Psyching Up

Right now I’m waiting for the weather to happen, to find out if I’ll be riding the White Rim this saturday with Chris and Dave. Waiting, and waiting…… I’ve never been very patient. In any case, I need to track down some better shoe covers, if the ride goes on it’ll be COLD.

I do hope it all works out, the net is great for finding others that share one’s more divergent interests.

Which brings me to another point, for most of my life I knew no one else named Dave. Halfway through college, it seems I haven’t stopped meeting them. Is Dave not a popular name in Ohio?

My legs were annhilated last night, yet quite good this morning. Amazing what a night of sleep can do. I slept 8 hours solid, and probably could have gone for another hour or so. One fascinating thing about the endurance game: getting to know your physiology.

This afternoon; refitting the bike. If I’m riding the White Rim, it ain’t gonna be on the Brooks, not even close to broken in enough. Maybe a short run this evening. So many options….

Feeling Good

Hauled myself out of bed at 0505, ate breakfast, and rode up to work. Making this a habit will be fabulous training, in the ~15 miles up here (a very rough guess) there’s almost 1.5k of climbing, and about 4oo’ of descent. My legs are still roughed up from skiing saturday, and never really loosened up. The steep final dirt rollers were tough.

The byproduct is that I feel great. Both physically, aching legs aside, and psychologically to have a good hour plus of hard cycling in the bag first thing. Bonus, the long steady paved grade will be good training for the swells of Iowa.

I also slapped the Nanos on the Monkey, first time in a month or more I’ve used ’em. Fast, and unsurprisingly tiny-looking in the fork.

Kaibab maps

Found the north Kaibab FS map at a new outdoor store in the area, one which nicely is open on Sunday. Some good options for the northern part of the loop, it’ll be a bit until I can check it out.

This is turning into a fun project.

Kaibab Monstercross

(Yeah I’ve got a lot of energy this morning. No training, maybe a hike later, and I really am not keen to start the days necessities of grading and laundry, ergo lots of posts. But that’s why this thing exists anyways.)

In the interest of hoping on the diy/enduro/curiakstyle race/ride bandwagon, I propose the Kaibab Monstercross 150 (estimate), for sometime this coming summer, perhaps early to mid June. A big, long day loop on the Kaibab upwarp, North of the Big Ditch.

Why monstercross? Cuz none of the singletrack is very technical, none of the climbs would be huge, and bike (and gearing!) selection would be tricky. It’d be interesting to design a course where the most advantageous bike would be a cross bike with 45cish tires. This might qualify, though I’d likely still run Nanos (as I plan to do for TI) for the comfort and reliability.

It’d use some of a gorgeous and scenic gravel and dirt roads to link the AZ trail and the Rainbow rim, two killer bits of singletrack. The full AZT from 89a to the park boundary is around 40 miles, the full Rainbow 18. One could easily use the Point Sublime and Quaking Aspen canyon roads to connect them. I don’t have a map of the area north of 89a, but there’s certainly a way to negotiate that, also. Perhaps I’ll pick up the Kaibab NFS map today, would be useful for…

Planning big training rides for the coming weekends. I’m seeing a ride up to Flag and on through the stage route to the Grand Canyon, stay the night, then come back via the western reaches of the south Kaibab and Prescott NFs. Right now snow makes some of this problematic, but a couple sunny weeks should sort that out. There’s got to be some excellent dirt grinding to be had. I’m counting on the altitude and hill climbing to work very much in my favor for TIv3. Yeah, the hills in Iowa can be hella steep, but as G-ted says, rarely more than a mile long. I ride a 6 mile climb on the way to work.

New World Order?

One of the small pleasures in life I’ve adopted recently is following national politics on television. There have been numerous times in the last few months when I’ve lamented missing The News Hour while on a ride, and I try to catch This Week sunday morning whenever I can; sundays usually being slow or off days when we’re not out for the weekend. (Like today, my legs are cooked.)

An hour ago I was watching This Week‘s roundtable with George Will, Cokie Roberts, and Harold Ford, Jr while making coffee and raspberry pancakes. Inevitably, discussion turned to Nancy Pelosi, dark purple suit, gavel, and grandkid. Robert’s mentioned that, unlike what often happens during such rituals, the child was not terrified of the politician, which presumably reflected positively on Pelosi’s family dedication or at least matronly proclivities (I’m extrapolating a bit). Will called her “a tough grandmother” running the House.

It seemed to me that the agenda’s of Will and Roberts were substantially less hidden than usual. George Will live cannot seem to discuss anything he dislikes without contempt; a sort of revilement which particularly struck me today as less passionate than intellectually dishonest. Though he is almost unfailingly eloquent. Roberts is usually a bit more even keeled, but today her words on Pelosi carried an undertone of hero worship. (I had to restrain myself just then from making some comment about teenage girls and Justin Timberlake, revealing that I have a foot in both sides of the issue, see below.) The unqiueness of it all added up to a distinct exchange.

American culture is still struggling to come to grips with feminism, and is for me still usually misogynistic. Ergo Hillary’s presidential run and the ensuing questions, so different from those directed at Obama. I think that, on a cultural level, there’s still a terror of the woman in power, as something unpredictable and dangerous. Someone who may not follow “the rules” when embroiled.

All a vague thesis at this moment. I do hope we really are seeing the cracking of the marble ceiling over the next two years. Part of me would have a hard time not voting for a woman for president, just because she was a woman. My own bias.

Marble ceiling can now be entered in the cultural dictionary.

Damn.

Just read the Dave Harris and Lynda W cranked a 4:26 double lap of THE LOOP near Hurricane. I’m pretty sure I couldn’t match their split for one lap, though I think I’ve done it in 2:30ish early last year.

Good to know what’s possible.

Skiing!

Had a truly idyllic morning playing in the snow; I’m impressed with the quality and beauty of Flag’s ski trails. I’ll have to get back up in the summer and ride there also, and hopefully ski a couple more times. In three and a half hours I didn’t ski all the trails, more than can be said for some decent places in New York or Minnesota.

Topping the hill on Peak-a-view (you can see the Snobowl for about 50 yards, clever) I was eying the hill to the right: 20 degrees, widely spaced trees, perfect for my uniquely inept and unpracticed brand of tele skiing. I wisely gave it a miss, as a quarter mile later I rounded a downhill turn and buried a skinny ski tip, grooming nonwithstanding. Crashing with skis and poles is really far sillier and awkward than anything else, by far.

In the end the deadline of being home by 1400 saved me from myself, my quad and tricep aches were only mildly deadened by a long hot shower.

Finding a place to settle eventually with enough snow for me, and not too cold for Meredith, will not be so simple.

Update

Weather for a White Rim next weekend does not look so good; will have to see what materializes. I’d love to go, but too far to roll the dice with rain.

The Flagstaff Nordic Center, however, got 4+” of snow today, so tomorrow is sure to be excellent.

Contemplating selling a kidney to get some skis, or maybe just being more adroit about my surplus bike garbage.

Friday Trash

Too much going on in my head right now, a lot of which wants to make it’s way here. This is the quick and dirty solution. (West Wing reference for ya.)

Riding Today
Hauled myself out of bed at 0515 and rode the ~15 miles uphill to work. Pushing the TIv3 gear (34:16) up the steady grade on the highway, and then through the dirt rollers up to work, was tough. I passed on climbing up to the pass after work and took the long (but not that long) way home. Thighs are still sizzling a little. This will become a regular feature, its a great way to get in quality miles without rushing to get out to the trails.

Snow!!!!
I love snow, and we got a bit today. None stuck of course, but the nordic center in Flag should be good to go. Up early tomorrow to hit the trails at 8; I’m aiming to get a good 4 hours in and be completely destroyed after.

Freezefest 5
The annual gathering of winter canyoneers had record attendence. New Year’s for me has in the past been more an obligation than a joy, but grilling steak and drinking beer around the fire until 0200 firmly qualified as my best new year’s yet. Great folks too, both old and new.

We hit up three canyons in as many days, all new to me. The Black Hole itself was good, not A list as Ram maintains, but a solid B+. Largest in my mind was the significance of companionship, and being back in what is simply the best region of the world I’ve ever seen.


Photo stolen from pack designer(I learned he designed one of my favs, the BD Zippo circa 2002), photag, and all around nice guy; Tom Jones.

The Hideous Christmas ritual
Not so bad in many ways this year. Really my first holiday season as a normal adult, with relatives visiting us and a full time 7-2, M-F job. Work got crazy after Thanksgiving, but between staffing issues and the students getting restless, this was not remarkable. What was is the repulsion I felt towards my culture and how it handles the deal. To much commercialism, and it seems that most of us just got a little stupider, hopefully temporary. Next year I want nothing for Christmas.

My parents and sister’s visit was very good. As a kid I always wanted us to go somewhere else, like Colorado, and leave the family banality behind. This is the first year that happened. I want to make a more concerted effort to put together a better event package for the families next year, though my stepdad Dick’s accrophobia may preclude plan A: staying at Phantom Ranch on the 25th.

I do hope to go Elk hunting this fall. Dick has me psyched on using this Arizona residency for something good, and I like the idea of remembering how to shoot a rifle. Finding time to practice won’t happen until this summer. The next couple month’s weekends are filling up fast.

General
The Red Hot 50k has me wondering if I’m getting myself into trouble, as I still haven’t started running regularly. If nothing else, it’ll be a 12 hour power hike. I will NOT hurt myself with hubris.

The training load in general is cause for some concern. I think of riding the White Rim next weekend with people I’ve never met, and hope I don’t die and make an ass of myself. I usually ride alone, which has the benefit of letting me have only myself to make fun of me while I’m walking up some hill, gasping down at my handlebars.

Speaking of which, my Corona LED light has a very wide beam. Good for commuting, but I’ll need a burlier head light for the KTR and likely the Rim Ride. The very edge of the beam catches my brake levers, the shadows of which look like the cartoon fangs of a monster cast hyperbolically on some wall by lantern light. It creates the appropriate illusion that I’m cycling to escape a beast of my creation, that only matches my pace whenever I try to out run it.

The Brooks is beginning to break in, but is still a pain in the ass. Everything else about the bike is perfect. The Time Z’s have surprised me with their intuitive ease, something the SPDs of years past never had. I’ve only fell over once, too.

Enjoy the winter, it’ll be over before it began.

Year’s End

My parents and sister are in the Pheonix airport, and Meredith and I are off in a few hours to join Freezefest for the next three days. Christmas may have been run of the mill, albiet in a good way, but new year’s promises to be excellent.

Freezefest started with a stupid idea amongst outdoor folks, to do one of the wetest canyons on 1/1. That canyon is the Black Hole of White Canyon, for the uninitiated a fairly short and mellow outing close to the road, which also typically features a lot of swimming. I’ve meant to do it the last couple years, but work, family obligations, and lack of will have prevented that. Not so this time. Detailed report later.

It also snowed on the crew while we were up at the Ditch a few days ago, then even more on the way to Flagstaff. The nordic center might be 100 percent open by next weekend, so looks like some cross training is on the menu. Makes me want to make a year end charitable contribution to myself in the form of XCD skis. It’s really to bad I’m not guiding anymore, and can’t write all this off.

Enjoy your evening….hopefully out in the cold!