Saturday, February 23, 2013

2013 CROWBAR Race

Tim White at the finish line.
Today was the Cache Regional Overland Winter Backcountry Race (CROWBAR) on the Utah/Idaho border. It is entirely outside of ski area boundaries which is a rarity for Skimo races around here. The course was around 5,000 vert over 7 or so miles. The course was fantastic! All the ups were basically a single skintrack with kickturns every so often as we climbed up. The downs were okay too- 6-8 inches of light density pow over a breakable crust (yuck!) but it skied pretty well for the most part. 

I always seem to make goals to ski top to bottom without stopping, but my legs start to cramp and hurt from lactic acid  so bad that I wimp out and end up taking a couple little breathers on the descents. (I know, I know) Because of this, along with my mediocre descending skills, I always give up a lot of time to good skiers on the descents. Like Matt H. We climb about the same pace, but he totally outskis me. For me the perfect race would be feeling good on the ups, solid transitions, and skiing fast and well. I felt good on the ascents, transitions were pretty good, but man, I have some room for improvement on the descents!

This race course may have been my favorite skimo course yet--mellow start on a nordic trail, ascents around 15-20 degrees inclination, powder descents through mature pines and open glades with some refrozen tracks to keep you on your toes, nice weather and good friends to race with. Skimo racing is a blast.

1st - Jared 
2nd - Chad B.
3rd - Mark Hammond
I think I finished 9th? No results yet.

Finish line sandwiches, chili, and hot chocolate.

Gemma's golden crowbar.

"Yes, Jared, you have to carry this on the race course next year."

When I got home Jami went for a run in the snowstorm. She was wearing a snow hat when she came home.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Farmington Bay Eagle Day

I took the kids to see some eagles a while back. Up to 100 or more eagles nest here every winter and feed on the carp that live and proliferate in the bay. Cool to see so many bald eagles in one day. We probably saw 8-10 in about 45 minutes of looking. And only 10 minutes from the house.

We have these majestic, awesome raptors that live in our state. And we picked the freaking CALIFORNIA  GULL as our state bird instead?? What, was the Nevada swallow taken? We passed on the eagle in favor of the birds that beg and hang out at trash dumps. Nice one Utah. Can we please change this? Our sovereignty demands it.

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5 star conditions for race skis today

I had a great morning up Farmington yesterday, and wanted to go back up there today. Sometimes I think I must not have much of an imagination!  As I was loading up my new old snowmobile today, I noticed a ski was busted. Hmmm. Change of plans. Same destination, but different mode of transportation.I decided to have a "time trial" (I wasn't really going that fast, put had a decent pace all day) from Farmington Pond up to the top of Bountiful Peak. I think the snowmobile saves me about 80-90 minutes of skinning, and instead of exploring only the upper elevation goods, my ski day started at 4,500 feet elevation and 6 miles of snowmobile road before 2 or 3 more miles of skintrack to the top of my destination.

Obviously, with all of the skinning, I was taking my race skis. Conditions were great for race skis today--they are fast skinning on the road and they skied fantastic too! Often I survival ski on the downhill but today the snow had a nice smooth supportable base with maybe 3-4 inches of soft settled powder on top. That is my 5 star snow rating for race skis. Powder, but not enough to have to hang in the backseat. Not firm or variable at all.

As I was out, I kept thinking about how I am the only non-SLC based skier that I know that has race skis. Sorta sad really. I've been evangelizing to all of my friends about them. No takers yet though.  Those little sticks are money. Why don't more people have them?  Maybe race skis are an acquired taste? Or maybe all the snow magazines cater only to the park skiers and meat huckers? I for one love them. Not all the time--sometimes they suck. But sometimes they allow you to get back and ski in places that no-compromises-downhill-oriented gear and their owners will rarely, if ever see. I think every self-respecting ski tourer should have a pair of ski tights too. :)

I topped out on my first peak 2:45 into my tour and decided to scratch Bountiful Peak. Well, I'm running out of journaling stamina,  and it's getting boring so on to the pictures!

Map approximation of today.

Route looking from the road at the Farmington Snotel station.

Notice all of the snow between here and Antelope "Island." doesn't look like much of an island right now.

Race skis were the right choice today. Those are my tracks. No one skis up here but me.

Seconds please.

Winter is hanging on by a thread here. Everthing is warm and brown with a little white ribbon of death.

Skiing down the road would be easy right? 4 of the 6  miles were V2 skate and double poling.  But it was totally worth it. One of my funnest days ever on skis. I think I say that all the time.

Monday, February 11, 2013

2013 – Year of the Running PR

I used to dislike running. Maybe hate is too strong of a word to describe my feelings but I was not a fan. It was uncomfortable, slow (compared to cycling) On my importance ladder it was below climbing, mountain biking, and snowboarding and just ahead of video games. Now it probably goes skiing/running in a dead heat, climbing, mountain biking, Ms. Pac-man. I just admitted that I like skiing/running more than climbing. What has happened to me? I ditched one sport for time constraints (climbing) and took up sports (skiing/running) that take a similar amount of time and dedication. Hmmm.

Well, this year I plan to set some PRs. Hopefully. Before you think snarky comments about how my times I’m about too list are cold-molasses slow,  and how much faster you may be, just remember: Everyone is a punter to someone else, so be nice.

Mile – Maybe 5:40? I’ve run a few timed miles on the track for workouts, but never really raced it. I think I should be able to beat that. I would like to run sub-5 in my life, but it’s not going to happen without serious dedication and I’m more interested in longer distances. And I’m not getting younger.

5k – I ran the Dart/Viking challenge (local high school road race) in 2004ish and ran 20:11. This should be fairly easy to beat because I wasn’t much of a runner then. I’ll do the dart challenge this year.

10k – My fastest 10k was at the end of the Spudman triathlon two years ago. I ran a 42:40 for the running leg of the tri. This should be easy to beat with fresh legs and without swimming and cycling right before. There are lots of 10k races around. Any suggestions on a good one?

13.1 – I ran the Ogden half marathon several years ago and ran 1:39:57. I was (per usual) undertrained and died the last 3 or 4 miles. I’m registered for the Ogden Half again and will run with Jami. My list of races that I’ve suffered on grows longer and longer the more I race…

26.2 – My marathon PR was at the end of the Coeur D’Alene Ironman in 2008. I think my split was 4:22ish. This one should be hard to beat because I’m not planning on any road marathons this year. I’m planning on the Skyline Mountain Marathon again so 4:21 is now my race goal. No matter that it is 20min faster than my best run on that course.

50k – I might do one of these this year just to round out the PR list. Thinking of El Vaquero Loco—it looks awesome.

50m – Never run one. Thinking of the Pocatello 50.

100m – Never run one. I got into the Wasatch 100. So, if I finish, it will be a PR.

So that’s it. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Wasatch Citizen Series Race #7 Recap

Our Dear Leader of the Citizen Skimo series races, Andy, had last minute plans to Europe, so I stepped in as the substitute to help get the course set and get the race going. It truly is a labor of love--it takes a long time to get there early, setup and mark the course, give instructions, race, strip the course, give away freebies, and drive home. Really, everyone should give Andy and Jason a heartfelt thanks for their hardwork. 

We are seeing the fruits of their (and Chad B's) labors. Two years ago there was one race in Utah. Now with the powderkeg and the citizen series races, there's over 10. It's great! 

There were several new faces including at least one who drove from OGDEN to the race. I think there were roughly 60 people, so it may have been the best attended cit. series race yet.

Voile gave away a couple of probes, and a nice shovel. I also had a look at their prototype rando race skis for next year. They look pretty awesome. And with all the social push to "shop locally," Voile is making it really easy--Their Charger skis are my favorite ski right now, and they are making a rando ski. They will retail for $495 they say--locally made race skis on a budget! My whole quiver may end up Voile, Voile, Voile...
Some pics from last night:

Getting ready.

Ryan, my teammate for the night during a transition.

See, it's fun! 

Mike moments before ignoring directions and skinning straight up where folks
were skiing down.  Nice one Mike!

New skis Blake?

All type of gear--even tele skiers!

Jason handing out the winners pies.

The ladies refused to say who won, so they shared the spoils.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Sno-Stuff and Me: Our first outing together

Today was a mixed bag. Part disaster, part fun, part interesting and part hard. Disaster was me, fun was being out again in the warm sun, interesting was the snow, and hard was the snowmobiling.

 I bought a 1981 Polaris the other day with the express intent of skiing Farmington Canyon again. The canyon is no longer open to vehicular traffic in winter, so the only way to get up there is walk from the bottom (6 miles--I've done it lots of times) or by snowmobile. I bought this old fella for $200 bucks from a country boy in Morgan. It runs and gives a nice good jarring to the whole body while you drive it. I sorta hate it already!

It might sound weird  but the snowmobiling kind of wore me out more than the skiing. The road was total washboard all the way up and down. Sno-Stuff doesn't exactly have great suspension (read: none) and I wore my pack with my skis attached. With the rough road, my back was pretty sore at the end. I learned a thing or two to do differently next time.

Quick note about the snow: There must have been a pretty significant wind event there the last couple of days because the snow was seriously jacked. On each run, supportable, breakable, sastrugi, dense powder, and light powder were found. I brought the wrong skis--I wish I'd have taken my Voiles instead of my Trab race skis. 

Meet Sno Stuff. He's a little long in the tooth,  but hopefully things will
work out between us.

Really a nice day to be out. Sun, snow, and skis. A great combo.

The disaster: It was so warm I was skinning up in short sleeves. I stopped to measure the slope angle, stuffed one glove in my pack and put it on the firm, supportable crust next to my uphill leg. Next thing I know, my backpack made a break for it rolling 100 meters down the hill. My bag was unzipped and lost my Mtn. Dew which was not awesome. So I had to ski down with shortsleeves and one glove. I put the skins half in my pants, half out and started skiing down. Just as I was getting close to my pack, the snow was pretty variable and I crashed spectacularly--snow down the pants, in the ears, mouth and pretty much all over. I lost a ski in the process which continued another 100 meters down slope and (thankfully!) stopped somehow. I wish someone would have been watching--I was giving a pretty good show.

So glad it stopped when it did.

It wasn't all bad.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Some Novelty Skiing

The last couple weeks have been rough for me. A couple weeks ago I was in Tucson. The same weekend it was dumping here in SLC. The day I got home I was starting to feel crappy and it got worse and worse. I keep thinking about Andre the Giant saying "he's been mostly dead all day" in the princess bride movie. I've been mostly dead. I didn't want to miss out on the novelty skiing going on in the benches so I went out. And felt pretty terrible. Like get-home-and-come-lay-on-the-bed-without-taking-off-the-ski-boots terrible.

There is a rad little hill at the mouth of Farmington Canyon that we've been skiing. About 500 vertical feet or so, and a 5 minute approach. It's been skiing excellent and has satiated me while my body recovers from being sick.

Twilight skiing.
Ryan diligently was spooning turns to maximize the utility of the ski hill.

Lowest elevation ski tour ever? 4500'.

Kern River built this massive pipeline that goes through Bountiful and Mueller Park. Usually the snow is heavy enough that I avoid it, but  when it is cold, it skis pretty well. 

From the top of Triangle Peak. Sessions Mountain is up the other pipeline scar across the way.

Gas is pretty important. Look how far the pipeline goes.

I love the rime encrusted trees in winter. 

I had fun teaching this sweetie to ski the other day.