Thursday, January 29, 2009

Nice Commute

I commuted to work this morning with my coworker David, aka Vice President of Development. Not only was traffic light, but riding conditions were soft and fluffy thanks to 8" overnight supplemented by some nice pockets of wind loaded goodness.

Who says developers do nothing but write code, drink Mountain Dew, play video games and read science fiction paperbacks? We try to get together once or twice a week for an offsite coordination meeting to discuss the latest software release under test. Well, at least that's what we talk about on the ride up. It's all business on the way down!

My new boards (186cm Line Prophet 100) were sweet, definitely more ski than what I'd previously demoed, but not too much that I couldn't keep things under control. I can't wait to learn how to really ride them!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Cold Leftovers

Nothing but tracked out snow and frozen fingers at Brighton this morning. Thankfully the fingers thawed on my second lift ride (dang that hurts!) and while the snow was used, it was still nice and soft over on Milly.

I was on some 181 cm Salomon Guns this morning and thought they were sweet. Mark, however, has all but convinced me I should go with 186 cm Line Prophet 100's. If there are any objections to that recommendation let me know. Like, in the next hour. I can't go back to my old skis and need to line up a replacement ASAP!

Logged 14,200 vertical in a little over 2.5 hours. Not a bad way to start the day.

Fact: I haven't been on a bike since December 27th.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Rubber Legs

I took the day off work to ride Snowbird with my brother. 22,460 vertical feet later my legs are toast. We spent most of the day doing laps on the Peruvian lift and then did a couple of runs on Gad 2 to finish. The picture was taken at the car after we finished and gives you a feeling for the conditions: Heavy, wet snow with lots of clouds. At times visibility was limited but overall it was a sweet day on pretty dang good snow considering this is the first storm in nearly two weeks.

Again, thanks to Bart, I was able to demo some Bluehouse MRs in the morning and Salomon FOILS in the afternoon. Of the two I prefer the FOILS mainly because they are slightly easier for me to turn (especially on CAT tracks and groomers) and they didn't seem to give anything up in the chop. In fact, they may have been a bit better in the mixed conditions due to their being a bit stiffer. I'm completely sold on mid fat skis and really need to buy a pair for myself. I had no issues keeping my tips up which was a real accomplishment for me given the heavy, wet conditions.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

We're having a boy...

...if any of you were curious as to the results of the ultrasound yesterday. Everything is looking good at this point and the slightly revised due date is June 21st. He wasn't shy about exposing himself so there's no doubt as to his gender unless, in the words of the ultrasound tech, "it falls off". Let's hope that doesn't happen!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Fresh Air

If you haven't been out of the valley in a week or more I strongly encourage you to head for the mountains to breathe some clean air, soak up the sun and enjoy the blue sky. It's beautiful up there!

I took the day off work in order to attend Cami's ultrasound at 1:30 but figured that left plenty of time to try out Bart's Salomon FOIL skis he let me demo this week. And while the conditions weren't ideal for a mid-fat ski like the FOIL, I wanted to experience them on a groomer day given my current lack of (or minimal) off piste skills. I was pleasantly surprised with how nicely they turned. They did require a bit more leg to put them on edge (compared to my extremely narrow, old school, Rossignol Rebels) and when not on edge they were a little shifty, but overall I had a great time carving big turns in the soft groomed snow. Hopefully we get some fresh snow this week so I can try them out under proper conditions.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Daddy Daughter Date: Solitude Nordic Center

Today was Kate's first time on XC skis. She fell a ton, especially in the first 20 minutes, but it didn't take long for her to figure out the basics and start motoring around the groomed trails. Her gymnastics coach has taught her that "I can do hard things" which is a phrase Kate repeated a few times this afternoon. She's a determined little girl and I knew she'd hang tough and enjoy the new experience.

We were skiing for a solid 2 hours interrupted only by a short 15 minute break to use the bathroom and have a snack. The Solitude Nordic Center was fantastic. The staff were extremely helpful and friendly, the trails were scenic and fun, and for a total cost of $18 I thought it was a great deal ($8 ski rental for Kate and $10 pass for me).

Friday, January 16, 2009

Battered & Bruised: Millcreek XC Ski


For those with less than optimal skills on xc skis I would recommend avoiding Millcreek Canyon. Climbing up was fine, though I had my moments where it seemed my skis were coated with grease and wouldn't grip the icy track. Luckily I had poles, otherwise I would have fallen on my face each time they slipped on the uphill climb. Going down, either in the icy track or the equally icy and uneven surface of the center section, there was no way I could avoid hitting the deck. A couple were at speed, and a couple were slow motion affairs, but all seemed to hurt equally as I slammed my hips (two on my left side, two on my right side - at least I was symetrical right?) onto the frozen surface of the road.

This morning I awoke stiff and sore which, even since I began skiing this winter, seems to be the norm. I suppose if I could figure out how to stop falling I'd fare better the morning after but for the near term it looks like I just need to accept the sore shoulders, hips, legs, butt, etc. as par for the course.

It was, however, a fantastic way to spend 90 minutes after work. The air was clean, temperature pleasant, scenery gorgeous and company entertaining. And with 948 feet of earned elevation gain it felt like a decent workout too. I think, however, that I'll hold off on skiing Millcreek again until we get some new snow to soften things up. My old body can take only so many hard landings!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Solo Turns

Logged 11,300 vertical feet this morning doing laps off the Milly Express chair at Brighton. When you combine a high speed quad, no lift lines and groomed runs it's pretty easy to do a bunch of turns in a short period of time. Even after grabbing a sandwich at Subway on my way in I was at my desk before noon.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Solitude Saturday

My legs are smoked after logging 14,800 vertical feet today with Mark A. and my brother, the latter in town to begin preparation for a March trip to Alaska where he'll be playing with helicopters. It works out nicely as he can use my house in Utah as a skiing base camp (though he snowboards...) and I can use his place in Arizona as a cycling base camp.

It should be noted that he and Mark logged a few thousand more vertical than I did as my legs (specifically, my right quad) shut down around 1:30 PM. True to the resort's name, we enjoyed the solitude and never had to wait in a single lift line all day nor share the runs with more than a handful of other skiers/boarders. The only real bummer was that the Summit Lift was a double so we couldn't all ride up together.

I had a few good tumbles, one in the Corner Chute and another in Honeycomb Canyon. I'll be sore tomorrow but all-in-all it was a fun day spent in great company.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Ski Recommendations

I had a great morning at Brighton shredding the white stuff with Fox, who seems to descend on skis just as fast as he does on a bike. The only bummer of the session was realizing, on my first run, after riding up the new Milly Express lift, that my current skis (10 year old 191cm Rossignol Rebels) don't work very well in powder. Of course, some of that may be due to my lack of skills, but since I seem to be one of the only guys still using "skinny" skis, I think it's time to close my ten year equipment gap and buy some new sticks. I'd rate myself a decent intermediate skier with aspirations to get much better. I don't, however, see myself doing any backcountry skiing in the near future so keep that in mind.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Tubeless Experiment

Thursday night I converted the front wheel of my 29er single speed to run tubeless. Not having any official supplies (Stans rimstrip, yellow tape, etc.) I decided to use what I had on hand.

Using an old, punctured road tube I cut out the threaded presta valve stem. I then removed the existing tube & tire from the rim, covered the existing rim tape with 3 layers of black electricians tape, inserted the presta stem, threaded on the bolt to hold it in place (I used pliers to get it good and tight) and remounted the tire (a 2.4 Continental Mountain King).

At this point I tried to inflate the tire using my floor pump and, when that failed, a C02 cartridge, with no luck. Luckily I have a neighbor who owns a nice air compressor. I drove over and we were able to easily inflate the tire. Unfortunately both the valve stem and tire sidewalls were leaking air so quickly that it was flat in a matter of minutes. However, I hadn't expected the tire to hold air at this point, but wanted to verify that the bead would seat and it would inflate without blowing off the rim.

With that test done I removed a section of bead, poured a bunch of Stans into the tire (I didn't measure as my bottle was almost empty so just dumped in what was left), reseated the bead and hit it again with the air compressor. As before I began losing air from around the valve stem and out the sidewalls but after shaking the wheel horizontally all the way around (rotating a few degrees each time) the hissing had stopped. I took it home and performed a few more sessions of shaking, laying the wheel on top of a bucket after I finished each, and it's held air ever since. The true test will come when I can get out for a ride (maybe next week I'll do a night ride on the neighborhood canal roads) but so far it's looking good.