This past Saturday May 4, 2013, was the start to my tri season. Some people like to start their season with shorter distance courses or even easier courses. Since I enjoy a nice suffer fest I opted for the Ironman 70.3 U.S. Pro Championship in St. George, Utah. This was the inaugural 70.3 race as they opted to lower the distance from a full Ironman to a half Ironman to drum up more participation.
The race took place on Saturday, so I was able to leave work a little early and head down Friday for packet pickup and dropping my bike off. This was part of the fun adventure as it allowed me to go a different way to Southern Utah, but I was able to travel through the sand dunes to get there. I have wanted to see the sand dunes since moving here 3 years ago and this was the perfect opportunity. Fortunately, driving down was very uneventful except stopping in a small town for gas. It was a full service station, SON OF A GUN GAS WAS EXPENSIVE, and the entire time the guy was trying to sale me a set of tires. Yes, I know my tires need to be changed but this triathlon thing is expensive J. Now I am going to get tires this weekend.
Photo from the drive down
Getting into St. George, I immediately went to packet pickup as they were going to close in an hour and there was not packet pickup day of the race. When I was trying to register I of course forgot my USTA card and that created a delay. Luckily I was able to pull up the information via my phone and could save me 12 bucks for a new set of tires HA! I got my sweet wristband and then it hit me. This just got real. Am I ready for a 70.3? Last week I wrote about how I was getting concerned over my full distance, but I was pretty confident about a half. I was somewhat concerned about the climbing involved as I haven’t done too many hills on my bike.
After getting back to my car, I had to drive back to the reservoir to drop off my bike. The bikes had to be in transition by 7 PM and it was already 5 PM. I quickly rushed there and racked my bike. I took everything off of it so I could have cold nutrition in the morning. Here are a few photos I took after setting the bike up in transition. Yes, the view did not suck during the swim.
Looking into Sand Hollow Reservoir
T1 It was sunny and a crappy cellphone photo
Finally I was able to get around to calling my team to find out where they were. I could relax as everything I needed to do was done and I could enjoy the rest of my night. I met up with my Team Blonde Runner Triathlon Team, https://www.facebook.com/TeamBlondeRunnerTriathlon?fref=ts , at the local Olive Garden for some Carbo Loading. Well I didn’t eat much as I have a fear of Olive Garden after an office experiment and none of the food went bad. Too many chemicals in their food as not even the bugs or bacteria wanted anything to do with it. I had a few bites of my pasta and of course left the take out box there. There goes my midnight snack L
We went back to the condo we were all staying at and I organized my stuff. I put NUUN in two water bottles GU Roctane carb mix in another. After that I placed them in the fridge so they would be nice and cold as it was supposed to be HOT the next day at 88 degrees! I went and read a book in bed but I couldn’t get the excitement out of my head for the race.
I woke up at 3AM to take a shower and not be rushed around. We were planning on leaving a 4:45 to get to the run transition and drop off our bags. The bus that took us to the reservoir was also at the city center. One of the members on the team had his girl drop us off and as we were getting out of the car it hit me, my bottles are still in the fridge! UGH There goes all of my nutrition and having to lean on aid stations. I will admit it I have a bit of a weak stomach that does not take to kind to sugary drinks.
The whole forgetting my water bottles really put me in a foul mood. Luckily, Jackie, had an extra water bottle in the car so I was able to use that. I had just enough GU roctane powder in my saddle bag for 1 bottle. I was planning on taking 2 water bottles of my GU mix, but I would have to make do with the 1. This also means I did not have an electrolyte drink. That is not at all what I had planned on! I am glad I read the book, ‘Mental Training for Triathletes’. That really helped me refocus my worrying back onto the race and run the race I was capable of. This was a training race too why was I so worried?
We got to T1 with over an hour to spare so I finished my coffee off and used the restroom and sort of just hung out by my bike. It was still dark when we got there but here it is in all of its glory. The pros were to start at 6:57 and I would be in the 5th wave to start. Around 6:30 transition closed so I put the wet suit on and made my way to the swim start to watch the pros start. All I will say about them is they are fast and they are in incredible shape.
It was time to enter the water and it was a deep water start. Treading water is always a good time! I tried to place myself right in the middle of the ciaos to simulate the Coeur d’Alene start as it is a mass start. I got a few punches but I made sure to punch back J That is what makes the swim fun right? The swim was in a nice 60 degree reservoir. I was concerned about the temperature until I finally got into the water. It wasn’t too bad. Which is perfect as Coeur d’Alene will be cold as well.
The swim went around an island and was my first open water swim of the year. The entire time I was trying to find a good set of feet to get on but of course I couldn’t until the few hundred meters and he was from a group that started after mine did. He was fast but I said to heck with it and stayed on him as well as I could. One guy bit my ankle WTH? Who bites someone’s ankle? This was close to the finish line but I felt the teeth on my ankle the rest of the swim so weird!
My goal for the swim was 40 minutes. I got out of the water in 39:22 right on pace!
This is when things got weird. I found the strippers and they helped me thankfully. Well maybe thankfully. I got the top of and they told me to sit down so they could remove the leg part of my wetsuit. Everyone got a free show too! My tri bottoms and compression shorts decided they liked my wetsuit more than me so they went down to my ankles haha. Whoops! No one gave me dollar bills or anything. So then I got up and noticed my right glut had a sharp pain in it. Oh well the bike will take care of it I figured.
My goal for this was 5 minutes. I completed it in 4:08.
This is the part of the course that separates everyone. I know I have a fast bike. I will put my biking up against most other peoples especially this year. Trainer rides really do make you stronger. I was concerned about the amount of climbing involved, but I figured I would make it.
The start was a loop around the reservoir with a climb in it. It was a scenic course for sure! So pretty with the red rock everywhere and being able to look back and see people still swimming. The fastest guy on my tri team, Chris, he passed me on the first climb of the day and gave me a pat on the butt for encouragement. I was able to get in a pretty good groove and average 19.2 mph the first 22.5 miles. This though did not have the big climbs in it.
I was able to pass a bunch of people on the bike. I love my bike on courses that doesn’t have tons of climbing. I am slow on some of the climbs. We had to climb Snow Canyon. There were not people cheering the athletes in there, but there were tons of awesome signs along the climb. I kept repeating my mantra as well ‘When the going gets tough, the tough get going’. Simple yes but I have resorted on that for the last two season and it helps me climb hills.
In Snow Canyon though, I met a nice girl who was doing Coeur d’Alene as well! I should have gotten her number as she was hot. Maybe the fact she does triathlons made her hot or the fact I had sweat all in my eyes but regardless she was hot. We rode side by side for the top part of the climb, illegal yes, but she was good company. At the top we had a downhill so I zoomed on without her. The second 22.2 miles I averaged 16.3 mph.
The rest of the bike course was pretty much downhill except a couple smallish climbs. I opened the bike up and hit 45 mph at one point. I averaged 25.7 mph the final 11.3 miles.
Goal: 3 hours
At this rate I was thinking. PR son!
This was just throwing my run shoes on and a bathroom break. I need to man up and trying peeing on my bike. So scared of chaffing though. I was shooting for 3 minutes and I got out in 2:53
This is where my fun ended. The first half mile I was going where I wanted in the 9-9:30 min/mile range. This would give me my goal of 2 hour half mary and I would be so stoked. Well I put a total of 7 miles on my new shoes and that wasn’t enough. I had a sharp pain in the arch of my left foot. Never had that before. I took my shoe off tried to stretch it out but it would not leave. I started getting upset and hitting a low place. Everyone I passed on the bike seemed to pass me on the run and then some.
The run course had a ton of vert involved. I went with the approach of walking the hills as I really didn’t have much energy as well. I needed more calories, but I know why I didn’t take in enough. This mistake will not be made again. My garmin picked up a total vert of 1,358 feet.
I saw all of my teammates on the run course and Travis looked like he was having about as much fun as I was. NONE. I had what I called an ironman shuffle going. When I ran I would average about 10-11 min/mile. Yes, I was running not walking. I would walk the aid stations, but I swear there was a hill around every corner.
Overall, the run wasn’t terrible. I really feel if I had eaten what I wanted I would have been okay. Instead I had sugary drinks on the bike which resulted in my puking a few times on the run. I even ran for a little while at 7-7:30 min/mile but backed off of that pace after realizing I was smoking it. There were a lot of really strong runners out there.
Goal: 2 Hours
The race was really fun. I didn’t hit my overall goal of 6 hours nor my secret goal of 5:45, but I really think if I had a better run things would have worked out. I would much rather make this mistake in St. George than Coeur d’Alene. Now I get to look forward to the Ogden Marathon in two weeks.
My overall time of 6:11:27 was not a PR but it was a solid effort I felt. Here is the gear I got. A finishers hat, shirt, medal and my bib
What I Learned:
Nutrition, Nutrition, Nutrition oh and Nutrition. Don’t be a fool, eat some food and drink calories. I burned over 5,000 according to my Garmin and replenished nowhere near that. This was a training race for that very reason.
What I Enjoyed:
Everything. The race was super organized and everyone was pretty friendly. Spirits were pretty high the entire race so that helped. I tried to smile the entire run and when I did smile I ran faster. Oh and ice down my shorts I enjoyed that. It was hot.
Will I race this event again:
I believe I will. Maybe not next year but who knows. It was a fun course overall and I really want redemption on the run. Next time I will be stronger and smarter.
I am sitting here starting to freak out.
I missed my long bike ride from this past weekend due to some friends leaving town this week. I opted to go to a hot springs thinking we would get home around midday so I would have plenty of time to get my ride on. I didn’t get home until 6 o’clock so I went out and rode for about an hour. Sure an hour isn’t terrible, but I was shooting for 5 hours.
Ironman Coeur d’Alene is 7 weeks away. I am terrified. I am irritable. Little things are starting to piss me off at work. I do not know if it is the fact I am so worried about this race or the fact I am training so much. It has to do with some of the pressure I have put on myself. This morning I was planning on waking up a 4:30 and doing a brick workout for a couple hours but my body told me to sleep.
Ironman St. George 70.3 is this weekend and my legs are heavy. I was stupid and decided I needed to start lifting weights last week then ran a half marathon on my heavy legs the next day. I am learning what my body can handle. I will do my brick tonight but that will delay me from hanging out with friends that leave tomorrow to return home.
Signing up for a full Ironman I knew I would not have a social life. It really doesn’t bother me as long as I am able to make my training count. I do get to socialize with my team, but with the hours I have been working this year it is harder for me to make team events. I get stressed about that as well since I know everyone is progressing on my team and I do not know if I am or not.
This weekend I am about as ready as I will be for the 70.3. I almost wish I hadn’t signed up for it. I am not worried about the race, instead I am more worried about the additional miles I need to put on my bike after the race. That is my biggest concern. How will I be able to ride for a few more hours after the race when everyone from my team wants to hang out?
After this weekend I have a marathon. Yippee! A marathon when I haven’t trained a lick for it. My longest run is 13.1 miles and that was last weekend. The way my body feels is night and day between this time last year. I was almost 20 pounds lighter this time last year and had just finished the worst marathon of my life, http://ironmaninthesnow.wordpress.com/2012/05/02/country-music-marathon-race-recap-2012/ I do now I will get to where I need to be, but it seems all of the training I am doing I am not dropping weight like I expected. That is going to make my 140.6 mile journey more difficult. I started counting calories and that has helped for sure. I sure do snack a lot is what I have learned.
Everything is booked for Coeur d’Alene so this is real. I have spent so much money this year on races. It sucks that long course races are so expensive when you total race fees, airline, hotel, car service and bike shipping I am sitting close to $2K on this race alone. I think that is where the pressure is coming from. What if I don’t finish? My last bike ride of 70 miles my legs were so tired I couldn’t go another 42 miles if I wanted to. I need to strengthen my quads.
I have learned A TON about my body though since I started training hard. I wish I didn’t love snow as much as I do. If it wasn’t for the touring I think I would have come into the main training regimen in better shape. I know I know, I am walking up a mountain how did I loose fitness? Well I did I know I did. Next year when I go long I know what to do and sign up for a later race.
Now I just have to sit back and trust that I will be ready. It is going to be a tough 7 weeks, but I will get there. Who knows maybe I will even do pretty well in Coeur d’Alene, only time will tell.
While kids were dreaming of what the Easter bunny was going to bring them, I was hitting the trail. As I do not have any family here I opted to spend my time in the mountains during Easter. I was able to get another guy to go on a rather large adventure. Ever since I moved here three years ago, I have eyed the West Ridge of Mt. Timpanogos. The entire ridge has been coined ‘Everest Ridge’ from the 80’s when some Utah locals used the route to help prepare them for their Everest trip.
In order to prepare for the trip I had to finally break down and purchase some gear I have long needed, an ice ax and crampons. Those would prove to be crucial while trying to climb the steep, icy face. Since I have tendencies to forget gear, I wanted to lay my gear out and pack it the night before. This was smart as it would be a long day on Sunday.
My alarm went off at 3 AM. Of course I was having an awesome dream and I was just about to cross the finish line of my first Ironman. Well I guess I won’t get to know how that feels until it happens. After a quick shower and brewing some coffee, Joey met me at my house. We had to drive down to Pleasant Grove to where the trail head is. Generally for Timpanogos, one can drive the back side of the mountain and gain an addition 3,000 vertical feet to help with the climb. This route however starts at the bottom.
Under headlamp and a ¾ moon, the peak was glistening with snow. It was a long way up of 6,600 vertical feet from where we started. The route started on a dirt trail. Since it hasn’t snowed a lot this year, it would be a little while before we got to snow. Whenever going to a new route I always remember why I hate navigating in the dark. We came to a split in the trail and got lucky.
The walk was pretty easy and our spirits were high. This always helps when having to climb so much vertical to get to the summit. Once we finally got to enough snow to walk on, we changed our shoes and I threw my skins on and started climbing. Joey opted for crampons now which I later regreted.
The first obstacle we got to while on the snow was a 20-25’ waterfall with avy debris all around it. This wasn’t too bad to navigate as it involved climbing up a steep icy hill. Using crampons made it much easier than kicking in steps. As this was my first time using crampons, I felt like a total beginner in everything. I was starting to get frustrated as I didn’t trust the bite into the ice. After several times of having to stop and regain my composure on the steep face, I finally got to the top of this small face. I knew as fall there wouldn’t be deadly, but it sure would sure as I would have slid right into ice hard avalanche debris.
Once we got to the top, we tried to adjust my crampons as mine popped off twice. I know learned it was from a lack a tightening them. I thought they were tight originally, but they obviously were not. Having my equipment on securely was rather nice and we were able to make pretty good timing up the icy snowfield. Being able to look at the summit though and realize you are still 3,000 vertical feet away is rather sad.
There were two separate cruxes that had to be navigated. The bottom one gave way to the upper bowl of the west face. Looking up the roughly 2,000 vertical feet was pretty daunting because it seemed the summit never became closer. I ended up doing the counting steps thing. I would walk 50 steps before I would let myself look up. At this point I was hurting. Having not shed my jacket on mellower terrain, I was paying the price dearly. The sun was finally on us and boy was it hot.
I could not find a place I felt comfortable to take my pack off and remove my jacket. Eventually though I had to. My crampon started to rip the sole of my boot off. This in turn caused my crampon to fall off. I had to anchor myself down via my ice ax while I removed my pack. This was a slow process, but I finally got the pack off as well as my jacket. I then removed my crampon that was falling off. There was an old boot pack as I kind of used that.
Towards the top though was scree rock and snow mixed. It would go from no snow to 2’ of snow within inches of each spot. This made booting very slow. When we finally reached the ridge though, all of the struggles were totally worth it. We then headed over to the summit shack to take in the views and let the snow soften up before riding down.
Here are some photos from the top.
The ride down was incredible. It was some nice soft corn that I completely forgot how much fun corn is. There were a few slide paths that had to be navigated around. Even the majority of that was fairly soft. It was my first time riding down with an ax in my hand and I didn’t poke myself with it. Win!
After riding around 4K vertical feet or so we had to take our boards and boots off and switch to shoes again. The riding put us in an avalanche gulley that we appropriately named, ‘The Trail of Goat Tears’. There were several dead goats in there that were swept away by avalanches. Better them than me.
I am so glad to bag this line. Every time I head south in I-15 I look at it. She is such a gnarly face and now when I go back to get my August and September turns, I can remember riding the face from the summit. After such a long day, 11 hours car to car I am beat. I know I will be sore, but it will be a good kind of sore.
Here is the view of the line we rode from the valley. This is pretty close from where we parked. Long walk….
It looks like it is finally race season here in Utah. We had a nice storm that dumped 30” or so of light and fluffy up high, but now it looks like spring is starting to move in. This weekend is the first tri of the year for many people, not including myself. There is a sprint triathlon south of Salt Lake this Saturday. I am not racing in it, but it has me looking ahead to my current race schedule.
April 27: North Ogden Limits Half Marathon – Trail Run
I currently do not know much about this race. Actually I know nothing about it except I was able to get a free entry for it through my Tri Team, https://www.facebook.com/TeamBlondeRunnerTriathlon?fref=ts All I know is I will run 13.1 miles on trail. There is not a map for vert or anything like that. This is my kind of race though. One I am going in to completely blind.
May 4: Ironman St. George 70.3
First tri of the season will be a Half-Ironman. Logical, right? Looking at this race right now, I feel pretty good physically about it. I do not know if I will beat my 5:55 PR I set last year at the Utah Half. The run and bike course has hills compared to the Utah Half. I think I am a smart athlete though. I am not sure of my time just yet though. I want to set goals down closer to race time.
May 18: Ogden Marathon
As of right now, this is my only true marathon I am running this season. I feel pretty good about it right now, and I should feel even better about it come race day. This is what they say a good fast race. I would love to PR it, but we will see once the time gets closer.
June 23: Ironman Coeur d’Alene
Well my first Ironman. This is what the whole season is about, the A Race. I feel great for the swim, the bike I need more saddle time, and I could suffer through the run right now. After last year’s debacle as the Utah Half, I learned so much about my body in long course racing. I feel that will help so much. Honestly, the only thing I am currently nervous about is the mass start. I don’t really want to be pounced on in the water. Can you replicate getting the living crap beaten out of you by other swimmers for 2.4 miles?
July 28: Vineman:
Barely a month after my first Ironman, I will be attempting a second one. I have a lot of hope for this race as well. Technically it will not be my A race, but it will be considered a B race. I have heard nothing but good things about this race and I am eager to toe the line in wine country. I also plan on doing some site seeing while I am out there. Biggest decision I face is do I drive for 11 each way or pay 600 bucks to fly and have my bike delivered. Oh decisions…..
August 31: 50 Mile Trail Run around the Grand Teton:
This will be fun right? Never ran an ultra before so I might as well a month after a second Ironman. I am sure my body will hate me at this point. It will be a sufferfest with plenty of vert. The views will be worth it I am telling myself that right now.
As of right now this is my race schedule. There are not any short distance races. That might change if I am bored one weekend and sign up for a race. You never know. I am really eager for my season to start though. Prove to myself I can do all of the challenges I have laid out in front of me.
Internal struggles suck. I can’t seem to decide on what to do. I moved here for the snow and this week it has snowed a little bit compared to the little bit of snow we have received this year. So I want to head up into the mountains. The other part of me wants to take it easy to an extent this weekend and train. I will be honest I am scared to death for Ironman Coeur d’Alene. Some training days are good while some are bad. I know this happens but the bad ones frustrate me so much.
First off I will start with snowboarding splitboarding. I love it. It is probably the best feeling I ever get in terms of a natural high and good for the soul. There is nothing that beats walking along a ridge line and choosing any line you want to. Something about it is so liberating and I honestly can not tell you what it is. Then floating down a run and snow continues to just plaster your face is the best feeling, period. How could one not enjoy these views?
Knowing that this would be an opportune weekend to play in the snow it makes me long to be in the mountains. I know if I do go in the mountains I will still have to train. This weekend is a pretty heavy training load for me. Looks like 5 hours on the bike and a 2 hour run off of the bike. That is 7 hours which is what some people spend at work a day.
I knew when signing up for my first Ironman it would not be easy and at times just not fun. I don’t mean that to say I am not having fun. It is probably 90% of the time I am having a blast while training. I have had several issues though. While I have avoided any injuries, knock on wood, I seem to get sick or just symptoms of being sick fairly frequently. Am I the only one this happens to? What can I do different?
I know I am taxing the body a good bit and this doesn’t help the immune system. It does get frustrating waking up to a stuffy nose or a sore throat. I am blaming the winter. Then I realize I love winter so it is hard for me to be mad at winter. The whole training thing has hurt doing things with friends though. Training 20+ hours a week really takes any type of social life I had out the window. Going to bed at 8-9 PM every night and waking up early, except this week as I haven’t felt well.
Another thing keeping me from going up to the mountains this weekend is the fact that my regular touring partners are either out of town or broke off. That means I will probably roll solo. I enjoy rolling solo as I can go at my pace and really clear my mind. It just makes it difficult to hit any big lines solo as if you kick off a slide and get buried you will die. I don’t really want to die just yet so I will keep it fairly mellow rolling solo.
I never thought I would say this, but I am ready for spring. We have had a few nice warmer days and I loved running in short and t-shirt, I do all winter, but the warmth on the skin feels so nice. I am mostly looking forward to riding the bike outdoors. These 4+ hour trainer rides are for the birds. Tomorrow will be an early 5 am wake up to try and fit all of my exercises in by noon. Who knows though, if I finish early enough I might take a hot lap or two to find some powder.
I want to leave you with this quote that I love.
“I felt my lungs inflate with the onrush of scenery—air, mountains, trees, people. I thought, “This is what it is to be happy.”
― Sylvia Plath
Ever stood on a ledge trying to kick steps in to snow but you are not having any luck due to the snow being thin over rocks. You know that if you fall you might not be able to stop on the steep icy slope and you will be in a world of hurt if you don’t die. That pretty much sums up my weekend.
This past week I knew I wanted a nice sufferfest on the splitboard. I knew my touring buddy James would be up for one as well. All week we talked about different lines we wanted to hit, but the main thing we both wanted was a lot of vertical and just to be completely drained at the end of the day. In order to make sure I could fit a full day of touring in, I did my Ironman training a day early. Instead of resting Friday night and going to a concert, I opted to stay home and ride the trainer for a couple of hours. This was luckily a rest week so I was able to take it pretty easy on the hours I put in.
Saturday was another long day and I wanted to smoke my legs to make sure I would have a blast on Sunday. I went for a run with my tri team which was so stinking fun. I have only been running I believe for just a few weeks under 3 years and I know I am not fast. I did post my fastest mile ever at 6:33 Saturday. I am still happy about that. Once our run ended, I did what I thought was logical; I went splitboarding. I was torn on what line to hit and I decided to hit a line that was a pretty big line especially rolling solo.
I went up God’s Lawnmower on Kessler Peak. I figured it would be a junk show out there like a lot of times it is after it snows. Low and behold though, right when I got to the split off to head up the ridge to Kessler, there was not a skin track in place. Who doesn’t enjoy the nice peace and quiet of being alone out in the mountains?
Looking back on my skin track
Could it be? Will I get first tracks down God’s Lawnmower? Well after 2 hours and 20 minutes of skinning, I finally reached the top of God’s Lawnmower. At this point my legs were pretty tired as I did some speed work just a few hours before. Looking down right before I dropped into my line.
Here are a few more photos I took on Saturday.
Looking into God’s Lawnmower
Single Track down the Chute
Top of God’s Lawnmower in the clouds
Well we finally figured out our plan for Sunday. We would boot up th3 3,200 vertical feet of a 42 degree couloir and then maybe head over to another couloir called Hyperdermic Needle which is a mellow 50 degrees. Well with ambitious hopes we headed out at first light to the parking area for the Y Couloir.
The Y Couloir is in between the two peaks on the left side of the photo. It snakes its way down in the shape of a Y
Hearing that it has slid the previous day, we opted to scope the line and not fully commit to hitting it. Well it looked like just the apron had a heat release a few days before the new snow so in our mind it was game on. Looking across the canyon at the alpine glow on Twin Peaks
Well we were lucky enough to put the boot pack in. I will tell you first hand putting in a 3,200’ boot pack is very tiring. At around the 2,500’ mark a group of guys came up behind us. I start frantically kicking in steps and then quit paying attention to my route I wanted to go as there was a crux coming up. Since this is the Wasatch people enjoy snaking lines even if you do the majority of the work. I wanted to go on the right side of the crux as there were exposed rocks all inside of it. Well I ended up going right up the middle as the guy was right on my tail. Low and behold I pretty much get stuck.
It pretty much took all of my energy to hold on so I didn’t fall. I can’t kick in steps as there is unsupportable snow on some sheer rocks. Great what do I do? Well eventually I just relax and slowly work my way out of the situation. It seemed like I was hanging there forever. Why do I get myself in these situations?
Of course in this mess the guy just blows by my and hey my legs would be a lore more fresh too if I didn’t have to put the boot pack in. The guys go maybe another 500 vertical feet before breaking trail gets too difficult for them. So James mentions to them that we put the boot pack in and it was our first time in this couloir if they would let us drop first. Of course they didn’t. Instead they took the primo line.
Well at the spot they passed me at, they were nice enough to let us hit the rest of the chute. We ended up letting them pass us just so we wouldn’t have to worry about them being behind us. There is a term called survival skiing. This is exactly what the lower 2,000’ vertical feet was. There was wet slide debris in the entire chute on the way down. Lots of side slipping with rubber legs is not ideal. The entire time if you edged out you would just start to slide and hope you would come to a stop.
The bottom of the couloir had a nice choke that was on my mind the entire time down. I knew that a 5’ drop would be nothing but wasn’t really looking forward to airing out of the choke onto rock hard avalanche debris. Luckily there was a thin area we could skirt through the choke without having to drop the small cliff at the entrance.
I have never been this puckered before on a tour. The entire time I knew if I fell on the way up I probably would not be able to stop myself in a timely manner. Lots of rocks were around and I would definitely have messed my pretty face up had I fallen. When we finally got to the bottom James and I were so relieved we just had to chill at the car. We both said we never really want to hit the Y again, but sitting here thinking about it, it was a freaking blast. I might give her ago in better conditions. I learned a lot about conditions and how crucial they are.
Here are a few more photos that were taken:
Booting up Avy debris
She is steep
New line I want to ride across the canyon.
So I this week I received a photo of me from a few years ago. I was planning on swimming that night as I had just gotten my underwater mp3 player in the mail. Can you say freaking SWEET! Who would have thought you have listen to music while you swim?!? That makes swimming so much more enjoyable for this triathlete.
While I was swimming though I kept thinking about this photo I received. It was on the front of an invitation for a bachelor party as one of my good friends is getting married. I looked at it and couldn’t make out who the huge guy with the orange shirt on. Then it dawned on me. That as me I was looking at from a few years ago. During my swim I couldn’t believe that I didn’t even recognize myself. I joke that when I go home and I haven’t seen someone for a long time they generally don’t recognize me. How did I not even recognize myself?
Have I really changed that much as I don’t recognize what I looked like just a few short years ago? I guess I have. I know I have come a long ways. Honestly though, when I look in the mirror I still see myself as someone bigger than I am. I guess it is a mental complexion as I have of myself, but hopefully that goes away over time.
I can never seeing myself being unhealthy again, but I just found this photo to be really telling of my journey.
“The will to win, the desire to succeed, the urge to reach your full potential… these are the keys that will unlock the door to personal excellence”