Thursday, January 20, 2011

Another winter sport!

Graeme and I have been talking about learning to cross country ski for some time now. A few people had told us about the Learn to Skate Ski package at Cypress Mountain, which is 5 progressive lessons, over 5 weeks and they sounded really good. Luckily for us, Cypress is close to home and easily accessible on a weeknight.

So, for the last 3 Tuesday nights, we have spent a few hours at Cypress learning how to skate ski. Graeme of course is a natural, and while I am moving in the right direction, it is taking a little bit longer for me to pick it up!

The snow conditions have been really different all three lessons so far, with the loose snow of this Tuesday proving to be the hardest. While I have spent more time falling on my ass the last three weeks, then in years on skis, I think I have laughed with every fall. A few times out of frustration maybe, but I am having a blast.

Tuesday nights also happens to be when a local race series takes place and it is fun to watch those guys! Maybe with another year (or few) or practice!

So, another sport to add to the rotation, and another fun way to spend a wet North Vancouver evening, as that means its likely snowing up on Cypress.

I can't wait until we can head up to Callaghan Valley (home of the nordic events for the Winter Olympics) and try out our "skills" there.

Sunday, January 16, 2011


With backcountry skiing you can never be too prepared or too educated. Graeme and the people we ski with have all done avalanche training and continue to take courses. In general they won't go with anyone who hasn't. I've done some basic training with them and have attended some talks on recognizing snow conditions, but I needed to take the avalanche safety training myself.

The course is done over 2 days. I was supposed to take this course back in December (on what was a beautiful weekend) but had to postpone it as I wasn't confident enough in my back.

The dates I postponed to was this weekend. And so instead of beautiful sunny days, I spent the weekend outside in a combination of gray, damp and zero visibilty conditions to a complete downpour and zero visibility.

I don't think I have ever been as wet as I was today.

Saturday was day 1. We started off in the classroom for the morning and then headed out in 2 groups. We skinned up the trail at Mt. Seymour on corn soft snow. Luckily at this time it wasn't actually raining. We did some beacon practice, learned how to mobilize properly in case of an avalanche and learned things such as proper shoveling technique. The rain started during the session and it was wet, but manageable.

The forecast for Sunday was better. Never trust the forecast! It's not as though I could have worn something more appropriate anyway, so that wasn't the problem. The problem was the complete downpouring rain. We skinned up at 8:15am and learned how to dig a pit. Soon enough, even my goretex jacket was wet through. We were supposed to be out most of the day, but it just wasn't possible. we went back to the cabin, did some inside work while we tried to dry out a little and then headed back out for multiple beacon practice. Putting back on my soaking wet ski pants was not fun!

Overall it was a great course and I'm glad I took it, but the weather really left something to be desired!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

2010 - Year in Review

2010 started off really well. I pushed my limits on skis, both with backcountry skiing and in bounds. Scary at times, but moving forward and I did see some improvement (still lots more to be had).

I had some mystery virus that took a lot out of me in the early part of the year, but after that training went really well. I pushed my limits in riding, doing 2 160km rides (the Penticton IMC course and the Earls Cove Ride) prior to Seattle to Portland, which was over 330kms in 2 days. A great couple of days with fun people.

Unfortunately after that is when my body started to rebel. I tried to push through it for the rest of July and August, but not only wasn’t it getting better, it got worse. September started the hard push of physio and rehab and by November I was back to activity, and in December feeling mostly like myself.

One of my goals over the last few years has been to increase my average weekly training time over the previous year. With the few months of downtime, that did not happen last year, but taking those months out, I was right in line with where I wanted to be.

On the non-training side, I really enjoyed our time off this year, even if we didn’t make it that far afield. January was our hut ski trip, February was a Big White ski trip with friends, end of March and beginning of April we were in San Diego, May we were in Victoria for a race for Graeme, and Penticton with the tri club, June I headed to Minneapolis, July was Seattle to Portland, August was Cowichan Lake with a big group, followed by Saltspring Island where we had some alone time before being joined by another big group of friends. September we headed out on Graeme’s parents boat for Labour Day weekend and October I was in San Francisco. Aside from a day tip down to Seattle in November, November and December have been about staying home!

I wouldn’t say 2010 was a bad year, my life is too good for that! But I didn’t accomplish as much as I had hoped I would. I am looking to accomplish some of those things this year.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Christmas Break

I’m back at it. Pun intended.

My back is continuing to improve and because of that I have been able to start to build some fitness. I am very out of shape, but I am already starting to see some improvements. I had a small flare up, which I thought was going to lead to more downtime, but it seems I really have turned the corner, because I was feeling better in only a few days.

I am getting stronger and this was really evident to me during yesterdays snowshoe up to the peak of Hollyburn Mountain. I snowshoed this same route about a month ago with a big group of girls. Only a few of us were really in shape (even in my out of shape state) and the trek was very slow going. Still, my back was getting sore with all of the uphill and we didn’t even attempt the peak. Yesterday with Graeme we were pushing the pace the whole way, and my back didn’t have any issues.

Not only that, but this was only 2 days after a ski tour of Elfin Lakes on New Year’s Day. Way more skinning than actual skiing, but the skiing still felt ok. And my hip flexors seem to be stronger from the rehab work.

Christmas and the holidays were a lot of fun. We hosted Christmas dinner for the first time. 9 people for dinner, which included a turkey – even though I don’t eat meat! Thankfully Graeme is very good at following recipe instructions and the turkey was apparently very good.

I gave and received some fun presents. One of my favourite gifts was my Kindle. I didn’t even know I really wanted one, but I love it. And I can read it on the trainer, which is a bonus!

I am hoping now that I am back to workout mode, I will also be back to blogging mode. I love to read other peoples blogs, and like to have a “diary” of sorts, so I need to get back into the habit. There will be a 2010 round up and 2011 look forward post soon too.

Some pics from the last few days

Elfin Lakes

Hollyburn Mountain