, ride a cabriolet, a gondola, and two lifts to even get to the top of the resort where, presumably, the SkiLink ride will take skiers downhill to an adjacent resort where they will then be required to purchase a $68 ticket to ski at solitude. Is this 45 minute navigation of Canyons plus $90 worth the hassle of a 45 minute drive up Big Cottonwood Canyon? I don’t believe so. Furthermore, I would assume that most residents or visitors who decide to live/vacation in Park City are there because they want to stay/ski in Park City. There are lodging options at Solitude for visitors and many UTA buses that go up and down that canyon daily for people that are concerned about traffic and congestion.

While you as a state representative should be promoting economic growth, I don’t think that this should happen at the expense of developing Public Lands and negatively impacting an important watershed area. In addition to the SkiLink, additional parking, base facilities, lodging, etc. will all be required to accommodate the increase of people. Ironically, Solitude is know for not having lift lines or too many skiers on the mountain. That will no longer be the case if SkiLink is built.

 The Wasatch Range is a fairly small mountain range. Is would be impossible to undo and restore this land if it is sold to Talisker and developed for this proposed lift. It also sets a precedent for further expansion. More lifts at Park City, Alta, Snowbird, Solitude, and Brighton are being discussed. That is every major resort in the Central Wasatch. Backcountry enthusiasts and others who use these undeveloped slopes will never get them back. Not to mention the negative impact on the watershed that provides water for much of the Salt Lake Valley.

 I ask you to please reconsider your position on the proposed SkiLink, and say no to selling more public lands to Talisker.


 Layne Caldwell

Monday, October 24, 2011

A few weeks ago I ran a cool loop in the Uintas with my friend Greg. He made a fun little video of our day if you consider watching two guys running slow in the mountains "fun." He's got some pretty good camera work too. I think that shooting video makes the day a bit more interesting AND makes you feel like a rockstar.

Kings Peak Ultramarathon, 3 Sep 2010 from Greg Moellmer on Vimeo.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Crest Trail 10/22 - BRRR!

My little brother Boog wanted to ride the crest trail today. We started at Guardsman's and went to Desolation then down to Mill D--short ride, but I huffed and puffed up a couple of hills, so we did get a tiny bit of cardio too. It ended up mostly being a nature ride as we stopped to photo each other and some of the leaves changing color. It was a nice day to be alive.

I have this awesome PINK camera that my wife gave me as a Christmas present a couple years ago (I broke two of her point and shoots so she gave me one of my own to break!)It's not a great camera(but I LOVE it Honey!)--the pictures I take with it always turn out pixelated, hazy or bad in some other way. Anyway, whenever I look at the photos on it, there are always about 50 new ones that one of the kids have taken. Kids are hilarious.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

2011 Bair Gutsman Race Report

After last year's race, I was a bit dissapointed with how it went, so I was looking forward to the 2011 iteration of the race. This year's course would be a bit different from prior years because of the Farmington Canyon road closure. The decision was made to run it as an out and back course running up bair canyon until the service road just pad Grobben's Corner, then fastening the seat belt for a hair-raising descent of the same trail.

In my running I've really tried to learn to conserve a bit the first few miles of a race to leave some energy to finish strong. Many of the heavy hitters from last year's race were absent for this year, so maybe the pace wouldn't be quite as ballistic right from the get-go.

At 6, the gun went off and up the road we went. It is almost exactly 1 mile to the dirt trail. I went out nice and easy, but just fast enough to "sort" a bit so I wasn't having to pass people once I got to the trail. Up to the third stream crossing, I was feeling good. I was gradually gaining of a fella in front of me. Just after the third water crossing he gapped me not to be seen until the top. The vegetation was extra thick this year what with the record snow year we had. I'm guessing I was somewhere around 5th until we hit the ferns. Ah, the ferns. I got lost in them this year. Somehow I left the trail and ended up bushwacking through ferns, reeds and gamble oak (I hate gamble oak!). After what seemed like an eternal 10 minutes, I popped out on a ridge with the trail 200yds off to the side. While I was getting up close and personal with my plant identification, I lost 5 spots. Gotta love the gutsman. Another 1.5 to the top that was pretty uneventful. I was, like pretty much everyone else, forced to hike. My watch was showing the gradient over 30% for much of this section. I passed, or repassed a few people on this section. Eventually hitting the top, I grabbed some swedish fish and pointed downwards.

Despite my proclivities for "dangerous" recreation (climbing, b/c skiing, etc.), bravery is something that I always struggle with. Is bravery required for running? I don't know, but the speed at which some of the racers descended was sphincter-clenching for me. So I got passed (or repassed) 2x on the downhill. Overall the descent was about 5,000 feet in 5 miles. You do the math--It was steep! After hitting the pavement, my quads were toast. I was forced to leg it out the last mile so I didn't get passed again. I saw someone over my shoulder and thought "Well, he's going to have to earn it if he wants to beat me." Amazingly, I held him off for about a mile. I never do that! I have a long established history of getting pipped at the line or passed on the finishing straight. It felt good to fight someone off this time. I crossed the line in 2:44. 9th place this year and 26 minutes in arrears of the winner (A former college XC runner and 2:35 marathoner--so I can't feel too bad).

Full Results here.

Mile splits (Total Distance 10.27 according to Garmin)

2011 & 2010


In some ways I was pumped about how the race went. In some ways dissapointed. The 2 that passed me on the downhill put 7 and 9 minutes into me. My knees were hurting from self-braking and I'm not sure how much faster I could have gone. But still--9 minutes?! I got lost--that sucked and I lost several minutes, not to mention copious amounts of skin cells from brush. After looking at my time, I think I could have done 2:15 on the regular course (Had I not gotten lost--guess at which mile that happened), so I think my fitness is better than last year. Although my time year over year was similar for the first 5 miles it felt comparatively easier. And I was 5.5 minutes faster on the death row mile this year. The climb felt hard, but easier than last year.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Skyline Mountain Marathon 2011 Race Report

The Skyline Mountain Marathon was awesome. I loved it. Fantastic small race with amazing single track and excellent vistas of both Ogden city and Ogden valley/pineview. I'll try and break up my report into a few sections to make it readable.

#1 - start to Ben Lomond saddle aid station (6 miles, 2,800 feet gain)
#2 - BL saddle to the North Ogden divide(6 miles 2,800 feet loss)
#3 - NO divide to top of climb (3.5 miles, 2,000 feet gain)
#4 - Lewis peak trail to Winsurfers beach. (6.5 miles, 3,000 feet loss
#5 - Windsurfers to finish (4 miles, flat)

#1 The race started at 6a near a campground in Liberty. Some quick directions were given and then the race director did a countdown from five and yelled GO!

My plan was to run the first climb conservatively to save my legs for later on in the race. It was pretty dark for the first mile which forced me to run at a mellow pace--just what I wanted to do. The first climb is 100% runnable without anything steep enough that would make you want to walk. I settled in behind a guy who was moving at my intended pace and plugged along. Winding up the mountain through switchbacks, we eventually climbed out of gamble oak territory (I hate scrub oak!) and into the subalpine through groves of aspens, firs and meadows of wildflowers. The sunrise was brilliant with the Eastern sky full of shades of orange and yellow as the sun hid behind the clouds. Invigorated from the nice views of the valley, and the wildflowers I had a feeling today was going to be a good day. Before too long we hit the first aid station at the Ben Lomond saddle. A small group of 3 got there just before me but didn't seem to be in much of a hurry to move on. (1:15ish I think-I don't remember exactly) So, I filled my bottle and took off ahead of them for the next 6 mile section that eventually descends down to the North Ogden divide.

#2 I recognized much of the terrain on Ben Lomond from the ski tours over the past few winters. However, the next section down to the divide was new to me as I'd never been that direction summer or winter. I leapfrogged with an enthusiastic young guy who passed me, and I passed back within a couple miles before the next aid station. I was at the divide (mile 12) at about 2:05. I had no real expectation for how fast I would be, but hoped that I could finish in 4:30-5:00 hours. I was on pace for that, and maybe even a little ahead of it.

#3 I knew that the climb onto the South Skyline trail from the divide would be hard because I can't run most of it even when I'm fresh! So I power hiked. My Wasatch 3x finisher friend Greg calls it "hiking with a purpose." I tried to, but felt slow. Luckily for me I was just slow enough to make it to the top right as they were setting up the aid station. Lucky me. Apparently the volunteers were late and the first 6 or 7 guys missed the water/gu refill and were forced to run about 10 miles with no water refills. Ouch. Even with my 20 oz. refill at mile 15, it was getting hot and I was out of water again by mile 20 with the last aid station at mile 22.

#4 This was one section that I've run several times this summer. It feels long, and the downhill is a killer. Not hard, but just sustained pitch forever. I knew that this was a section to motor and I tried to as much as I was able. Aside from 1 runner (Davis High class of '81 he said) that power hiked past me on section #2, I was in my own private Idaho not seeing anyone in front or behind me. I was left to suffer alone. And suffer I did. My knees were angry at me. My quads were starting to gripe. I started to see a few half marathoners at the end of the section. I could feel my pace slowing from 7:30-8:30 to 8:30-9:30. On downhills! I felt like that was as fast as I was able at that point. So I hunkered down in the pain cave and got on with it. 4:02 cumulative time to windsurfer's. At this point I was really hoping to finish in under 4:30, but it would be a real push to make it at this point.

#5. The crux. After descending 3k vert in 6 miles, I knew the hard part for me would be the last 4 miles. Just keep the legs moving and see how it goes I told myself. My friend Craiger offered to run the last bit with me and I was grateful for someone to run with. I was slowing down, and it was starting to get ugly. I saw my 4:30 finish come and go. My legs & especially my knees were begging to stop. Could I at least go under 4:40? After what seemed like forever, I could see the finish line. A few minutes later and I was done with my first real marathon race. 4:39:15. 7th place and 38 minutes in arrears of the winner.

Well, I'm glad I did it. I would have liked to run more solidly from mile 18 to the end but that's racing. Within 15 minutes after finishing I was already thinking of what I'll do differently next year. I've never really considered myself a runner, but I don't know if I can say that now that I've done a marathon. Hopefully running this summer will get me ready for trans Zion and possibly rim to rim to rim of the grand canyon this fall and a non last place finish in Jackson in January. We'll see.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Memorial Day Pow 5/31

Today is 7/20 and I haven't skied since memorial day. I guess I've kind of been ready to don some running shorts and work on my tan. Besides, I don't own whippets, ice tools or crampons, so it makes many of the springtime ski objectives harder to do. I digress. With the bumper snow year, it was cold enough and coverage was good enough to ski on memorial day. I wanted to ski the memorial couloirs on Olympus, but Greg won out with Red Baldy. So, we headed up white pine in LCC to the top of red pine.

We made a quick run off the ridge white pine shares w/ Snowbird, then hoofed it up to the top of Red Baldy. We tried not to wake the white yeti, but the snow was pretty stable and good. So, we enjoyed face shot powder turns all the way back down the face of red baldy.

Monday, May 9, 2011

5/7 Tour

I really wanted to go with my friend Greg to King's Peak, but I needed to till the garden and do a bunch of chores that I've been neglecting the past couple of months from skiing, work, and studying for that one test. I had one chore that I was especially looking forward to doing.

Last winter I never did make it up to do the traverse from Chinscraper to Francis Peak, so I decided to do it Saturday. I set my alarm for 4a and woke up at 2:50. I couldn't go back to sleep, so I finally rolled out of bed at 10 after 3 and decided to go get it done.

I was back home before noon and had plenty of time to do the other chores I needed to do.

The old Red Rocks guide used movie ratings for scary/bad pro (PG, R or X) and a thumbs up by the route name if it was a good route. I think the Northern Davis travers is definitely PG with a thumbs up. There was nothing technical to speak of, although skiing the south face of Thurston was a little thrilling with that "don't blow it!" feeling because of the firm snow/ice.

The worst part of the tour was Bair Canyon for sure. the snow was now breakable thanks to the sun and I had to do a bushwack that only a moose or an elk can appreciate to find the summer trail. It made me think (temporarily) that I might be done for the year.

Totals were approximately 13 miles and about 9k total vert.

4 a.m. from the fernwood parking lot.

5 a.m. from the great western trail.

6a. I switched to ski boots and skis somewhere just after 5a.

Just before sunrise now.

I saw the sun on the ridge for a minute before it dissapeared behind the clouds. It was a cool sunrise that I had to enjoy alone.

Sun just touching the tops to the central Wasatch and Uintas.

Thurston Peak marker for the highest point in Davis/Morgan counties.

Some of the bowls I went across had some pretty fun skiing along the way but nothing is close to 10,000 so the snow was pretty much garbage.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

April 13th 2011

James was visiting from Cali and really wanted to get out on a tour. I'm slammed at work right now, so we I offered a 5a start time. He was still interested. I was apprehensive because I was expecting terrible skiing. Instead we found smooth supportable crust that corned up nicely by the time we were done.

Supportable crust...AND you could see the sunrise. It was going to be a fun day.

Nice morning to be out.

The rain & warm weather have made these really cool runnels on anything south facing. It looked like someone ran a huge paintbrush down the slopes.

Cornice trundling anyone? We didn't have the right gear to try and make this beast move. It would be amazing to watch it roll though. 25 ft. tall!

Monday, March 14, 2011

My powderkeg exploded

Last Saturday was the Wasatch Powderkeg. I've been looking forward doing this race for a long time. Unfortunately for me, it also came during the week that I was sick. I did almost nothing for the week leading up to the race to try and get better. No such luck. I woke at 4:40a on Saturday, got dressed, downed some cough syrup (I REALLY hate the taste of that stuff), filled my pocket full of cough drops and headed out the door.

I had enough time to wait in line for the john, and then do a 3 minute warmup before they were calling us to the start line. They had us run across the parking lot for about 400m to the transition area to "sort" I guess. Then there was a flat section of skinning as we headed over to the great western lift. I was really trying not to burn my matches too early because I knew I wasn't feeling great. I alternated between feeling okay and feeling like I'd been doing ab ripper x from coughing all the last night. Thoughts of quitting entered my mind, but there are so few rando races I can go to, that is a hard decision to make. I kept with it. I hit the first transition just after my new friend Tim, ripped skins, and rallied down the breakable crust run to the next skin transition. I arrived before Tim and he said to me "Holy cow, you can really downhill!" It isn't often that I am complimented on my skiing chops. Thanks for stroking my ego Tim! Tim and I swapped places a couple times over the next few climbs/descents enjoying racing each other and a couple minutes behind some racers and a few minutes ahead of Greg and others.

I don't know if it is fitness or sickness, but on the second to last climb, I started going backwards through the field. My legs had no response in them. I doubled over a few times with coughing fits, and felt like I was in survival mode. Tim passed me and I wanted to say "See you at the finish" because I knew I was done. Just as confirmation, some dude with voile drifters passed me. Yup, finished. About the same time I saw my friend Greg ski past me on his way to the ski to skin transition I just passed through. Maybe 5-6 minutes in arrears of me. I struggled to the top of the climb, made the long ski to the bottom of milly and then slowly climbed up to the top of the Millicent lift, then waddled up the booter. I was surviving at this point, just trying to finish. All the while Greg was closing in. Dang it! I made it to the top of the booter and over to stupid chute just before Greg. He pulled in right as I was leaving. I said "See you in 20 seconds" and dropped in. Not long after Greg skied past me after I crashed. Now seems like a good time to mention that Greg had an appendectomy a couple weeks ago, so the race timing wasn't exactly ideal for him either but he still competed.

I tried to quicken my pace and catch back up to him to make it a race, but then I had DOUBLE quad cramps! I sat for a second to let it pass and knew that I was toast. Greg was a couple hundred yards in front of me the whole way across the lake and I could never close the gap. Props to Greg for hunting me down and pushing me at the end. I hated being passed, but seeing people I knew out on the course made it an awesome race. In the end I came across the line a couple minutes behind Greg (he's a much better skier than I) and was pretty relieved to be done.

Great showing by the Dorais bros. who finished 3rd and 5th overall.

I didn't feel great physically, but this race was so much more fun for me than the Jackson/Targhee races because there were many more people at my racing level. Can't wait until next year!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Lisa Falls Couloir

The purpose of the blog is a place for me to write down some things that I do so that I can remember that life is great sometimes. It's important to remember that on the days when you feel like you have to shovel poop. Today was a shoveling poop day. That is all.

Last Saturday I skied something that I've always wanted to do. I remember working in my cubicle at my job in San Jose looking at the photos of Lisa Falls in The Chuting Gallery on Andrew Mclean's website thinking "I have to do that sometime." Lisa Falls couloir is supposed to be one of the best in his book--AND one of the biggest undertakings. We had a gentleman's start (9a) and approached from Broad's in BCC. There was a nice skinner all the way to the top of the saddle between O'Sullivan and Twin Peaks so we cruised up there, then booted the rest of the way to the top. It was a fairly mild day and the views of the LCC south ridgeline as well as North BCC were inspiring.

It was an exciting day out what with a separated shoulder on the summit, 4 or 5 prereleases (my trab race heels have a DIN of about 3! and a runaway ski (mine).

The run had powder at the top, more pow on the apron with some refrozen avy debris underneath to keep things interesting, wet mashed potato snow down low, steep skiing, a couple rappels, and a heinous exit with a lot of rock hopping, down climbing, and then lots of bushwacking down to the road. Greg characterized the exit as "character building." So true. If we didn't have so much fun skiing the run, the memory of the exit would be much more painful. All in all a great day and a blast to finally ski that. The San Jose Layne would be proud of that ski day.

(Photos courtesy of Greg and Jon's facebook pages. Thanks guys!)

Navigating the ridge.

Booting to the top.

Conquistador Jon on the summit.

The line with Greg's edits. Amazing that the whole thing goes.

View from where we clicked in.

LC turning up high in the couloir with the LCC road visible 5,000 feet below.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

TLT 5 Mountain liner modification for my styloid processes

I tried searching the interwebs the past few days to see if there was info on boot mods for people with styloid process pain in ski boots. Nothing is out there. So, I'm throwing this out there for anyone that may find it useful.

One morning this week I got some skiing in before work. Afterward while driving back (I drive with my boots on early morning ski days) my problem area was hurting as it usually does after a couple of hours after being in the boot. I was walking really tenderly and I knew that that was the last straw. I couldn't go out again in those boots the way they were.

I got skunked by a shop in SLC not once but twice ("no you don't need to make an appt. Just come by." I come by. "Oh we're really swamped, come try again next week.") so I went north to Alpine Sports and they hooked me up! They don't really sell any touring stuff, but Jeff is an awesome bootfitter and touring boots aren't any harder to fix than a regular boot. We talked about punching out the shell to relieve the pain from my protruding styloid process of my 5th metatarsals (Hi Keith!) on both feet. The liner is thick and he suggested we try cutting a "window" (a quick fix and cheap) to relieve some of the pressure before we punch the shell (more expensive and time consuming). I really think this worked. I haven't ski tested the modification, but wearing the boot I couldn't feel the problem area anymore. Nice!

Note: The window only cut the outer layers of material off the liner. the inner part of the liner was intact. The window just reduces the thickness of the liner in the problem area.

This is something that would be super easy to do with just an exacto knife and a few spare minutes. I would have done it myself but I was so clueless about what to do.

Unfortunately for me, no skiing time today because of the boot issues. Instead, I went snowshoeing with some friends up to Thurston Peak. I decided I hate snowshoeing. We ran into some weather up high.


I went out before work for a few hours today (2/24) and am happy to report that the fix worked! My feet are happy. No pain or discomfort. Woot woot.

Monday, February 14, 2011

My feet are weird.

Thanks for the pic Dr. Nelson!

My bone #12 hurts from my ski boots. I can ski all day in them, but they're pretty sore and red afterwards. Is that normal? And I'm in danger of losing a couple of toenails. For this reason I've been considering selling the TLT 5s I have. The problem is what other boot to get? I'm not buying F1's and other viable alternatives don't come out until next fall (La Sportiva Spitfire/Sideral, Scarpa Alien, etc.) I'm not sure if my foot just doesn't fit the dynafits or if my foot is really weird and need special bootfitting.

I can feel the 5th metatarsal touching the side of the boot even with my naked foot in the boot shell (no liner).

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Need some motivation?

Surfing the interwebs I was looking at the Gym Jones website and reading some of the bios of people that train there. It looks like a wierd mix of mountaineers and jiu jitsu MMA fighters and movie stunt guys. There are so few hours in the day and I guess I've already got some priorities established that would be hard to change, but man, it would be really fun and fulfilling to spend some time and get in really good shape. The kind of shape where fast miles and long runs, onsighting 5.12, and doing well in rando races are all possible at the same time. Sigh.

Quote from his website: "If you weren't given the gift you can't get the gift so the best you can do - if your goal is important - is work as hard as you possibly can, pay attention every hour of every day and then maybe, maybe if you've done enough and been smart enough you'll emerge from the muck of mediocrity to shine a bit brighter than you shone before. Then, upon reflection you might decide your goal is a bit more important so you'll start paying attention every minute of every hour of every day. You'll find people who are better than you and you'll take an empty cup when you meet them. Their example will destroy or inspire you and if it's the latter you may stay and learn. You might imitate, doing as they do because you've already accepted that you do not know best - if you did you'd be leading the group they were trying to join. Perhaps being exposed to their superior ability will drive you to work harder than you thought possible, or necessary. Maybe you'll overcome your self-imposed (or worse, society-imposed) limitations and shine even more brightly. Wow, you're getting it: positive reinforcement for hard work and suffering. So maybe you give your goal even more significance and you begin cutting away the ideas and the expectations and the people who you believe prevent you from achieving it."

I love feeling inspired. I'm inspired by alot of things and lately I've read some inspiring books about some amazing people.

Anyway, reading some of the mountaineer/skier/outdoor athlete profiles they had some of their accomplishments listed. I started laughing when comparing my list to their lists.

Theirs include first ascents/descents of remote, bold lines in the Canadian Rockies, Pakistan, and other exotic locations. Hard climbing of all types. All requiring bravery and serious commitment.


- one hang the pink tape .12- route at the gym.
- last place, race division at skimo championships
- 12 hr. Ironman finisher.

My list of mediocrity could go on and on. Something that I think I struggle with from time to time is feeling successful at what I like to do. Lemme esplain. Einstein's Theory of Relativity concerns physics and laws of physics. I have a theory of relativity for athletics. It's all relative. My fast is another man's really slow. My slow is probably someone else's lightning fast. See? Jami says I have a hard time taking compliments, and it's true. If someone tells me I'm a good runner, I immediately think, "Yeah, but (fill in the blank) REALLY IS a good runner. They ran at (fill in blank) or did (fill in blank)."

My measure of success is different and needs to be different than the podium guys. I am just glad if I make it out for some type of activity, while others are guides, bums, or have jobs with more flexible hours. Now I'm rambling a bit. I guess I'm trying to make an excuse to make myself feel better for finishing last at the 2 skimo races I've done this year so far. At least I toed the line right? I'll try again at the CROWBAR race and the powderkeg and hopefully I'll be able to shine a little brighter than I have shone before.

More from Gym Jones:

You have to be willing to bite off more than you can chew, to overdose, and to fail. If you won't risk the answer you won't ask the question. If you lack the will to ask then consciousness will not unite with muscle and bone. I criticize such a lack of will (especially in myself) and ask, "What's the worst that can happen?" The fearful part of me replies, "I may fall short of my expectations. I may not be who I pretend to others. My perception of self may be proven wrong, very wrong." The confident part of me says, "So what ... only after breaking myself apart may rebuilding begin." So go ahead, break stuff. Break yourself on the once-hard edges of yourself. And recycle the debris into the foundation of your future.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

6am Sprint

Sometimes I have a hard time getting up at 5a to go ski by myself before work. Every time I do though, I always have fun. I need to remember that when I'm waffling the night before a planned solo ski. Just go--you need it and it will be fun.

I planned to go Monday morning, but Sunday night I had what I thought to be the beginning of a cold. So I slept in. Then I regretted not going all day and had some self loathing for wimping out.

Fast forward to Tuesday at 5:15a. I had no problem hopping out of bed, getting dressed and out the door. It is always more fun skiing with a friend or friends, but it doesn't always work out what with my desk job and all.

Skis hit snow shortly after 6a. After the approach and 2 quick laps down one of my favorite new runs I decided to bail rather than get a third run in. Pounding graupel and no goggles made it an easy decision. Anyway, I ended up skiing about 4k vert and was back at my car at 8:30 headed to work.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Alta->Days->Hallway->Cardiff->Pole Line

Kevin got his skis all dialed in and was game for a quick tour. I decided to give him a good tour of some popular runs near Alta. Starting at Our Lady of the Snows, we skinned up Flagstaff and make a quick run down into Upper Days. A quick little run, but the snow was good. From there we skinned back up out of Days and got on the R&B ridge (so playa) and over to the hallway couloir. We entered via the lower entrance which is wide and easy. Kevin is a rippin' skier. We are both on skis but we are not doing the same thing. He is fun to watch.

My favorite part of the day was watching KDay boost a 10 foot air off a hip on the way back to the car. Well done! I don't have the skillz to toss my bones like that and make it look so smooth.

With the steady fall of rain and warm temps the last 24 hrs., I'm sure conditions are terrible now, but they were great on Saturday. Thanks for the great tour Kev.

Lower entrance of the cooler.

KDay broke his pole BEFORE our first run. A 1.5 pole descent of the hallway with speed. Nice!

KDay tasting some wild snow.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Weekend Throwdown at the U.S. Skimo National Championship and the Grand Targhee Skimo Classic

First place (at both races) Reiner Thoni with last place (at both races) Layne Caldwell.

What a weekend.

A few revelations:
  • I'm not a good skier. The descents at Jackson Hole were steep, bumped, and a little icy--I lost TONS of time skiing too conservatively. I may have some Jackson ski nightmares for a while and I think I could have gone much better and faster on a snowboard. (I used to board for 15 years)Who seeks out skiing bumps on race skis? Apparently all the fast guys in front of me. Skiing hero snow (light pow) makes anyone feel like a great skier. Big moguls on flimsy race gear can magnify holes in skiing ability big time. The descents at Targhee were much easier due to the new snow and more groomers.
  • Some real training would probably make a big difference. My "training" has consisted about 15-20 days on skis, with running some small hills on days when skiing was not possible. Or sleeping in because I'm sort of lazy sometimes.
  • I am a weekend warrior. Skiing 1 (maybe 2 times) a week is not a recipe for getting to be a faster skier. However, I have several priorities in life that are way higher than skiing, so I'm generally okay with that.
  • I was the only racer in the race division at Targhee that did not have a spandex skin suit. This year's field did NOT have any weekend warriors. Only guys with Trab world cups, Gignoux or some other carbon boot offering.
  • A friend who raced Targhee this year had a ~27 minute improvement on his time from last year. His gear last year was similar to mine this year. He's also trained really hard this year, but it gives me some hope that I can get faster if I want to with a little more structure and effort to train.
  • Canadians are awesome. Yes, I'm making a stereotype. After the Jackson race, we stayed at a friend's house in Wilson and the Canadian national team was also staying there. They were a bunch of great guys and I loved hearing the eh, hockey references (We've pulled the goalie), converting Farenheit and inches to Celcius and cm, etc.
  • It was cold on the summits. Saturday at the top of Corbetts a volunteer was checking racers for frostbite and told me that I to get something over my ears immediately. Luckily I had a headband in my pack. Anyway, my ears have both been kind of sore and swollen from the cold. I think frostbite was not far off. At Targhee, the weather was much better, but still pretty cold on top of peaked mtn. (5F then add in a good wind chill. Brrr!)
I've tried to (gulp) swallow my pride and be okay that I finished last in two races this weekend. Hey, finishing last is a hard job but somebody has to do it. This weekend it was me. Twice. :)
Totals for the weekend:
Jax (Nationals) - 7,800 vertical ascent and descent, 4:16. Last place, race division.
Targhee - 5,300 vertical ascent and descent, 2:26. Last place, race division.

The moral victory of the weekend was my 34 minute improvement over last year's Grand Targhee Ski Mountaineering Classic thanks to my better gear. I should also point out that I had tired legs/body from Jax the day before so on a fresh day maybe I'm 45 minutes faster than 2010. Gear makes a huge difference. Andy and I figured I'm about 1-2 lbs. per foot heavier than almost all other racers. (My 2011 time in the 2010 race would have been 5th or 6th from last--Not great, but at least not DFL.)

These two bulls were tangling in our hosts' driveway.

Ian commented that this was a little "dog" moose. Moose are super sized in Canada I guess.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

SL Twins and Bonkers Fail

What is it today boys? Let's ignore all this new powder and seek out some terrible snow and skiing shall we? Sounds great!

The morning started off pretty well with a fast skintrack up into Broad's Fork. After 1.5 miles the skintrack ended though and our group had to put a skinner all the way to the top of the drainage. That was lucky for me because I had a hard time staying with Andy, Bart and Jason as it was. They really hammer away on the climbs (no lollygagging) and are fast (top 10 finishes at the US Skimo Championships in 2010). About 100 vertical feet from the ridge between O'Sullivan and SL Twins, Bart was breaking when he noticed some serious windloading. Contemplating what to do, we all decided to stand and watch while Andy explored booting up around some rocks. It didn't take long before we were all freezing. I could no longer feel my hands or any of my toes. Brrr! Eventually we decided to turn around to be safe and to be back down by noon. The hike was nice as I'd never been up Broad's before, but the skiing down for me was almost completely survival skiing. There was a smorgasbord of wind crust, refrozen avy debris, and a little bit of powder. Add that to the deadfall and the rocks down the summer trail exit (I had a nice header there) and it was probably the worst skiing I've had all year. I guess we just chose the wrong area today.

But, you know what they say, sometimes it doesn't have to be "fun" for it to be fun.

I wonder how Bonkers would have been today. Looked pretty good.

At least the sun came out even though temps were below 0 or just above.

All three of these fellas were rocking carbon fiber boots.