Photo Cred

Monday, October 29, 2012

...And Then There Was Snow

One weekend we're riding damp singletrack, the next we're riding moist powder.  "Moist" isn't a descriptor typically associated with quality snowboarding but it sounds better than "soggy", which is what the snow felt like on Sunday.

We saw a bunch of snow and cold temps last week, burying the singletrack too deep for tires but still shallow enough for running.  There were reports of high-quality powder up on Teton Pass on Thursday and Friday so I figured I would scope it out later in the weekend.  Maybe 24 hours too late.

I spent the bulk of Sunday at Pioneer Park with Dave Bergart, staking out the nordic track for the season and cleaning the summer's bramble out of it with a brush hog.  Once we had the track in reasonable condition (and realized it was hours past lunchtime) I scrambled home, stuffed a PB&J in my mouth, put Rue in her cave for a nice nap, and loaded the truck with the tools I would need for taking advantage of this season's first snow of sufficient depth for making turns.

I failed to make note of the 50° temps or light drizzle at my house.  Or the bare ground in my neighborhood that had been 2" deep in snow 24 hours earlier.

Never let obvious clues stand in the way of a bad idea.

Up at the Teton Pass parking lot the typical bro scene was chattering away, but instead of stories about sick air they were going off about how good the snow was next to that one tree.  Hmm.

Refusing to lose my ill-advised ambition I threw on my stuff and headed south.  (Knowing the quantity of jagged limestone beneath the snowcover of the roadside Mt. Glory hits I chose to seek out the grassy slopes of Edelweiss Bowl instead.)  I dodged piles of dog poo out the service road toward the radio towers, and the top of the season's first run.  It's been months since I felt the freedom of carving turns in fluff, and it will probably be a few more weeks before I feel it this season.  

How to describe the turns?  How about "embracing the suction of a million tiny water droplets."

Forging ahead, I stepped back into my approach skis and started up Edelweiss.  The brave soul who put in the skintrack thoughtfully avoided the inevitable bushwhacking and log-hopping in the woods by cutting switchbacks straight up the gut of the bowl.  Given the quantity of grass and brush exposed above the soggy snowpack, this seemed like an entirely appropriate choice in current stability.

And the turns?  Much like the last run, with more brush.  I typically save bushwhacking-on-snowboard until really late in the season, but it appears that this season will be book-ended by it.

The water droplets on the lens are from stuffing the camera deep into the snowpack on a poorly-executed turn.  It wasn't raining that hard.

No, the brush wasn't actually that thick.  The turns required more effort than normal to keep things headed downhill.  Which was fine, given that the goal of the whole thing was to get a workout.

And at the bottom of the bowl, after wallowing in soggy snow and my early-season cynicism, I realized that I loved it so much that I skinned back up for a second lap.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Saturday Morning Rush

The weather changed around here this weekend, but not so much that the riding season is over.  Word is that the Targhee area is a total mudfest, but I can tell you that the trails around Victor are SO good right now--tacky and fast.

Saturday morning was overcast and damp.  What better time to ride a trail called Rush Hour?  I was actually a little surprised at the quantity of vehicle traffic on Highway 22 below, but there wasn't a single other person in the woods.

Mega thanks go to Teton Valley Trails and Pathways and to Trail-Machine Wendell (and all the other volunteers!) for the development of Rush Hour--what a rad addition to our system of easy-access singletrack!  Let's get rolling on Happy Hour!

Hope you enjoy French pop-rock...

...By the way, if you're enjoying this whole bloggity-blog, I figured out a way for readers to receive emails when there's a new post--look in the righthand column and Follow Via Email!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Cyclocross? Psychocross?

The Stats:

  • ~45 minutes of racing
  • Fairly flat course (it's in a city park--what do you expect?)
  • 4th-place in the Masters 35+ division
  • # of Wrecks: 1.5

Great turnout and a fun scene at MooseCross this weekend!  Victor Velo hosted the 4th Annual two-day festival of cyclocross racing on our beauty of a course at Pioneer Park in Victor.  (It's right down the street from the house--usually I just think of it as a fun obstacle course to ride with our dog.)  I spent the weekend helping make it happen, and figured that I may as well jump in for one of the races.

Fortunately the "Masters" division doesn't require mastery of this whole cyclocross thing, as I had only a microscopic clue of what I was in for.  I wasn't the only dude out there on a mountain bike, but there weren't many of us.

The Fitzgerald's team put a good showing at the start line--lots of orange and green and black.  And see the guy with the big white beard?  He smoked me for the first few laps.  Fortunately I can pedal my bike with some semblance of speed.  Unfortunately a large part of this whole cyclocross thing doesn't involve pedaling a bicycle.

Who the hell thought it would be a good idea to jump off your bike, carry it over a variety of obstacles, and then launch yourself back into the saddle, all while operating fully anaerobically?  Having never learned this vital(?) cycling skill, I watched the race leaders pull further and further away as I fumbled about getting my tender bits situated back in their rightful place atop my seat before the next dismount.

Speaking of dismounting, I thought I was actually decent at getting off my bike and running until I was shown otherwise shortly after the groovy-fun banked turns in the above photo.  A high-speed straightaway took us into a hard right turn and a "run-up".  (Big mound of dirt with railroad ties embedded into it.)

The setup was good, my speed felt right, I had my right leg ready to take the first running step, and as I launched myself forward off the bike my left foot stayed firmly locked into its pedal and everything went to shit.  Facefirst with a mouthful of dirt, struggling to get my foot out of its damn pedal with my bike laying on top of me.  Definitely lost some time on the leaders in that one.

But to hell with it.  Rolling through the finish with beer in hand it felt pretty good to have done it.  Maybe not entirely successful, but  I was glad to have taken part in this painful, bizarre form of cycling competition.  (Unfortunately it turns out that racing cyclocross is not recommended for people with busted ribs.  I didn't end up racing on Sunday.)

I'll have lots to think about working on before giving this whole thing another shot.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Riding the Pole

Despite the busted (bruised? cracked?) rib from a blown corner on Rush Hour (the close-to-home-quickie-ride) a bit over a week ago, I was feeling all antsy yesterday and went out for a lap on my favorite trail.  Pole Canyon is steep, unrelenting, and gorgeous.

The trip back down is pretty fun, too.

I also decided to initiate a movie-making career, inspired by the fall colors, cool lighting, and taking a break from focusing on my heart-rate monitor.  (Racing season is largely over for me--back to just-for-fun riding, and a bit of showing off our local trails.)

Turn it up!