Monday, December 31, 2012

Old Man's Bowl

I love tree skiing, but had a real hankering for some open, alpine skiing, so when my cycling cohort Forest suggested we ski up out of Convict Lake, I was more than game. I scooped up my buddies Steve and Nick and headed up there.

There's probably thousands of pictures of Convict Lake with Mt Laurel behind, but here's another. Never gets old.
I was thankful for the skin track up the moraine, although I would not praise the route selection. I've seen worse! Here Steve nears the top.
Once above the moraine the terrain opens up nicely. Steve took this shot of Nick, me, and Forest.
 Nick takes a good long turn on the front near the top of the bowl.
 And Forest takes the final pull up to the ridge with Mt Morrison behind.
 Forest points with the massive north face of Mt Morrison behind.
 The pointed at feature was the Pinner Couloir on Laurel Mountain. Someday. Maybe.
After a little scrapping around off the top in shallow snow and rocks we enjoyed fine powder skiing.

Steve cruising the upper bowl.
 Nick tele skied with style.
 The snow was sooo nice!
 Nick captures the general feeling near the bottom. Thanks for this pic Steve.
I regret not getting some good shots of Forest who absolutely slayed it on the split board. He was moving so fast and was such fun to watch I never got my act together to get a good one. Next time.

The snow pack was well behaved. We experienced no collapsing (whumping), Near the ridge at the top we did kick off a couple of small, shallow soft slabs that ran pretty far. Might of had enough punch to knock you down, not enough to bury you. Otherwise the snow pack seemed very solid without any hollow/funky layers. The snow is very thin in many areas in this zone and a few inches of fluff that fell without much wind easily disguise the very shallow spots. We all suffered some base damage, but nothing too severe.

Beautiful day, beautiful snow, great partners. 
Can't ask for more.
Thanks guys.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Back For More

I have a friend recovering from hip surgery who has been a charging skier for years who needed to get out for a good  mellow tour. I knew just the place to take her!

There's a nice big smile under that buff.
 She was kind enough to shoot a couple of me.

Making squiggles in the low angle.
 And skinning into the sky.
We had stunningly beautiful weather and fine skiing.
Another good one for sure!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Trees Sweet Trees!

Today I hooked up with my buddy Nick and skied a spot I had never skied before. Actually, a spot I had never even thought of skiing before, but a friend of Nick's suggested it so we gave it a try.

First we had to shovel out a spot off the road for the Lil' Zuki.
 Nick tops out after the skin up.
 The camera fogged up on him, fortuitously!
 Nick drops in and drops a knee,.
 We found glade after glade of fantastic skiing.
What a great zone! I'm gonna keep quiet on the location although some sharp eyed local can probably figure it out from the pics.

The snow pack was deeper here than yesterday, with around four feet of snow. There was about eight to ten inches of light, new snow over a firmer, but not hard layer. No whumping or shooting cracks were observed. We did get a column failure about 50cm down Q1 CT15 (or so) and the whole column failed on the bottom facets (10cm-15cm thick) Q2 CT18. There was a density change 50cm down, but no facet layer was observed there. The pit was dug on north facing slope at about 8200'.

The slopes were not steep and with more or denser snow this area would not be so much fun, but it produced a lot of smiles today!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Rock Creek Junipers

I elected to ski a little closer to home today in a zone I had not been to for a good long time.

I pulled up to the winter closure and my thermometer read 1 degree F!
It shot up to the low 20s though once the sun rose over the ridges though.

The moraine above the road above the closure often holds good snow and is the home of some amazing old Junipers.
 The fine north face of Pointless Peak above Patricia Bowl wasn't too far away.
 Still low tide here, but the skiing was fantastic. Bumped a couple rocks, but nothing serious.
 Open glades with Wheeler Peak (left) and Mt Morgan South (right) behind.
The snow pack was two to four feet with more snow higher up the moraine. I experienced a lot of snow pack collapsing (whumping), but saw no cracks or slab movement. The snow was not wind affected nor  slabby. A hasty pit revealed about two inches of facets at the ground and another one inch layer of facets above firm snow about six inches above the ground. Unclear which layer was collapsing. Stuck to low angle slopes which skied just fine.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012


After racing in Bend I ended up pretty deep in the sick zone for a couple of weeks. Fortunately I recovered in time for a classic winter storm cycle!

Jed and I headed up Chickenwing mid storm and found deep blower fun!
After some strenuous trail breaking we were richly rewarded.
 Yes it was deep!
Jed was kind enough to shoot a little SMG snow report video with me included.
Twas a very nice way to kick off the ski season!

Skied a couple of days at Mammoth with Mary and friends. We found classic wind buff and pockets of fluff.
I quickly realized cycling legs are not the same as skiing legs!

Visited Punta Bardini Christmas day and skied Old Growth and the Tele Bowls with Rick and Anne.

Anne enjoys the boot top powder in Old Growth.
 Rick blasts down Tele Bowl.

Woke up this morning to about 4" at the house here in Wilkerson. Mary took some nice pics.

It's a rare day I can XC ski from the house, so my rest day involved a little kick & glide in the desert with Bristle.

Nice to be riding the planks!!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

CXLA and USGP Bend

I've done two more races "on the road."
CXLA in downtown Los Angeles and the Bend USGP.

Down in L.A. the track was muddy, but not sloppy and the temps were mild which seem like pretty ideal cyclocross racing conditions.

I scoured the web and managed to find this pic of the start of my race (from
I am back, second from the left, and rode right up the barrier to a pretty decent placing going into the first turn. (click on pic to enlarge).

I raced in the 45+ Category 3/4 race and managed to pick my way steadily through the guys in front of me to take the win. Yeah, the win! It felt SO good to win a race. I could hardly believe it.

Next up was the big weekend of USGP in Bend.
Two days of racing with large, strong fields on a super fun and challenging course.

Here I am at the top of a short run up. At one point I actually slipped near the top and slid all the way to the bottom! All I could do was laugh and try again.

After that little run up we had only a few feet to remount before this plunge.
Managed to avoid screwing that up thankfully.

Most of the dirt was wet like this.

The best part of the trip to Bend was racing and hanging with my buddy Steve and his family.
It was great to have a familiar face at the race and cool folks to go out to lunch & dinner with.
Special thanks to Steph for the pics.

Steve ripping through a tricky up/down/up/down section.

And battling his home series nemesis Alan just in front.

The racing was tough, and while I was a little disappointed with my placing at the time, I am proud I toed the line and raced against some of the best guys in my age group on the west coast.

And that concludes my greatest cyclocross season ever!
Heck, my greatest racing season of any kind ever!!!

Got to thank all the folks that supported me.
My wife, Mary, Nemo!, Mr. Nelson, and BxCx.
You are great.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Cyclocross Season!

I am back.

Been riding.
Not blogging.

I am in the midst of an incredibly fun cyclocross season.
Fun because I am stronger.
Fun because I have raced on some great courses.
Most of all, fun because of all the good people who race, cheer, jeer, and otherwise support me.

The Grass Valley race featured lots of vertical, ideal dirt, swoopy flowy lines, and challenging mountain bikey sections. The vibe at the Sacramento Cross Series races is great too.

Our local cross series has been a real hoot too. The races have been well attended by a whole lot of great folks. I truly appreciate their enthusiasm. The scenic (in parts) Wye Road course delivered smiles.

For a few years now I have wanted to head down to Camp Pendleton for Storm the Beach. Racing on the beach was a blast. Strong winds made for tactical racing while deep sand and steep hills added a good technical element too. 

Thankfully the snipers were cleared before the race began.
 Busting my move!

Our Benton Crossing Cross was held under all too ideal conditions. I keep scheduling this in late November hoping for snow and/or mud, but the last three or four have been sunny & warm. 

Bill threw down on the first lap and ran away.

The cavalry chased in vain - me included.

Leading the chase group.

Sucking wheel and a little dust through the badland section.

That is FUN!!

A couple more races left.
Then a whole lot of another kind of fun.


Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Bridgeport Mountain Biking

This weekend we camped and rode in the greater Bridgeport area.

Saturday we rode up up up the Masonic Road to the ruins of the Masonic town site, then down down down to the East Fork of the Walker River.

Brian C crests out.

Kathleen and Jim T near the top with the Sweetwater backdrop.

This area is filthy with old mining ruins.

 Jeff begins the long descent.
 The Masonic ruins.

We followed the ride up with a reviving cool down in the West Walker.

A revived Kathleen.

Sunday we rode from near the junction of 108 & 120 to  Kirman Lake, and eventually Poore Lake.

The scenery was fine right from the get go.

 Jim T surveys the scene at Kirman Lake.

Brian N takes a deserved breather at the top of one of the many short sharp kickers.

Mary nails the stream crossing
 and soaks in Poore Lake.

Leaving the low Poore Lake.

Brian, ever the gentleman, holds the gate open for Mary.

We topped that off with a fine splash into Lundy Lake.

Heaping helping of fun with the friends!