The slacker!

I did get out today even though it was still rainy and the roads were wet.

I'm glad I did. I felt great.

Had some trouble with my chain though.

I'm really lazy about maintenance. The poor Raleigh has been idle most of the winter and I haven't even lubed the chain. I was out Monday in the rain and I should have cleaned and lubed it then. I was having a little trouble shifting down from the big chainring. I have a compact crankset and it's harder for the shifting because the disparity in sizes between the two rings is greater than with a standard set.

So I went out again today without lubing the chain and I had to stop a couple of times on hills to get the front to shift down. I dropped the chain once when upshifting the front gears.

I wiped the bike down after but I still haven't lubed the chain. Got to find the lube, rags, degreaser, etc.

I am also experimenting with recording audio while I ride. The idea being to have an audio blog or podcast and ultimately do video in the same way. I get a lot of my ideas for my blog while riding, naturally, and I've thought about doing this for a long time. I've got the use of a BlackBerry and downloaded some free software called VR+ which acts as a digital recorder and then uploads the recording as an MP3 to the web when you're done. You can also get the audio transcribed for a fee. The one thing that is a problem with this software is that it doesn't have voice activated recording so unless I'm constantly prattling, there is a lot of dead air on the recording. I have a pocket tape cassette recorder (tape .. what's that, Daddy?) I could try but then I'd have to "play" it into the computer to digitize it. Uh-uh. I think a regular digital recorder would be a better option although I really like the automatic uploading of the VR+. It's set and forget and it's there (when it works, sigh).

My idea for the video is to get a helmet mounted VHoldR camera (they are really cool ... about $329 for 1080p HD) and supplement it with a Flip type of device. I'm looking at the Kodak PlaySport which just came out last Sunday. If you get one, let me know how you like it. They list for $149 and also do 1080p HD.

Anyway I started recording and yapped the whole 50 minute ride and when I was done ... no recording! Ain't technology grand?

Move Every Day!

Did I today? No. It was raining pretty hard but I could have gone to the gym (no parking, crowded, dim, noisy, TVs blaring, uh-uh).

Nevertheless, "Move Every Day" is a tenet of my Fitness Filosofy.

What do I mean by move?

"Hey, I moved off the couch to the fridge to grab a cold one - or - I moved from the bed to the bathroom and then back to bed again."

No, that's not what I mean.

By moving, I mean something intentional to enhance your health even if it's just a 20 minute walk or raking the leaves for 1/2 hour.

As masters (I prefer the term to "seniors") we may need to recover for more than a day, maybe even a week, between hard efforts.

We could do nothing, but it's probably better to do some kind of movement to keep those joints, tendons and muscles from stiffening up and to get the blood circulating.

Dr. Gabe Mirkin says that studies show that exercise before and/or after eating helps to keep blood sugar down and prevents diabetes. At my in-laws house there is a tradition of taking a short walk after dinner which I always thought quaint but of minimal health benefit. I guess there is something to it.


You know I could have walked in the rain. I forgot, I actually like walking in the rain. I guess I haven't transitioned to my spring/summer attitude about the rain. I'm still in ski season mode and RAIN IS BAD for skiing!

I like riding the bike in the rain too but I don't like cleaning the bike afterwards (so I don't do it but feel guilty). All the road grit sticks to it and grinds away at the moving parts.

OK. Tomorrow it's bike, run or walk in that order. Rain or shine!

Move!

Extremism in defense of fitness IS a vice!

My obsessive nature is so devious, so sneaky. It comes in the back door when I'm trying to be not obsessive! In my previous entry, "Be LESS Than You Can Be", I was trying to counter the tendency, which I share with many others, to go all out when beginning an activity, pedal to the metal and all that. To the point of burn out.

In that entry I talk about limiting yourself to the point where you are "bored out of your skull"! But, you know, I was thinking about that while riding my bike today and being "bored out of your skull" is antithetical to the concept of having fun, which is the core of my fitness message!

It's one of those negatives that may ultimately cause you to quit.

Don't forget, I'm talking about someone just starting out after years of sedentary living. Or maybe getting back into it after an inactive winter.

Like me riding the bike today.

I shouldn't be hitting it like I was at the peak of cycling season last summer. I need to get those legs limbered up and my bottom toughened up with a few easy to moderate rides.

Listen to my body. It will tell me when it's ready to go.

So I don't really mean for you to exercise at a level that bores you out of your skull. That's a bit of hyperbole. Sorry.

Just be sure your body is ready to go before you start to ramp it up.

**********************************************************************

I rode about 13 miles today at a moderate pace. Average speed was 12.4mph and my cadence was 71RPMs. I'm OK with that. I'm shooting for an average cadence of 80 or better. My heart rate monitor says my average HR was 86! I doubt that. It must not have been picking up for half the ride. I have to get a new HRM any way. This one works but the body of the watch broke where it holds the wrist strap in. I tried super gluing it but it didn't hold.

Anyway it was great getting out on the road in the fresh air. It was almost raining but I kind of like the rain except that it's bad for skiing! I'm hoping Mrs. MTBMan1 and I can get at least one more ski day in.

Be LESS Than You Can Be!

In my previous pontification titled "My Fitness Philosophy", I listed as item #3, "Take It Easy".

In the past, I have referred to that as "Be Less Than You Can Be", a take off on the Army slogan "Be All That You Can Be".

What I mean by that is, let's say I can run 3 miles at a certain pace, not flat out so I'm totally bonked at the end but it's a hard exertion. Well, to be less than I can be, I will run much slower, sometimes I even like to walk for a few steps just to make sure my jogging is just barely above a walk.

What happens with this is that I will warm up during the "run" and feel pretty good wanting to run harder. When I catch myself doing this, I will pull back to my "less than I can be" jalk (jog-walk), ralk (run-walk), wun(walk-run) or wog(walk-jog).(see if you can say it 5 times fast).

Of course, as I do this day after day for a couple of weeks, I will be getting fitter and even more so wanting go harder. The theory is (I say theory because I find this hard to adhere to) that I don't give myself permission to ramp up until I am absolutely bored out of my skull with this regimen.

What's the point?

Avoiding beginner's burnout.

Keep in mind I'm addressing the over 50 crowd that is just starting or just getting back into exercising.

Even as a younger man, when I started running, I would run as hard as I could every day for several weeks and then one morning I just couldn't face it!

I think what happens is that your subconscious mind begins to associate the activity with pain, unpleasantness, something negative.

Conversely, if you can build up to a point where the endorphins, the brain chemicals that make you feel good, kick in, you will have what's called in the study of addictions, "euphoric recall", a positive association that makes you want to come back for more and forget about how much it hurt while you were doing it.

Herein lies the link to my overall emphasis on the fun part of fitness.

If you can keep it fun, you'll keep doing it.

Ultimately, "Be Less Than You Can Be" does become "Be All That You Can Be" and it does become fun to go all out with appropriate recovery and crosstraining. The "fun" can come from working hard and beating your last best effort.

Even professional athletes can become burned out when they forget the fun of their sport. It happens!

I bring this up because I was skiing at Ski Butternut in Great Barrington, MA yesterday with Mrs. MTBMan1 and her sister. The sister suggested going down a couple of black diamond trails and my wife demurred. Ultimately, so did I, even though I had done one of them last weekend (partly out of control) and they had groomed the bumps out of the other. While it was steep, it was wide and looked relatively smooth. Mmm, tempting.

So I knew I could do them and probably stay in control if I was careful but I remembered my filosofy and thought, hey, why white knuckle it? I'm here to have fun and I'm still having fun on the greens and blues and I can still get OOC (out-of-control) on those blues and greens if I don't pay attention. So why not wait until I'm bored out of my skull to move on up?

What about the adventure of risk? Sure, that's a consideration. Living is a risky business and you always have to weigh the pros and cons of whatever you do including getting out of bed in the morning!

For me, I would paraphrase the "cowards" dictum "He who fights and runs away, may live to fight another day" to "He who skis and backs down from doing Lucifer's Leap or Black Hole, may live to ski another day!" :-)

There is much more to this but I'll get into it another time.

In the meantime, in a line from a famous Zen story, "We have had enough discussion, so let's have a cup of tea!"

Here is my cup of tea, some pics from the day at Butternut:

This, I believe, is looking up "Nut Hatch", a very pleasant beginner's run


Turned around, looking DOWN Nut Hatch

This is looking UP "Chute", a black diamond, from it's exit on Nut Hatch.
It was closed today because of conditions.

Here's another view from Nut Hatch

This is the entrance to "Apple Jack", a favorite of mine

Looking up Apple Jack


Another view from Apple Jack


Top of "Freewheeler", another fave!

Further down Freewheeler:

Looking back up at Freewheeler. Where is everybody?


Stopped on the lift. Here are some skiers on "Crosstown":


Boarder entering Nuthatch

Skier on Nuthatch


It was "Parrot Head" day at Butternut. Prizes and games! But aren't those flamingos?

Trying to avoid my characteristic "squint"!


My Fitness Philosphy

I think these concepts are found here and there in this blog but I've never put them down succinctly in one place at one time.

Or if I have, it's good to reiterate them.

Keep in mind, I'm talking to older folks who haven't been too active for several years that are interested in improving their fitness.

Here goes.

1) Get your doctor's OK.
If you're over 50 (or 40 for that matter) get your doctor's OK to begin an exercise program or any new activity that involves exertion.
That means, if you haven't had a complete physical for a couple of years, get one.

2) Have Fun!
Find something that's fun to do. If you have no idea, just start trying a bunch of things. Maybe check out the magazine rack at the drugstore and see what looks interesting. Ask your friends what they do and ask if you can tag along. Do an internet search for exercise, sports, whatever.

3) Take it easy!
Always start out carefully especially if you've been sedentary for awhile. Try to tune in to your body. If it hurts when you do something, don't do it! Or ease off. Don't think you should always push through pain. Some discomfort is necessary to grow your muscles but pain may be an indicator that you're stressing joints or tendons in a way that may cause injury.

4) If something is chronically hurting check with your doctor and maybe get to a physical therapist.

5) Cross-train.
Try to find several activities that you can alternate. This will help to prevent injuries as well as boredom.

6) Try to move every day!
If you can't do a strenuous activity on a particular day, at least walk a bit, do yard work or something to keep your joints working and your blood flowing.

7) Eat right!
Again check with your doctor if you have a medical condition but in general eat lots of vegetables and don't eat any high-glycemic index carbs like sugar or processed flour except during and within 1 hour of strenuous, calorie burning activity.

I guess that's more or less it.

Now if only I can follow this myself! ;-)

First bike ride of spring!

Sunday was my first bike ride of spring 010!

I just went skiing the day before but my quads were fine.

I just couldn't turn it down. Charles and I had been trying to get together for several weeks and it hadn't worked out for one reason or other.

I really felt like taking a nap but you know how that is.

This time I suggested the route. It is one of my regular solo rides. Lots of rollers but no real hills except for Orchard Road in the beginning.

Of course I overdid it. I hadn't really been working up to it but because of my ego, I tried to keep up with Charles which meant working harder than I should have for a first ride.

Well, not entirely because of my ego. I thought I should do a hard workout just because I was overdue for one.

I felt some discomfort early on in the tendon behind my right knee but I didn't let up. Then near the end, it was my left achilles tendon. Of course the real problem was with my right shoulder. I am trying to pull with my lower arms on climbs but somehow I really hurt my shoulder. It only takes one good pull to do it.

I'm going for a checkup at the end of the month. I'll ask the doc for an xray. He had prescribed one years ago but I never got it. I will push for physical therapy rather than surgery if they suggest that.

We wound up doing 26 miles.

It was good to get out on the bike but I'm not ready to give up on skiing yet although the weather has been absolute crap here in the northeast.

The Catskills are a good bet for a couple of weeks. They got a pretty good dump up there.

Then there's always Killington.

Ascutney over in eastern Vermont is claiming they still have tons of snow. We have relatives we can stay with over there. And they're doing $39 lift tickets on the weekend! Woo-hoo!

Ski day 10 ... Cognitive Dissonance

Let's see ... do the taxes or .... go skiing? Hmmm. What to do, what to do?

Yesterday was Ski Butternut in Great Barrington, MA. Went with 5 other guys from my church. Lift tickets were $25, weather was warm and sunny and the snow conditions were ... "Mashed Potatoes!"



It probably got up to 70० but it felt like 80 in the sun going up the chairlift. Weird to then ski down a mountain of snow! Cognitive dissonance!

The trouble is after skiing the whole season, I'm skiing my best and really starting to have a blast .... and then it's over.

I had a great time yesterday. Even though the snow was wet and mushy and there was plenty of crud piling up, I could ski it!

In addition to learning how to pick out a line, I am starting to unweight on turns and carving rather than trying to push all that heavy stuff out of the way against gravity. Also I am better able to do quicker linked turns in a tight spot to control my speed. And when I traverse the slope across all the bumps and ridges, I can stay balanced on my skis.

When we arrived about 10 o'clock the parking lot looked pretty full but the slopes were never really crowded at all. This was typical. Sometimes you didn't see anybody, up or down!

And almost no waiting on the lifts. The lodge was not crowded when we went in either. It was warm enough for lots of people to be outside on the deck at the picnic tables (including us!)

Last year about this time, these kind of conditions were a big problem for me. I would get really tired pushing through the heavy stuff and felt very unstable traversing the lumps and bumps across a slope.

The one time I felt out of control was on Lucifer's leap, pictured here.
It is steep and narrow at the start which is just out of sight up around the bend in this pic. I got going too fast too quick and didn't want to do any extreme snow-pushing into the crud to slow down (I should have!) But I rode it out successfully like I did on Tuesday on the icy and narrow "Whisper" at Windham. I'm much better at staying upright when going fast and over bumps and ridges. Actually, I'm kind of surprising myself!

Everybody had a good time and nobody got hurt although one boarder took some nasty falls and I got wacked in the back of the head with the chairlift. My fault. I was just standing there talking on the loading line and not looking back to pick up the chair. Good thing I was wearing a helmet! I think I'm getting a little too comfortable!

We even had a couple of snowball fights!

Although Butternut was 100% open yesterday and they intend to be open next weekend, it all depends on the weather. It's going to cool down a bit over the next week but are supposed to get a couple of rainy days.

Mrs. MTBMan1 and I were planning on going next weekend. We'll see. If it's open, we're goin'!

Ski season 09/10 ... Day 9

Yesterday I went skiing at Windham in the Catskills of upstate NY. It was the first dry day in several. Sunny and warm, near 60, in fact.
Mrs. did not go because she did not feel fully recovered from our last trip up to Whiteface near Lake Placid.

I had intended to arrive before the lifts opened but going later than planned and I was kicking myself for it. I was concerned that the snow might get too mushy with the warm temps but I needn't have worried.

When I arrived shortly after the lifts had opened for the day, it was still icy.

That soft looking snow under the lift is hard ice!



They had groomed one width on each of the trails (White Way and What's Next) but the grooming was like frozen granola rather than corduroy.

And God help you if you got off the groom!

In any event, it was rough!

I did a few runs on the lower mountain, then decided to check out Wanderer, an easy green on the top of East Mountain.

Over on the "G" lift there was a sign up saying "Wedgie, Experts Only!". Wedgie is a blue, normally intermediate trail. Ominous!

Lift "G":

So I went up to Wanderer and did a few runs while waiting for the sun to climb higher and soften things up a bit.

Here's a shot looking back up one of the 2 "hills" on Wanderer. Like I said, it's an easy green. I loved this run when I was just learning a few years ago.

Believe it or not, this switchback used to give me trouble as a beginner. Especially when icy or roughed up. Today it was no problemo!

After this turn, Wanderer has a long runout. Usually you want to just go straight out to maintain some speed but because of all the frozen ruts I kept carving across them to avoid catching an edge. There was some relatively untracked stuff on the side but it was a little hairy cause if you did catch an edge you could easily plow into the snow guns or go off the drop. (I almost did).

I broke for lunch about 11:30 and ran into a friend from church with his 2 sons. The funny thing is, we'd been trying to get together to do something for the last 2 years and this is how it happens. Serendipitous!

Sawyer, Ken and Morgan on top of the West Mountain, Windham.

After lunch I took one run by myself up on the West mountain and by this time the snow was soft and creamy like sherbet. Just how I like it! Ken and his sons were just booting up so I joined them for most of the rest of the afternoon. Ken does telemark.

We did a couple runs on Upper Wraparound which is probably the easiest blue on the mountain.

Wraparound has about 3 wide switchbacks which are a lot of fun. Great views too!



After a couple of runs Ken and I went down Upper Warpath. This was steep but didn't look too bad until we got on it!

It was starting to get pretty mogul-ly! But I did OK. I didn't fall but did one "sit-down" at the end of a traverse. I had been thinking about my cry-baby performance on Whiteface and realized I could do these bumpy runs with the soft crud. It helped that the soft snow is slow.

Here's Ken at the bottom of Warpath just before the terrain park.

Later on I lost track of Ken and his sons after I took a break and they didn't. I took a detour off Wraparound to Whiskey Jack

Whiskey Jack was pretty fun. It's sort of a narrow, quasi-pipe type of run with some turns.

Here is the bottom of Whiskey Jack looking across to Lift "G" and Lower Wraparound to your left

Later, I intended to take the Warpath chute that Ken and I took before but then bypass bumpy Warpath and go on to some of the other (hopefully easier) blues. Mistakenly, I took Whisper which goes directly to Warpath and then it's only way down. Oh well.

Whisper was "interesting" in that it was a narrow and shaded chute (as in "icy"). I basically lost control here cause it was so unexpectedly fast, rough and narrow and I was afraid of going over the edge before I could make my turns. I rode it out full bore and survived it but then was deposited back on bumpy Warpath which I had not intended to take again. I'm doing better at staying upright when it gets rough but still don't feel like I'm particularly in control.

Here's a look up at Whisper from Warpath. I could see how they designated Wedgie "expert" earlier because it is a much steeper trail and if it was ice ... well ..

Here's a look down Warpath from almost the top. I did much better this time. These bumps kill my quads rather than my knees.
Doesn't look bumpy in the picture does it? Well it wasn't your traditional "seeded" mogul field.

I took a left at the bottom of Warpath just before the terrain park that you can see in the picture.
The cross-mountain trail is called Wall Street (do you see a theme here in the trail names? hint "W")
Turned right on Wall Street onto Lower Wiseacres

Start of Lower Wiseacres:


Further down Wiseacres:

A final shot looking down Lower Wraparound:

Each ski day gets better and better towards the end of the season providing the weather holds out and this one was no exception.

Saturday ... Butternut with the Men's group from church!

Product Review - Xtensor

If you remember, almost 2 years ago now, I injured my left hand in a bike spill. I bent my fingers backwards the wrong way and I immediately thought "broken".

Luckily, nothing was broken although I was in considerable pain for a couple of days and the swelling lasted for weeks, if not months.

Today, although I would say I'm mostly recovered, I can still feel an occasional stiffness in those joints.

Recently, my wife saw this "Xtensor" product in Herrington's catalog and we decided to try it. The price was $39.95


The same model works on either hand so you only have to buy one even if you want to use it for both hands.

As you can see from the picture, the device consists of a plastic frame with straps around the wrist and a series of latex bands that attach to your fingers and then to mounting slots in the palm.

There are 3 rows of mounting slots to adjust the tension.

I found that it works well, as advertised, and I do believe it has helped strengthen my injured fingers and relieved some of the stiffness.

The biggest downside is that the latex bands tend to wear and break rather quickly. The Xtensor comes with lots of extra bands but eventually you will have to buy more if you continue to use it.

I also found that the band for my middle finger tends to work it's way out of the mounting slot after several reps and I need to stop and reset it or it will eventually release and go flying across the room.

The Xtensor comes with a DVD that provides a video demonstrating a variety of exercises as well as how to set up the device.

I would say this is a worthwhile purchase for anyone recovering from a hand injury although I would check with a physical therapist first about your specific situation. In my case, the physical therapist gave me plenty of exercises that I could do without purchasing any special equipment.

This would also probably be good for someone who uses a computer all day or plays a lot of video games.

There is more competitive pricing available if you look around.

The Common Cold is Bad for Your Health!

Well, yeah.

What I mean is, you're not supposed to exercise when you have a cold. So you're not working on your fitness ergo your health.

At least according to this article by Dr. Gabe Mirkin.

He says "Most doctors allow their patients to exercise when they have a cold, as long as they don't have a fever and their muscles don't hurt when they exercise. However, it's probably better to stop exercising altogether when you have an infection."

I have a cold. I started feeling it on Friday afternoon and today it's full blown.

The last time I came down with a cold, not too long ago, I knocked it out completely in 2 days by totally vegging out. That was on a weekend. I was lucky.

I did go out for a short and easy bike ride yesterday because it was so nice.

The weather has got really sunny and warm. It's killing me to not go out on the bike. I was planning on a hammerfest on Sunday, but it was not to be. I skipped church and slept a good part of the day.

Saturday, took a walk with wife and daughter in a local park. There was still snow on the ground in most places which made it challenging.

Here are some pics:


It was tempting me to come back on the x-c skis.

Somebody had been out!


A canopy of trees!

Foot bridge

The trail passes by an alpaca farm. Last time we were here, they came right up to us. Today we couldn't get them interested.

There's that blue sky!

See ya later. I'm going back to bed!

First Flat of the Season

Took the road bike out on Thursday. It was to be an easy "recovery" ride cause all my muscles were still aching from skiing Whiteface on Tuesday.
I also intended it to serve as a shakeout run for the bike. I think I had only ridden it once all winter and that because my car wouldn't start (it was 5० and my battery just quit). Also, this was after work and I wasn't sure how much daylight I would have to ride in.

So, I only intended to take a short (1/2 hour) ride on flat terrain, spinning easily.

It went OK until about 1/4 mile from home. I felt the thump, thump, thump for a few seconds before I realized it was something I needed to tend to ... flat tire.

My fault really.

I was pushing my luck with this tube. It was a slow leaker for most of last season. It was fine during rides but I always had to put 30 or 40 pounds into it the next day. I knew I shouldn't be riding it but hey, I carry a spare.

But I didn't want to change a tube in 30० weather so after a few half-hearted attempts to pump some air into it, I gave up and walked the bike home. Fortunately I was that close.

I changed out the tube next day and was quite pleased. I don't change enough tires to be able to do it without thinking but this went pretty well. I remember when I first bought those tires I was sure they were too small for the wheels. I was not able to get one on. I actually brought it back to Mad Dog, my LBS and Matt put it on quite easily for me. I was kind of embarrassed (especially since I had proposed to him at one time that he hire me as a trainee bike mechanic).

So when I bought a second one of the same model, I toughed it out myself, and it was tough.

This time, however it was a piece of cake. I was wondering why and thinking it was maybe because I had the replacement tube "soaking" in a zip-lock bag with tons of talcum powder but as I write this, I think it's just because the tire is well used and "stretched" out.

Whatever the reason, I didn't even have to use the Crank Brothers speed lever that I bought to put it back on.

I was also pleased putting the rear wheel back on the bike. I usually wrestle with getting the chain and gears right, getting my hands all greasy in the process but at a benefit ride last year, my friend Brad put my wheel on with one hand, never touching any of the greasy parts. He just kind of "snaked" the cogs into the chain in the right place and pulled the axle back into the dropouts with one fluid motion.

Needless to say, I was impressed.

So I tried it myself this time after a little intense study of the cog and chain and, while not quite as effortlessly as Brad, I did it! It worked!

I was quite pleased and kind of amazed.

While I was at it, I patched and tested 3 old tubes I had laying around so now I am all set for the season.

This is a neat time of year. It's starting to get sunny and warm enough to try a few bike rides yet there's still enough snow in the mountains to go skiing.

Best of both worlds.

Fear

I have to admit it and I hate to admit it but Mrs. MTBMan1 is more brave than I.

She's always the faster one on the ski hills and not just because of skill but because of her fearlessness.

She relishes the thrill of the risk.

I was confronted with this realization last Tuesday on the summit of Whiteface.

While she was enjoying the views and suggesting I take pictures of this and that, I was just annoyed because my attention was consumed by what looked like sheer drops on all sides. I wanted to get on with it and get it over with.

For me, it's because of the unknown. We knew there were intermediate trails from the summit and we intended to take those but there's intermediate and INTERMEDIATE. These trail difficulty designations are somewhat subjective and vary quite a bit from mountain to mountain.

Generally, on the bigger mountains, intermediate trails are going to be tougher and steeper than on the smaller resorts.

Also, difficulty varies with the conditions. A trail that's icy or is slushy crud is going to be harder than first tracks on a groomed trail with soft, packed powder underneath.

So anyhow, the trail was great. While it was late morning and the grooming was no longer pristine, the snow was soft and manageable.

From the top we took Riva Ridge to Paron's Run then John's Bypass to connector to Victoria. On Paron's Run I slid out once but no real problem. Victoria gave me my first trouble and faceplant. It was steep and bumpy. Not real moguls but enough of a challenge for me to take it cautiously. I'm getting better at picking out a line in this stuff but I think sometimes I'm a little too far forward of a skier and not light enough on my feet. Anyway I hit a pile of crud on a bump and clipped out of one ski. Face forward down the hill. Then it's a steep walk up hill carrying one ski and poles to retrieve my other ski.

I suppose I could have left my ski and poles downhill. That would have made it easier climbing. Before I got to it, another skier on the way down picked up and brought me my ski. Thanks.

While it's easier getting up on a steep slope I have trouble clipping back into my skis. I thought I had them clipped in but when I took off, the one ski fell right off again.

I often marvel at other skiers how relaxed and natural they look sliding down a slope that has me white-knuckling. They look like they're going comfortably slow and not working hard.

If I make turns often enough to maintain a comfortable speed, I find it very tiring and can't maintain it for too long. So I wind up either going too fast for comfort or doing wide traverses across the slope face which is even more unstable and tiring.

I'm sure losing some weight will help. Less for gravity to pull and less for me to resist.

Similarly, when we took The Wilmington Trail from the top of Lookout Mountain, it started out pretty flat
but then has 4 or 5 steep, narrow and bumpy sections that discouraged me to look at them. Also the left side of the trail was all drop off with an orange fence
but the fence wouldn't hold you if you hit it head on.

Mrs. MTBMan1 was still enjoying it though even though it was a challenge for her too.

I enjoyed it too, in retrospect. I wish I could take another crack at it now that I know what to expect. But Whiteface is too expensive for us without free or heavily discounted tickets.

So I'm cautious. I'm not saying I'm going to change or even want to change. As my skill improves, so will my confidence, so that part will change.

Mrs. MTBMan1 is a risk taker and I'm not.

That's just the way it is.