Who the Hell is maadjurguer?
Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Something about that warm glow makes my bike look like it belongs here.
The recent rains perked up the most stubborn bushes and cleared the air for a beautiful sunset.
Shadows loom over the bajada while Four Peaks basks in the glow of sunset and......Snow.....damn, I'm here to clear the snow off my brain....not have it rubbed in my face!
Coming down to earth, both literally and figuratively; I head back down the hill to complete the loop. Along the way, I decided to shoot some moving video for some B-roll on just about the most benign section of trail out there....and proceeded to drop my wife's camera. Just do me a favor: as you watch it here, imagine Samuel Barbers, Adagio for Strings playing in the background. Doesn't ring a bell, then this will....it was the Adagio playing in the movie Platoon when Willim Defoe's character was being riddled by bullets as Tom Berringer's character left him to die. The video here is especially poignant when after the camera goes down, it continues to record for a period of time, looking up with it's last bit of life, hearing me roll to a stop, dismount my bike and crouch over it's terminally wounded body....apologizing.
I suck....I know it. Did I not just post a while back that I need a POV cam for this crap....now it looks like Mrs. Maad will be getting a new camera. This was the final nail in the coffin for skiing with tRoy tomorrow. I'll go to work and steal away on my lunch break to buy another camera...hopefully before she reads this post. Early Christmas present honey!
Monday, December 15, 2008
Sunday, December 14, 2008
However, early season conditions prevailed and any attempt to ski off-piste or steeper sections was met with the feeling of grinding rock to base and edge, hitting downed trees, stumps and nut-whacking baby tree growth. I don't mind any of those, to include the nut-whacking baby tree growth as long as there's powder involved...but hooking a ski under a downed tree is just plain demoralizing...especially when you do it twice. Good thing I lowered the DIN on my Dynafits before heading out on the second day. Something told me I would need it and I was right.
Never one to learn my lesson, I continued over to the Alberta area on Wednesday in search of some untracked in an area I like to consider my own private Valhalla. I call it this because to access a sweet apron of snow with perfectly spaced and monument-like old-growth spruce; you have to enter a chute with a blind-roller at the end. The chute itself is carved into a cliff-band with towering trees angled in towards the chute's entrance, giving the feeling of entering a great hall while tempting Odin and Ullr. When the rest of the area gets tracked out, I've always been able to find untracked here year after year. I found the spot again, but not after having to dead-end at the cliff-face which had failed to fill in yet; forcing me remove my skis and downclimb. Last year at this time, I was able to pop a few turns in the chute to access the apron below...this year, downed trees and rock prevented me from repeating. Still, the apron below was untouched after 48 hours of savage attacks by the hordes of powder-sluts which descended on the area for the 2nd big storm of the season. Just count me a bigger powder-slut than most. Enjoy this lame video I pulled together...I really need to get a POV camera because holding my wife's nice digital in hand while skiing pretty much prevents me from shooting anything interesting.
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Day 2 at Wolf Creek. 12 inches of fresh overnight, 4 inches yesterday. 19 degrees below windchill. Rock On!!!!
Monday, December 8, 2008
I'm here in the lodge at Wolf Creek eating my homemade energy bar, thinking about the first turns of the season enjoyed on 3 inches of fresh. Its been snowing all day and the rumor is that tonight and tomorrow, the area will see SIGNIFICANT precip. I'm thinking we could see a two footer storm before we leave. Rock on!
Saturday, December 6, 2008
US Ranked 4th
After determining the Big-12 championship game participants the BCS computers were put to work on other major contests and today the BCS declared Germany to be the winner of World War II.
"Germany put together an incredible number of victories beginning with the annexation of Austria and the Sudetenland and continuing on into conference play with defeats of Poland, France, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Belgium and the Netherlands. Their only losses came against the US and Russia; however considering their entire body of work--including an incredibly tough Strength of Schedule--our computers deemed them worthy of the #1 ranking."
Questioned about the #4 ranking of the United States the BCS commissioner stated "The US only had two major victories--Japan and Germany. The computer models, unlike humans, aren't influenced by head-to-head contests--they consider each contest to be only a single, equally-weighted event."
German Chancellor Adolph Hiter said "Yes, we lost to the US; but we defeated #2 ranked France in only 6 weeks." Herr Hitler has been criticized for seeking dramatic victories to earn 'style points' to enhance Germany's rankings. Hitler protested "Our contest with Poland was in doubt until the final day and the conditions in Norway were incredibly challenging and demanded the application of additional forces."
The French ranking has also come under scrutiny. The BCS commented " France had a single loss against Germany and following a preseason #1 ranking they only fell to #2."
Japan was ranked #3 with victories including Manchuria, Borneo and the Philippines.
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
Because of this funk, I have not ridden two days in a row. Not counting trips out of town, I have not been off my bike two days in a row in.....I can't remember. If abstinence gets me better for Wolf Creek....I'm all for it. I've had my stomach set on some Nacho's from Bear Creek Saloon in Pagosa Springs since last year....they are the best Nacho's this side of the Kuiper Belt.
Speeking of food; I've been experimenting with my own energy bar recipe since this summer. I finally got a mix which is pretty darn good. I've been shooting for a blend of slow release carbs and instant carb boost via natural ingredients. My most recent blend starts with irish oats, buckwheat flour, ground flax, cinnamon, blackstrap molasses, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, whole almonds, dried cherries, dried currants, dried apricots, dried dates, golden raisins, dried strawberries, dried blueberries and white chocolate chunks. I bake them up on a 9x13 pan in the oven for 20 minutes, cool, cut into bars, flip and cook for another 10 minutes. The result this time came out crunchy and chewy.....in other words, perfect. I'll be carrying a bunch with me when skiing and riding, so holler if you want one.
Monday, November 24, 2008
-Dexterity (can I easily grip and manipulate things with the gloves on, are they easy to get on and off even with wet hands)
-Removable Liner (need for drying after multiple wet days, potential to utilize just the liner for skinning on warmer days)
-Wrist Fit (wrist straps or tight elastic to eliminate drafts and snow infiltration)
-Palm Material (leather or pleather, component of dexterity, tackiness)
-Overall construction (overall thoughts on utility)
-Verdict (average of scores)
0 Turns – Least desirable for what I wanted
1 Turns – Below average for class
2 Turns – Average for class
3 Turns – Above average for class
4 Turns – Best in class for tested subjects
***only one 4-turn grade assigned per criteria
As a summary in case you don’t want to read the individual grades below, I picked the Black Diamond Prodigy glove for its best in class palm material and overall construction. I also found that in general, the Black Diamond gloves to be very well put together and consistent with respect to material construction, sheer burl factor and their dexterity given the ample insulation levels. Other gloves fell short as a whole in these areas. However, there were a few stand-outs with respect to individual features such as the superior wrist strap design of the Hestra, the novel but ingenious idiot strap design found on the Cloudveil Gauntlet and Hestra and the outstanding utility of the liner within the Marmot Ultimate Guide gloves. Nonetheless, I will be heading to my local craft store to fabricate an idiot strap similar to the ones found on the standouts mentioned since I tend to be an giddy forgetful idiot when facing down thousands of feet of powder. Lastly, it is ironic that the very type gloves that I am replacing and have loved so much scored very low in this test. The newer construction and material choice in the Marmot Ultimate line was disappointing, again; this is based upon my personal preferences which I have outlined.
-Dexterity: 1 turn. This should not be construed as being a "bad rating". Given that this was the warmest glove with the most insulation within the class, dexterity should not be a factor when requiring something this warm. Given skiing in the 4 corners region, it is overkill and warrants the low rating for me.
-Removable liner: 2 turns. The liner is basic, but not really usable outside the shell.
-Wrist fit: 3 turns. Elastic, no wrist strap, but firm and tight.
-Palm material: 3 turns. Heavy duty leather, great doubling of leather in key areas, tacky and soft.
-Overall Construction: 3 turns. Well designed and fits great, but lacks idiot strap which I would add as a modification.
-Verdict: 2.4 turns. If I were looking for a very warm/hot glove, the dexterity and removable liner points would have been higher, rendering this the overall winner. Minus points only for this reason. Great glove and decent dexterity for amount of insulation material to include wool.
-Dexterity: 3 turns. Not as dexterous as work gloves, as good as it gets for a gauntlet glove.
-Removable liner: 2 turns. Not very usable outside of glove, the same as the other BD glove reviewed.
-Wrist fit: 3 turns. Great fit at wrist, elastic, no strap.
-Palm material: 4 turns. Heavy duty leather, great doubling of leather in key areas, tacky and soft. Same construction as other BD glove reviewed.
-Overall Construction: 4 turns. Nice balance of warmth, dexterity and burly construction. No idiot strap, but an easy mod.
-Verdict: 3.2 turns. BD makes some burly gloves overall. This is my winner for skiing the SW. I would have picked the BD Guide if I needed a much colder weather glove, but I already have a pair of these which don't get much use. I will be making my own idiot strap for these based after the Hestra design (below).
-Dexterity: 3 turns. A true work glove.
-Removable liner: 0 turns. It’s a work glove…that’s what you get, not neceserrily a bad thing, just not what I need.
-Wrist fit: 3 turns. Great tight fit with elastic, I was surprised by a drawcord strap for a small gauntlet on this glove.
-Palm material: 3 turns. Typical BD burly construction, nicest leather of them all.
-Overall Construction: 3 turns.
-Verdict: 2.4 turns. This comes in 2nd place in the work glove category...granted, I only sampled 2 in this category.
-Dexterity: 4 turns. Best tested, very easy on and off.
-Removable liner: 0 turns. It’s a work glove, so may not be fair criteria.
-Wrist fit: 1 turn. Questionable baffle wrist sleeve may not keep out snow or drafts. I would love to get some feedback on this glove from someone with a season in them.
-Palm material: 3 turns. Great soft leather.
-Overall Construction: 3 turns. Would be 4 if not for the questionable wrist baffle….still intrigued to try these though.
-Verdict: 2.2 turns. I would have picked these gambling that the wrist baffle worked as intended thus increasing it's score. If I was a two glove kind of guy, this would be #2.
-Dexterity: 0 turns. Very stiff, somewhat uncomfortable
-Removable liner: 2 turns. Very thick and warm liner with grippy palm…could be used separately
-Wrist fit: 2 turns. A little on the loose side
-Palm material: 1 turns. Not too tacky and very stiff.
-Overall Construction: 1 turn. Not XTR fabric on outside which in my humble opinion not only gives you the benefits of GoreTex, but holds up well to abrasion which is a big issue for any skier trying to find weeks old powder in the thickest of forests. I felt like this glove would rip upon first contact with any stray branch I should try try to shield my face from.
-Verdict: 1.2 turns. Lowest rating, yet it had one of the best idiot straps I’ve ever seen; eliminating the cinching piece of plastic and opting instead for an easy on, easy off elastic cuff. It also had a zipper pouch for a heat chem pack if you’re into that sort of thing.
-Dexterity: 2 turns. Lots of space in the glove, felt large for the size, would have sized down.
-Removable liner: 0 turns. The insulation felt thin in addition to the fit.
-Wrist fit: 1 turn. Again, minus points as a factor of the insulation issue and no wrist strap
-Palm material: 3 turns. Decent leather, but not as good as BD.
-Overall Construction: 3 turns. The materials were fine, just a bit big for me in a size Medium.
-Verdict: 1.8 turns. Minus points for thin insulation and loose fit…if sized down, would have been higher, but insulation still a factor.
-Dexterity: 3 turns. Very soft leather construction, easily manipulated.
-Removable liner: 0 turns. No liner
-Wrist fit: 4 turns. Great wrist strap, found on underside of glove instead of on top, wider material. Best in class
-Palm material: 3 turns. Great leather construction
-Overall Construction: 3 turns. great idiot strap similar to the Cloudveil….a model to follow.
-Verdict: 2.6 turns. Minus points for lack of a liner.
-Dexterity: 1 turn. Very rigid, in part because of weird treated leather on palm and fingers.-Removable liner: 0 turns
-Wrist fit: 3 turns. 2nd best wrist strap of them all with tacky grip for tightening with the other glove on
-Palm material: 0 turns. Weird, rigid, hard feeling, not tacky grip material
-Overall Construction: 2 turns.
-Verdict: 1.2 turns. Kudos for great wrist strap….glove tested only came with one idiot strap on left glove....guess there is an extra strap without a glove somewhere in China.
-Dexterity: 1 turn. Very rigid
-Removable liner: 4 turn. Best of breed….truly 3 gloves in one. I would pay money to have just the liner (windstopper Goretex fleece with very usable tacky grip…great for skinning.
-Wrist fit: 3 turns. 2nd best wrist strap of them all.
-Palm material: 0 turns.
-Overall Construction: 3 turns. Great glove even without the liner, very usable as a stand alone….I just could not see the palm material working out as planned.
-Verdict: 2 turns.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Monday, November 17, 2008
Sunday, November 16, 2008
With that being said, it was not all bad, take this picture as an example. It was shot after I started cramping but was still managing. The photog credit goes to Monkeybutt....proving that "you don't have to be having fun, to have fun." There were signs along the way that my body was not right. I did not uber-hydrate the night before or the morning pre-ride, I conserved my electrolyte drink during the 1st half of the ride....and I was trying to impress folks. There....I've said it, now I'm stickin' with it.
Having joined up with 4 folks off of the MTBR Arizona forum, I proceeded to hammer myself on the 1st half of the ride. Stupid is as stupid does. I am left humbled by the experience, wanting more....I will return. In hindsight, I'll start hydrating for the long rides like I hydrate for backcountry days. I'll drink more fluids early in the day rather than sipping to conserve early. Once the cramps start....all the fluids, electrolytes, saliditos in the world will not get you out of the cramp zone anytime soon. Sure, they'll subside faster with the remedies in hand....but to quote Walter Sobchak, "you're about to enter a world of pain".....guaranteed. Lesson learned....moving on.
The BCT was absolutely stunning. Most of the trail system is pretty new, but the portion we started out on was very new...as in unconsolidated, soft dirt new. Of course, there were some rock gardens where things had yet to fill in from the rains; but overall, this was one sweet piece of singletrack. The amount of work going into these sections is amazing, well thought out, graded appropriately and with a strong eye to sustainability. I can't say enough good things about this trail. As for the scenery, it too was stunning. Flanked by the Bradshaw Mountains on the west and the Agua Fria river on the east; we traversed and crossed several mountain ridges, dropping down to the river twice to cross and in general having a flowy good time. There were some sustained climbs, but the grade was very reasonable. This grade was made possible by quite a few switchbacks which required some finesse to navigate. Lets just say I had more finesse for the first 70% of the ride. The last 30% of the ride the finesse was replaced by desires to be at Rock Springs drinking a cold one.
Last, but certainly not least; my riding companions for the day started out as strangers and ended up all being great folks with whom I look forward to riding with again soon. Overall, we rode 25.6 miles with 4108 ft vertical gained on the day. I neglected to start my GPS until we had rolled down the trail a bit, so the profile is incomplete.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Over the last 10 years, these gloves have handled it all. From my 1st day on the job teaching kids from Sonora, Mexico how to ski and grab the dreaded rope tow at Mt. Lemmon; to my final year at Ski Valley teaching privates to UofA professors and their children. The $20 tips these gloves accepted at the end of a 2-hr lesson paid for the gloves many times over. How many 3-year old kids these friends have lifted up, brushed off and encouraged to give it another try I’ll never know. Even after a long day teaching, they kept with me by helping out a short-handed patrol perform final sweep on darkening runs which had long iced up. When other gloves would have been sweat soaked and chilling the hands within them, they kept me comfortable enough to enjoy the lengthening shadows of the pines and the silence of an empty run save the occasional call of my own voice, searching for any lost or hurt skiers left on the mountain. Their only reward was to be shucked and thrown into the back of the truck while I spent my tip money on 1’st beers and tequila at the Alpine in Summerhaven with the ski-school and patrol.
Of course, they’ve seen their share of powder days with me; protecting my wrists and palms from spindrift and wet powder alike. I can’t count how many tree limbs these guys have brushed aside and shielded me so I could pass relatively unscathed to enjoy more powder turns in the trees weeks after a storm passed. But a friendship is not defined by the good times; rather, they are tested and given opportunity to shine in adversity. More often than not, they hung it out with me on the less than nicer days; sweating in the early spring sun while skiing hockey-rink hard-pack, waiting in line for last chair just so I could get one more run in before the season ended. They’ve been there for me at 5 in the morning in late January with the wind-howling, the sky puking and the temp plummeting. These are the times when they kept me warm enough to head out when all common sense told me to go back to bed or quit early and drink a beer. They’ve been with me through my two ski injuries: hyper-extension of my left thumb from a stupid fall on a groomer of all places and a tree hit in the backcountry while skiing powder. Both times, I was unable to grip a beer in my left hand for several months. I’m talkin’ major trauma here folks.
They’ve also been with me through many changes: Graduation from College, buying my first house, OU winning a national championship, a move to DC, engagement, death of a family member, marriage, selling my first house, a move back to Arizona, buying my second house, two fiesta bowl losses by OU…in a row, buying my first new car. Quite simply, they’ve seen it all. They’ve seen me change both as a person and as a skier. They’ve gripped the steering wheel of three different vehicles clawing their way up an icy mountain road. They’ve been pinched, dirtied and cussed at while applying chains to these vehicles so that we could continue on. They’ve been abraded by freshly sharpened edges on no less than 6 pairs of my own skis, not to mention friends, family and student skis which I’ve carried. In every instance, they have never let me down. They’ve seen me transition from long and skinny skis, to short and shapely skis, to fat and floaty skis. Quite literally, they’ve lived through a revolution in ski design and have made turns through it all with nary a gripe.
Unfortunately, they have also skied their last season. The insulation just does not hold heat like it used to and all attempts at water-proofing the UV-battered gore-tex and brittle leather palms have not given me the reprieve I was hoping for. What was once black XCR fabric is now a sun-bleached purple. I was able to eke out one final season with them last year…..snif….please give me a moment here….I’m sorry to get like this….but the time has come to buy another pair. I feel horrible for letting my friend go since we’ve had so many good times together. I feel like Tom Hanks saying goodbye to Wilson while lost on the ocean….crying out, “I’m sorry, I’m sorry”.
To finally let go, I will be conducting a wake of sort’s, with the participants to be the 8 friends with whom I hope to choose just one to see me through this tough time and the coming years. I am inviting these friends from Backcountry.com over for a short stay at my house so that I may talk with them, get to know them and ultimately choose one to spend the next segment of my life with. I just hope one of them is up to the task. 10 years is a long time to ask of any one thing. I doubt the next pair will last me this long, however they need to understand what is expected of them. The other 6 will return via UPS back to Utah, at my expense of course, to wait for another soul searching for a soul-mate.
Rest assured, I will be sure to share with you photos and comments regarding the pro’s and con’s of each potential mate in case any of you are looking for a pal too. Here are the participants:
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
I have not written in a while, lamenting to the wife about how lame my blog has been lately (no photos, no adventures); but I’ve been riding just as much, I just have not been talking about it. Mrs. Maadjurguer countered that if my blog is lame, it’s just a reflection of me……fair enough. Granted, I’ve had a few distractions such as the new car and the state of OU’s faltering linebacker corps; but in general nothing has changed except for a few subtle things which manifest themselves into flow and epiphanies. I can honestly say that my skills have progressed to a level where I no longer feel good riding form is luck, but habit. The way I used to struggle to move my body around my bike in turns and whoop-dee-do’s is gone. The way I confidently rail turns, anticipating drift off of my tires is no longer feared, but reassuring. The way my handlebars seem to come alive in my hands, moving up and down with dips, rolls and drops as my body soaks up the feedback automatically feels right.
I’ve also started to occasionally listen to music while riding and it has taken me to a new level. I’ve always eschewed diluting the outdoor experience, whether it being skiing, hiking or biking; focusing instead on sensations of sound, feel, taste and the mental drift culminating in the unanticipated and surprising focus which usually accompanies any physical endeavor outside. That is, until now. On a whim, I rolled out to do the Hawes loop with my newly bought iPod. My inaugural tunes for the ride: My very first moe. show – 10-29-2004, DAR Constitution Hall – Washington D.C. I can’t explain the details except to say that I rode the entire loop including mudflaps without stopping….and I only dabbed twice. This is several orders of magnitude better than I’ve ever done before. For starters, stopping after riding up mudflaps has usually been mandatory to catch my breath…guess the moe. took the pain out of my mind. As for the dabs, one was on the only switchback I still struggle with and the other was when I washed out on a sandy corner carrying waaaaaaaay too much speed because moe. was kickin’ ass and takin’ names. After finishing the loop, I was so inspired as to repeat some of the loop in another order by taking a shortcut and reversing my direction.
moe. transformed me that night back in 2004 with their rendition of “Crab Eyes” and “Puttin the Boy Down”….I can even be heard on the recording of the show yelling “Chili Dawg!” from the crowd. However moe. did it again this week by giving me flow on the bike I thought was still months away. It’s taken me almost 7 months of 4-6 rides per week to get to this point. Tire pressures and seatpost height, angle and position are finally synched and optimized for my geometry. The skills are starting to build and as a consequence, so are the flow of confidence to try new things and challenges. However, I still occasionally prefer to ride with just me and the sound of the wind.
Just yesterday after a long day at the office, I hit the trail after doing some weights at the gym. I was a little behind schedule and the sun was beginning the twilight hour. I normally look for transformative experiences on my days off when I have time for a long ride; not when I’m rushing to cram a ride in between work, weights and dinner. But right off the bat something seemed different about this ride. Perhaps it was the cold front that came through and dropped the temps to the low 70’s while still daylight. Perhaps it was the crimson, vermilion and mauve illuminated low clouds contrasting against the rapidly darkening sky. As I rode on, I stopped to take it in; no longer spurred on by a pounding guitar riff or baseline, I was clearly on a different ride. Looking at those clouds perched above the eternally-present granite canyons and saguaro studded ridges, I saw the movement of perhaps a hundred mourning doves gliding down slope, all illuminated in the fading but focused last rays from the sun. Appearing as bright white streaks, they swooped down from the highlands towards the bajada below. It was then that my admiration turned from the clouds to the beautiful palate behind the birds. The ridgeline and canyon were beginning to glow with the fading light that can only be described as electric. I peddled on and began thinking of those doves. I’m sure I’ve seen the movement of as many doves in flight before in the desert, but tonight was especially striking. I’m wondering to myself if they do that every night, returning from their highland roost during the day down to the washes below at night. As I peddled up a rise towards another intersection, I began to hear a high-pitched squealing coming from the blood orange ridgeline in front of me. As I rolled to a stop, doves in flight still firmly etched in my mind; a slow earthy movement in the direction of the squealing on the ridgeline ahead of me snapped my focus away from the doves and to this new stimulus. Descending the ridge up contour from me were about 10-15 javalina with several babies. The squealing was coming from the babies, doing what fury baby peccaries do: squeal. I stopped for a minute to watch them descend towards me; blindly ignorant of my presence now that I was motionless, they continued grazing on mesquite pods and herding the wayward babies along. I mused they too must be heading towards the lowlands which surround the main wash. Moving onward and passing the herd, I noticed the clouds were now gray, the color gone for the day in my little slice of geography; always marching westward to inspire swaths of humanity; returning every 12 hours or so in a different guise to the same spot but only if we’re lucky enough to see it.
The rest of the ride was spent in diminishing light and intensifying thoughts of light, time and space. Rolling home I realized that I probably have more time to appreciate the subtle things now that my mind is not completely focused on every turn and every pedal stroke. The minutia of skill and technique which previously consumed me is now automatic, the detailed subtleties of my surroundings more accessible and my enjoyment more profound. I always knew that riding a bike was fun on an elementary level, however I’m just coming to learn the deeper enjoyment and inner-peace found when exploring a new trail or even a new time of day. I’ve felt this very thing through skiing for nearly two decades; but am pleasantly surprised to experience this awakening all over again. Strange and inviting, I’m taken to places rarely visited in everyday life.
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
The maadjurguer has finally arrived from Ingolstadt. The 09 is the one without the bike rack and the stickers still on it….this is the maadjurguer mobile. The 08’ which is next to it is the dealers. The same rack and tint job will be applied to the 09 and I take delivery on Friday.
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Secondly, I need to go buy an iPod for the anticipated delivery of the new maadjurguer mobile. I’m perhaps one of the last folks in the industrial world under the age of 35 who has yet to purchase a .mp3 player. Until solid-state HD’s come down in price, I’m forced to use the next best thing for compact car audio storage…hence the iPod. I’ll probably pick up the biggest one they make since I intend on packing it with as many moe. and Widespread Panic shows as possible. The iPod Classic 120GB should do nicely until I can get that 500GB solid-state HD installed in the glove box.
On the food front, I’ll be cooking up some good grub this Saturday night based upon one of my favorite chefs travels to the Yucatan, Rick Bayless. I'll be cooking up some Ha Si Kil Pak con tortilla de maize, Queso Rellano con Picadillo Estilo Yucateco y Pierna de Cordero. Translation: an Aztec recipe for mole made with pumpkin seed and Habanero, a round of Mexican cheese stuffed with a Yucatecan pork stuffing and a Oaxacan style pit cooked leg of lamb which is marinated in adobo and cooked in banana leaf. I’ve done the lamb in this style many times…but have been holding off on the Ha Si Kil Pak and the Queso Rellano.
Lastly, I’ll be kicking things off on Friday by an early morning round of golf with Dr. Sooner, happy hour with our favorite Iowans and catching STS9 later that night in Tempe. I don’t think I need to mention two obvious items which I’ll be partaking of this weekend, but will highlight them nonetheless. Sooner Football with beer and riding my bike. That always comes first….at least, until ski season. Good thing college football season winds down just as the snow begins to fly, otherwise I don't know what I'd do with myself.
Monday, October 20, 2008
The first bit of sh!t that befell me was a stranded roadie when I was taking the bit of pavement on my trek between Hawes and Usery. From the looks of it, he did not have a pump, a flat kit....or anything else a responsible cyclist should have. So I stopped and helped him out. Turns out, this was his first ride on his new shiny road bike. He asked me if I'd ever fixed a flat before....I tried not to laugh. He had his tire completely off the rim and was attempting to put the new tube onto the rim....with the air valve retaining screw...on the inside of the rim....with the tire laying on the side of the road. Again....I tried not to laugh. I just grabbed his sh!t and started fixing the flat, explaining what I was doing and why I was doing it. In a few minutes, he was all patched up and ready to go.
Having fixed sh!t problem #1, I rolled right into sh!t problem #2. I guess that during sh!t problem #1 when my camelback had been on the ground, the owner of sh!t problem #1 had accidentally stepped on my camelback while maneuvering around me trying to see what I was doing to his sh!t. He must have stepped just right on the valve portion of my drink tube with his look cleats, because now my water was leaking out of my camelback at a steady pace. At first I tried blowing air back into the tube to prevent the water from leaking out, but the gash in the tube was large enough to release the air pressure in the system and it went back to leaking....on a 95 degree day, 15 miles from where I started. So I stopped again after a mile and pulled out my leatherman, cut the bad section of tubing out, reapplied the bite valve and I was peddling my way out of sh!t problem #2.....right into sh!t problem #3....I was now low on water, only half way to my goal mileage for the day. I figured that I could detour on the way back...ride some hardball, swing by the house for some liquids and get back on the trail.
However as soon as I had mentally rectified sh!t problem #3...which would begin to be a recurring theme much like the threat of airborne herpes....I was confronted with sh!t problem #4.....my own flat. I've been running the same slime tubes all summer...but I guess the one up front finally gave up after being pin-cushioned for over 800 miles of cholla infested singletrack. It only took me a few moments to change out the tube with a new one...but these little interruptions were starting to wear on my nerves. I started playing mental games with myself as I was peddling away from sh!t problem #4...asking myself what else could go wrong. I guess I could take a bad fall or get bit by a rattler....that would top off the afternoon. Talk about a sh!t scenario compounded by the previous sh!t situations. Alone, in the desert, low on water, out of spare tubes, rattlesnake bite, 15 miles from home. Perfect.
Naturally, by letting this mental sh!t into my brain I became extra cautious and rolled my way back. I made it all the way home with no more sh!t situations to speak of. I refilled on water and rolled out the door to complete my goal of 30 miles of singletrack. Then I got the call ringing from by camelback....the call came from sh!t situation #5. Now....I'm not calling my wife a sh!t situation....I'm calling what she is driving a sh!t situation. When my wife calls with that voice....the panicky voice...I know I gotta drop what I'm doing and fix the sh!t problem otherwise I'm gonna be in....well, you get it.
Turns out, her car alarm would not stop and it had locked her out of disabling it in the parking lot at Safeway. Her sh!t situation #1, my sh!t situation #5. I told her I would be there in a jiffy....I think she expected me to roll up in my car and be there in a few minutes. 15 minutes later, I wheeled up....finding her easily in the parking lot as she was the only one with horn blaring, lights flashing. After pulling a few fuses, I was able to get the thing to shut up. From what I can tell, there was a short somewhere between the radio and the anti-theft device...so by pulling the radio fuse....problem fixed. Good thing we're getting rid of sh!t situation #5 in the next few weeks.
That's a lot of sh!t situations for one ride....the wife was perturbed by her sh!t situation #1....I wasn't feeling any sympathy because it was my sh!t situation #5. The way I see it, no one got hurt, everyone made it home to their TV dinners. Which brings to mind a great saying oft quoted by folks in the mountains having an epic: You don't have to be having fun.....to have fun. This was an easy day, not even coming close to anything resembling an epic...and as long as I never expected it to be perfect by setting that sh!t bar real low, I was going to come out ahead. I never got my 30 miles of singletrack...coming in somewhere at 23 miles singletrack, 7 miles hardball.
32 miles with 1871 ft vertical gained
Friday, October 17, 2008
My lungs are still on fire, so I decided to take it easy with respect to long, continuous climbs. Instead, I decided to check out Desert Classic....which strangely, I have never done. I have to say; cutting my teeth on Hawes for the 1st 6 months of mountain biking has paid off. For being a completely new trail for me, I opened it up like I've never done on a new trail before. Granted, it's a cross-country trail with nothing close to techincal, but there are a few rock gardens which will wake your ass up if you're not paying attention. All in all, I really liked it despite the lack of any tech challenge. Carrying mega-speed via my large chainring through the nicely bermed corners was sweet and will bring me back when I'm in the need. I did start to cramp at the end since it was 95 out today and I'm out of my electrolyte drink; so I did what any illegal alien/undocumented worker would do after a day working in the sun....I bought a 24oz Tecate and a pack of saliditos. After ingesting 500% of my daily allowance of sodium via 3 saliditos (yes...only 3) and that nice icy Tecate, I was right as rain.
On another note: The ski movie stoke is in overdrive right now, so for your enjoyment; here are two links to movies which are capturing my imagination right now.
The 1st DVD is called "The Pact" by Powder Whore Productions.....a ski friend from up north turned me on to this. It's a tele ski movie....but that just makes the face-shots look more impressive. Even if you don't carve, the photography will take your breath away on this. Link is attached here. I could have used the youtube imbed video function on this video, but the youtube version was a crappy resolution. The link I provided takes you directly to Powder Whore's website which will give you a nice widescreen, high-rez version of the trailer.
The 2nd one is called "Hand Cut" by Sweetgrass productions. I've watched this several times....and I have the drool stains on my carpet to prove it. In a world of ski-porn going bigger and bigger, It's nice to see an independent film produced with more natural shots, folks earning their turns as opposed to flying off in a helo, photography reminiscent of an Ansel Adams photo spread...well, you get the point. If you feel like watching this one...come on over and bring me some beer.
Thursday, October 16, 2008
The point is that my lungs are on fire every time I have a heavy climbing ride. My breathing sounds like someone is taking hit after hit off of a bong, somewhere in my chest. Only the hit's are the invisible particles of grass, pollen, coccidioidomycosis, and good ole' fashioned dirt. Let's not forget the ever present ozone and smog too....but that's the least of my worries right now.
Don't get me wrong....I love to drink beer and head out with the buds on one of pa-honix's many 3rd tier golf courses and knock a few balls around, but the overseeding process is killing my lung capacity these days. Hell, just the other day, Dr. Sooner, his friend and I got paired up with an old lady....we'll call her Grandma. Grandma kicked our ass out there on the course....and she was trash talking us left and right. That's right....calling our drives "dainty" and our inability to make putts evidence enough of our hearing problems. Classic!
Granted, I just posted up about how I feel "ONE" with my bike....and this still remains the same. I just don't feel "ONE" with my lungs right now. Yesterday on the ride, I was hacking up a mucus pod from deep out of my alveoli and tried to spit it out after a climb up mudflaps. It formed this yellow, semi-transparent streamer coming out of my mouth, dangling between my legs yet still attached to the inside of my parched mouth. I tried ejecting it, but it actually was viscous enough to dangle over my right leg, wrap around my crank and flip up on my rear shock. This is some tough mucus. I actually had to stop, saw my front teeth back and forth to sever the "connection" between this lung butter and then scrape it off my quad and my rear shock. It was as if I had been slimed by some extoplasm from Ghostbusters.
This Friday will be another no-work Friday....which means long ride day. I hope this crap blows out of my lungs and the bathtub by Friday morning so I can enjoy my ride sans lung butter. Perhaps I should go ride Sedona on Friday....it's not like they have golf courses there......
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
After a few days off the saddle for a nostalgic return to my youthful indiscretions, I hopped back on right after taking Marble to the airport. I could not help but think how sad it was for him to be sitting in a can while I was out enjoying 72 degree weather, full sun and some singletrack all to my self. Something came over me....I went left, instead of right at the first intersection. Before I knew it, I was flowing along a piece of trail I've done hundreds of times; only in the opposite direction. It wasn't completely familiar like driving over the same ole', same ole'; but there was enough difference for me to find a new appreciation in what I knew to be coming. Only this time, I found some new problems which I had previously sailed over heading the other way, not giving a second thought to them after the ump-teenth time riding them.
One of the rock gardens which I normally sail over going downhill became a very tricky puzzle heading up; challenging me to ratchet my crank in just the right spots to avoid hitting ground. I just love those kinds of finesse problems...challenging me to clean it. I usually give a problem like this a few tries and move on if I don't make it the first time; assuring myself that it will leave me something to work on next time.
The flowwy sections were interesting too....railing along bermed turns in the opposite direction made me feel more confident in my tracking skills. This to me is so counter-intuitive, it begs examination. You would think that the same bermed turn I've done a hundred times in one direction would see me riding the optimum path, full of confidence. However the 1st time out on one set of linked berms in the opposite direction left me feeling like I was one with my bike....hardly something I would expect from something new and slightly unknown.
The effect has been astounding. My confidence level has soared, I feel much improved from just one week ago and now the same trails taken in the direction I normally link them into, feel much more....linked. Whether I use the same direction or reverse it; for 3 days now I've gone out and tried different combination's and I get the same feeling. I feel like I've finally hit the sweet-spot between me and my bike. Pumping the rises and dips intuitively, using the momentum-flop of the front wheel to my advantage during a stalling switchback turn...it's all good these days.
This has left me with an increased desire, trouble sleeping and a giddiness for tomorrows ride which I have not had in a long time. I'm not sure how I'll feel tomorrow during my next ride, but I'm sure I'll like it.
Saturday, October 11, 2008
Alright...now that I've had some time to sulk, here are some pics of how we rolled, before, during and waaaaaay after. This is what happens when you fill a bull shaped pinata with mini-bottles of booze.
Thursday, October 9, 2008
Cooked last night. When I asked my wife if using Dark Karo Corn Syrup for the glue for the letters was too much, her reply came quick and scalpel like: "Dude...we just cooked a whole pecan pie, a little corn syrup is the least of your worries." Easily the quote of the day.
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
Compounding this, I'm also simultaneously planning to cook the ribs low and slow utilizing the 3-2-1 technique. This is the easy part since ribs are not as nearly as fickle as the brisket. So...my tentative itinerary is as follows:
-Coat ribs and brisket in Tuck Fexas rub. Then coat brisket in yellow mustard and apply more Tuck Fexas rub. Saran wrap each and fridge.
-0400 - Put brisket on rack on grill, fat side down with drip pan below filled with a beer for the BBQ gods. Keep active smoke going on Bevo with a temp range of 220-250. Drink a beer.
-0600 - Put Ribs on rack over second drip pan filled with more beer for the BBQ gods. Drink more beer and wake the Sooner masses with an extremely loud Pride of Oklahoma version of Boomer Sooner.
-0700 - Gameday in Dallas begins...men drink their Arrogant Bastard, ladies drink their Bloody Mack "Mary" Browns.
-0855 - Curse Scooter for picking Texas to win the game...then cheer because when Scooter picks Texas, OU usually wins.
-0859 - Foil ribs with some mop sauce thrown in, put back on the grill
-0900 - Watch the game, trying not to spill beer on freshly cleaned carpets....why did I clean the carpet BEFORE the game....guess I'm a dumbass.
-1000 - Hope to the BBQ gods that OU is kicking ass and the brisket is close to an internal temp of 160. If so....put the briske in an extra duty foil wrap, stuff in a preheated igloo cooler with blankets to take up air volume and let it coast to an internal temp of 190 via our old pal Nicolas Leonard Sadi Carnot.
-1100 - Make my way to the grill while diligently trying not to fall into the pool on the way....un-foil the ribs and put back on the grill for the last hour. Watch as Auston English and DeMarcus Granger snap Colt "Oppie" McCoy in half....literally snap him in half. Half of the stadium in Dallas is vomiting and crying, the other half cheering and throwing empty wild turkey ass pocket flasks at bevo.
-1200 - Unwrap all the meat while celebrating total dominance over texas and chow down on some bevo....Soy Bevo for the holdout vegan in the audience.
Ohh yeah....I rode today before work:
9.4 miles, 1103ft elevation gained
Friday, October 3, 2008
I did however, meet up with my nemesis....the one I wrote my first blog entry about. I managed to hit it again descending the same sandy track, and the same thing happened...the thorns went into my right hand, I slid out, my Mule rolled over on top of me as I slid to a stop; but not before whacking me firmly on my helmet with it's top tube....Kids, always wear your helmet. It still amazes me how the bike can wind up ON TOP of me as I'm sliding. Guess I'll take a skinned knee over a broken derailleur hanger any day. I actually started laughing at myself before I hit the ground and when I had finally stopped, I yelled out to no one, "God-dammit you've done it again, dumb-ass!" Here's a pic of the guilty and a close up of the arm that tends to reach out and touch me. This time, I took a piece of it with me...had to pull it out of my finger with my teeth because it was stuck in there pretty good as my fingers could not get a grip.
The crime scene
Now I'd never think of thinning this out just to give me an easier ride...but if I keep hitting this damn thing every time I ride out Wild Horse....well, my body will be the one doing the thinning...not a machete.
Tiny pricklies of pain
Lastly, I finally grew the chicken McNuggets to roll the one switchback on Mine trail that I've been avoiding. The one with the actual mine shaft on the outside of the off-camber turn. I guess I got fed up doing the sissy walk and started brain-washing myself well before I came to the turn by telling myself that I've done far worse switchbacks before with no problem...never mind the mine shaft waiting to gulp you up should you fail. I mean...they filled it in, so the drop's not as bad as you think....right?, right! I just focused on looking where I wanted to go rather than looking where I didn't want to go...and Jenna rolled through like she was on rails. Gotta love progress. Now if only I could focus on not looking at the evil Cholla.
21.5 miles with 3035ft elevation gained
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
It was just announced today on their website that they will be opening up the reunion with a 3-night run at the Hampton in March of 09'. I've already reserved the maximum of two tickets for each of the three nights to include a hotel reservation in Yorktown. The AP was reporting that hotels were selling out starting at 3am this morning based on the rumors alone. I can confirm that the hotels I found were booked solid....good thing I've been to a few shows in the area and all of the out of towners are sure to book on the other side of the river....crazy traffic through those tunnels. Staying in Yorktown will allow us to stay on terra firma and avoid I-64 completely.
I have to say that when I first saw the story, I thought it might be a scam as I was typing in my credit card...but then decided that I was willing to risk losing the money over a scam rather than potentially losing out on reserving tix's. Just thinking about this makes me want to "Split Open and Melt".