Saturday, October 30, 2010

Hold please....

Found out at the end of this week that the Untamed NE race is taking a hiatus next year, or at least it appears that way on their website right now.  Listed as next race in 2012 with registration opening in 2011.  Bummer, there goes that plan.

I think I am going to continue with my training plans for the most part though with some slight tweaks maybe.  We have already found some smaller adventure races that are fairly local that we can try out.  Might make more sense to get our feet wet in a 12hr format before jumping into 3 full days.

Now I have to figure out what next year holds.  I always have EFTA and maybe I can rededicate a bit more time to that endeavor this year with NEMBA racing hopefully getting going a bit more next year that might be good.  Maybe I'll try a half marathon, could do another tri...I should probably just take a 'do everything' approach next year.  I randomly caught the nordic bug again, I think it might be good to take advantage of the facilities at Gunstock, but that means more gear to buy.  Maybe I can score some used stuff at the nordic center there.  They also have some winter tri's hosted in the area...5K, ice bike, xc ski.  Sounds good to me.  I almost did one a year or two ago but doing that will all depend on the winter we are having.  Decent powder around when its scheduled and I'll be doing other activities for sure.

I am thinking the lack of real concrete plans for next year might be good.  I have been suffering from calendar overload lately.  It might be nice to just float around a bit and just race and be active when opportunities present themselves.  I have a feeling there will be lots.

I finally got back going this weekend with a nice road ride around the lake.  Felt OK, my strength and power is pretty crap right now but my base is still pretty good and my recovery rate is still right up there.  It was a pretty leisurely ride with a few decent climbs.

Pretty awesome that I randomly picked a route that was almost 29mi on the dot after just turning 29 yesterday on the 29th.  I'm thinking about maybe going for a run tomorrow and getting back into stuff full bore for Nov.  Lunch break runs and weight room, yoga, etc.  I'm also thinking its time for some AT recon hikes, better call Bill...

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Compass Dork

That's me.  Well not yet, but sooner rather than later for certain.  Up until recently I've just been reading up on technique and the fundamentals of wilderness navigation but now I can finally start to practice.

Suunto MC-2.  My first piece of Finnish gear

I think Gina might have gotten sick of me commenting on how I needed to get a compass soon over and over.  So she went ahead and got me a sweet ass compass for my birthday to shut me up.  And as you might be able to tell its the same model as the one on the cover of one of the books I checked out.

I don't know much about compasses yet to really discern value but the MC-2 seems to be a very popular full featured unit.  It is mentioned in all three books I have as being top of the line.  Score.  I have already adjusted for declination to 16 degrees W for NH and gotten decent at plotting bearings on a map and solving little test questions about determining location based on several bearings etc.  It's actually kinda fun, I have always taken to problem solving in general and I think orienteering and me will get along just fine.  I think.  I have a feeling there is a certain art to being really good at orienteering and navigation that you can't get from reading a book so I am anxious to get into the woods and get a feel for the real thing.

I scored a $50 gift card from my HMO today for staying healthy so I'm trying to think of any other gear that I need to procure before next year.  So far I am thinking about a nice light/bright headlamp, a dry bag or two, and maybe some techy layers for staying dry/warm.  Is there a chance I just keep trying all this new stuff as an excuse to buy new stuff?  Is that what happens when you get older?

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Pine Hill Park

Two words.  Holy crap.  Four more words.  Find of the year.  I could probably go on like this for awhile.  Pine Hill Park in Rutland, VT is ridiculous.  I am completely dumbfounded as to how this place has cruised under my radar until now.  Imagine a 300 acre playground with trails built by a cross between renaissance masters and civil engineers and you have Pine Hill Park.

Shaun needed to escape Cambridge to avoid estrogen fest '10 and the original plan was to meet Dbone at Millstone.  Turns out the drive from 'Toga to Barre was a bit longer than anticipated so we began scouring the internet to find a place that would work a bit better.  Hit VMBA's site and discovered a video for some trails in Rutland.  Surprisingly the trails looked really good in the vid and upon checking their site and seeing the map there looked to be a decent amount of mileage on site so we decided to check it out.  Best decision we've made in a long time.

New England IS Fall

The park was maxed out and trail density was high with a lot of intersections but luckily all the intersections were numbered so I went about plotting a route and making us a cue sheet with all the turns we would need to make and taped it to my top tube.

Wasn't sure if it was going to work, all it would take is one wrong turn or missed or unmarked intersection and the whole thing would go to hell.  But we lucked out and it actually worked out really well.  Saved us a ton of time making decisions at trail heads and kept us moving more consistently.  I ended up plotting out about a 10 mile ride and we did some extra stuff twice that was too fun not too as well as some exploring around Rocky Pond.

I don't even know where to start about explaining how awesome these trails are.  Berms EVERYWHERE.  Think about a location you ride frequently...I'm sure there are lots of places where you might think to yourself 'man I wish that turn was bermed, that could be so sweet.'  You will never have to think that at Pine Hill.  Absolutely amazing bridge work.  Easily the most impressive bridges I have ever seen riding anywhere.  Definitely be sure to check out the pics at their website...incredible.

you kidding me? Playoffs?!

Much more vert than I was expecting but it was a pleasant surprise.  You can get a pretty good amount of work in but still be able to rip and have a blast.  We basically did two laps around the park and there was still plenty to do or opportunities to ride things backwards, etc.  It would take a pretty long time to get bored.

All around it was a perfect day.  Tons of amazing singletrack.  We got to see a dad ditch his son and yell "Now I get to do some REAL riding!" as he very slowly spun up a climb wearing some awesome sweatpants.  AND we got to meet the mastermind behind it all in the parking lot after the ride.  Michael Smith has dedicated a TON of time to the park and we chatted a bit about a new banked bridge he is building as well as a 12 hour race planned for next Fall called the Lunar 12 that sounds far too good to miss.  More than likely going to be in attendance for that next year.

Dustin surveying the future location of the Lunar 12 from on high

So yeah if it is not apparent already if you live in New England and you have not ridden Pine Hill Park, you need to, case closed.  As soon as Shaun uploads his pics I will steal some and post a few here.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Transition Time

I've been making snow sports purchases like crazy lately and with flurries flying in central NH today the itch is setting in.  Compounded by the fact that I haven't been able to get on my bike in weeks I feel the transition to winter sports coming on hard.

I suffered a mild financial freakout today and made a pretty sweet impulse buy of some FAT skis to add to my quiver.  I have had all kinds of weird universe convergence moments lately and this time around flurries start flying I start thinking about skiing and how I need some new resort boards and bam delivers a deal in close succession.  Plus its my birthday next week...happy birthday me the universe has spoken.

105 at the waist.  WEEEEEE

I've never ridden anything this fat before.  Gonna be awesome (I hope).  All the reviews I've been reading are informing me that I need to ride these things hot and heavy.  Just what I need...look for me straight lining Zoomer this season.  I've also snagged some new googles and gloves in the past few weeks.  Let it snow I guess.

I've also been thinking about getting myself going with more structured training for next summer's big goal.  Pretty daunting task trying to figure out what the hell I should be doing.  Probably going to start slow by getting back into yoga again.  My flexibility is crap right now.  A few years ago when I was doing stuff 1-2 times a week I felt like it helped a lot with injury prevention and recovery.  Probably two things that are really beneficial when exerting yourself non stop for 3 days without sleeping.  Gotta start getting back in the gym on lunch and running as well.  Except this time around more vert and longer distances (what have I gotten myself into?!)

Monday, October 11, 2010

Caribou Slobber

Wasn't long after Crotchtoberfest wrapped up that I was right at it brewing an American Brown Ale for this year's Thanxmas.

On tap is a clone kit of Big Sky Brewing's Moose Drool.  Seemed interesting and I am a big fan of brown ales.  The American versions are a bit more hoppy than the English counterpart and this batch has an interesting mix of 3 different variates: Goldings, Liberty and Willamette.  Lots of interesting specialty grains too, Black Malt, Briess Caramel and Fawcett Pale Chcolate.  Drooling yet?  I am.  Hard to believe its less than two months until Thanxmas.  Where did '10 go?

I had my students whip up some labels for this batch as part of an exercise in photoshop.  Figured I would share some of my favorites:


Primary fermentation is going swimmingly.  Everything is right on schedule.  Probably transfer things to secondary this weekend or so for about 3 weeks then bottling just before Turkey day for two weeks of bottle conditioning before Thanxmas.  Gonna be a busy end to 2010 at Kaulback Farm!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Pinnacle Challenge 2010

Hard to believe this is our 5th consecutive year doing the Pinnacle Challenge.  It has been interesting to see this race change and our team change over the years.  We started off as a decently fast hodge-podge or runners and riders with basic expectations who surprised ourselves with a 2nd place finish in our first year.

We were hooked on syrup and dead set on bagging that narrowly missed win from the first year.  Luckily our Blue Zoo family runs pretty deep with athletic talent so even when some team members went missing we were able to field a team and even find some ringers in the process.

One year the Blue Zoo took first and second in the Co-Ed division and last year we narrowly missed a shot at the overall title due to probably the most inopportune flat I have ever gotten in my entire race career.  Even so we were still able to defend our crown in the Co-Ed.  But it looks like that jug of syrup is going to have to be truly earned from here on out.

The fields have been getting stronger over the years and this year was probably the strongest across the board.  Lots of extremely fast runners in all divisions and one of the biggest turn outs to date.  I did a lot of sizing up in the parking lot and thought I had our competition figured out and fairly well managed and everything was going to plan heading through the race but we were caught out by a new sleeper group I knew nothing about and narrowly missed out on that Co-Ed win similar to year 1 for the Blue Zoo.  They had just the right mix of strength where they needed it and we just couldn't quite close the gap at the end and they nipped us by 2mins and change.

Unfortunately for me I wanted to be exactly 2mins and change faster on my leg than I went but I did post a personal best for myself on the road leg coming in about 25secs better than my previous best.

I really need to start treating this like a race again and really warm up and prepare myself the right way, I just couldn't get the blood to the legs in the first few miles.  That usually happens when you go from 0 to threshold in about 200m.  I have been getting a bit lax with this race over the last few 'easy' years but nothing like a narrow second to shock you back into form.  Everyone else did great.  Xtina was back after her baby making hiatus and put up a very similar time to 'back in the day', Adam basically killed it in the MTB (dont believe him when he says he doesn't ride anymore and is slow), and Jeremy destroyed the trail run yet again with a scorching time bested only by some other ridiculously fast runner.

Not sure where these runners came from this year but there was A LOT of talent on hand.  Fastest road runner threw down sub 5min miles for 5 miles.

So another year down and it has become apparent that the Challenge has made a name for itself and earning that sweet sweet syrup is going to take a bit more focus next year...