Monday, February 27, 2012

Oh hey Winter

If you don't like the weather...

only took a week to go from Spring like conditions and road rides in February to white-knuckle death grip driving and epic VT powder days.  I <3 New England.  The only forecaster I trust in terms of POW location seemed to think the Spine was gonna be a good place to be so we scrambled a meet up at Sugarbush for this weekend.

Unfortunately with it being the end of vacation week and what was looking like one of the best days this year LOTS of other people had similar plans.  But its all good, the energy was palpable and you could tell everyone has been itching to let it rip.  I got my first tracks Friday night on the drive up.  The Echo was up to its eyeballs and my 2.5hr drive turned into 4 and change.  I had to do some sketchy rally driving that I will not elaborate on for the sake of my mother but I made it when other vehicles arguably much more equipped for the conditions did not AND I was getting 30+mpg while I was doing it.

We've got our routine down and were on mountain early fueling up and planning our initial mode of attack.  After that is mostly just a blur of powder. steeps, lower back fatigue, and some more powder.  It was snowing and blowing all day and many of the lines were filing back in during the day.  It was hard to make a bad run choice.  I wasn't riding as well as I had hoped, It usually takes me a few hard and fast days in the woods to get my wits about me.  I was choosing some silly lines at times and also dealing with some weird 'dead back' that had me riding pretty sloppy towards the end of the day.  I think I blame the exercise ball I've been sitting on at my desk lately.

Didn't get much decent footage due to my issues with selecting good lines and with the size of our group there was a bit of stop and go happening, plus even though 'Bush has become my winter home away from home I don't know the terrain like I know Cannon so its a bit harder to get reckless.

It felt really good to be back into the normal winter swing and it sounds like my home base got a decent amount of snow as well.  Looking forward to recouping the back and getting on some of my lines in the Notch finally.  Sounds like a bit of snow in the mountains tonight and Thurs.  Game on.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Eye-cicles and Finger Tingles

Road rides in February. Cool? I guess.  It's nice to get a jump on cycling fitness heading into what I hope will be a good year racing but road rides in February??  Felt kinda funny walking my bike past all the skis out of the basement this morning.

Plan was to drive up to Plymouth and try to tag Halls Brook and Stinson Mtn before calling it a day.  Forecast was for plenty of sunshine and temps in the high 30's.  Getting out to Rumney was a chore.  Brisk headwind on Fairgrounds Rd made it pretty difficult and cold but still manageable.  Started Halls Brook feeling pretty good and I felt like I was riding fairly strong.  I had a decent tempo going and was ticking right along enjoying the views of the ice falls along the side of the road.  At the time I felt like I had a good ride going and that I might be threatening my personal best.  Pretty hilarious how often I forget that if you are feeling really good on a climb, like you're barely even working it is probably because you are barely working and going really slow.  Ended up several minutes slower than my PB.  But I was feeling good!

Still had to get up and over N. Groton Rd.  Temps were dropping up high a bit and I was (not) looking forward to the descent.  Didn't take long for the core temp to drop.  Fingers went numb, luckily you don't really need to use brakes on that descent.  Eye's were tearing up a bit from the cold wind and the tears were freezing to my face shortly after.  Quite awesome.  Got down to Rt. 118 just in time for some more descending.  This got me really excited.  Nothing quite like some nausea inducing frost pains.  But I've been that cold before so I knew I would be fine but I needed to warm up sooner rather than later.

Luckily the haul back on Rt.25 is basically flat so I put it in my 44-11 (thats all I got on the touring bike) and just started hammering.  Winds had gone swirly on me a bit but its just as well, in this instance I would have even preferred a straight head wind.  Anything to get me working harder and get warm blood pumping to my extremities.  At this point I decided that a big climb (and descent) on Stinson was probably a bad idea.  Not sure I could take another deep freeze like that so I kept on the gas and took Rt. 25 straight back into Plymouth.  Pushing hard on the flats did the trick and I was 'comfortable' again within maybe 5-10mins.  The temps were warming up a bit as well and the sun felt good.  It was actually a pretty nice end to the ride.

Sunday, February 5, 2012


A ski outing worth blogging about?!  Kinda.  Resort conditions are so-so right now and definitely not worth really shelling out the $$ if needed so to save D-bone and Amanda some money we decided a little AT trip was in order.

Original plan was to check out the Gulf of Slides Trail but there were no tracks heading out that way which caused us to completely miss the turn off the Sherburne Trail and didn't realize it until we were pretty committed.  I need to get up there more often so I have a better mental map of that terrain.  Plus its gorgeous.

We got a nice day for it and conditions were workable.  Little dusting with a mostly manageable crust underneath.  We went a little bit higher than the Hut just to take a look at stuff.  Still pretty sparse up there in spots.  Right now even getting up to the bowls/gulleys is kind of a trick.  Finally got my Black Diamond Factors into their element for the first time and man did they shine.  Walk mode was awesome and they were super comfortable the whole way up.  I really noticed the decrease in weight as well over my old Icons.  Barely had any fatigue at all after the skin up.  Definitely one of my better random gear purchases to date.  Tried out a new GoPro angle with a side mount on my helmet.  I like the perspective and its a pretty comfortable spot for it.  Weight of the camera distributes well and I think its a good mix of showing what I'm doing as well as being able to see terrain features and distance.  Not sure how well it would work in the woods with it sticking off to the side like that but hopefully I'm not getting that close to trees with my head anyway...  Footage was pretty underwhelming but I made a little edit anyway.

No idea why I went with Buddy Holly.

All in all it was a great way to spend the day and we got to stop in at The Moat on the way home for some local brew and eats.  Then we burned Christmas.