27 February 2007


You might wonder what sceying is. Sceying is actually Lander-speak for skiing. Lander is learning to write words, so he spells them according to how they sound. I love it, sometimes it takes Bryan and I a couple minutes to figure out what it says. Lander had spelled out sceying with some magnetic letters. It's awesome that he thinks about skiing when he's at home. I rewarded him by taking him skiing on Friday.

Friday was epic snow at Meadow's. We finally got slammed with tons of fresh powder and I can honestly say it is the best snow I have skied in since we moved here. It was almost as good as Utah snow. I actually saw stellar crystals falling, not the usual graupel. They looked like this:

It was incredible. I skied with my friend Adam (uber-good tele skier) and I skied the best I ever have, thanks to him. I also had the requisite face plants associated with trying to ski faster to keep up with Adam. The best one was in Yoda Bowl where I literally flew in the air about 15 feet downhill before landing on my head. Needless to say, I had some whiplash the next morning.
Lander did great in his lesson. When I caught up to him on the Buttercup lift he was tearing it up. Here is some good video of him. I was trying to ski while I shot this, so it's kind of hard to see him at first. He's the kid with the blue helmet and yellow bib using the adult skiers as slalom gates. Oh yeah, and you can see his arms flailing around a lot. He's so cute. After his episode where he did the splits, he immediately got up again and skied down into the lift line to go tear it up again. He is going to be better than his mom next year. Next year he starts on tele!!! Here is some good video of him:

Lander was knackered on the way home, as you can see by his sleeping position. It was a great day, Lander had a good time, I had a good time, what more can you ask for?

20 February 2007

The Weekend

Part I-Playing Bike Racer

Things this weekend went from my normal amount of organized chaos to just plain crazy. I didn't really race this weekend, but did race training. In my opinion this is harder because there just isn't the same motivation to push yourself. It began Saturday with my race training ride. My hopes were that the rain would stop and the roads would dry up so that I wouldn't be trying to push my 25 lb rain bike up hills at race pace. Well, this is the Northwest, where everything is covered in green squishy stuff because it is always wet, even when it's not raining. It's like living on a sponge that never dries out. The rain did stop, but the dampness remained, mostly in part to fog that was covering most of the area Saturday morning. The roads were wet, but it was going to be 60 degrees later in the day. So, I decided to take the race bike out and secretly hoped I would only be riding on wet roads for an hour or so. Well that didn't happen either. We rode to Washougal (where we are building our house) where there are some good climbs and I think it rains the most. After that we headed up to Hockinson to hit the rollers. It was a great ride and in the end my bike looked like this:

It kind of looks like a post Paris-Roubaix bike. I know it's really no big deal, I just had to spend some quality outdoor time cleaning it when I got home. It was 60 degrees, I was happy to be outside. I actually enjoy cleaning my bike, more than I enjoy cleaning my house. Probably because I go have fun on my bike while getting it dirty, my house just gets dirty no matter what.
I really thought that my team kit was going to become my official mtn. biking only team kit. Who wears white in the Northwest in the winter? I know it's a fashion faux pas to wear white after Labor Day, maybe I should heed that rule.

Amazingly, it all came out. I really love the new kit, especially the all white shorts we have for summer. Maybe by July it will dry out enough that I can actually wear them.

The rain came back Saturday night and for some reason I decided to be a heathen and go ride Sunday (gasp) morning. I don't usually do this but our church is at 1:00 p.m., I had my lesson prepared to teach to the Young Women's group, it was a holiday weekend and I wanted to do a couple of hard training days back to back to see how my legs felt. Is that enough justification? I figured that I would for sure get hit by a car or ride into a ditch for breaking the Sabbath, but I got lucky. The weather was also pretty decent. It wasn't the usual drizzle for days on end rain we have, but smaller storms that moved through. It think we only rode in 20 minutes of rain during our 3 hour ride. My legs were pretty shot since I really did everything wrong when I got home from my hard ride on Saturday (not eating immediately, stretching and icing down my knee). I was still able to push it pretty hard. Tauscher and I rode up to Hockinson and pushed it on the rollers. When we hit Battle Ground we backed of and spun home allowing ourselves an hour of recovery riding from the past two days efforts.

Suprisingly my lesson at church went great and by the time I got home at 4:30 I was exhausted. Needless to say, I have this habit of not doing things that are logical to most people. You would think that after two hard training days I might actually go to bed early on Sunday night and get some much needed rest. Well, not me. I stayed up to watch Desparate Housewives at 9:00 and then my thought process went something like this. "I am getting up at 7:00 to meet Schauer and Tauscher for a nice long endurance ride. If I go to bed at midnight I can get 7 hours of sleep, good enough." So I proceeded to waste a couple of hours in front of the TV while I painted my fingernails and toenails bright pink. Don't ask why I did this, I never do this so I have no clue. I finally made my way to bed around 12:20, fine with me. I fell asleep quickly, until my rude awakening at 3:20 a.m..

Part II-Playing Rescue Hero(Lander's terminology)

At 3:20 a.m. my cell phone and home phone simultaneously started ringing. It can be only one thing, there is a rescue. I literally fall out of bed and crawl downstairs to call into the PMR voicemail to get more information, I had to listen to it twice because I spaced off the first time. I left my message saying I would be there and then wondered how I was going to get my gear together and be up to T-line lodge at 5:30 a.m.. It takes 1.5 hours to get to T-line from my house and my gear was strewn all over the house and the garage. It took me a good 10 minutes to wake up to the point that I felt competent that I could actually pack all the gear I needed and then some, thank goodness for checklists. I was out the door at 4:20, a little later than planned, but I did my best and luckily made it up there with all the pertinent gear.

I got to T-line at 6:00 just in time for the morning debrief and planning session. I tried to situate myself as far away from the TV cameras as possible, but that was unsuccessful and I ended up in some pictures that made their way to all the major news networks in the U.S.. GREAT!!! Luckily my bright green hat (I need a more incognito hat) was covering the mess my hair was in. Not that I cared, but I spend so much time looking like a dork it would be nice to limit these kind of situations as much as possible. Our team was responsible for hauling gear into the field. I like that job, I usually have a good time because there is a lot of waiting around so we get to chat with eachother and hang out.

We were out the door at 7:00 a.m. hauling our sled full of gear. There were six on our team Steve, Iain, Todd, Keith, Tom and myself. We didn't have very far to hike to get to the rim of White River Canyon so we were there in no time. We did a compression test to check the avy danger, it would be sketchy that day. We figured we would be stationed there for a while so we dug a huge snow cave. This accomplished two things, we had something to do that kept us warm and we had a place to get out of the snow and wind. It was alot of fun and I can honestly say that the longer we hung out in the snow cave, the goofier we got. There were many joking comments about how my pink fingernails didn't match my red jacket, it was ridiculous. Did we make sure to punch enough air holes? I don't know, maybe I have a few less brain cells than before. This mission had a happy ending, I was pleased. A full report will be posted here that is a little more detailed than what you saw on the news.

All I can say is that it was a great holiday weekend. We had some fun time with the family interspersed between all the adventure. What more could I ask for, I was totally beat when I went to work Tuesday morning.

14 February 2007

Testing the Engine

Last Saturday I did my inaugural "testing the engine" race simulation ride. After months of slow endurance training I am now in the transition phase of my training and I am always apprehensive when it comes to the first hard ride of the season. I really look forward to pushing myself as hard as I can, but I really don't want to ride with other people because then they will see how bad I SUCK!!!!

I decided to leave my ego at home and go out with the group from North River Racing because they always ride hard and I knew I would probably be hanging on for dear life most of the ride. Luckily the weather was decent and I was able to take the race bike out, it felt great. We rode down to Estacada from The 'Couve so the route was unfamiliar (i.e. I was probably going to blow on the hills because I didn't know how long they were) so that made it a very interesting ride and it was beautiful. I have to say that the ride went better than I expected. For some reason, I didn't get dropped on the hills. I would watch my heart rate soar to places I had not seen it go for 6 months. At one point I hit 190 bpm and past experience tells me that when that happens on a hill, it's all over for me. To my astonishment I was able to recover from that and still climb up other hills after that. What is going on? Could it possibly be that I might actually be able to climb? What a novel idea!!! I don't want to get my hopes up after one ride, but I will see how this weekend goes. I don't ever care if I am the best climber in the group, I just want to be able to hang with the main group in all the races I do (especially Cascade, Elkhorn, etc.).

I was also able to do some flat speed work. At one point, Steve Long and I were pacing off of each other on a section with a nice tail wind and we were hovering at about the 28-30 mph mark. It was amazing. My legs were toast, but it was worth it.

I ended up with about 75 miles when I got home. I figure for the first hard ride of the season that was a reasonable distance. I am excited to see how this weekend goes, hopefully as well as last weekend.

05 February 2007

Winner, Winner Chicken Dinner

I love that saying, not sure why. So yesterday Bryan and I went to the Oregon Bicycle Racing Organization's annual awards banquet so I could claim my "major award". Through some stroke of dumb luck or persistence or whatever you want to call it I ended up winning the Best All Around Rider competition for the Senior Women for 2006. It was a great evening with good food, fun people and the best roast of Candi Murray since she is retiring this year. Candi has kept OBRA running smoothly for the last 3 decades and has turned it into one of the most successful bike racing organizations in the country. The only two states that have more racers per capita and races per year are California and Colorado, I think that is pretty awesome. It is awesome to live in an area that promotes cycling and bike racing so much, kudos to OBRA. Here's a picture of my major award. I also received my new racing number for next year. Bryan says that it screams "Hey, get on my wheel!!!" I guess incognito is not going to be a tactic for me this year.

Kent Swanson Jr. Memorial Avalanche Training

This past weekend I had the opportunity of joining Portland Mountain Rescue and other professional rescuers for a three day avalanche course. This course went beyond what I learned in my level one course a few years ago and there was a ton of useful information that I hope I can absorb from my notes over the next few weeks. Our instructor was Ian Tomm, the operations manager for the Canadian Avalanche Association, he was awesome!!!! If you are reading this post and you do any sort of backcountry skiing you need to check out their web-site and the new Avaluator trip planning system that they are introducing this year. This is a great tool to assess risk when going into the backcountry while you are in the planning phases of your trip. I can only hope that something like this will catch on the the U.S. and that we can have a similar database of BC ski routes. In addition to learning about the Avaluator trip planner we practiced a new search method for finding multiple beacons, terrain evaluation and route finding, snowpack analysis and a rescue scenario. It was non-stop from start to finish and I had a great time. PMR is a great organization and I am proud to be a part of it. It was a beautiful day on Sunday and here are some pictures I took. I also included some pictures of Saturday the Reuben took of us girlies trying to get the Rutschblock to fail. No such luck, we have an enormously stable snowpack right now.

Trying to get the Rutschblock to fail, unsuccessful

At least we had fun trying

Chris and I having fun doing compression tests

Cool clouds

Dome cloud at about the 9000' level

Mt. Jefferson

Our trusty PMR truck