Monday, January 31, 2011

Rossland Pentathlon

The John Heitz Rossland Pentathlon took place on Sunday.  The five disciplines were downhill skiing (Sally's Alley), then mountain biking (1mile on Old Red Road), x/c skiing (1 mile across Centennial Trail), snowshoeing (1 mile or so across a single track trail through Rossland), and finally running (1.75 miles or so).  It sounded pretty dam cool.  This race is mostly contested by teams.   A select few choose to do it individually.

What the hell.  You know what happens.....  My very trusty sidekick Joel acted as my minder, setting up all the necessary equipment at the transition zones. 

The race was contested under deep blue skies and fantastic weather.  I was the third starter.  It was a time trial start at 1 minute intervals.  I was dressed in my running gear.  That is usually enough to scare my competitors out of the race even before it begins as this is my strongest event, and I look the most menacing in those togs! But little did I realize....It's not as effective at 1600m on the top of a mountain to be in such attire with a downhill ski section to start.

I began my downhill ascent with ferocity.  I imagined I was the legendary Nancy Greene; as Red Mountain is where she learned to ski.  I got into my "tuck" position and concentrated very hard not to wipe-out or hit a tree.  I made it to the bottom of Red Mountain and into the transition zone.  I think it took me just as long to ski down the hill as it did to get my ski equipment off, and changed into my x/c ski boots to start the bike.  There were alot of straps to unbuckle, then new straps to buckle.

The bike was interesting.  Most of the road, as you can imagine was ice.  I traversed this section on a 20 year old Supercycle mountain bike.  The Canadian Tire special of 1991!  When I fished it out of Tyler's basement it had no air in either tire, the gears did not work, and the seat was pretty low.  Who cares! (You all should have seen the P.O.S. bike I used in the Port Hood Triathlon 6 years ago - that is another, and funnier story though.)  I did a few repairs on the bike and put air in the tires = It was good to go for my purposes. Just like in the ski section, all I cared about was not wiping out, and I didn't.  Yet.

I got off my bike and it was now the x/c ski section.  I used Trevor's skate skies.  They would be much lighter, faster, and I would look better which is probably more important, then his classical ones.  I tested them out for the first time 60 minutes before the race started.  I did an out and back 100m - I'd be fine.  I had a bit of a problem getting them on at the transition zone.  My heart was racing and my hands were a bit cold.  I got thinking thank god there is any shooting to do in this competition like a Biathlon!  I would wind up shooting a competitor or something!

The x/c ski went well after I got in the mood.  A back and forth rhythm is what this sport is all about.  It is important to get your pole plants in sync with your body.  Although friction is the enemy so you want to make sure your base is evenly waxed....  Motion, fluidity, and repetition was the key to reach the climatic end.  [Rude athletes would say they, "blew their load", at this point.  But I would say no such thing, and have problems even suggesting that.  But some would - I've heard it before when I ran at Windsor.]  I just went all out.  I was pretty much a natural, at skate skiing of course, if I do say so myself.

The snowshoeing was a bit tougher.  I only did an out an back 20m trial with this discipline.  I fell about 200m into the path.  I didn't get my right toe up far enough off of the ground.  But as quickly as I fell, I was back on my feet to the next transition area.  It was a single track and pretty much all downhill.  Which incidently is how my body was now feeling after the beers and late nights of the past 48hrs.  But the race was going incredibly quick.  I had been competing for about 18 minutes by now, and it was more then over - I mean the run was the last event and that is my bread and butter.

Joel was again waiting for me at this transition zone.  It was all he could do, but he did it, to get to the zones and be ready for my arrival.  He was very encouraging and supportive.  I whipped off my steel footware and was in my Nikes to eat some time which I had lost with my ineptive form during the other sections. (Except the x/c ski of course - I do think I am a natural at it.)  I did, a bit, but I was really nacered.  The run was half on pavement and half on a single track trail.  It was the longest of the 5 events, but after 3/4 of the way done I was hoping it was the shortest.  I ended up walking briefly up a hill....  But pulled it together and ran across the finish line.

I was very proud and happy with my race.  It was really challenging, but well worth the time and effort to do.  There were 15 teams that finished and 2 individuals.  My time was pretty much right on 27 minutes.  Taking into account that includes 2:30 to 3:00 of transitioning, or more.  They had some great prizes, and the main idea of this race was just to have some fun.  Which I certainly did.

The end.

 Results? = Oh, watch the video.  (You know what happens though.....)

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Ski Bum

On Saturday night I went to the local theatre to watch Ski Bum The Musical.  It was co-written by Tyler Austin Bradley (http://tabradley.tumblr.com/).  [Visit his blog if you really want to be entertained and see how a pro gets it done in this media.] He owns the house I am living in.  I guess that makes us roommates, although that sounds so college-like.  It was a fantastic production that kept the audience full of suspense and laughter for 90 minutes.

The story centres around 4 main characters.  A control-on-authority female ski patroller (Sunny), her best friend who is a ski instructor (Liz),  Liz's ex-husband Jeff, who is the "ski-bum", and Jeff's roommate Richard who is doing research for grad school about the ski culture.
There were a few "cameo" roles and appearances by a snow plow driver, his hillarious sock puppet, and a liftie operator.  But these roles are all covered by the talented cast.

The plot revolves around mending Liz and Jeff's past relationship, Richard completing his research, and Sunny acting like the mother hen in all the scenerios.  It was hillarious and brillant.  The music and its choreography only added to the magnificient story.  Do Liz and Jeff work things out?  Does Richard complete his research?  Do Richard and Sunny find love?  You'll have to see it for yourselves.

The cast and crew are taking their show on the road for performances around the greater Kootney region.  It will be very well recieved by all outdoor, ski-enthusiastic audiences.

Break a leg fellas!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Carnival Time!

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What you are witnessing is the newest addition to the Rossland Fire Department's fleet.  It is quite revolutionary for out here.  Meetings were held and funds were raised.  There was a fire call this morning, and as you can see they responded quickly to the emergency.  Go R.F.D. go!

Actually it is winter carnival time again.  There was a parade last night and some kids activities in the downtown area.  There is a winter ice bar set up, luging at the ski hill, a downtown ski and snowboard terrain park and many other activities to spark civic pride and happiness. 


The highlight is the street bobsleigh though.  25 teams were entered this year; some more serious then others.  Someone better at math can help me out, but the winning team travelled the course in about 40 seconds going 75km/h at the finish line.  The course has got to be over 750m long - it is probably about 1km!  We watched that for an hour or so this morning.  Apparently the course was running a bit slow because Trevor told me teams have reached speeds of nearly 90 km/h.  The fans were ravenous and hoping for carnage and wrekage just like at a NASCAR event, but I didn't see any wipeouts this year.

I think this was the fastest team - They just hollowed out a log and put skis on it, a tiny steering system and maybe brakes, who knows.


The Iron Maiden Team!

For lunch Tara, her sister Christine, and I had lunch at the legion.  Borscht and a bun for $5.  Russian food is popular in this area.  One kind of Borscht is beet based, the other is cabbage.  I had the cabbage and it was pretty good.  It is just a soup really.  Pretty much vegetable soup.

Trevor, his boys, and I went skiing for an hour or so on Thursday.  On Friday we all drove down to Trail and ran some errands.  The weather is the pits though because it is sort of rainning. 

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Untitled

A bit of a lull in the action this week.  I hit the slopes on Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday, and I am just sort of getting myself going to get out today which is Thursday.  Tuesday was a good day as Trevor was working, so Joel and I got to the hill before nine o'clock to enjoy 10cm or so of new snow.

On Wednesday Joel and Trista went out skiing.  Trevor brought his boys over to their house for 90 mins or so.  By noon we all walked them home and then Cohen, Eamen, and I hung out for the afternoon.  We played a bit of hockey outside, and vacuumed and cleaned inside too.  It was a quick afternoon. 


Last night Tara and Trevor went out for dinner.   I was over, I don't even call it babysitting anymore because the boys are asleep, and Joel came over too.  We watched a movie which was made/created by a friend of Trevor's and teammate of ours on the Ice Hawks.  His name is Derek Frankowski and the movie is called Lifecycles (http://lifecyclesfilm.com/). 

I can't really think of any crazy stories.  Alot of nothing has been happening.  What is happening is a huge winter carnival this weekend.  The town is going to be really, really busy with a parade, luging at the hill, street tobaggaining, beer gardens and a pond hockey tournament.  So I think people are just taking it easy and slow to rest up for the festivities of this weekend.

So here are a few pictures that haven't been posted = They tell 1,000 words at least.

Joel and Trevor on Tuesday

Trevor looking down into Microwave - The hardest run at Red.

Tevor and Cole's first skate.

Me looking into one of the easier runs at Red.

Joel above the Kootney Sea.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

How It's Done

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Trevor certainly shows how it is done properly on Red Mountain.....  Joel, Trevor, and I got out bright and early to enjoy this wonderful weather day.  Warm, sunny skies, and mild temperatures.  It was a great day.  We basically chased our shawdows from ledge to ledge.  They call this view the Kootney Sea!


Last night the 3 of us watched the Canucks game, then grabbed our gear, and headed to the outdoor rink.  It was dark, but we had headlights.  It was actually good practice stickhandling and recieving passes with the limited view.
Day to day life is going well.  I am engaged in this ETFO course and it is pretty easy so far.  It takes about 45 minutes of my time per day - sometimes more and sometimes less.  Yesterday I ran a big run out to the hill and around.  It was nice to get out.  I ran on the highway's shoulder, which wasn't too bad.  And I think I mentioned that I was over at Trevor and Tara's for a few hours as they were out running errands.  The 2 boys slept for 90% of my time at the house.  So no big deal.

I am really missing Shelly and thinking about her quite a lot.  The weekends are when it is the most difficult to be apart.  I know she is quite busy through the week and has lots of engagements.  But the weekends are another animal.  I hope she lets me into the very humble and modest abode on Quebec Street in another month - That would be nice, to be home in another month.  





Saturday, January 22, 2011

Blue Bird Day

A bright and sunny Saturday blanked Rossland and Red Mountain.  I welcomed the day with a good run out and back to the ski hill where I met up with my buddies. (see picture)  I don't think Grayson is too happy about something.
I went out skiing this past Thursday and Friday.  Thursday was a great day with 10 cm or so of new snow.  Joel and I found some good spots to ride and find some untouched pockets.  It was really cloudy and cool though.  10 cm is a lot better then nothing.  Motherload lift was running at its full speed.  So it was a good day.
On Friday Trista and I hit the slopes.  There was some new snow, but not as good as Thursday's fall.  We found our groove.  Speaking of groove, the junior freeski championship was going on.  They shredded Lynx Line like nobodys' business.  They made going off the cliffs and jumps look like childs' play, and that is what the age most of them looked like - children.  Again it was cloudy and windy, but we had a good day.
But again, this is what the hill looks like under clear skies.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Cross Country Skiing

I am just finishing up a babysitting shift over at Trevor and Tara's.  They went out on a date and I was more then happy to come over and mind the fort and its inhabitants.  Besides, they were basically ready and put in bed by the time I was over - Not much for Uncle Awesome to do except work on the course a wee bit and watch some television.

This morning Trevor, the boys, and I went over to Black Jack for a cross country ski.  The snow is bullet proof; hard and cold.  The sky was deep blue and not a cloud was in sight.  It was cold, but nothing too frigid. 
The wheels and the handle comes off of this bad-boy Chariot and it transforms into a tow behind ski sled.  Perfect for these two.  Trevor handles it like a champ - me, like a chump.  I had a go with it and it was pretty sad.  Pulling it feels alot like driving in a manual with someone learning how to clutch smoothly.  It wasn't so tight around my waist so it rocked a bit back and forth, back and forth.  I wiped out once and it wasn't so bad.  But the second wipe out I hollard the big "f" bomb, my skies went way over my head, and I hit the ground pretty hard.  Trevor laughed, Cole cried, Grayson did nothing, and I tried to get up.  Oh well, I tried my best.  Trevor finished the loop, kids in tote, upright and with ease.
Not much else is really going on.  The down hill skiing isn't much to speak of this week.  There is plenty of snow at the hill, but there isn't any new snow, and I just don't have it in me to ride the groomers.  The weather reports indicate snow for the end of the week which will be nice.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Warmer Days

The weather has turned warm.  The snow in Rossland is quickly melting.  The town's roads are mini canals with water flowing from sewer grate to sewer grate in an escapist way.  The temperature must be about 8 above zero, and about zero or slightly warmer at the hill.  The snow is very heavy to ski through.

On Saturday I made it to the hill by noon.  I parked myself in the sun on Ledges, and watched the free ski competition on Mount Roberts for a good 45 mins.  There were about 50 others with the same idea as me, and in my vicinity.  It is hard to say how far away I was from the competition - probably 1km, although the sight lines were good and you could basically see what the athletes were doing. 

By 1:30 I met up with Trista and skied with her for the next hour.  But it really wasn't anything to write about, except the good company.  I skied down to the lodge, changed into my running togs, and set off for home.  Just a very quiet Saturday.

Sunday it was a football watching day....  The weather was not too great.....  Warm, wet and rainning.  We played hockey on Sunday night and earned a well deserved tie after trailling 0-3.  The game was in Trail too.


And today, Trevor wrangled me to lend a hand with these two on the ski hill.  We rode the magic carpet for a few runs.  With our confidence high, we got on the Silverload chair lift, and in favour of Shelly, we all skied down Corky's Lane which is Shelly's favourite green.  Basically the boys ski between our legs and we stay bent over to balance their wobbly legs.  Shelly - you are a much better skier then these two, but watch out in a few years....

On the magic carpet with Cole:


Cole with dad:

Grayson and I:

And all of us having some french fries, apres ski:

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Snowman Building

Cole and Grayson were mostly content to watch dad and me build a snowman.  The milder temperature has packed the snow down, making it decent enough to form the necessary shapes.  We gathered this, that, and the other laying around the outside of the house to complete our masterpiece....


The finished product looked, maybe, a bit like myself except with shorter hair....
Joel and I went skiing for a few hours in the morning.  It snowed about 10cm which was good enough to fill in the holes and keep everyones spirits high.  The visibility wasn't that great today.....

The main ski lift chair called Motherload, was only running at 1/2 to 3/4 of its usual speed.  There wasn't really any line ups, but they were long rides up.  There was also a strong north wind today which kept me shielding my cheeks and reminding me of the fable called The North Wind and the Sun. (Moral = Kindness effects more than severity.)

The freeski competition was in its peliminary rounds.  The guys and gals were skiing a route called Lynx Line.  I didn't see any backflips, but there was lots of cliff jumping and speed - neither of which I am too adept at.  The chair lift goes directly overtop of this route and it was neat to see.  The finals are on Saturday, I believe.



Some Deep Powder

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Another Look

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20 cm Powder Day


It was all business today as 20cm of new snow on the hill is a big thing - Big Time!  Joel and I got to the hill bright and early to get as many fresh tracks in as possible.  We weren't disappointed.  The game faces were on.  Joel cut through the snow like a hot knife through butter.  Excellent turns my friend.
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Joel gave the conditions a thumbs up, then it was my turn.


I really enjoyed myself today except for one slight problem - no goggles.  I misplaced them.  I thought they were in the back of my truck.  But after looking there, they weren't to be found.  I quickly tore apart the areas where I thought they would be, and still no luck.  Well, one doesn't waste time over such a trival piece of equipment on such an unbelievable day... to the hill without them.  Besides, I found them in 2 mins after I got home.  They were under a blanket on the couch.  It would have been nice to have them, but I carried on. 


So a fantastic day!  I talked on Skype with Shelly for 30 mins or so which was great.  She seems really busy, but making due without the Drew.  I miss her quite a lot.

A few more pictures to show the beauty of this place....  Here's to more of the good stuff.


Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Afternoon Hockey

Sidney Crosby here, (Joel), and I, had a great afternoon skate and skills session on the awesome outdoor rink.  It was far too cold to go skiing, but not too cold for this.  In fact, it is never too cold for an outdoor skate on a frozen surface.  Joel is honing is skills, as you can tell:

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I also had a great 45 mins or so on the rink.  My skills may just have improved a little bit.

We went back to the house after and had some chips and beer!  Does it get any better then that?




Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Stick in the Mouth


It is always a matter of when, not if....  No half face shield, no mask - no wonder. 

I took some wood to the face in last night's win against the Moguls = I don't think the cha-chi stopped himself, lets just say, for the gift to the chops.  Oh well - he said something of an apology twice - perhaps because of the blood and me looking for my teeth (which are still all crooked and intact as they were before, thankfully).  It would have been nice to tighten the wound up with a good bandage, glue or a few stiches maybe....  but I have just left it the way it is.  I wasn't really interested in going to Trail at midnight to deal with it, and now, 12 hours later, it seems a bit late to do anything.

A kiss from Shelly would make it all feel better.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Rush!

The pictures tell it all.  I was out for 3 hours today with Joel.  It was a late start because I was over at Tara and Trevor's for 90 mins or so looking after the kids.  They had to run some errands in which having two 2 and a half year olds would have made it more difficult.  So the right hander stepped in for a quick two  innings work.

The snow was very soft.  The skies were blue.  There was very little cloud cover and the temperature showed about 10 below zero.  The ski hill's website said it was minus 19 and 12 cm of snow had fallen.  Neither was true.  But it was a great day out on the slopes.  Joel was enjoying himself as usual.  He can be quite an icehole....
And on the last run of the day, we stopped for this photo opportunity.



In my spare time, I am reading a fantastic book called The Given Day by Dennis Lehane.  It is set in post WWI, mainly in Boston.  Three different story lines are slowly coming together.  The first is about the formation of unions in Boston during this time.  The second is about a character named Luther who has killed some people in Tulsa, OK and has run away to Boston.  Finally there is a bit about Babe Ruth and the World Series....  It is fantastic and I highly recommend it.

I am also always reading and rereading parts of Light Lifting by Alex MacLeod.  It is a collection of short stories.  The stories take place mostly in Windsor, ON.  My two favourites are Light Lifting and Good Kids.  But I also love The Loop and Miracle Mile!  The whole collection is awesome....  It comes more highly recommended then The Given Day. 

Alex and his family.


Finally, I also want to mention how Joel has really gotten me into the band Rush.  I just watched a documentary called Beyond The Lighted Stage about Rush and it was fantastic.  What an iconic band.  Their greatest hits are tops on my playlist right now, and I must say Subdivisions is my favourite song.  Next on my plate is reading a book written by Rush's drummer Neil Peart called Ghost Rider - Travels on the Healing Road.  Neil road his motorcyle 55,000 miles across North American and down to Belize, and he penned stories and situations about such adventure as he mourned the deaths of his daughter and first wife. 

I am also starting a course on January 17th = Computers and Tech in the classroom.  I can't wait.....

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Rossland Triathlon

Babysitting:
The first stage of a Rossland Triathlon is babysitting.  Tara went out for a skate ski, so I took the twins out for a ride on the 2 GT Snowracers they have.  It would be too easy for them to just ride on one of course....  and less of a pull, but they both want to drive, so Uncle Awesome accomodates by tying them together so they each have their own ride.  On our walk we spied two other kids up to no good, Cohen and Eamen Wright, and of course they wanted on the GTs.  So I ended up pulling the 4 kids across town like the Uncle Awesome I am.

Skiing:
The second stage of my Rossland triathlon is skiing.  I went out at noon with my trusty friend Trista.  We stayed over at Paridise and in the trees of course.  Each run was different.  At times it snowed and was cloudy.  Then it was sunny.  A few runs later there was a mix of cloud and sunshine....  But it was a good day.  The hill is so much busier on the weekends.  It is tough to find a parking spot.  The line-ups averaged about 20 people deep consistently.....  I suppose not many people think a 20 person deep ski lift line up is busy, and it isn't.  It is just busier then through the week.

Running:

(File Photo)

I ran home from the ski hill today.  I am trying to run home everyday from the hill.  It is a measley 4km, maybe less = Terrible, I know. 

I took some pictures of the house I am living at.  There is 4 of us here.  Tyler owns the house and works in Trail for the city's waste management program.  And Keith and Jessica are here for the winter too.  They are a couple from Hood River, OR.  Jessica has lived in Rossland off and on I think over the past 5 years or so = But just in the winter for the ski season.  And Keith is here to hang out for January, but sadly has to get back to work/life for February. 
And here is an indoor shot of Joel's house.  It is really homey and comfortable with the fireplace.