31 March 2006

Trail running.

I went for a nice trail run tonight. The weather was a cool 45-50, with clouds. It was just right for shorts, not too cold; great evening for a trail run. I did the 'shevlin loop' which from our house, is probably between 6 and 7 miles. The first and last .8 miles are on the pavement, and then you hit the trails and continue on to this ridge (that I think used to be forest, but it burnt down), before trail drops into a valley with huge pondorosa pines and Tumalo creek flowing through it. The sound of the water would have been really neat, if the iPod wasn't blaring in my ears. The creek is really cranking right now, because of the 130% snowpack up in the cascades. Last year at this time of year I guess there was less than 40% average snowpack.

So it startes sprinkling on my way home, and by the time I got to our block it was a COLD rain. When I got in the house I noticed what looked like big wet snoflakes mixing in the rain. I was pretty drenched and cold, but it was one of those runs, that I'll think back on in August when the trails are a dust bowl and it's been hot and sunny for a couple months.

Got the new issue of Trail Runner magazine yesterday. There's a pretty big article on the trails around Bend. My friend Sean has a few sweet photos in there, so check it out!

I'm doing a 3 day road bike stage race in Eugene, 3 weeks from today. I'm ready for that, like a fart in church. I need to ride like this guy, in order to be a fast biker. Oh well, I can ride w/ the Cat 5s right? I've got the fitness, I guess well see. I might need to get the road bike out this week. Days are longer, eh!

But one more ski race to knock down before that happens.

29 March 2006

It's still ski season!

Well, I added one more ski race to the calendar. It's the John Craig memorial. It's named after a guy who used to carry the mail over the Mckenzie pass in the winter. One winter he didn't make it, froze to death. Here's to hoping I make it!!

We had the last official footzone noon run today. Next week it switches to the 'Tuesday night run.' I think we'll still do the wed. noon run out of the footzone though. I have no more interesting info for today.


27 March 2006

It's a wrap

The morning of the 30k started with fairly cool (20F) temps and cloudy skies, with a little icy precip falling intermittently. Also I'm betting about 6 inches of snow fell the night before, because the stadium had a bunch of new snow. I got in a decent warmup, and considered adding a layer underneath my suit. I've done ski races for years, and the question of how much to wear in certian conditions is not easy. You do NOT want to be too warm (almost as bad as being too cold). I figured since the clouds seemed to be lifting a bit, it wasn't going to get colder so I went w/ one layer.

The race started FAST, as all of the races have this weekend. I caught on to the lead pack just after the start. It was super fun skiing up there, and I was telling myself to RELAX, because when the hills came, the pace was sure to change. I managed to hang on until the significant climbs were starting. I think at that time Patrick (former olympian - and Subaru Factory team skier) took the lead and then the pack started to get blown apart. I was one of the victims of that attack. The new snow caused a soft track, and the 2nd lap was TOUGH.

Photo of caped skier from west yellowstone rendevous

I was passed by a guy wearing a cape. (Yea a freakin cape) and later learned he bumped me off the podium in the M1 class!! One of the crazier things happened right after the caped skier passed me. There was a group of 4 women cheering and as we went by, they lifted their jackets to their bare breasts. There was writing on their chests, but I couldn't make it out, as I was suffering on this very difficult part of the course, I had to do a double take, and by the time I did the double take it was over. Here's to hoping that group is cheering at more central oregon nordic events in the future!! Idahoe Joe (my rival from the previous 2 races) had a great race, he was smoking today that's for sure. I skied as hard as I could to the line, and am ready for one more ski race next weekend (John Craig 20k classic in sisters), and then hopefully some bike racing. We'll see how the next couple weeks go. I have all kinds of motivation to train all summer to improve my skiing for next winter. (I found a photo of the caped skier at the west yellowstone rendevous)

C Ya.

25 March 2006

NM06 Day 2 - 15k classic

Today, we woke up early and looked out the window to about 6 inches of fresh snow IN TOWN. What a suprise that was. I was envisioning much more snow (like maybe a foot?)and soft, but the early morning mountain report only reported a 'couple' inches of snow. I was feeling good this morning, ready to race, day 2 of the NM ski races. Today, a 15k Classic race was on the agenda, according to the car thermometer in the parking lot the temp was about 31 degrees, with snow falling, and the couple inches was pretty accurate, definatly more snow fell in town overnight.

The fresh new snow would make for some interesting wax preperations, one of the things that you gotta love about classical technique racing. I started out w/ some Rode tar ski wax. Yup, this stuff smells just like the pine-tar from the old days, that my parents had on ski adventures when I was a child. It apparently needs to be skied in before it really starts to work good, and on race day, sometimes it's hard to wait for the kick to 'kick in'. I skied a little while, and although my glide was pretty sweet, my kick wasn't enough for the big hills (and the last 4k of the course had some good uphills. I decided on some Rode fast red wax and it was pretty good today.

The start went off FAST (like all of the races will here, because of where the start/finish is positioned on the course - at a high point). The course headed down a hill called 'screamer' at Mt bachelor and we were definatly screaming in the first kilometer. The first 4k were probably the funnest part of the race, being mostly downhill, then the suffering would begin. I was skiing w/ a group of 3 other skiers and when we got some of the hills, I started to get dropped. After all of the double poling it was difficult for me to get my form for getting up the hills. My kick was solid, I just needed to mentally hold it together. At about the half way point, I had another mental breakdown. I got passed by Joe (from idahoe nordic, the rival in my age group, who I finished 2nd to in the skiathlon on thursday). I kept on his tails for about a kilometer, then he pulled away a bit. I knew, that if I could stay on his tail, I could have a chance to throw down and pass him on one of the final uphills. I just couldn't dig deep enough to hang on, and he maintained about a 20 second gap on me to the finish. Definatly something to shoot for tomorrow.

Overall I was satisfied with my race. 2 races down, 2 second place age group finishes. The big dog is yet to come, tomorrow, 30k skate. Tomorrow is a big day for alot of the masters out here. Should be fun. Thank for reading.

23 March 2006

Ski Report: NM 2006 Skiathlon

Today was the beginning of the National Masters. YEA! It was pretty cool. XCSkiworld.com is making it happen and is pulling off a great even up here in Oregon. Any midwesterners on the fence about coming to this next year, should seriously consider it. Excellent snow conditions are pretty much gauranteed.

My friend kevin leads a group of skiers into the transition. That's me behind 233, with the blue headband. Bend Bulletin Photo.

The conditions today, when we got to the parking lot at Mt. Bachelor, were a steady 31 degrees with about a 30 mph wind. It felt very cold at the start area, but I knew (from skiing at the trails there almost every weekend) it would be hot when we got in the trees. The kick wax wasn't too tough today, swix vr65. My skis were a bit slick, but they were gliding awesome, and there was only one major uphill on the 2 loop classic course (so we skied the hill twice) I went w/ the vr65 over the staart grip tape (my trusted backup this season). I got in a quick warm up, and got the skis in the transistion, and then we were lining up to start. I was scoping out the age group competition. Not huge numbers in my age group which was expected, this event catered more toward the 50+ crowd. And they are serious about it too.

I got out of the gate without trouble. The race overall was fairly smooth, the classic was about 8k, and there was a stretch that was against the wind, where I tucked behind the group I was skiing with (including my age group competition). On the 2nd lap when we merged on to the course w/ the start of the womens race it was a bit exciting. In the 1st K there is a pretty significant downhill with a sweeping corner. I had to pull the bob and weave to get through, but I made it! whew. It was the last time I would encounter major traffic for the rest of the race.

Leading up to the race I'd done 2 mock skiathlons, and each time it was a suffering death march, especially on the skate leg. I was concerned about that trend continuing today, so I took an extra moment through the transition, sort of took my time w/ my skis and poles. I got out on the skate leg, and knowing that there was alot of rest on the first 5k, I took advantage and tried to keep my speed high over the short uphill sections. I got to the last half of the 10k skate, with the leader in my age group in sight. I was fighting to close the gap, and it was closing but not fast enough. I had a pretty good result today, I was able to keep the tempo on, unlike my other experiences w/ practicing the skiathlon. All in all it was fun, and I'm anxious to try it again. In the mean time, I have to focus on the next event, on Saturday, 15K classic, and then Sunday, 30k Skate. I'm ready to put the smack down. Bring it.

thanks for reading.

18 March 2006

Sunshine is back!

Was walking the dogs near our house today and took some pics. There must be a major airline route right over the cascades, that goes from Portland, Seattle, to California, because on sunny days, the streams dart all the way from one end of the sky to the other...

Skiing was epic today, 20 degrees and a March sunshine. We're wrapping up the youth program this year, last practice was this weekend, and next weekend the youth festival, includes a couple races for the kids. Should be good times for all, with Masters racing in the morning and kids right after. The past of skiing, and the future.

Today is the championship game at the final five and yes, the Huskies are in. They won on Thursday and prevailed yesterday in a game that must have been just amazing winning 8-7 in overtime. Today they play the hated UND Souix, so it promises to be a good game. I found a TV to watch it on, should be fun. First hockey game for me in a long time.

The weather has turned for a couple days of sunshine. The forecast isn't too promising next week, but what do they know anyway. I'm ready for whatever mother nature has to throw at us. later-

16 March 2006

Final Five starts tonight.

Without me. I have been at all of the final 5s that have included the Huskies for a long time. It's well known fact to people that know me, that I was a big fan of the St. Cloud State hockey team. It might have started when I was very young, eating popcorn off of the bleacher floor, when my parent's took me to some games at the arena. I vividly remember a game I watched on TV in college at NDSU (a school with no hockey team). This was before the dorms had cable, and I was watching championship game in the final five tournement in a deserted bowling alley in the basement of the student union, and the Huskies were playing the hated Gophers. It was an all time great game, and the huskies lost a heartbreaker in overtime. And the time we drove to Milwaukee for the final five, and in the play in game (alot like tonights) we prevailed over UMD in overtime. That was GREAT, even though we lost the next day. After college I moved back to St. Cloud, and missed very few home games. There were some good years with players like Matt Cullen, Tyler Anason, Mark Parrish and Ryan Malone, that have had reasonably successful NHL carreers. I guess I'm still a fan, but I live in Oregon now. It could just as well be costa rica, as far as the sport of hockey goes, the nearest real rink is about a 3 hour drive from where I live now.

The energy at the National hockey center is unbeatable (in my opinion), and the atmosphere at the game tonight in the Excel engergy center where SCSU will play the UMD Bulldogs will be great, but I will not be there, not be watching on TV, or even listening to the game. I might check the score tonight if I remember, to see if the Huskies can pull it out. If they win, I may try to watch or listen tomorrow for the semis. If they lose, their done and they can start worrying about next year. Good Luck to them.

Now-a-days, there is a Thursday night broom hockey league, played at a rink about 15 miles south of Bend in Sun River. The rink is the best one for hockey (or broom hockey=like broomball with hockey skates) within a 3 hour drive from Bend. The rink itself is only about 1/4 the size of a real hockey rink. Maybe someday Bend will build a real one? This is definaltly not a hockey hotbed though. You can't even get your skates sharpend here! I'll stick to XC skiing. Exactly one week until Masters Nationals begins...

10 March 2006

The netflix queue

I got the netflix queue running on the sidebar. Perdy cool (or nerdy?). back to do real work now. Skiing is in the schedule for the weekend, coaching MBSEF youth program saturday and sunday. The snow continues to fall at the mountian.

09 March 2006

Auctions, snow!

I've got some ebay auctions going right now. So bid if you want any of this stuff.

One inch of new snow today, still snowing lightly with 28 degrees. Mt Bachelor is reporting about a foot of new snow since last night! UPDATE: almost 30 inches of new snow above 5800 feet in the central oregon cascades!!! Wow. I'll post pictures this weekend.

08 March 2006

Ski Report: Birke 2006

This year, since I live 1700 miles away, I figured I'd come to the birkie early. It would be great! More days to soak in the energy, right? Well sort of. You can't really beat Birkie weekend at telemark lodge. People are bouncing off the walls with Birkie fever. I did get a healthy case of Birkie fever, Coming to the Birkie on the Thursday before the race you have to keep yourself busy as you can only think about the race so much. The friends that I traveled to the Birkie with are old timers. Of the three, two of them are in the Bircheleggings club (20+ Birkies) and two of them have won their age class in the freestyle race. They are serious about the Birkie. Talking wax, weather, food, clothing, breath right strips, bitch hill, and so on. I like ski racing and the birkie, but boy it was a little much.

We did get a really nice ski in on Thursday at the double o crossing. For those that havn't been there, this is the half way point of the birkie. I had forgotten just how wide and smooth the birkie trail was. I'm used to skiing on pretty darn nice trails at the nordic center at Mt. Bachelor, and these were right up there. The birkie trail is SWEET!

Coming down main street, Hawyard, WI. Look at that form! Nice Tights!Race morning finally arrived, and it was about 9 degrees according to Bob's wireless thermometer, but reports from the start were that it was zero. Not used to skiing in below zero temps anymore, so I put on 2 layers of wind breifs. We also had gotten a few inches of very dry powder the day before, and it continued to snow during the night. This caused some worries, but the classic skiing was most likely going to be better because of it. I had planned my wax according to the recommendations for the classic race (my second classic birkie, 7th birkie overall). I had an ironed in layer of toko green base wax, and then a layer of Blue Extra, followed by 3 thin layers of toko carbon white. I put this wax on in the room at the lodge. Chip and Marty came by the room, and I jogged over to the start with Chip. I set out on the trail to test my wax, and let's just say my kick was pretty crappy, in fact, I had terrible kick. I put 2 additional layers of blue extra on my skis, and skied a little bit, and thought it would be good. I'd carry the wax with me in case I needed more. In hindsight, I wish I'd have left off the carbon white all together, I think it was a blue extra day.

I lined up next to 3 other classic skiers and then bang the gun went off. They lit off a bunch of fireworks for the start, I think they used to have a cannon or something, but the fireworks were good. The start went well, I actually took out the classic skiers in the lead, for the first half kilometer, then the group of three passed me, and I was able to hang on until we exited the power lines. If you've never been there, the 'power lines' section is this insanely wide ski trail that has HUGE power line towers going through it. After that point I was pretty much alone until the lead women came by, and then groups from wave 1 would slowly pass me. It was about 8k into the race where I took a drink of my water bottle that I mixed some heed, and red bull. It tasted so awesome. Little did I know that was the last time the bottle would be thawed until about 4pm that day!!! I was able to get other feeds from many of the people out on the course, so it wasn't a huge problem. But the red bull would have been helpful on the last 10k.

Small groups of skiers continued to pass me by, and each time, I could ski with them for a bit, especially on the uphills. I was skiing good flirting with catching the 3rd place elite wave classic skier (he was in sight). In an effort to be under 3 hours, I broke the race into 3 17 kilometer sections, where I would attempt to ski each in under one hour. I made it to 17k in about 59 minutes. We had gone over the hardest section of the course, passed the high point, so I was feeling pretty good about my race, but I didn't have a lot of cushion if I was going to break 3 hours, and there are still a lot of ups and downs in this race. Chip came by in one of the groups from wave one, so I asked him if he missed his start, but later he told me they wouldn't let him into the elite wave because he had bib 225. I think he got screwed, and should have lined up in the elite wave.

Thumbs up at the finish line!Double O came and went. I was feeling pretty good, my skis were gliding awesome, and my kick was decent. The kickwax worked much better for me in the skating lane, because there was a dusting to 2 inches of snow still in the classic tracks. I'd say I skied about 90% of this race out in the skating tracks. I made it to 34k still on schedule to break 3 hours, but by only a couple of minutes. I had to keep the pressure up if I was going to make it. I have to say the last 12 k was pretty brutal. My back was getting sore from all the double poling, but the thought of the finish line kept me going. There was a wind on the lake that was a little annoying, but it really wasn't as bad as others talked about after the race, but that's maybe because they were flying across the lake and I was struggling a little. Some years the lake seems like 10 miles, but today it was not too bad. I could see the beginning of main street, and a glance at my watch told me I was on schedule to break 3 hours! The very loose snow on the first part of main street was hard, and skiers were wavering back and forth fighting to stay up. I faintly heard Jeff's wife Rebbecca yell my name along with all of the cow-bells and cheering. In my past years doing the birkie I would often room with Jeff, who lives in Moorhead, MN, near where I went to college in Fargo.

I went across the finish line and it was at that point that I decided I had a good/great race, with a time of 2 hours 57 minutes. I would later learn that I won my age group in the classic race, and finished 8th overall. I was also over 15 minutes faster than my last attempt at skiing the birkie classic style (in 2004), so that felt pretty good. Birkie number 7, in the books. Hopefully see you next year, Hayward and Cable!

07 March 2006

RIP 34 Puck

Thanks Kirby.
I looked at the front page of the local paper here in Bend, and there was a huge picture of one of my hero's growing up in Minnesota. Kirby Puckett passed away yesterday. He was the man in 1987 and 1991, putting the twins over the top to win the world series twice. OK, he had some problems off the field after his retirement. He was still the man.

In other news, I skied in the 'Par for the course 2' 10k up at the nordic center on Saturday. I had a pretty good race (3rd overall), but they put me in the wrong age group. In this race the idea is to improve over your time from the par for the course 1, which was in December. Well I was a few minutes faster, but I missed my start in the 1st race so I probably really improved only a couple minutes. The national masters are right around the corner! Still working on the Birkie 06 review.

06 March 2006

Now I too, have a blog...

I have a blog. Check back for updates. I have returned to my home, Bend Oregon, where I live with my wife and 2 greyhounds. I was in Minnesota last week where I'm from. I was home for business, and non-business. Skied in the Birkie and worked a few days at the home office in St. Cloud MN. I plan to post a full report of the my experiences at the 2006 edition of the American Birkebeiner so check back. I had a good result. 8th overall in the classical division.

Today in Bend, we have partly cloudy skies with about 42.1 degrees F. The wind is gusty. There is great skiing up on the mountian. Stay tuned.