Sunday, December 30, 2007

Another way to enjoy the trails

Yesterday Sandy and I drove up to the XC Ski Headquarters shop and trails in Roscommon to get in some skiing. I had given Sandy a new ski package for Christmas and with no snow by us, we drove the 2+ hours north to find the snow and groomed trails. The area had received about 6" of snow overnight and the tracks were set with perfect conditions.

Sandy had the new type of boots and bindings, new to us anyway. I still use the older 3 pin bindings and long skinny skis. Sandy's boots had snapped at the toe years ago so she hasn't been out since, the older boots are very hard to find any more. She noticed after we were done that the new boots had made her ankles sore and a blister had started to develop on one heel. So we will probably go back to REI and check out a different pair or try another store altogether. The XC Ski HQ shop has a much better selection.

I usually try to get out a few times each year. I started xc skiing almost 40 years ago on wooden, waxable skis so the new equipment is great for getting people out on the trails. It eliminates the yearly job of prepping the base of the skis and the daily ( or hourly) decision of which wax to use. Those most serious about performance are still using waxable skis.

We were out about two hours which is just long enough to get comfortable on the skis and for the muscles to let you know that they have been working. The trails are fairly flat to gently rolling, only one or two hills and they are short. We plan on heading back up to the area if we don't receive much snow down here.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Looking for new team members

The Cannondale Midwest Racing team is looking for new members for the 2008 season.

Every year people come and people go and this year we have an uncommon situation - the CMR team has openings for new team members! We are looking for a select few to fill out the team for 2008 and we would like to hear from you. If you are a mountain bike racer living in Michigan, Ohio or Indiana and are interested in being a part of one of the (IMHO) best race teams in the midwestern US, we want to know. See the CMR Team web site for more information at

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Snow? What snow?

It didn't take long for the big snow we had to pretty much melt or wash away with the warmer temperatures, rain and high winds over the last few days. Left behind is all the crud and mud. The weather forecast is calling for some light snow over the next 24 hours so maybe we will have a white Christmas after all.

The warmer weather did allow me to get outside on the bike for a few hours yesterday. I stayed on the pavement and did a tempo ride at a certain wattage for a prescribed time. It was interesting to see how much the power can fluctuate on hills, both up and down. Today was back on the trainer for more of the same. Tomorrow I hope to hit the gym before finishing off my shopping.

We decorated some of the Christmas cookies today and I ate my first ones of the holiday season. Unfortunately there are plenty more to both eat and frost so I am going to have to be careful not to indulge too much.

One of my favorite things to do this time of year is to turn off all the lights except the Christmas tree and just relax on the couch listening to Christmas music. Every year I seem to add to my collection of holiday music and I added a few more this year as well. I have also found the Internet radio stations to provide some interesting programming.

I probably won't post again until later in the week so Merry Christmas to everyone.

One of the dogs had the right idea, snoozing on the couch listening to the music.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Starting to look a lot like Christmas

We had our first major snow of the winter today, about 8" of fine snow and strong winds. It was the perfect day for finishing up the Christmas tree and some other decorating around the house. I wanted to get in some xc skiing but the wind was whipping pretty good so I just stayed inside until I went out to clear the driveway. Thank goodness for the snowblower I bought a few years ago. It made the job a lot easier but I am supposed to be in the gym tomorrow so I guess I could have gotten in my workout today by shoveling.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Whereas and therefore

"Whereas, the athlete is a competitive cyclist who competes in competitive cycling events throughout the world."

I received my Cannondale sponsorship agreement in the mail on Monday. Ten pages of legalese and do's and dont's and expectations. A lot of it is similar to what we have used for the Cannondale Midwest Team in terms of expectations of the riders; behavior, use of product, number of races, confidentiality, etc.

There are a few clauses in there that I am going to get some clarification on to make sure I am in compliance and to help plan my schedule for next year. For instance, I didn't see anything in there about using the corporate plane to get me to some of those competitive events throughout the world.

It has been interesting to train using wattage instead of just heart rate. There is definitely a learning curve on my end to understand all the terms and interpreting the graphs and data available but the coach is an expert on it. While using power as a training tool has been around for awhile it has been used mainly by road racers. It is slowly catching on for the mtb racing community. Part of the reason thqt it's not as widely used by mountain bikers is the difficulty to use on a bike that has disc brakes. At least in an economical (an oxymoron term for power meters) sense.

While I can use my Power Meter on my 'cross bike, I purchased a steel framed 29" wheel mtb so that I can use the power wheel on there as well. I have the bike set up dimensionally as close to my racing bikes as possible. This should allow me to do some training and testing both on and off the road without losing too much of the feel for my regular bikes. Especially since most of my training will probably not be on my racing bikes.

Here is a good blog of someone who trains with power on a mtb.

Probably the best source of info about using power

Monday, December 10, 2007

Back in the groove

This past week was spent just trying to get back into the swing of things after being off work for a week and a half. Not too much work left this year before we get a break for the Christmas holidays.

I have been following the coach's plan that includes being in the gym twice a week and on the bike most days. Each bike workout had a specific target of time and intensity. Right now it is fairly mild since we are just getting started. I have had to use the trainer all week since I get home so late so I wanted to get outside and ride on Saturday .

I managed to leave fairly early and had a two hour ride scheduled with a one hour steady effort. I knew the back roads by me were still mostly snow and ice covered but I planned on being careful plus getting on to the rail trail early on. Less than two miles into the ride I hit an icy patch with ruts and the front end slid out and down I went. No real damage, mainly just bruises.

The rest of the ride was uneventful but there were a few places that were slick. The rail trail was rough in spots from the footprints and frozen tracks. I did find some clear roads later in the ride.

We were supposed to get some freezing rain with an ice build up yesterday. I wanted to be prepared so I went out and got gas for the generator, snow blower, and kerosene for the back up heater. Of course the nasty weather failed to materialize so you can thank me for preventing it.

Jason has been posting daily updates on his blog and has some pictures of the family on Big Mountain. Saturday was opening day of ski season there and they took Oliver up to go skiing. It looks like the weather was perfect on top, you can see Glacier Park in the background.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Back from Montana

Sandy and I flew out to Montana last Saturday to see our grandson, Oliver Scott Kinley. Oh, and to see Jason and Emily as well. Emily's mother, Suzie was also visiting, having arrived earlier but able to stay for a few days while we were there and attend Oliver's baptism on the evening we flew in. Father Casimer was gracious enough to drive from Spokane to perform the ceremony.

What can you say about you own grandchildren that hasn't been said by probably every other grandparent in the world? Oliver is the cutest ever. At only 4 weeks old he is still incredibly small but we could notice a change in his size just in the week we were there. He gained a pound during the week, or 10% of his total.

We babysat Oliver one evening to give the kids a night out on the town. It was the first time they were able to get away for an extended period of time. Oliver slept most of the time they were away.
Every morning Sandy and I would be the first ones up and we would walk into town and have coffee at on of the local shops. Kalispell is bigger than Whitefish where Jason used to live but the downtown still has a lot of local shops. We were able to do most of our Christmas shopping for the Montana family in the small stores.

During our stay we got to see some of the outlying area that we didn't see on our first visit a few years ago. While there wasn't much snow on the ground in town there was some as you got into the higher elevations. And the surrounding mountains were covered as well.

We took a drive into Glacier National Park but could only go in about 9 miles since the roads were closed beyond that. The park was beautiful with all the snow on the peaks and the ground. If we had more time we could have snowshoed into some of the other sections of the park.

Whitefish was decorated for Christmas and looked just like the typical ski towns you see pictured on the Internet. With less people the town has a very cozy feel to it, especially since the ski area isn't open yet so there weren't too many visitors. I also stopped by Hammer Nutrition's office and had a nice visit with the staff.

We did snowshoe part way up Big Mountain ski area. It was the first time I have snowshoed although I got Sandy a pair for Christmas a few years ago. Oliver was strapped to the front of Jason and seemed to enjoy the hike, sleeping through most of it.

We were sorry when it was time to leave, knowing we wouldn't see the family again for several months. The trip out west did confirm how much we like the area, perhaps we might move out there if the opportunity would present itself.
A lot more photos can be seen here
Oliver in his snowman suit
Downtown Whitefish with Big Mountain in the background
Summit Prepartory School where Jason and Emily work
Glacier National Park
Snowshoeing up Big Mountain, Whitefish Lake in the background
Oliver was with Jason
All of us at the top of the climb