Sunday, February 20, 2011

Dust on Crust Edit

Yesterday didn't have a lot of promise.  Big 'ole thaw followed by a pretty immediate deep freeze has a great way of turning everything to crap.  Luckily Cannon got a few inches of snow overnight for us to work with.  We made the most of it and got some interesting 'adventure' riding and we were able to find some aspects that loaded up a bit.  No matter the conditions, it was great to be back shredding with a solid crew...really looking forward to getting some more precip and finishing off the season strong.

Had the GoPro with me for the first time with the forward facing helmet mount.  I really like the perspective you get and I lucked out with pointing it at the right angle.  Only downside is the bit of added weight it adds to the front of your helmet that adds some pressure to where you goggles sit on your nose.  Just annoying enough to partially bug me but nothing major.

I am using trakaxPC for my editing.  So far I am really pleased.  Nice little piece of software and so far the perfect mix of newb user friendlyness and cooler more advanced features.  Very easy to do the standard fair for GoPro type edits.  I was able to throw this video together is just about and hour or two with absolutely no prior experience...that is saying something.

Unfortunately I still have some things to learn about aspect ratios and I think I exported in one ratio and then uploaded to Youtube in another which caused the video to be a smaller window within a bigger one...or at least I think thats what caused it.  I'll do some testing and troubleshooting in the future to figure that out but I am going to call this one good for now.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Ice Bike to Gunsight

My latest winter bike incarnation has been christened!  It's actually quite tailor made to winter riding, real long wheelbase is forgiving when things get squirrely and it feels really stable.  Matt and I snagged just under 5 miles at FFD on Friday evening.  Conditions were actually really good, but only on snowmachine trails.  Singletrack has been getting basically no traffic to date so those are all a no go.

I got to test my lights in a deep freeze and they performed as well as they needed to.  My hands were frozen solid long before the battery was in danger of dying.  I was trying out some Descente "winter" cycling gloves that I snagged on Bonktown recently.  I have used them doing other activities outdoors lately to great effect but I have a new theory that there is no such thing as an effective winter cycling glove.  I am going to either have to ride wearing my mittens that I wear skiing or get some of these.


Make my own bar mitts.  I had a stroke of genius shortly after the ride (or maybe just a stroke) and I think I might be able to fashion something awesome out of something I have laying around the house.  Could be ill advised or just ILL.  Time will tell.  Be on the lookout for Manarea's first wicked in depth How-To post if I can pull it off.

Saturday I brewed some more beer, went to the dump, various other jibba-jabba and then found out that evening that Cannon was still riding amazing and I had missed out on some serious awesome.  I thought for sure based on the crust situation around the house that the woods were locked up tight.  Apparently that is not entirely true.

Sunday I was able to meet up with Jim for a planned stab at Gunsight.  Finally getting a shot to get on it from the top.  I was very excited to finally get that all figured out.  I'm glad I went with Jim the first time.  Joe and I had been contemplating making a go at it when we were in the zone last weekend and I can safely say if we had we would have been SCREWED.  Getting over to Gunsight is pretty counter intuitive in several spots and we would have been wandering around for a long time.  Even having done it while attempting to take serious mental notes at every step of the way I am only 65% sure I could nail it on the next try.  But knowing what I know now we might get a little lost but not too bad and we'll never be in danger...maybe.

Gorgeous terrain off that side.  So cool being over there on a clear sunny day.  AND for the first time I actually got to see Cannon's namesake.  I'm trying to think back and I can't remember if I knew there was a rock outcropping that looked like a cannon right at the top of Cannon Cliff or if I always just took for granted why Cannon was called Cannon.  Oh well I saw it, it was cool.  No pic cause I suck.

The line itself was cool, nice and steep with some technical spots.  Natural half pipe drainage features towards the bottom and cool little spots with downed trees and other debris that make for interesting riding.

Jim and I also got on a new line over on Mittersill (hard to imagine there is still new stuff to find).  The snow sucked, but the terrain was incredible.  So many cool features and surprisingly steep for where it is located.  Ended up dumping down into lower Stinger so we knew the out and were good to go.  Gonna be a great new line to hit when things get deep again. And just think in another post or two I'll have footage to go along with all this crappy text!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Me and this Winter are best buds

Just keeps getting better.  I am getting pretty deep into the red as far as the lead level in my legs but it is hard to care right now.  This is one of those seasons well be talking about at least for the next few.

Took some vacay on Thurs to try and get some of the leftovers from Wednesday.  We found out that it was very windy up at Cannon during the event so a lot of the snow got blown around quite a bit and it wasn't quite as big of a day as we were hoping for.  But it was far from crap thats for sure.  We got into some of the easier reached lines and there were still some goods to be had.  Got a few runs over at Mittersill that were decent.

Here is a clip from one of our earlier runs in Snowmaker's:

Highlight of the day for sure were our two laps out to Stinger.  I had been jonesing to get out that way as I had not been off that side all season.  Snow over that way was the best we had found all day and we traversed over far enough on the lower pitch to find what ended up being one of my best runs this year.  I knew I really liked Stinger but I did not know I loved it.  Not sure what it was, maybe the new powder boards, maybe it was just the right amount of snow to float but not get bogged down, or maybe I just lucked out and found a good flowy line but that run was basically perfect.  East Coast tree skiing at its very best.

I believe Joe got some pics and vids, hopefully I can get some of that stuff up soon.

Saturday Joe and I were still a bit sluggish from our plethora of shred, Bill called it due to some issues with his back so we had to figure out how to best use our time and our heavy legs.  Obviously we decided to take a few warm up runs and then get seriously after it.  First order of business was finally acting on some beta I gathered two seasons ago...Bear Gut.

BG is a big scary line with some serious cliffs you need to be mindful of.  I had only hiked up the line in the off season so I knew where we needed to go but not what things looked like in the winter.  I knew how to avoid the big (30ft+) cliff band and I knew there was some "interesting" terrain just above those cliffs but I wasn't 100% sure what we were in for.  Turns out we were in for some sweet mandatory drops and some tight sketchy side slipping.  First hairy section was a fairly large 10(ish)ft drop with a slightly smaller 6-8ft option to skiers right.  We are pansies so we opted for the smaller but in retrospect I think throwing the bigger drop might actually be a tad safer due to a much more manageable landing.


and hucking 

We got through there without much issue, and by that I mean I booted out of a ski trying to scrub speed after landing, fell down slope a bit and came to rest with my head against a tree and then upon trying to get up, rolled over and fell head first and flipped off a 5ft rock.  Good thing the snow was DEEP.

standing next to my idiot trophy
We picked our way down some little mini drops and choke points and eventually popped out just below the cliff band to our reward...a well manicured double wide line with deep snow and plenty of sweet features to shred.  Towards the bottom the line chokes in a bit into a steep natural half pipe, probably some of the coolest stuff I have ever been on.  Again I think Joe has lots of pics and vids...coming soon.

 terrain was le'technical

 maybe next time you'll see an impact crater behind me?
no, no you will not.

Here is the bottom of the line:

We then immediately got on the Tram and went straight for Saddlesore, another line I haven't been on in years.  Its been getting decent traffic so the snow wasn't amazing but it has been cleaned up a bit in there since my last time and its riding great now.  I think it will have to enter our normal rotation more frequently especially right after some snow.

Joe and I were in the zone and decided we needed to continue increasing our local knowledge base and went after some lines easily visible from the Peabody and accessed via Bunny.  Not sure what those lines are called but our terrain awareness was (sort of) spot on and we found one of probably several lines in there.  It was decently fun and the snow was good but I'm not sure if it is a line I would want to go after frequently.  The out wasn't awesome and it wasn't really super easy to link more than one or two turns for basically the entire line.  But I'm glad we found it for no other reason than it verified that we are getting pretty good at terrain assessment and line finding.

aaaaaand now as I write this it is DUMPING out and I have to figure out if my legs are going to work for some more ridiculousness tomorrow...

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Pinney's Pale Ale

Crotchville Beer LLC has reached new heights.  A milestone if you will.  Officially commissioned for three batches.  I have been entrusted to brew three batches of Pale Ale to be given out as gifts to guests at Shaun and Natalie's wedding.  No pressure or anything.

 tower of power

I'm not worried though my track record is pretty impeccable if I don't say so myself. (just jinxed it Shaun, youre welcome).  These batches are pretty basic but the simplicity was nice, I think I might try and get back in to always having something basic on hand.  Can't go wrong with Pale Ales and I can always start experimenting a bit here and there with tweaks etc.  These batches have 3oz of Cascade hops.  2oz at 60mins and the last ounce added in the last minute of the boil for that added hoppy/citrusy fragrance to the end product.  I think it was the right way to go for a mass audience (see what I did there? DOUBLE MEANING ho ho ho)

I also got to try out a new piece of gear I got for Christmas:


Way easier and safer to haul a full carboy than grabbing it by the neck and praying thats for sure.

I have to do some tricky scheduling to make sure all three batches get done on time.  My capacity is going to basically be maxed for the first time ever.  Which is good...why else do I have all this damn stuff?  Word on the street is Jen is working on a custom label for these batches.  Can't wait to see it.  I am also thinking about having my students make a label for this batch as a Photoshop assignment...should be good.  Stay tuned as Crotchville keeps pumping out batch after batch!

Phew! Have I been busy.  3 batches turned in to 4 and I have been going straight out.  I've worked things around so that I was able to do a few double sessions.  Bottled batches 1 and 2 and the same time as well as racking batches 3 and 4 to secondary tonight.  I will more than likely bottle both 3 and 4 together in about another week or so and then we will have a few weeks to get the labels on before game day.

I also got real awesome / lame and tried out my new tripod mount for the GoPro to make a quick racking to secondary vid.  Never thought I would be using my Homebrew AND GoPro tag on the same post...


I'm happy to report that this will be my first batch that will be dressed to impress.  Check out this label made by Jen O'Donnell.  Check out her work, its fun.