Friday, January 28, 2011

Family visits

I'm in Nebraska. That sentence implies a sigh of melancholy. We flew back to the Midwest to show off our 6 month old to those friends and family who haven't met her yet.

My first attempt to fly down didn't work out because passengers from a canceled flight took all of the seats on the 3 flights I had as options to use with my stand-by pass. Wife made it down on her first try because she had a regular (civilian) ticket but she got to go solo with the baby (1-stop in Seattle). Baby did great and all was well in the end (although I missed a party that wife got to go to and didn't get to see a lot of our friends):

I got an extra day in ANC to ski which was fun because 1. I got to ski longer than the hour I can go with my daughter 2. got to ski trails that are more advanced than I like to with daughter or wife 3. got to see a wolf and her cub or coyote with her cub or a giant ferocious snow hare chasing some sort of k-9 but I couldn't tell from the distance 4. made the coolest ice beard EVER

The downside to skiing Saturday was the snain (it's not rain and it's not snow). The outside of me completely froze over while the inside got really sweaty hot. After 2.5 hours of this my headband was froze to my hair. That would have been nice to know before I ripped it off and removed some of my precious hair. My gun also rubbed against my sweaty left nipple and chafed it real good: not cool!).

Now I'm in NE reading about other's adventures back home. It's kind of an anti-vacation. Tomorrow we get up at 4 again to drive back up to MSP for more visiting. I don't mind driving the flatness of the Midwest in the dark as much.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Hiking at the beach

So we made plans to go camping this weekend. After a nice lie-in this morning we thought better of it. We have just a few more weeks until the baby is here which makes sleep for the Mrs. difficult in a bed so we surmised that it might be worse in a tent.

So after a nice brunch of blueberry pancakes, we packed a picnic and headed out to Kincaid park for a hike on top of the ridge looking over the sea.

There she is after I scouted out the top of a sand dune to find the correct path.
The hound LOVES the sand dunes. She was very tired after a lot of running today.

This was our view for our picnic. Some folks saw us and decided we wanted company and hung out while we finished our food?!?!?! It's a big park and not a lot of folks are here: MOVE ALONG!

More playing on the beach. We were going to get some rays, but it was cloudy so we kept our windbreakers on.
Tonight it's fresh halibut with garlic/ lemon sauce: mmmmmm

Sunday, June 20, 2010


I've found some friends to MOUNTAIN Bike with and have been enjoying getting my legs back into Alaska shape. My commute this summer is a mere 10 miles round trip so it is not cutting it like it did last summer: 38 miles round trip.

It's amusing to me as a newbie up here again that folks will complain about an 11 mile slog up a dirt road when you get to look at views like this. This is the day we went down to the Kenai Peninsula to ride up the south side of Resurrection Trail, back down the Bean Creek trail, up the 11 mile slog of a dirt road so we could finish coming down the Russian Lakes trail: 3750 feet of elevation gain in 45 total miles with less than 2 miles on pavement! My legs were feeling it that day: some cramping.

This shot is out of order: it was taken around midnight the Friday before the 45 mile ride. This night we rode up Johnson Trail from the south side for 10 miles and then turned around because even here you can loose your daylight at some point. That was the night I got to ride with Jill. I was pretty intimidated having followed her blog for a few years, but she is a very cool cat and a pleasure to ride with. She has left Anchorage for a better job and will be missed.

Shortly after I took this shot I had a baby moose stroll out onto the highway in front of me. I slowed, saw an oncoming 18-wheeler, flashed my lights frantically, and the truck was able to move over just enough to not hit the moose but its draft blew the animal over. The moose got up and ambled back to "safety" (this is prime food for many of the big animals that roam these parts).

Here is my steed all happy in its element. This year it is sporting a new Cane Creek headset, rebuilt front shock (from 2001 YIKES!), and I built up a set of all mountain wheels: DT Swiss 480 rims, double butted spokes (2.0-1.8), with XT hubs. Might have to break down and buy a new seat this year because the original from 2001 is struggling to give up the ghost.

This is one of the gorgeous lakes that you can see from the Russian Lakes Trail.
I've been supplementing my commuting with some excellent single track riding on the east side of town above the Hillside trails (STA trails: Single Track Advocates) but you have to be careful when you are in that area: last week a guy (who gets to commute on dirt!) got mauled by a momma brown bear when he came zipping around a corner on Rover's Run and scared her and her cub (same place that happened several times in 2008). He is fine, but I'll be sticking with my bells and not riding near the stream where the bears like to eat. Tonight I managed to surprise a momma moose and her little one. They are not the brightest animals (no matter what my boss says) and they don't seem to know what bells are until you wave your arms around and start shouting at them. Of course then she proceeded straight down the trail so I had to turn around and leave the lame way out instead of the gnarly fun way. Oh well.

This week begins my first of consistent 2 days off a week at the bike shop. That will be nice and hopefully lead to more riding and more time with the Mrs.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

It's been a while

So I've had some time away from the blog (FB is getting most of my snarky attention). I'm back in Alaska and happy to be here. It's shaping up to be a gorgeous summer and I'm slowly getting back into fighting (MTB) shape. I've been back for less than three weeks and have already ridden with someone I have greatly admired from afar: Jill who writes the Up in Alaska blog.
I'm back working at a bike shop and that is going OK. I always want to be faster, which makes me tense thinking that those around me are faster, which leads to back pain. Fatigue usually calms things down and forces a weary relaxation that allows my body to heal. Meantime I'm enjoying the 5 mile one way commute (19 mile one way last summer!). And I think I'll be able to ride Sundays and Wednesday nights with groups which is somewhat unusual for me. Usually I ride solo, but this group thing is better in bear country. More later with pix and stuff.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Rocktober CAMBA trip

It's been a while so how about a happy post: I've been Mountain biking! This is an annual trip to the beautiful trails in the Chequamegon National Forest of northern Wisconsin:

Friday was a nice ride on the new Makwa trail before the temps. really started to drop. Saturday we woke to snow sticking to the ground and 26F. The morning ride at Hatchery Creek Trail was just plain cold.

I changed my gear for the afternoon and I was much more comfortable.
Here is the deluxe cabin the seven of us stayed at:
Here is my steed hiding in the shadows of Rock Lake Trail on Saturday afternoon right before Tim saw a vampire:
We were trying to finish the ride before sunset (since none of us had lights and were getting pretty tired) when we came across two other bikers on a cross trail. They were chatty and with the sun racing for the horizon they did their best to keep us talking.
That was when Tim noticed the HUGE incisors on the bigger guy and realized this guy was a vampire trying to keep us in the woods until it was dark and he had his full powers. His diminutive friend also had a certain Renfield look to him so we ended the convo abruptly and headed back for the trail head. There was a strange feeling of reluctance at leaving these two, I think it was some sort of mind trickery!
Here is the steed all iced and snowed up after the morning ride:
Here is the gang of seven from left: Tim, Rob, Bob, Steve, Charlie, Mark.

None of us managed to get shot by any of the youth hunters out this weekend. When I did come across some deer I yelled at them at the top of my lungs to get out of there because I didn't want to be anywhere near them with the hunt in full swing.
Saturday night we ALWAYS have a big meal at the cabin and it tends to be spaghetti. After we were finished I threw Young Frankenstein in the DVD player and with a couple of beers in us it turned out to be the funniest movie any of us had ever seen.
There was also some kayaking and Fisher hunting involved, but I've got to get back to my books. No one got hurt, everyone had fun, and that's what counts.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

The cat came back

You know that song "The Cat Came Back?" Here is one version:

My wife is in Africa for a few more weeks and that is pretty tough. I miss her something fierce. Then there is a bunch of stuff breaking around the house and just when it seems like I've got it all under control something else that cat coming back.

Speaking of: the cat has now bled on our one "good" couch and I can't get the stains out. He has also chosen another couch to be sick on AND to do it in such a way that his puke has run down between the cushions. The litter box has become more of a suggestion and he continues to bald himself by pulling out his own hair (until his little paws bleed). I sure love that little guy.

There is some good stuff. I've been biking a lot until the knee started hurting. I managed to replace my dishwasher with a new one and hooked it up all by myself. It rained yesterday.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Crotch of Iron

It's been a while, you're just gonna have to deal.

Short version: laid off on January 5th, looked for job A LOT until I landed a bike mechanic position on April 6th.

I've been biking some this winter and spring. My commute to work is 36 miles round trip (to work 12 hour shifts mostly). I'm going to put a light, rack and basket on my bike this week to make it possible (Thanks So I've been biking more this week and today I rode the annual Iron Crotch in Wisconsin.

This is an "alternative" ride to the Iron Man ride which is a popular spring ride in MN which involves a boring course, lots of car traffic and lots of inexperienced riders (and costs $30 more than the Iron Crotch). The Iron Crotch ride if you haven't guessed already is a gorgeous course through the countryside of Wisconsin, has much less car traffic, and the riders tend to be more experienced...and there is a lot less of them: 175 limit versus 1000s- billions depending on whether Greg Lemond shows up to give a grumpy pants speech or not.

Today's 60 mile ride was punctuated by rain. One of my fellow 8 riders had a leak in his camel back which got his backside wet right at the beginning of the ride. Turned out not to matter one bit. I'm not adverse to riding in the rain, but when it warms up to 43F that makes for some cold riding.

At the 1/2 way point some of my fellow band of riders were tempted to quit as they took in the warmth of a coffee house, but thankfully our fearless leader talked them into continuing (props to Jim for riding 35 miles to the start of the event and then back, at least I hope he made it back, somebody with more energy should really check on that).

Since the weather forecasts all week said there would be rain today (90% chance when I checked again this morning) I brought my rain gear. I even had plastic bags for my feet (stick them around your socks, insert socks into shoes: works well for about 20 miles or so which I learned the hard way today). Next time I will try tucking them into the tops of my socks instead of just under my biker-tights ( I have no idea if that's the right term and I'm too tired to look it up right now so there).

To my amazement hardly any other riders showed up with rain gear???!?!? Even fearless Jim who was staring down 130 miles over the course of the day was wearing all wool?!?! When he started shivering I told him if he started taking off his clothes (one of the last things people with hypothermia do before they perish) I was going to tackle him and hold him down until the others got his pants back on.

It was a fun ride in that I got to spend some time talking to good folks. We only managed 13.5 MPH average, but it was more fun chatting than trying to stick to some sort of speed regimen. I have a much longer ride planned for later this summer so this was a good start for some of those base miles.