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.