A-Basin Photo

Went to A-Basin yesterday, and had a blast. The snow was harder than expected but I still had a blast, and had more good crashes than I’ve had all season. Here’s a photo of Nate jumping off something:

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Ridiculous!

So we are going into another winter storm, which threatens to actually happen (unlike all the other ones forecasted to slam Denver this year). I turned on the TV this morning to find that damn near every school district in town has called it a snow day…huh? I thought something must’ve been wrong with that channel’s feed, so I checked another channel, and it was the same. A little odd, seeing as how it was practically dry outside, and blue skies were visible. I guess they just don’t want to have to deal with getting a bunch of kids home when it starts dumping. Understandable, though I never got anything like that during my 9 years in the public education system in Colorado. I guarantee that wouldn’t have flied 10 years ago.

I did ride my bike in to work today. It’s filthy now, and will require a hose off. Depending on the snow quality and quantity, I may be able to ride home – or I may be hoofing it. We’ll see. And if it snows like it’s supposed to, I fully intend on making my way to the powder day of the year for bell to bell skiing.

Bike to Work Status Update

It’s been a few weeks so I figured I’d check the numbers and go through another rundown on my commuting logs. Year to date, I have had 49 commutes to work. Three of those have been by car, forty-five by bike, and one on foot, for a total of 93.88% of non-car commutes. If I can manage to not drive for a couple more weeks, I’ll be at 95%.

This has been made possible by an incredibly warm, dry winter in Denver. The weather is finally turning though, with forecasts for as much as a foot of snow to hit town starting tomorrow and going into the evening. I’ll have to figure something out, and I doubt that running in the fivefingers will be an ideal option. What’s really on my mind though is skiing this weekend. First real powder in months!

Run to Work

As most of you know, Denver finally got some precipitation after an incredibly dry winter last night and into this morning. As many of you are aware, biking in the rain (or even just on wet pavement) sucks, particularly if you don’t have fenders (which I don’t). On top of getting you wet, it tears up brake pads, picks up leaves/dirt/grime, strips off dry lube, and is generally just miserable. On the other hand, running when it’s cool, dark, and damp (like it was this morning) is great. It was a decent pace at 39 minutes (for just under 5 miles), which I’m sure will improve as my feet get more used to the fivefingers. I didn’t feel like I was moving fast, just a leisurely run, so if I can get my distances up, a half marathon will be substantially under 2 hours. Perfect.

Preliminary Review of the FiveFingers

I’ve had the chance to take my new FiveFingers KSOs out on a couple 5k runs now. The first was on Thursday, which was pretty flat. The first portion was paved, and felt fine. The middle 2 miles was mostly grass, and it felt better than running has ever felt for me. Getting back on asphalt for the end was painful, and I was glad when it ended. I was fairly happy with them at that point. Today I ran another 5k, which was hillier and had a more solid mix of hard and soft surfaces, as well as a boat-anchor of a dog (wtf Scout, you were fine on Thursday!). Running on asphalt and concrete felt a lot better than it did last time, though my calves were more sore (I assume from the hills).

I’m happy with them so far, and look forward to trying to get ready to run 13.1 miles with them in 8 weeks.

Update: I was hoping to go for a long-ish bike ride today (60-70 miles) but that won’t be happening, as my calves are very tight today. Maybe something on the shorter side, we’ll see.

Five Finger Shoes

Yes, that person is wearing shoes. For a few months now, I’ve been intrigued by the concept of barefoot running. When I lived in the downtown area, I ran 4-5 miles nearly every day. It was fun and challenging, with endless stop lights to race against (and timed so well that you can just go faster and faster until you’re nearly all-out for half a mile). Since I was running so much I started to develop shin splints on a fairly regular basis. After a little research, I found that heelstriking was the likely culprit, and changed my style to land on the balls of my feet. Almost immediately, I could run every day completely pain-free.

Sadly, I’m no longer able to run my course through downtown anymore (unless I want to ride my bike in 6+ miles first), although I still am running in a better style. I saw these shoes sometime last year, and figured it as the next (if a bit “extreme”) logical step. I grew up running around barefoot half the time, so I couldn’t imagine it’d be a difficult transition. Though I grabbed a pair of Vibram FiveFingers KSOs at REI on Monday evening, I haven’t been able to take them out running yet. Lounging around is plenty comfortable and easy though, and I hope to get out for a couple miles after work today. With any luck, I’ll be running the half marathon in them. I’ll report back as soon as I get a chance to run in them.

More Photos from Longs

I got Carl’s photos from this weekend not long ago, so here they are.

The direct approach to the Trough that Kiefer and I took. It was substantially more difficult than the class 2 bypass on climber’s left (from where this photo was taken). Doing it in ski boots and with skis on my back (which restricted movement pretty heavily) made it a pretty major challenge.

Looking down the Trough. Prakesh is the small dot climbing up.

Here’s me, crossing the Narrows for the first time that day. It was somewhat precarious in ski boots.

Due to not carrying skis or wearing ski boots, Kiefer, Stephanie, and Sean were able to make the summit a little before Carl and I were. Here’s them, making the top.

And here’s me, starting the Homestretch. The near-total lack of snow made this extremely difficult with ski boots on.

Kiefer, Stephanie, and Sean enduring the harsh winter weather.

Carl’s view, getting ready to plod down a few hundred feet to our skis.

Me, skiing down the trough. This might be the first real shot of me skiing this year, and it looks good despite exhaustion and funky snow.

And finally, the hike out from the bottom of the Trough to the point where the snow picked up again.

I expect to get a couple more photos (group summit shots) in the next day or so. Man, what a fun trip.