Wednesday, January 26, 2011

2011 sked

Here are all of the events that I plan on doing this year for sure (EDIT: I am going to update the results as they happen):

Tiki Torch Dash, January 15 - 1st in Solo short course circuit race, 2nd in vertical @~99%
Sunshine 5000, February 5 - 9th @ ~80%
Roam Randonee Rally, February 26 - 2nd @ ~94%
Dogtooth Dash, March 26-27 - 6th @ ~83%
Lake Louise Race, April 2 - 3rd @ ~89%
Esplanade Epic, April 16-17 CANCELLED :(

Then a pretty awesome ABA calendar!

Hardcore/Redbike XC, May 22-23 - 3rd in dirt crit, 5th in XC
Giver-8-er, May 29 - 22nd, but good training!
Kananaskiker, June 4-5 - 9th @87%, 8th, 8th (XC, XC TT, HC TT)
Iron Lung XC, June 11 - 11th @ 84%

then a nice break...

Nationals XC, July 16 - @ 1 lap (STANS is your friend)
Edmonton Canada Cup, July 24 - 31st @83%

then a nice break...

Perogy XC, August 21 - 4th @91%
Hinton XC, August 27 - 6th @87%
Hinton Marathon, August 28 - 8th @86%, 16th in timed downhills @88%

BOW 80, September 18 - 20th @84% (5th @85% in 20-30 cat)

And then some cyclocross! I'll try to do as many races as possible, but I may skip some single race Calgary weekends to focus on school.

I think I would try to relay the first couple of marathons, see how the legs react after going hard in the XC the day before. I think the marathons should help my XC as well.

No road races in there. I might throw in Canada day crit, Bowness Hill Climb/RR, Bicisport RR, and maybe the Lethbridge RR/XC; probably not though...

During the long breaks it is important to keep training, but also to do some exploring on the bikes. Maybe there are some fun out of province races. It is nice not racing until Victoria Day weekend, it means I can go skiing into May!

Baseline goal is to improve from last year. The "season maker" would definitely be throwing down some sick skimo results, and then not getting 'chicked' at Nationals or the Canada cup (or skimo for that matter)!

Let's hope to stay healthy! review

2010 In review. I would have to say that 2010 did not suck.

- The year started off right with a powder day at Revelstoke, leading to refills in the afternoon.

-We did our AST2 avalanche course. It was a lot of fun getting into some bigger ascents and descents, not just yo-yoing the same 200m slope all day.

-Reading week was a lot of fun. We stayed based in Canmore and went for some nice ski tours, and had a fun day at Kicking Horse (KHMR).

-Good winter training, some nice rides on the snow, then on the road in early March! I definitely suffered hard on the road, just like I have suffered the previous springs.

-A sick powder day at Sunshine Village (SSV). We initially were planning on heading to KHMR, but the road was closed due to an accident and we returned to SSV. It was a blessing in disguise as we ripped some deep pow (Dive opened up too!) and didn’t really have to compete with anyone for fresh tracks (except the one time we snaked the ‘freeride’ team. BTW, a good tip: never let a ‘freeride’ team get in front of you, unless you like skiing moguls!). Even with the highway closed, KHMR was super busy

-My first ever skimo race, the Dogtooth Dash at KHMR. Probably one of the hardest races I have ever done, but it is awesome finishing and knowing that you just crushed a ridiculous amount of vert! Definitely a pivotal moment of the year… Shortly after, I started looking around for some used race gear, and I found some

-Bike racing got an early start as the snow disappeared in April. I started off pretty slow (I got dropped early on in a road race), but I got some good races and group rides in the legs.

-April mid-exam break Canmore sessions. I headed to Canmore whenever I had free time to study, play Pokemon, and to do some skiing and biking. The trails were awesome, and I got to ski Milky Way in the Dive! It gets better: An upslope ripped through and Bill and I toured up Nakiska to ski some ridiculously deep powder! That day, I also found out that I would be going to Norway to launch rockets. Skiing Surprise pass in May was also fun!

-I finally got a job for the summer, helping to design some stuff to fatigue hospital mattresses.

-After suffering hard in March and April, I had pretty good fitness in May and June and upgraded to the elite category in both road and mtb. Those were my main two goals this bike season.

-Canada day long weekend was a blast. Justin, Cody, and I headed to Canmore to have a mini training camp, and preride the nationals course. So. Much. Fun.

-Suffered hard against some ridiculously fast riders at the Edmonton Canada Cup and at Nationals.

-A nice break from racing from late July to late August, so I rode some bike park at KHMR with Bill. But the highlight was definitely riding the awesome trails in Rossland and Fernie!

-KIM MITCHELL, sick concert, even sicker mixtape

-My cross season was short, but awesome. I was top 10 every race and did not get lapped! The weather was really nice, and I did a lot of my training on my new mountain bike (Marin Attack Trail). Who says you have to ride gravel trails or get pummeled by roots on your cross bike during cross season?

-NORWAY. Arguably the best week of my life. An awesome course on sounding rockets, in an awesome location (above the arctic circle, on an island, with mountains, right on the ocean), and met some awesome people! I am super stoked on rockets and Norway now!

-November was pretty chill. I rode my mountain bike some more until the snow finally came, and capped off the month with the first ski mountaineering race of the season.

-Finished up my projects and exams in December, ripped a powder day at KHMR in between. Although it didn’t snow much, we did some fun ski tours, and eventually got to rip some pow at KHMR again.
My first biking season in a while without a coach, it went pretty well. I probably would have been faster with a coach, but would have had to sacrifice some of those ski days in the winter and spring.
Very few negatives in 2010. My marks in school slipped a little bit, either I am not as motivated as I was in my first 2.5 years, or I just have to try harder (and not go skiing instead of studying?). Not really that alarming as nobody seems to give a rat’s ass about my marks because I didn’t solve world hunger during my spare time. Oh, and English class sucked (as expected).

2011 started off pretty shitty actually. The fireworks scared the crap out of the dogs. MT’s dog, Cassie, ate what was left of my Toblerone (I am guessing about 400gr), and Geisha decided to run away, and after some frantic searching by everyone in the house, she was found by someone who had used a belt as a leash. Hopefully, as you can see in my previous post, things have started to get better!

I am pumped to do more skimo races in the winter; they are motivating me to keep training through the winter. I would definitely like to do more 1000+m ski touring days, ski some peaks, some powder, and maybe some summer skiing. Maybe learn some crevasse rescue and glacier training to open up more terrain for us. Skiing is important to keep a good balance and prevent burnout. I enjoy getting out, and crushing some vert even if the snow sucks; hopefully I can motivate my friends to think the same! Bill (the trooper), who is a closet suffer enthusiast, is already almost there.

For cycling, I plan on dialing back the amount of road races I do. In the words of Steve Martins, “I have never felt unsafe on a bike, unless I am road racing” or something like that! That said, Tuesday night crits are a lot of fun (solid small group of some chill riders), and the provincials course is also pretty good. Definitely no more TT’s, unless they are of the uphill variety (maybe make an appearance at the Tour de Bowness Hill Climb). I also plan on doing more of the marathon events (either relay or solo), and some bike park/freeride to work on descending.

For both skimo and mtb/CX, I just want to get faster (reduce the time gaps) and stay healthy. I kindof know how to do that, it is just a matter of motivating myself to do that! A hockey coach of mine once said that he wanted each of his players to come out of the season a better person. Yeah, that too!

I hate setting specific goals (I want to win X races, I want to finish top X in this race, I want to make X squad of X people, etc…). They are too dependent on other people, field size, etc, at my current situation (just starting out in elite mtb, and skimo racing), and I am just doing this for fun! Maybe I'll challenge myself not to get "chicked" on the mountain bike this year?

Well would you look at that! Over 1000 words. Congratulations if you read this far… It is amazing how much easier it is to write (or read) for fun rather than for some stupid, useless waste of money course!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Well, that is just Golden!

Talk about a weekend that had so much WIN and so much suck that it required an extra day!

I am going to try to intersperse this epic tale with some quotes that defined the weekend.

The plan was to ski some pow at KHMR, do the Tiki Torch Dash in the evening, and then GTFO back to Canmore. We (as in MT and I) had to drive through Radium hot springs on the way there, adding some time to our trip, but it was okay because we were listening to fishing and hunting radio shows. And talking about snowmobiling:

"I don't get what is so fun about climbing up a hill"
"Peter, you skimo race..."
"Haha, okay, but if I had a sled, I would just head to a meadow and boondock all day!"

We eventually arrived at KHMR, though a little late, and the parking lot was filled. There was an astonishing number of red plates. A surprising number of 'Bertans braved the highways.

"What do you want for 2011?"
"Less douchebags with red plates. Eat a dick" (from The Force gazette)

I guess the secret is out and as a result, KHMR on a weekend after a storm is busy! We had some amazing runs, hit up the opening of Fuez bowl, and met up with cycling buddy Kirk Hamilton for a run, and he showed us a cool stash in Fuez. I tried to ski everything as non-stop as I could for "training" purposes. We missed last gondola, but ripped one last run on the Catamount chair. I brought a huge cooler of snack food (it would come in handy) and we rocked the tailgate lunch and dinner!

Alright! time to suit up for the race. I slipped into my skimo suit (I definitely got some glares from others) and with Rogers Pass closed, there was an absence of many racers. A large portion of the national team live west of Rogers Pass, either in Revelstoke, or on the coast.

"So due to highway conditions, our referee and many other racers could not make it, so there will be no points...Is that okay Peter?"
"If this map looks like it was hand drawn with pencil crayons, that is because it was"

I was flying solo for the first 4 lap short course race and I took off and developed a huge gap. After a quick rip of the skins, I took it easy on the rest of the course as I was also seeing the course for the first time. Ian Gale, a national team member racing in full denim was on a 2 person relay team and left for his first lap as I was leaving for lap 2. I stayed with him, giving up only a couple of seconds at the top, but he pulled away with a quicker transition at the top (I hate saying transition, as the word is usually associated with trigeeks). The rest of the laps ticked by pretty quickly, and eventually I rolled in with a convincing win in the solo men. Unfortunately, Brad, another super fast up and coming racer did not have his race setup together, so he chose to race on his much heavier tele-setup. There will be some epic battles in the future!

Alright so after the short course race was a vertical race to the top of the Catamount chair. I got into position behind Ian right off the start, and managed to stay within a couple of seconds for the whole race. The gap would widen and narrow. With the top of the chair in sight, I attacked to close the gap, pulled close to even (ha I think I surprised him, but with no other fast guys there, I am not sure if he was going all-out), but he responded by upping the pace. I pulled into the finish just behind him.

"How far away is Whitetooth...I mean Whitefish?"

The suffering is definitely feeling easier. Just put the head down, and SUFFER!

Alright, so after picking up some swag, and a sick dinner, I slammed some energy drink for the drive home. Unfortunately, the 93 was now closed, so we stayed the night in Golden. We got up pretty late and didn't seem to have the energy to ski the 10cms of higher density snow that fell overnight. So we just chilled around town, killing time before the highway was scheduled to open.

"80% off of a $7 bathing suit? That is like $1!"

We hit up Subway, just before leaving and I got the Volvo stuck in the deep snow.

"How obvious is it that it is your parent's car?"

Ha well that just killed some time, and off to Radium where we found out that the highway was still closed for another day. Off we went through Fernie, and after getting a little lost in Calgary,
"What is this? a shopping mall?"
we arrived in Canmore at 2am.

Work on Monday was not going to happen, so I made use of my time in the mountains by throwing down a rip up the skiout to the top of the Divide chair.

Too much driving, no Whitefish race for me.

MT is starting to get stoked on skimo racing, he is thinking about the mods he is going to do to his gear!

As fun as KHMR is, I am not sure if I would head there again if the road conditions were questionable. But unfortunately, the dicksplashes who manage/own SSV have provided me with some extra incentive not to pay to ski there. But it is definitely a good place to get some training in! Glad I didn't get a pass there as it gives me the opportunity to get into the backcountry to train or check out Lake Lousy!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Big lines and blower pow in....Edmonton?

Well work started a little earlier than I had hoped, and so I was stuck in Edmonton for the weekend, pretty much trapped by the storms that were pounding the mountains that I wanted to ski.

Lots of new snow on the ground for Saturday morning and I had to decide how I was going to blow off my energy: wayyyy too much snow to go biking, the snow would have been pretty deep for XC skiing, but I had my skimo race setup! I set off with my new fast 50mm mohair skins and headed out from home to the museum hill. It was a bit of a slog, but I soon got there, and there was some blower pow waiting for me! Lots of new snow on top of a supportive, base.

Sorry no pictures, but I did plenty of laps, and found this pocket where one turn would pretty much guarantee a faceshot! On my way back, I headed up McKinnon Ravine, thinking about a couple of ridgeline MTB trails on either side of Ramsay Ravine that might be fun to ski. I bootpacked up the one on the museum side, it was a little narrow, but it was pretty deep. There were a couple of mothers with small children at the bottom. They cheered me on while I was fully expecting them to say to their children "don't you ever do what this stupid boy is doing!". Then they asked me if I was going to shralp the line on the other side of the Ravine!

So I started booting up the other line (the one with the wooden boards in the middle holding up the slumping earth, chainlink fence at the top). This one was a little wider, and I did some jump turns up top, ripped an airplane turn off the board and slayed the spine-like apron! Sick! Then the long slog home, where I bonked hardcore!

Sunday, I had a new objective: There is a chute down the bank to the river in front of my house. Bill and I have biked down it, and Bill named it BMT (big mountain tuck).
Bill on the drop in ramp

Well, while walking the dog, she was looking pretty filled in, so I sacked up and slayed it!

Ghetto Edmonton skiing, calls for ghetto mountaineering skills. When I biked down this, I had a real problem climbing out of it, so this time, I brought some rope!

Here is a pic from the bottom. The line S-bends down between the two big evergreen trees.

Picture of the drop in ramp in winter. you can see the rope as well!

Then in the evening, I headed out with Steve to Fox drive hill for a little night session. Steve mentioned something about it being an old ski hill back in the day. We saw a Land Rover stuck in the snow on the way over! We started off on the face pointing towards the creek and ripped some more deep pow in the night. The overcast sky reflected the city lights so there was enough light to see even without headlamps. MT, please refrain from hating on our point and shoot flash setup.

We then worked our way around the hill, to the face with the stairs, but the pitches were interrupted by those annoying fences, and the snow was a little too punchy (some faceted snow under the blower) for my narrow race skis, as well as not steep enough to rip in the deep snow. Steve aired off the wooden fence

We found awesome snow in some cutlines just east of the stairs. There was a nice base, and we quickly shralped the steep narrow chute.

We headed back to the face towards the creek and cleaned out the bottomless snow.

A bit of a scare as I crashed and one of my skis submarined, but we were able to find it.

Steve was actually serious when he said that this was the deepest snow that he had ever skied on his Megawatts! Deeper than this, this, or this? We were trying to classify this style of skiing. Not backcountry, but BACKyardCOUNTRY!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Breaking it down

Another year, another winter break...

I finished up my exams pretty early and headed down to Canmore, picking up Bill at the Calgary airport (along with playing in the Spaceport!). It was nice to see Bill again, as he has been at school in Kelowna. Nice to catch up and hear some of his stories, and how he is doing at school.

The Cole's Notes:
-Kicking Horse with the fam to start off with: Had a nice rip with Ian Gale, a patroller at KHMR and a fast skimo racer, on the surprisingly versatile race setup. Skied some of the chutes with Bill while my mom skied the bowl.
-Burstall Pass with Bill, discovering that the race setup is not the best for skiing pow (faceplant to yardsale haha)

-Some XC skiing at the CNC and in the Edmonton River Valley. Skiing tracksets is a lot of fun!
-"Weight" training touring setup = Alpine trekkers + Explosivs + demo bindings
-Emerald Peak with Bill. A fun tour that we did for the first time. Snow was a little thin near the bottom making trailbreaking over an old track difficult, but the snow became more supportive up higher. The largest vertical that I have climbed for a single descent!
-Back to Kicking Horse with Steve and Bill in time for a storm. We discovered a new area of the mountain that we had never skied before, and we enjoyed refills on the second day

-Deathmarching the Chickadee Valley

-Skiing Fortress. We were fortunate to get a ride up the gated road. Though we only skied the frontside, there is some awesome looking terrain on the backside.

-Another Burstall pass mission, and some skiing on Observation Peak, searching and finding the goods.