Tuesday, January 29, 2008

CRYSTAL MOUNTAIN MONDAY

"I regret that I have but one life to give to outdoor recreation."
That was my thought earlier this week after I spent the day snowboarding in the knee-deep righteous pow at Crystal Mountain. I guess what I really mean is I regret that I don't have the income required to pursue such fun-ness on a regular basis. Such fun-ness as renting a big mutha Toyota Highlander, blasting through the snow and right on past the cars slip-sliding off the side of I-405 (Monday's Seattle commute was epically bad), and snowboarding the slopes at Crystal where the lift tickets are $58.
But I had an excuse for shelling out the dough. I was working. As it were. Doing a story on Crystal's new Northway Chair which opens up 1,000 acres of steep, deep, formerly backcountry terrain. All the runs were black- and double-black diamonds. For an guy who snowboards once or twice a year these days, it was challenging.

But the snow was incredible. Shin- and knee-deep in parts and most of it untracked. I snowboarded with Sean Bold, head of the ski school and a real nice (not to mention) patient guy. (Former Cat 3 bike racer too, it turns out.) That's him in the pics. I like the one in the middle where he's just a blur of snow and all you see of him is one ski pole.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

SNOW GOING

Compliments of Rick Hill, here are a couple people who aren't me--the lime green Scott Young and Camelback sucker John Clark--doing something that I've done absolutely none of lately: running. (Of course in this photo they're momentarily stopped but you get the idea ...) They're training for the Chuckanut 50K--something else I'm not doing--and as has been typical this winter, doing it whilst the snow doth fly. I toyed with running the 50K, signed up for it and even went on a trio of 3-hour-plus runs (each of which was snow-blown) but decided against it. Especially since ... I've been getting some long rides in on my two-wheeler!!!

Yesterday was three hours: the Donut ride in below freezing temps! But with no wind, it was really quite pleasant. Saw eagles, herons by the score and even a coyote sneaking through the tall grass along Ferndale Road. The sun coming up 'twixt Mount Baker and the Twin Sisters was stunning. We started out with about 12 riders which dwindled to six after the Ferndale hill, down to three by Birch Bay--a yungin named Forrest, Brett Bauer, and myself.

Rode the Fantom CX and learned a valuable lesson--with the tires pumped up to 100 psi, I feel every single chip of them there county chip-seal roads. My upper back and neck ached like crazy all last night and today. I'll try less air next time.

After the ride, I stumbled upon the Fanatik Bike Team website/blog. Some good stuff there, especially a piece by Bryeroni (Bryce Fegley) on winter training. Check it out: http://www.shuksanvelo.com/special.html.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

GOOD DAY, SUNSHINE

Rode up to Galbraith today. Crystal clear and crystal cold. Snow and ice on the on the ground the whole way. If I thought the brakes on the Fantom CX were useless before, when they're covered in gobs of snow and ice they're downright nonexistent.
video

Saw five or six Washington State Patrol vehicles up there, which is odd, me thought. Later, I took note of a couple young fellers riding bikes and carrying what looked like rifles or pellet guns. Kinda had me scratching me head for a bit.

Snowboarded with Jen, Baker, and the boy's friend Ethan, at Mount Baker on Monday. Like today, incredibly clear and cold--probably teens up there. Saw a couple guys climbing a frozen waterfall which is something I'd have to say I don't ever see myself doing.

A couple Sundays ago we had a true anomoly for this winter--a sunny day with temps in the low 50s. I rode with the Fanatik guys and gals; it was terrific to be riding in a pack with other folks for the first time since probably October. We practiced leadouts and sprints and did one loop of the far Tuesday nighter course--heartrate up to 181 at one point. Man, that felt good.

I want to do it again. Soon.

Monday, January 14, 2008

WE'RE GOING TO STATE!

Saturday, Bake had his first chess tournament of the year. Up in Lynden at the fairgrounds. (Last time I was there, I was racing my cyclocross bike across the muddy demolition derby area and through the pig parn; see pics, etc. below.) He's been real busy with indoor soccer, basketball, and is in a much more stimulating school environment this year, so we've played just about no chess. Our expectations weren't great.

So, what does he do--he goes out and wins three out of five games to qualify for the big state tournament in Seattle! It'll be his first time. He was so happy and proud, as were his parents. (That's him in the rainbow dreadlock hat by the way.)

Chess tournaments are all-day affairs from like 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. One can only read so many magazines before mind-numbing boredom sets in. (Especially if you're in someplace like Lynden.) Below, Mary Margaret Bowmer of the Fanatik Bike Team passes a few hours spinning on her rollers.

Oh, and if you haven't seen it, check out the story I wrote for The Seattle Times about riding cyclocross bikes on the trails and roads around Bellingham: http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/outdoors/2004115882_nwwbiking100.html.