Friday, December 30, 2011

The Last Camp (for work)

This was my last week working down on Owens Lake as I have transferred to a new position in Bishop, hence it was my last week camping down in the Alabama Hills - for work anyhow.

I camped in one of my favorite spots and awoke early to enjoy a stroll and scramble through the incredible landscape.
Lone Pine Peak was standing tall and grand.You would be hard pressed to take a bad photo with the golden morning light, the fantastic rock formations, and the Sierra backdrop.

Home, very sweet home away from home!

Waking up in these hills and hiking at dawn before work was a joy I was blessed to experience over and over again. I will surely miss it.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Mammoth Christmas

Mary and I spent Christmas up in Mammoth with my mother.

Since it is winter, and during winter we are supposed to ski, we decided to head to Mammoth Mountain for a little lift skiing despite the dearth of snow.
Our strategy was to get to the slopes early for the fresh corduroy and uncrowded slopes.
Fourth chair on Stump, Christmas morning!
Just to make things interesting and dork it up a bit, I skied my cross country skis (with edges and waxless pattern) and my old root beer T3 boots.
For the most part the groomer skiing was good solid fun.
Coverage was decent and there was little hard snow.
The early morning winter light was nice too.
Besides the man made snow on the ski runs, there is very little snow elsewhere.
By 10:30 or 11:00 the place started getting busy, so we decided to call it a day and ride the gondola to the top for a little sight seeing.
The sights were grand, but depressingly dry.
We managed to get up early and skied Saturday, Sunday, and Monday mornings, enjoying the sensations of sliding on snow.

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Bakersfield Cyclocross

Last weekend Nemo and I loaded up the truck and the Scamp to head over the hills to Bakersfield for more good Cyclocross fun.
Since Mary didn't make the trip there are no pics of me racing, but I managed to get around the course and take a few of Nemo goin' at it.

Getting ready to remount - watch the kick!
Nemo rode with his usual aplomb.
I loved the big oaks around the course.
I was not so in love with this incredibly steep run up, although I thought it was a great feature.
Fast, hard, and bumpy.

Nemo battled for a fine 4th place in the 35+ A's.

I got a great start, running second for the first lap, but the rugged run ups and strong compeition took their toll, gradually falling back to fifth by the end of the race.

Good enough for a podium spot and $15!!!

Friday, December 9, 2011

L.A. Cyclocross

I am still fairly lame about blog posting.
Gonna try to pick it up a bit here.

Mary and I went to L.A. for some super fun cyclocross racing last weekend.

The race was held at the Downtown Historic Park, which seemed to have no real history involved, although it was apparently an old railroad switching yard.

Nick and his family joined us both Saturday and Sunday.
They were an awesome rooting section for him!

Here are the juniors line up and ready to start.
Nick's bent over in the second row.
The two race leaders somehow got off course Saturday, so Nick was leading briefly.
He rode a real strong race and finished third.
I dropped down to the 45+ Cat 3/4 group and found myself battling for 3rd Saturday and 2nd Sunday in fields over 20 guys. Kinda made some tactical errors and ended up 6th and 5th, but oh man was it exciting to be in the hunt for a podium finish!

Here I am getting ready to remount after the log runup.
As usual, there were lots of tight, twisty corners requiring constant concentration.
We all enjoyed decidedly un-cyclocross weather.
I sported shorts and tees both afternoons.

Nick and I were stoked with the whole deal!
Saturday we stuck around for the pro races.

Here the women were feted with a traditional Chinese dragon dance before their start.
After Nicole Duke flatted the battle shaped up between Julie Krasniak, Sue Butler, and Meredith Miller.
The racing in the second group was tight too.
Miller rode a smart race, letting Krasniak set the pace early and Butler later, then attacked on the last lap to drop Butler and take the win.
The men's race was exciting too.

Ben Berden had the intense race face going on the start line.
The men's race quickly boiled down to five men: Tim Johnson, Ben Berden, Chris Jones, Chris Sheppard, and Alan Krughoff.

Early on Krughoff set the pace, shown here with T Johnson on his wheel.
Cody Kaiser, one of the top Under 23 racers in the country, chased hard, but never quite bridged up to the leading five.
Like Miller in the women's race, Tim Johnson let the others do the pace making for the most part, with Krughoff leading the pack early and Sheppard on the front frequently mid race.

Sheppard put in a couple hard attacks late in the race to no avail.
Then, on the last lap, Tim Johnson played his cards with a huge dig that blew the lead pack apart.
Berden was able to hang in there for a bit, but yet another surge by TJ dropped him too.
Good stuff!
Good times as both a fan and a racer!!