Wednesday, December 29, 2010
I had some magical days skiing up in Canaan. I love skiing from the front door of the Icebox, seeing what trails have been tracked in, searching for deer and bear tracks and listening for nuthatches and chickadees. I was sad when Ruby wouldn't go with me. I know the snow sticks to her paws some, but maybe she doesn't love it as much as she used to and maybe with her bad vision its scary. She was content to sit on the couch.
The skiing at White Grass was awesome. Big giant thanks to Chip, his staff and his volunteers who clear the glades so tele crazies can ski fast through the trees. Little Wing, Jack Frost Glades, Robert's Woods, Blade Runner, Steeps of Baldy, Cathedral Woods, Sauna Holla, Flatrock Bowl, Anita Steeps, The Nose, etc. So many woods, so much snow. I'm psyched that my leg is feeling better than last year for making turns. It still gets wobbly, but now I'm turning with more confidence. Plus, getting to ski with some of the legends of Canaan who can make good turns on the lightest of gear stokes me up. Seeing Charlie and TP shred the woods with skimpy stuff reminds me its technique. But I was stoked about my set up...Karhu 10th Mountain Skis, Rottefella 3 pins with risers, Asolo Snowfields and Black Diamond Traverse poles. This is a White Grass classic set up and you'll see lots of folks ripping on variations of this. I still don't see the need for plastic boots on this terrain, but to each his own. I will say that the better skier you are, but more you should experiment with light gear. Its a great challenge.
I love making turns, but also love sweating going fast uphill and the best thing for that for me is skate skis. I have some fast Atomic Beta Skates that I like to put on for ultimate glide. It gets kinda old slogging around on backcountry skis, so when you put on fast, skinny skis, its like going for a fast road ride. But technique counts for a lot as well as grooming. I was lucky enough to get to follow Lester in the Piston Bully going up Three Mile trail. Perfect fresh packed powder. It felt good. I'm no nordic snob, so I think White Grass has the best of all worlds down pat.
Also, consider taking a lesson to improve your technique and thus increase your fun. Morgan Chase teaches tele lessons to kids as well as to adults, look him up the next time you are at White Grass.
Monday, December 13, 2010
Finally posting some pics of the Six Pack Invitational Downhill Party. It was fun and wild. There was a custom mini bike ramp, kegs, crazy costumes and two Team Turner winners! After a two year drought, I regained the title. That felt good, because the term "former champion" or another example, "former men's leader" or the "artist formerly know as Prince" just doesn't feel as good as WINNER!
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Harrisonburg gets crazy the first weekend of November. These are pics from the Fixed Gear Universal Championships in the Rock Garden. I'm mean you could be riding around in circles in a skinsuits with a bunch of fags at a cyclocross race or you could be with your dude friends drinking beer and pushing big gears...no coasting, no comprimises. Extreme Joel won the title.
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
I haven't been riding much lately and badly needed to get out and experience this the joy of exercise. But it doesn't feel like exercise per say, but I have to say how much I love the mix of adrenaline and endorphins. I panted and sweated and muscled my way up Bear Wallow. I was riding Tim's Turner 5 spot. It took some getting used to the super slack head angle on the uphills. On the downhills it was friggin awesome. When you have 160mm of stiff Marzocchi on the front and an uber capable Turner chassis you can ride some really crazy stuff.
No better spot for some crazy technical mtb trail than Massanutten Mountain. So after climbing up and over Bear Wallow, you cross over the fire road of mud hole gap. You then climb up to the Doll Ridge and start your churning and burning over some knife edge rock fins. There are some tall rocks that just seem to lean in one direction and you have to ride between them, or on the top of them or often times cross over them. All this requires big cohones, core strength, balance and big grippy tires. I took my share of spills landing with my clipless pedals still attached. I was much more confident on the 5 spot than I was on the Sultan(more on 29ers later). It was hard, but so much fun.
Its also so fun to see such an amazing group of riders tackle this type of terrain with such conviction and style. This is very picky, ballsy riding. Tim, Collin, Nate, Jennifer, Matt and Foodles all rode so many amazing things. I felt in the presence of mtb greatness. A trip to Jalisco's in Strasburg put the icing on a perfect day.