Went through and gave away a TON of old clothes. If you are in the market for some assorted used clothing head over to the DI, they are stocked now. That felt great. Here's what came off my t-shirt shelf, I should have counted...
First big tour of the year today. Here's how it went down:
This season I am making the switch to AT gear for touring. I'll still run the split board from time to time but I made the decision based on ease of travel in the backcountry. Yeah, the transitions are slow with a split board and it's probably not the most efficient for hiking up but I think it works great and have done some pretty big tours on it. The problem is that flat run outs suck and getting around in deep snow while strapped in or one footed SUCKS! Enter Voile Insane 183's, Scarpa F3's and Dynafits.
I just finished setting everything up this week and was stoked to get out and check out the new gear this weekend. When The Samurai proposed doing the Interconnect Tour from the base of Snowbird to Park City I figured what better way to break in the new gear and get the skinning legs going than to get out for a 5-6 hour 8-9k vert tour. The Samurai has 40ish days touring this year so I knew I was in for it, and had my fingers crossed for now blisters in the new boots. I figured it couldn't be worse than the Stupor Tour
We started with the early bus up to Snowbird and were skinning up the Dick Bass highway by a little after 7:30. From there we were going to ski Mineral Basin, skin up to Alta, ski to Grizzly Gulch, skin up to Twin Lakes Pass, ski to Solitude, take the SolBright trail to Brighton then skin up Guardsman area and down to Park City.
The secret ploy:
Still holding a grudge from the punishment that Bart and I put him through an a couple of bike rides this summer Jared had a scheme brewed up to work me over.
Part 1: The Gear. Knowing I was going to be on some big (for a racer) fat skis he showed up equipped with some little 160 Dynafit race skis, tights, race bindings and euro carbon boots. These things are lighter than my carbon road shoes! Bart at least had some more normal pants and boots but still pulled out some little 160's. Uh oh, having skinned 1/2 hour all year and knowing how these guys roll I knew I was in for it.
Part 2: The steep ice hill. Knowing that I was new to my gear and didn't have skin edge to edge on my tips and tails Jared (or was it Bart?) suggested we punch it straight up the steepest (stupid steep) icy groomer we could find, with a snow gun showering light crystals on it. Almost at the top of the stupid thing I started sliding backwards and didn't stop till the bottom. 200 yards. High speed too, thought I was done for!
Part 3: The Binding. On the way to Solitude the heel piece of the binding that I coincidentally bought (but thankfully not yet paid for) from the Samurai broke in two and I had to ski the rest of the tour with one heel swinging free. Coincidence? You make the call.
Part 4: The Keys. Jared casually handed me a giant key ring with about 20 keys on it early in the tour and asked me to hold them for him. It wasn't until a few hours later that I realized he was trying to weigh me down...
On the run from the law:
Snowbird was super cool about us hiking up and skiing in bounds. Alta on the other hand was not and the girl at the gate heading over from Mineral was pretty rude and wouldn't let us through. She said we'd need to go back to from where we started and get Alta/Snowbird tickets... Yeah... We went around back of the shack and hid behind a hill where we ripped skins and then booked it across the cat track and tucked the whole resort. Good way to get the heart pumping, and practice my fast transitions...
On the way in to Park City we ran in to some more patrol/lifties who also wanted to foil our plans. This guy wouldn't let us ski down Park City and tried to send us miles out of the way in to Iron Canyon. Hmmm yeah sure. We went as far as the puke hill saddle then skied down to Shadow Lake and out the Spiro drainage. No arrests yet...
All in all a great tour. Killer weather and some good skiing despite staying within resort boundaries and out of avalanche terrain. We hit Mineral Basin at 8:45 right before the masses and got some fresh turns. That was a highlight for sure.
So I guess I need to turn more.
Good skiing down to Brighton too over on Millicent.
The new gear was great and the freedom of being able to traverse through powder and walk through flats was pretty nice. I think I would have hated that tour on a splitboard.
No blisters and only a couple pressure points in the boots. Just getting used to the gear so my transition speed is still a little slow and I got heckled for it all day. Other than that I hope I didn't slow those guys down too much, though I don't think they'd have the heart to tell me if I did...
Good times though, can't wait for more stable conditions!
Here are two pictures that embody the true spirit of La Ruta. All racing aside, La Ruta is about pushing your own boundaries and seeing what you are made of. These two guys are as tough as they come.
One arm- killed it the entire way. Amazing.
Look closely at the guy on the left... that's right, prosthetic leg. Wow.
That was certainly one of the most memorable experiences of my life and one of the most intense races I ever done. The night before the race, promoter Roman Urbina talked about the race and ended by saying that this race is mostly mental. You really need to be in the right state of mind just to finish the thing.
As for my 2nd place- I still can't believe that all came together. I rode my own race, stayed consistent and dug deep when I needed to. I am super excited though, I never would have thought I could get 2nd in my first attempt!
Check Cycling Dirt for lots of cool race videos, thanks Colt.
I know some people get a vision of lounging at the beach enjoying a vacation when I say I am going to Costa Rica... getting up at 4 am every day to tackle this is what's in store. Mud, rain, heat, cold, piranhas, hiking, exhaustion I will be disappointed with anything less!
OK so I should know that already. Maybe I did but it was easy to forget. I hurt my back/left side ribs in my dual crashes last Saturday. I was pretty sore right below my armpit for a few days- just felt like a bruised rib/pulled muscle or something. It got better throughout the week and I wasn't feeling too bad. Sleep wasn't too much trouble and I thought I was fine. I even did some pullups and pushups this week pain free. I thought I was in the clear.
That all changed Friday night when I decided it would be good to stretch a little. I was doing normal stretches for me and came to one that I do all the time- extending arms to the ceiling, lengthening the spine and arching the back slowly. All of a sudden- "OH S%^$!" I felt some separation in my ribs in that spot down below my armpit and man, that hurts. Now I feel like I have broken rib and certain movements make me cry out, sleeping hurts like crazy and the cross race yesterday was excruciating. I tried to ignore it for the first part of the race but all the standing bumpy sections where you had to accelerate were killing me. Now I don't know what to do- maybe I should let it heal but cross is so fun that I am tempted to go suffer through another hour... it feels pretty messed up though...
Speaking of cross, yesterday at Wheeler was awesome. So many people out racing and watching. Super cool. I managed to get in the lead group and even gave it a shot at the front for a lap despite not being able to fully accelerate out of the saddle. I pinched in the creek bottom and lost some air before Stan's sealed the hole, but started to roll my tire a little in the corners. Even almost ended up in the goose pond! Ali got by me there then I proceeded to get in Bart and Eric's way for a bit and almost cost them the chance to contest the race. They got by me though and it went down to a sprint for the win, and I rolled in 4th.
Just writing that makes me want to go race, but just moving my arm makes me want to yell bloody murder. What to do, what to do...
I was getting a little cold during yesterdays freezing cross race so I figured I'd pack my helmet vents for a little warmth...
Having a quite some luck racing cross this year- can't ride a clean race to save my life. Sorry to anyone I crashed in front of lap 1. I felt pretty bad, hopefully nobody's race was ruined. I got going again and got back in to the race and eventually made my way up to Bart, but that was short lived and I wadded it up in the exact same spot after another couple laps. After that I was riding to conservatively down that hill while Bart rallied it like it was dry. Very impressive cx mud skills! I still managed 2nd despite shivering my way through the last two laps. I really never warmed up the whole race. That was a cold one...
Killer mtb ride today through some off limits terrain. That's all I'm saying.
Trying to figure out how to prepare the mind for the suffering of La Ruta. Does anyone have any torture devices I can borrow? Going to need to push the pain tolerance a little higher!
OK so I really don't speak any Portuguese and my Spanish only helped me a little down there. I picked up a little Portuguese, though I did a better job picking up some nice Brasilian poison ivy/oak or something. Yaaaa itching like crazy!
About to spend one last day in Brasil then hop on a red eye back to the states. We are in Sao Paolo now which is big beyond big. I never imagined that so many apartment buildings could exist in one place. But then we are in the 4th largest city in the world and you have to put 18 million people somewhere. I guess Tokyo, Hong Kong and Mumbai are the only cities worldwide to beat out Sao Paolo. Wow.
The race took place out in the country though and it was beautiful- I'll get some pics up when I get home. The racing itself was very tough and we weren't quite able to ride with the top guys. Its tough when you travel across the world and try to perform at your best- there are just too many variables you can't control that you can at home. Travel takes a toll as well.
Its all about the experience though and we saw some cool stuff and participated in an amazing event. The people here are great and the culture is very unique.
Today we are doing a little city tour then heading to the airport.
Another flat- that's it, I'm going tubeless or with some tubies.
This time I flatted about one minute in to the race when I had to make a last second adjustment in speed and direction while hopping a log to avoid Rico who had gone down on the log. I pinched and it slowly leaked to the point where I crashed in a corner because my tire folded and I was forced to nurse it over to the pits where I aired it up with a borrowed pump. The sealant held the new air and I set out to chase. I actually enjoyed the race and got a good workout which is why I go in the first place.
I realized that this is three flats in three races @ Weber Fairgrounds in the past year. The curse of the fairgrounds! Maybe I should stay away...
I just worked the week up in Boise and came home to find out we are heading to Brazil on Monday afternoon to compete in Iron Biker! Looks awesome, can't wait.
The trip was in serious jeopardy due to visa processing delays but somehow it worked out and our passports have been red labeled for Saturday delivery. Can't say I've ever been to Brazil so I am excited to go!
1st flat tire of the year, 1st off-road ride with tubes of the year. Coincidence? You make the call...
In my haste to finish building my new cx bike on Friday I decided to take the quick approach to tires- regular clinchers with road tubes filled with Stan's. Works good for thorns but still doesn't protect against the dreaded pinch flat...
Well its always rider error and flatting was my own fault but it seems that tubeless setups do allow for a larger margin of error.
The race was a blast, cross is super fun. I was stoked to be able to hang with UT's cx elite for most of the race even if they were taking it easy and gappinng me through the barriers every lap. I really need to work on my transitions on to the bike after running. I can get on fine but getting clipped in and up to speed took me a lot longer and I had to chase to close down gaps every time. That's an needless waste of energy, got to work on that.
Flatted with 1 to go and was solidly in 3rd, not making any time on Rico but holding my own. Got passed by a train of guys while running my bike but borrowed an egg beater equipped single speed for the last 1/4 lap to hold on to 6th or 7th I think. Thanks for the loaner bike, much appreciated!
Hmmmm, maybe... unless we sleep in tents at La Ruta. Boy, I hope not, but wouldn't be surprised! It was awesome to get out even if it was just one night. The mountains are cool and all but every time I come back from Vegas I think about moving down there. Ha, psyyyyche!!
One good thing about not having a miles credit card is that when I accumulate enough points I can get whatever dumb random stuff I want. These will come in handy this winter
Also finally got around to cleaning the scalpel after the P2P yesterday. Here's what came out of the si steerer trash can. This does not include the stuff on top I was able to pull out immediately, at least a few Gu wrappers that ended up in my pocket, another bag or two of Chomps, a few cookies, browies, fig newtons and a pb and j chunk. Means I was fueling well I guess.
When I was 18 I moved from the 802 to the 801 looking for bigger mountains and a college degree. I found both and I'm still here 10 years later as UT has a lot to offer. I still have my VT pride though, especially when it comes to maple syrup or cheddar cheese...