2 flat tires on a Sunday in Salt Lake City with sidewall punctures in the same day is what you could call an Epic Fail v2.0. After last friday's Epic Fail (forgetting my bike shoes for a Sedona ride)...I thought these things were out of my system for a while....I was wrong.
JMoneyMillionaire, Handlebarsandwich and myself headed up to SLC to The Big LePowSki put on by Black Diamond and Arc’Teryx. Saturday morning dawned with blue skies over the valley and mixed clouds over the mountains. Upon arriving at Brighton, we hung out by the registration desk and stared at the custom Megawatt's decked out in Lebowski graphics....we all secretly wanted them....even though they are like a snowboard.....
After registering....we que'd up and waited for our Steep clinic instructor, who turned out to be Andrew McLean. In the interim, I suckered myself into demo'ing a new pair of Black Diamond prototype boots which looked to be stiffer and lighter than my current pair of boots....I was hemming and hawing about switching out gear prior to a steep clinic since I wanted to get as much possible out of my time...but then reasoned that I would not get another chance to demo a prototype boot...so I went for it.
As the group boarded the lift, it occured to me that the boots I was demo'ing had a longer BSL(Boot Sole Length) than my own boots...and I would have to adjust my bindings on my ski. Scrambling for a posidrive #3, the guys at the BD tent went to work with the power tools to get me set up.....the gent with the power tool had not worked on a Dynafit setup before, so I guided him and eyeballed the 5mm gap between pins and heel....which I hoped would be accurate since I kinda needed to stay in the binding during the steep clinic.
Catching up to the group up at top, Andrew wanted everyone to take a warm-up on a groomer which translated into a chinese downhill to see who the slow ones were. I'm glad we had a shakedown cruise, because I realized the boot was going to take some readjustment on my part with respect to edging because of it's lower height and some funky canting issues(my knees are funky, not the boot)...but I pressed on. Regrouping back at the top, we booted up a ridgeline at an excruciatingly slow pace while bottlenecked behind 20 other folks doing the same. Traversing under an avy control feature, we peered over into the steep for our clinic to begin.
After listening to Andrew's instruction to the group regarding quiet upper body technique, I dropped in and got some great feedback on my first run. I've been aware of an issue concerning what I do with my hands after I make a pole plant which has plagued me the last few years. As independent instruction often does, hearing it from a different perspective or individual can usually break these cycles...and it did....with my next run being significantly more solid and stable than my previous run. I continued to reinforce this new technique as well as picking up some hop-turn tips, all before lunch was served. I can't state how much more confident I felt, not only on the steeps, but moguls as well; all due to what I was doing with my hands after I planted my pole. Following lunch, we que'd up again for the second clinic of the day....for us, the Advanced Freeride which was conducted by Jamey Parks.
I'm not ashamed to say that I am not a hucker...and other than hucking, I was not sure what a Freeride clinic would teach me. Long story short....I learned the techniques of rolling into a huck and spotting a good landing for a huck. While taking B-lines for all but one of the drops, I watched folks grow in their skills and confidence. While I watched, I became a bit jealous...so I promised myself I'd give it a go despite my body being worn from charging all morning on the Steeps clinic. As usual, the leadup in my mind was worse than the actual execution.
By the end of the day, we were tired...but very much excited about heading to the party afterwords. Stopping in at Squatters before the party for some dinner...we also found a few beers we liked...some more than others.....
.....and learned to order bottled beer instead of draft in SLC.
The next day dawned colder and overcast over the mountain....and with one flat tire on the truck. Not only was it flat, it was a sidewall puncture. Finding a place open for business on Sunday morning in SLC is tough...but we found one...and they had a policy that prohibited them from selling me only one tire because of liability concerns over my all-wheel drive transmission; they did, however, have 4 new tires they wanted to sell me though. I won't name this place....but it rhymes with "Byerstone". Exiting said establishment, we found a place that would sell me one tire....Sears. Salvaging a crappy situation, we headed to Snowbird where we found foggy conditions that left me and JMoney quezzy with vertigo and equilibrium issues both on the lift and on the snow. Fighting through it with plenty of grumbling....I threw in the towel at 3 while my friends took one last run. My last run looked like this.
Upon returning to the truck....we discovered a 2nd tire was flat. So mounting the doughnut for the second time in a day, we drove down canyon only to realize that as hard as it was to find a place to service or buy a tire on Sunday morning in SLC....it was impossible after 5 on Sunday. So hedging our bets, I bought two cans of fix-a-flat as insurance for the long drive home through the voids on the map...and just filled the suspect tire with air and then made stops every 2 hours for the entire drive home to add more air. Arriving home worn at 2am in silence and exhaustion I'm sure we all have found Monday to be as foggy as Snowbird was on Sunday...hopefully without the vertigo.
Fritschi Tecton Brake Seance
5 hours ago