Saturday, January 31, 2009

On The Media

I was listening to NPR this morning on my way into work, and the show On The Media was replaying a story from earlier in the week about "digital natives" and "digital immigrants". I'm sure some of you out there have heard these terms before since up here we're pretty near the end of the information/news pipeline, but for those who haven't; a digital native is someone born after 1980, and a digital immigrant is anyone born before then. Since I was born in 1975, that means I immigrated to the digital world when I was only five years old. I still have memories of the "old country", but the vast majority of my life has been spent in the digital world. My father would be the perfect example of someone who moved to the digital world in 1980 (albeit involuntarily he'd tell you) but refused to give up his old ways and customs. He's figured out how to work the VCR/DVD and the remote, but that's pretty much the end of the trail. He has no idea how to use an iPod or an ATM. Just a few months ago, my mom had to explain how "paying at the pump" worked when they were going out of town and stopped to refuel. Anyway, just wanted to share an interesting and non-depressing news story to kick off the weekend. Over and out.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Recovery Week

Started off the recovery week with a bang tuesday night. Bob the builder turned sixty, and he and Biz had an SBYC birthday party at the town house. Attendance was good, and we left early since it was a week night. Happy birthday Bob.



Other than that I've just been trying to take it easy, and that has been a real chore. Even though I have this whole week scheduled for recovery, I still feel like I should be out there skiing a ton. Case in point: I did an easy classic ski wednesday afternoon, and I felt okay. My arms were a little sore, but I kept the heart rate down and had a good ski. Yesterday, I woke up early and came to work with all the stuff necessary for a quick skate session on my way home in the afternoon. All day my legs felt like crap, and I just didn't feel like skiing. So what do I do? Like a complete dumba**, I drove out to the resort and attempted to ski. I struggled through kitting up in the front seat of the Passat and set off for a few easy loops. My arms and legs felt like hammered s**t. I skied for five minutes before I realized how absolutely stupid I was being. I skied back to the car I had just exited (at least it was still warm), and headed for home. It's still hard for me to wrap my head around the idea that doing nothing somehow helps me get faster. Anyway, have a good weekend everybody.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

SITREP

Situation Report: Saturday I skated for an hour at Chestnut, and it was really hard. I still haven't gotten to the point where I can go out for an easy/recovery skate. However, I'm told this will happen before too long. Sunday, Sarah and I met up with the gang (JT, Tim, Matt, and James) for a good session of backcountry skiing at the MVSC. It was bitter cold out; but once you got moving around, it wasn't too bad. Sure beats sitting on the couch watching NASCAR all afternoon. Go fast turn left. Or is it turn right? (Just kidding Kevin, I'm sure I'd love it if I just gave it a chance). Monday I met up with Nick and his son Brendan for a skate lesson at Nub's. Brendan skied with us while we were warming up, and I got a first hand look at what happens when you train in one specific sport from birth. The kid's a senior in high school, and let's just say that I don't think Nick will have to worry about picking up the tab for college. Of course Nick picked the hilly loop so we could practice going downhill without snowplowing. I cheated a little on the first couple of hills. Then I had a good crash on a tight left turn. But by the end of the ski, I started to get a feel for it. The three of us were skating back towards the cars, and Nick gets up behind me and says no wedges between here and the cars. I nailed the first couple of downhill turns with he and Brendan right behind me (I'm sure I wouldn't have gone nearly as fast if they hadn't been right behind me watching) before we came to the last big hill. I normally snowplow about half of it and then let the skis go. It's not a hard right turn at the bottom, but the hills really steep so you're going really fast. Yesterday I didn't really have time to stop and think, and I had the two Baic's on my a** so I just let the skis go. Everything turned out just fine, and I nailed the turn. That was far and away the fastest I've gone on the skinnies to date. So that brings the class up to speed. What have you been up to? Over and out.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Product Review



Every January Bell's Brewery puts out this special beer. It's name, Hopslam, should give you a pretty good idea of what we're talking about here. For those not in the know, hops are a main ingredient in most beers. This beer is technically an IPA. The initials stand for India Pale Ale. You see, when England colonized (I mean conquered) India they had a heck of a time figuring out how to get beer to the new territory so far away without having it spoiled. They finally figured out that if they added an a** ton of hops to the regular pale ale it increased the shelf life tremendously. As an added bonus, it also tasted really good. Most micro breweries out there make some version of this beer, and I've yet to find one that top's Bell's Two Hearted Ale. Hopslam is like Two Hearted on steroids. The additional hops not only increase the flavor, they also put the alcohol content through the roof. Consume with great caution (and this is coming from someone with a fairly high tolerance who tips the scales at 180 lbs.) That said, if you like IPA's it's well worth seeking out. You'll have to hurry though, it's usually only around for a month or so. Keep in mind that all that extra alcohol and hop flavor comes at a pretty steep price. Expect to pay about double what you would for a regular high end six pack. Hope everyone has a good weekend.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

I feel so much better now.

Ding dong G.W. is dead, ding dong the stupid pr**k is dead (well he's not dead, but at least he's gone). As some of you well know, I tend to be pretty cynical about politics in general. My political tendencies lean far to the left of anything in the mainstream with a very libertarian slant. I'm not really convinced that Obama is going to be able to bring about real and meaningful change to the country. That said, I'm way happier seeing him in the hot seat than I would have been to see old Johnny getting sworn in yesterday. Here's to hoping I'm wrong. Maybe the world really will become a better place. Take care.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Global Warming?


Global warming seems to have been on vacation up here for the last week or so. Yesterday it got up to 15 degrees, and I'm here to tell you that it felt like 30 (the sunny skies undoubtedly helped with that). I've gotten my breathing back under control, and I rounded out the week with three hard days of skiing. It's been hard to stay motivated to get out skiing every day, but yesterday I thought of another reason why I should. The number of days one can expect to have good ski conditions in a given year is very limited. At most, you could hope for 3.5 to 4 solid months. That would be a best case scenario year. More likely you're looking at 3 months of consistently good skiing. That only gives you around 75 to 100 days with which to practice technique and train for racing. Conversely, you have the whole rest of the year (like 3/4 of it) to bike. As my pappy used to say, "you gotta make hay while the sun shines." And so I will do my best to continue skiing like a motherfu**er until the snow melts.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Photo Update

Some of our tracks from last saturday @ MVSC.


Sunset view from the sauna.


Where the wax happens (but the new waxing room is getting closer by the day).


What I looked like after just over an hour of skiing in 5 degree weather this morning.


My data from this morning.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Arctic Temperatures

It's been really cold here for the last couple of days. It was far and away the biggest factor in the ski streak coming to an end on tuesday morning, but it wasn't the only factor. Every once in a while, I attempt to get off prescription allergy/asthma medication. This usually lasts a few weeks before I start noticing mild symptoms and get back on the juice. The cold weather triggered a severe relapse, and after 1.5 hours of snow removal tuesday morning I had a hard time getting a full breath and my eyes were watering. So I doubled up on the allegra yesterday and took one with the vitamins this morning. I'm almost back to full lung capacity, and I'm going to try and get out for a classic ski this afternoon despite the forecast high temp. of 5 degrees. Stay warm and ski well.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

SBYC Ski Outing

Had a wonderful ski outing with the yacht club sunday evening. Here's a good shot Sarah took at Doug's stump where we stopped for refreshments. I got some good shots with the video camera as well, so I'll try to cobble together a little video in a couple of days. That's all for now.

Monday, January 12, 2009

15 Days

Today will be day number 15 in a row on skis for me. I'm pretty sure this is my longest streak since high school when I was practicing every day after school and skiing with my friends on the weekends. However, the forecast for the next three or four days may put an end to the streak. We're looking at highs around 7 and wind chills well below zero. I'm going to do my best to keep it up, but the cold may win out one of the next few days. Stay tuned to see how this riveting saga unfolds. Also, look for some pictures (and perhaps video as well) from our SBYC ski outing yesterday evening. A fun time was had by all. Happy Monday.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Pix

Not much new to report. Just skiing every day and working. Here are some pictures out of the archives.

Winter sunrise over P Town.


An aerial view of Harbor Springs.


This is an old black and white I found taken my TK if I'm not mistaken.


Have a good weekend.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Is it 28 or 21?

Nub's advertises 28 km of groomed cross country ski trails. I skied them all yesterday, and the GPS unit puts the number of kilometers at a hair under 21. Over the years I've come to trust the GPS. I'll have to mention that to JB (the general manager of the resort) next time he's in for a sandwich. Anyway, I was shooting for a good solid two hour ski, and that's what I got. 21 km in 2:06 with 2,623 ft. of climbing, and an average heart rate of 148. I'm telemarking tonight at Nub's for the first time in a long time. Looking forward to riding the chairlift for a change of pace. Over and out.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Ski Update

I have been skiing a whole bunch. I had a good skate lesson monday with Nick. I can definitely feel the two of us developing a good rapport with one another. I badger him with all sorts of different ski related questions in between drills and instructions, and he makes me practice/learn how to do things I either don't like to do or don't do very well. Case in point: when descending steep slippery hills on tiny little skis, I tend to snowplow because it makes me nervous, and I don't want to crash. When I had my first lesson with Nick over two years ago, he pointed out that this was far from the fastest way to get down a hill. Monday we practiced getting down hills and around corners without using my favored technique. It's simple really. You just aim for the outside corner of the turn, lean over until you feel like you're about to fall over, and then step around the corner. The problem is that when you have to start leaning over you're going pretty fast, and so it's pretty easy to just fall over before executing the turn. That's what I did. I fell over a lot. But after about half a dozen crashes or so, I started to get the hang of it. We spent the remainder of the lesson going over my skate technique, and I'm really starting to get the hang of it. I'm just glad to be learning the right stuff from the beginning. There's nothing worse than developing a bad habit, repeating it a few thousand times, and then trying to change it. Next week we'll be focusing the lesson on classic skiing, so that'll be a nice change of pace. Lord knows I could use some help there as well. Last night Matt and I went out for nice classic ski at Chestnut. We both brought our headlamps, but the moon was bright enough that we didn't even have to turn them on. The track was rock solid, and we had a ball zipping around the golf course a couple of times. I've got a long (2 hr.) classic ski on tap for this afternoon, and then I think I'll fire up the sauna. Happy Tuesday.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Race Report

I closed up the shop saturday evening and headed home for some race prep. I had a delightful sauna, managing to get some of the soreness and tightness out of my legs. All week I felt stiff and out of joint, and I'm starting to realize the culprit was having the week break from yoga for the holidays. I've really got to start practicing that stuff at home, but that's a whole other ball of wax. Back to race prep. After the sauna, I gave my boards a couple three layers of LF 7 for my glide wax and prepped the kick zone with two coats of binder. Sarah made me a wonderful pre race meal of cheeseburgers with sprouted grain buns and french fries. I did my best to limit beer consumption and hit the rack early for a good nine hours of sleep. Yesterday morning I rolled out of bed just after seven and made some coffee along with a couple pieces of toast with peanut butter and honey. There was as light snow falling outside when I went up to the bat cave to apply my kick wax just before nine. When I came downstairs fifteen minutes later, there was a light rain falling. I've got no problem biking in the rain, but skiing in the rain really, really sucks. If I'd woken up in Marquette to the same conditions I certainly would have gone ahead and raced. I'd have the drive time, money for the hotel, and race registration money all invested so there's little doubt I would have sucked it up and raced. I had nothing invested yesterday except for a slightly better than normal wax job, but you know what? I can still use the good wax job today or tomorrow. Sarah ran into a neighbor of ours at the grocery store yesterday, and she said that her husband had volunteered at the race. According to neighbor lady, conditions were super sketchy, attendance was low, and there were a lot of crashes (some of them resulting in facial lacerations according to her). Ouch. It looks like my decision to stay home and take care of some long neglected chores was right on the money.

It turns out that all was not lost however, and I still managed to get out skiing. We had planned on skiing at MVSC in the afternoon all along. I was on the fence about that, but JT called around noon and said he was still into it. I said I'd call Matt and James, and he said he'd call Tim. We all showed up about 1:30 and had a good couple of hours messing around in the MVSC. Conditions were not ideal, but it had stopped raining.



There was a very thin layer of breakable crust (pictured below) over about six inches or so of crusty powder. Sometimes you broke through the crust, and sometimes you didn't. Needless to say it made for some interesting skiing, but it sure beat sitting on the couch. That, and I kept my latest ski streak alive. Today will be number eight in a row, and it's supposed to stay good all week so who knows how long I can keep it up. Over and out.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Fat Food Nation

I wasn't going to post anything today because all I've really been doing is skiing and working for the last few days, but I came across this CBS news story while out surfing the world wide interweb this morning and just had to pass it along. After a brief commercial, you'll be treated to a news story about one of the grossest eating establishments I've ever come across. It's a place called the Hear Attack Grill out in Chandler, AZ. Check out the clip. And if you're ever in Chandler, give the place a try. I won't. Have a good weekend.


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