Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Top 5 of 2011

As I was getting in a ski session/workout before work this morning I was thinking about the last year and some of the things I’ve been able to do. I'm a lucky person. 2011 was a good year. I have an amazing wife, great kids, and a great job. I hope that 2012 will be as good. There were several things that didn't make it in my list, but here’s my top 5:

#5 Wild Iris. Camping/Climbing with the family and friends was super fun. I’m mostly a sport climber, and Wild Iris has to be one of my favorite all-time places to visit. We were only there for a few days, but the kids always ask to go there now, so I’ve got the kids hooked too! An annual tradition from now on.

Abe on the Zorro Wall. (Jami Caldwell collection)
 #4 Skyline Mountain Marathon. My first Marathon. Beautiful course, tiny race field (we all fit on one yellow school bus on the shuttle to the start), great views, singletrack, etc. It hurt so good. The 2012 iteration should be even better with friends running the race and trying to best my 2011 time. The race really does start at mile 20. The last 10k was a beatdown! 

(Photos from Skyline Mountain Marathon Facebook page)

(Photos from Skyline Mountain Marathon Facebook page)
#3 Lisa Falls/Too many powder days to count. Alta recorded over 750” of snow in the 2010/2011 year with skiing from early October to June. It was incredible. I skied lots of pow, and saw a few new areas which always makes it fun. Lisa Falls probably sticks out as the most memorable skiing day of the year with over 5,000 feet in descent/ascent, an improbable looking line and good friends. Haven’t skied it? You need to—It’s amazing.

(Greg Moellmer collection)

(Jon Middlemiss collection)

#2 Wyoming Skimo Weekend 2011. Jackson/Targhee races were brutally hard physically and mentally. While I’m not real speedy, this is still a great time and a fun weekend with friends. I won’t mention the results. But hey, at least I was out there right? Right?

#1 Uintas loop. This was a beautiful sunshine-filled day with LOTS of singletrack, and lots of notrack through bogs & rockgardens. Red Castle is beautiful. Awesome day—the furthest I’ve ever ran. 35 miles. Just as an aside, I tried to get out of this run, but Greg was having none of it. Thanks for not letting me wimp out Greg! I need good friends like Greg in my life to help me have fun... We had to drink water from a stream w/o purification aids and neither of us got giardia. Bonus!

Greg made a great video of the day.
Kings Peak Ultramarathon, 3 Sep 2011 from Greg Moellmer on Vimeo.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Wasatch Citizen Race Series 1/12/12

Last night was the first of (hopefully) many nighttime races at Brighton. Temps were a balmy 7F, with no wind and clear skies. If not for all the lights, the stars would have been spectacular I'm sure. With the holiday racing series having decent attendance, this was sure to be a well-attended, fun event as well. The course started at the bottom of the snake creek lift, and climbed up to the top of the majestic lift via skinning and a short bootpack. The format was burn as many laps as you could in 60 minutes. I got 6 laps in just over 60 minutes, which was good for me, but not the 8 laps that the Drs. Dorais did.

 Hopefully everyone that came out had a fun time--I certainly did!

 Thanks Doraises, Brighton, Brighton Ski Patrol for making it happen!

Scoutmaster Andy instructing the troops.

Stratos boots, 2 pairs of Pierre Gignoux, Carbon Aliens, TONS of pairs of TLT5s, F1s, and 4 buckle beefies were seen on racers. My son asked why everyone was wearing miner helmets at the race. 

After 60 minutes of hypoxic recreation, get your relax on!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Wyoming Skimo Weekend

And we're off!

I love this quote from Mark Twight:

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. Now you become a real selfish prick, and you begin paying attention every second of every minute of every hour of every day, and you sustain your awareness for weeks and months at a time. You no longer think yourself a unique snowflake, you're a steel-edged blade shaped like a snowflake and you're spinning at warp speed. You're the biggest fish in the pond. You're a badass. Now you have options.

Well, I don't really have options other than to grovel but I still have fun doing it. The hard part for me is comparing yourself to others because of the different levels of "the gift" that I have and what others have. Anyways, I think my star might have shown slightly brighter than last year, but not quite as bright as I was hoping. Well, enough jibber jabber, on to the recap.

Jackson (Nationals)

The USSMA ski mountaineering national championship was held on Saturday January 7 at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. I did this race last year and got crushed! With some lighter gear and better fitness I was optimistic about having a better result this time around. I had a few objectives that I wanted to accomplish: First, not finish last (2011 I was last place!) Second, finish in 3:30. Third, ski more aggressively than last year, which isn't really measurable, but whatever.

I am always surprised at how quickly the race starts out. For a 3-4 hour race that goes straight uphill, it feels weird to start out with an anaerobic sprint, but I joined the crowd and ran for a couple hundred yards before settling in. Because of the high pace, the field is strung out almost immediately into a long thin line of lycra-clad racers doing some heavy breathing.

The day was beautiful, the sun was out and the bumps were huge! I felt like I couldn't hit my top gear all day--maybe from the third-world virus(dang street tacos!) I had earlier in the week? I could watch people whether on the skinner or the booter slowly putting time into me and not being able to match. Ugh. I hate that feeling.

My watch showed 8,000 feet of gain in just over 11 miles. While I'm dissapointed that I didn't hit the time that I was hoping for, I did improve 27 minutes from 2011 and finished in 3:49 and NOT in DFL. That's a moral victory, right? Also, I felt like I skied better than last year, so I was happy about that too.

Team Wasatch was well represented with Jason and Gemma placing third, Jared and Andy placing in the top 10 and other Utahns putting in solid efforts.

One thing about me for better or worse (probably for worse) is I take some self-appreciation from what I do and how I do it. I remember getting a fortune cookie once that said "Just when you think you're winning the rat race, along come faster rats." In my case, there are always faster rats. It seems I've always been a step below my peers at whatever it is we're doing. Take climbing for instance. At the crag my friends were working and sending .13+ and .14s while I worked the piss out of a .13a before finally sending. Now with skiing, I have friends that are in the top 10 in every race they do, while I'm struggling just to finish! Skimo ain't for sissies that's for sure. Go do a triathlon if you're looking for something easy.

I'm not smiling--let's just be clear on that.

The Grand Targhee Ski Mountaineering Classic

For Targhee, the goals were, again, not to finish last (I finished DFL in the race division last year), and to finish under 2:15.

Many of the same players stayed and raced at Targhee the next day. I felt really good on the climb up Fred's--2k in 35 minutes or an average of 56 vertical feet per minute! Feeling good was short lived. The second climb is really low angle for quite a while before it starts gaining significant vertical. For whatever reason, I'm slower on the flatter sections and faster on the steeper sections--that seems backwards, but it's true. I was at the transition with a group of 5-10 people that slowly glided away from me over the flatish next mile of the race.

Skiing off of Peaked into the cat skiing area, the conditions were (for me) difficult. breakable crust with ice patches, refrozen debris, rocks and bushes. I gave up time on this and got passed by 2 people towards the bottom of the descent.

I pulled into the transition for the last climb just after the 2, but was the first one out, and started climbing. I knew both of the people behind me were better skiers, so I tried to put the hammer down, but I had nothing left at that point after 2 hard races in 2 days. I stayed in front of them by 200 feet to the end of the climb and began the last ski down, only to be passed by both of them before hitting the cat track down to the finish. I was bummed to get passed so close to the finish.

I'm sure that without Jackson the day before, I could hit 2:05ish, but I didn't have it in me that day. I finished in 2:20, completely frozen from crashes on the last descent. I was at the top of the first climb with several people who ended up finishing in 2:00-2:10, but two days of racing were catching up to me as the race went on.

Overall, it was a great experience and alot of fun.