Painissimo!

Wow, am I hurting from my last day of skiing. I was trying to beat my previous record of 12 runs in a day only that wasn't my record. The 12 was for 12 ski days in a season. Oh well.

I did 11 runs on Friday and boy am I hurting now. Stuff that doesn't usually hurt when I ski. Like my calves and neck. My neck may be from a fall I took and my head whipped back into the surface. Glad I started wearing a helmet.

So that was a good workout. I have a cold too. Maybe I got run down plus the x-treem kold may have zapped my immune system. I don't know. I didn't feel wiped at the end of the day.

On another note, I found this article on exercising for us "older" folks and I liked it cause it made sense for me. It's from Dr. Gabe Mirkin who is a nationally prominent retired doctor who cycles 200 mi/week and he's in his 70's. I won't go into the detail of it here but basically he's saying to take it easy to avoid getting injured which is what so frequently happens when older folks try to follow programs that are intended for much younger people. It has encouraged me to go back to the gym. As you may know if you've been following this blog, I don't like the gym environment but it's really a godsend in the winter or any other time when the conditions or availability of daylight make it difficult if not impossible to get enough exercise.

I want to get back in shape this winter and skiing once again has been my primary motivator. When you can downhill ski only once a week or less, you just can't put in that many runs before getting too tired to safely continue. That's why I started biking seriously 3 years ago, to stay in shape for skiing during the off season. Then I got to love cycling for it's own sake.

So now, even though my skiing is better, I want to be able to stay on the slopes longer.

Now, we usually knock off at about 2:30PM after hitting the hill at 10AM and 1 hour break for lunch. There's still plenty of daylight left and most lifts don't shutdown until 4.

The only problem to overcome as far as working out at the gym is concerned, is when to do it.

The best time is really in the morning before work but as I need to be on the job by 8 I would probably need to get up at 4:30 to get an hour in at the gym. I've gotten used to getting up at 5 and taking my time waking up and getting ready. I have come to value that time but I'm ready to take another look at it. The other alternative is to work out after I get off from work at 4 but the gym is usually crowded with kids at that time.

I guess it's just getting used to it again.

Time will tell.

K-K-K-KOLD!!

Well, today I took the day off from work and skied Plattekill in the Catskill Mtns. of New York.

I was a little leery about it because the temperature on Monday had reached almost 60° with torrential rains. And today the temperature plunged down to the single digits and that means .... ICE!

Plattekill is a small, family operated hill with 35 trails and limited snow making capability so I was concerned about their ability to recover from the bad weather.

As it turns out they had 12 trails open (enough for me!) and had received several inches of fresh natural snow over the week since Monday .... AND ... SKIER APPRECIATION DAYS. That means $15 lift tickets!

I really, really wanted to go to Plattekill this year. I hadn't been for 2 years and the last time Mrs. MTBMan1 and I went we had a great time.

But boy was it cold. Woo-EEE!

10° at the base and 0° at the top! And 20+ mph winds.

I have to say although my fingertips have gotten cold in the past this was the first time my toes got cold. My boots are really warm even with thin socks. But today was the exception.

It was also the first time I ever seriously worried about frostbite. The only part of me that was exposed was a little area around my goggles and that was really stinging when we rode the lift. Oh well, as long as you can still feel it ... right?

Mrs. MTBMan1 stayed home this time and I went with my friend Mike and his son Harrison. They snowboard. Mike is somewhat of a beginner and Harrison is quite good, able to ride the whole mountain and the terrain parks, etc.

As usual, I warmed up with a couple of green runs. The trail was in good condition all day and while easy it is fun and interesting with a couple of switchbacks and a deceptively fast finish.

After that we did a blue intermediate which I hadn't done before, "Sundown" which transitions to "Shredded Mozzarella" at the halfway point. Sundown was in good shape, some crud but it was all soft and light. It also had a nice switchback. The lower trail, Mozzarell, was rougher and right near the end had a very rough ice patch on a curve that was like going over a washboard. I never did learn to avoid that one.

Harrison coaxed his dad into doing "Northface" which is a double-black diamond which transitions into a blue intermediate. I took a pass on that one. I asked Mike where his car keys were in case I had to drive home.
"I'm carrying them."
"Well, in that case I guess we'll have to retrieve your body to get them."

I'm happy to say Mike survived by riding down on his butt with the board's side edge pushed out in front not even scraping the surface.

After lunch, I finished up the day with about 5 runs on the green trail. It was "smart" for me not to push it when I was tired so I could have fun and try new things without getting out of control.

Another successful mission! And I'm proud to say we persevered through the cold.

My hands are still tingling! ;-)

I Like Winter!

I was chatting with someone I hadn't seen for awhile tonight and asked how he was doing with the winter. As is so common with people here in the NorthEast, he complained about it. I, in my turn, told him that I like the winter. He said, well, yeah, you ski. But I realized this winter that I ski partly because I like winter not the other way around. I like the cold, the wind, the snow.

I like to bundle up with all my gear. I've found that it helps a lot with enjoyment of the season to dress appropriately. You see a lot of people running around with no gloves, hats, light jackets or sweaters. Of course they're cold!

Mrs. MTBMan1 and I took a walk in a county "park" called Lawson Lake last week. The ground at the house was clear and Lawson was only 15 minutes away so we expected to be walking on bare or only partly covered ground. Well there was maybe a foot or more of snow on the trail!

We walked for awhile but decided to turn back because it was the kind of snow where it will support you for a few steps and then suddenly break through. We didn't want to get hurt. It was a beautiful, bluebird day, though!

I was having visions of coming back with cross-country skis and did just that the next day. It was pretty nice. I didn't do any serious hills because I'm a bit out of shape and a (great) bit overweight and the now was soft, deep and wet. Not good for trying to control cross-country skis at downhill speeds. I did bail on one hill but I was pleased at my new-this-year getting-up skills!

I'd like to get snowshoes. They would have been perfect for those conditions.

So call me Nanuk of the North or Admiral Perry or Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton, I don't care!

See you on the hill!

Tomorrow .... Plattekill Mtn. in the Catskills with my friend Mike and his son.

Beware the Last Run

Went skiing at Bromley in Vermont today. It was a 10! Literally. I found this site "My Snow watcher" that rates 3 days of the resorts that you choose to track.

The ratings are 1 to 10 with 10 being the best conditions. And they weren't wrong!

The snow was gorgeous and it was snowing lightly all day. It wasn't too crowded and the temp was 32° at the base. Colder and windier up top but the quad was quick.

Anyway, as I've said before, I usually get in trouble by doing one more run after I should quit.

We were doing pretty well, strength and energy wise and we were doing our predecided upon last run and we took an easy run too but maybe it was overconfidence, I found myself on ice on a narrow trail side sloping towards the woods going too fast. It happened pretty quick so I decided to bail rather than risk getting into the woods with a nasty looking ravine amongst the trees.

I was going pretty fast. I flipped over a couple of times and felt the yard sale getting laid out. Poles here, skis there, arms over there. I felt everything pretty loosely so I wasn't afraid of getting hurt and I slid for a good ways after I stopped rolling.
When I stopped I was in position to get right up on my feet and gave the guy behind me a big grin and a thumbs up when he looked to see if I was OK.

It was kind of fun.

The real problem was, I couldn't find one of my skis!

Mrs. MTBMan1 came up behind. She hadn't seen the spill (wish I had that one on video!) but from the fact that I was covered with snow from head to foot figured that I had taken a fall.

Seeing the one ski, she asked me if I skied the trail on one. But no, I couldn't figure out what happened to the other ski.

I retraced my imprints in the snow from where I started the bail and checked out the various possible trajectories for my ski.

I finally found it out toward the ravine that I was headed for. It apparently had flown through the air like a missile and embedded itself in the snow at just such an angle that it wasn't visible until I came right up on it. They have the stoppers on them so they won't slide on the snow when released but this one took right off through space!

It really was fun but of course I'm glad I didn't get hurt. Just got a scrape on my shin from something.

Great day with a lot of memories.

Oh, yeah, total cost for the day ... $29!

Here's a pic of Mrs. MTBMan1 reveling in God's creation .... the parabolic ski!

5 ° bike ride

I'd like to claim hardiness (or FOOL-hardiness) but I can't.

Yes, I rode my bike today and yes it was only 5° out.

But the only reason was ... my car wouldn't start!

I was about to leave for church and turned the key in the ignition and ... nothing.

Well, nothing substantial. The lights all came on and there was a pitiful rapidfire di-di-di-di from the starter but no engine turnover.

It didn't really feel that cold, no wind, and the roads were clear so I hopped on the old Ross MTB.

Shoulda gone back in for the face mask, though. That wind chill once you start moving on the bike is a killer!

Outside of the frozen face, though, it was OK. Kind of inspired me. "Hey, I can keep riding all winter long."

At least on the weekends when I have some daylight to work with. In just a few weeks I should have enough light after work to do some riding on weekdays too.

Later today Mrs. MTBMan1 and I took a walk at Five Rivers, the local Dept. of Environmental Conservation woodland park with miles of trails.

Here are a few pics from the walk:


Yavohl! Der Schnee ist gut, yah?!

Sorry. I get my Teutonic yah-yahs on whenever I put on skis.

Mrs. MTBMan1 and I skied Stratton Mtn. in Vermont today courtesy of a Warren Miller coupon (oh yeah!).

I would say it was a very successful venture!

I didn't throw one tantrum and I only uttered one swear word all day (when Mrs. MTBMan1 almost cut me off flying past me from behind).

Compared to the last outing (Windham Mtn.) where I was pretty shaky the first two runs, I got right into it from the get-go. When I felt things starting to get out of control I just reminded myself to lean forward against the boot fronts and relax. It worked pretty well.

The temperature only got to 22° when we left for home at 2PM in Bondville which is halfway up the mountain. I assume it was somewhat lower on the slopes. It was pretty windy too, maybe 25mph or more going up on the lift. Brisk! We were well dressed for the occasion, though:

MTBMan1 smiles for the camera


We went straight to the "Sun Bowl" area past the Main Base and the first 2 parking lots. I highly recommend this spot at Stratton. Most people go to the main base where the "village" is but you have to park in lots 1 & 2 and get shuttled in an open air "cattle truck" to the base with all your gear.

Much better, in my opinion, is the Sun Bowl where you can drop off your stuff then park and walk back to the lodge.

The Sun Bowl is appropriately named. While the rest of world was wreathed in swirling snow clouds we actually had some blue sky for part of the day.

It was not crowded either which is why we like to ski during the week and not on holidays or weekends. We had the luxury of waiting until there was not a soul to be seen uphill or down to start our runs in many cases and no waiting at the lifts!

We put in about 4 hours there including a half-hour for lunch. Would like to ski more but just don't have the strength. And when you get tired, it's just not worth pushing it. It starts to lose it's fun and can get frustrating. Quit while you're ahead I suppose. It's always that "one more run" that can taint a beautiful day.

Next up: Bromley Mtn. in VT (right across the "street" from Stratton) for which Mrs. MTBMan1 won a free ticket at the ski expo and I won a $10 off coupon off their already cheap price of $39. So ... $29 for a day of skiing for two? And after that? Two free ticks to Whiteface in the Adirondacks (also won by Mrs. MTBMan1 at the expo) and 2 - 2 fer ones at Jiminy Peak in Hancock Ma. (paid for as a gift from a friend) and to round out the season $25 a pop at Butternut in Gt. Barrington, Ma.

Mein Gott! Himmel! (sorry!)

Snow

As has much of the country, we've had a little snow here over the last few days.

I like snow and the cold. It's funny to hear everybody grousing about the weather. When you find someone who also loves the weather, you've found a kindred spirit. And it's not just skiers and snowboarders (or snowmobilers and snowshoers). Sometimes it's the most unlikely people.

I like snow, of course, because I like to ski but it's not just that. I've always liked it. I like to assemble all the right gear and bundle up properly like I was on an Antarctic expedition. I especially like days like today. Light powdery windblown snow. It's really beautiful. All the strange curves and shapes made by the wind.

We've had temperatures between 8 and 14° and a little snow, maybe 3 to 5 inches over the last several days. It's been wildly divergent. Some nearby areas have got as much as 20 inches!

I know International Falls, Minnesota was down to 40 below but they have a rep for that. Right on the Canadian border and all.

Some friends of mine went snowboarding Saturday at Gore Mountain in the Adirondacks. It was really cold and windy that day. They had a hard time cause the coating of light powder was blown or ridden away leaving sheer ice. Not too fun.

I'm hoping we have a better time Wed. at Stratton Mtn. in Vermont. We've got a Warren Miller freebie to use up!