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.