Monday, February 28, 2011

Embracing Winter

My weather preference would be warm blue sunny skied days, day after day. But, well, I live in Vancouver, and while the weather here is in my opinion better than pretty much anywhere else in Canada, we still do have winter, and wintry days. It is a La Nina year, and my expectations were that we’d have a lot of snow on the ground close to sea level this year, similar to the winter of a few years ago. I decided in the fall that I would embrace winter. While I do enjoy skiing, it is not my thing as much as it is Graeme’s, but I knew between that and some other snowy weather activities, I would enjoy the winter more.

Luckily the expected winter snow hasn’t really materialized, but this past week we did have real snow. Between that and the cold and the rain, I have had enough of weekday trainer riding to want to do that on the weekend too. With a snowy weekend on tap, we decided to make the most of it.

Saturday morning we were driving up to Squamish by 7:30am. We stopped in Britannia Beach as we always do, for coffee at Galileo Roasting House. I wish this coffee shop was closer to home. I love it.

By 9:00 we were starting our skin into Red Heather Hut at Elfin Lakes. It snowed lightly the entire skin in, which was 1:20 continuous. My legs were ok, but I am having some blistering issues with my feet. I thought between my new ski socks and body glide I would be ok, but it didn’t seem to help much. Unfortunately this meant not much actual skiing. We skinned up from Red Heather Hut and skied down, but my feet just didn’t have more skinning in them.

We were driving back down to Squamish and in the Howe Sound Brew Pub for lunch by 12:30. We had our first try of Total Eclipse of the Hop, which is their great new IPA. We bought a couple bottles to go along with the new red ale.

Sunday I had a longer trainer ride planned, but I was having a hard time getting up for it. With the dump of fresh snow, we instead decided to head up to Cypress to play. With my feet still not happy from Saturday I went the snowshoe route while Graeme went on skis again. It was puking snow and I have never seen such fluffy snow at Cypress. We headed up to Hollyburn and back, a good 1:15 of hard working snowshoeing. This meant only an hour was necessary on the trainer which was a lot better than the alternative!

My snowy weekend was also highlighted by snowy runs on both Saturday and Sunday. Footing was fine, but some drivers really need to either properly equip their cars for winter driving or leave their cars at home. I had one close call with an out of control driver who ended up running a stop sign and veering into the oncoming traffic lane while laying on her horn at me, all because she was going too fast down a slight hill. I think she thought she was closer to hitting me than she actually was, but still!

Of course, it's Monday and the snow is quickly melting away.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Mt Cain

The Mt Cain adventure was last weekend but this weekend was very busily trying to finish up my assignments for my realtors license (a work requirement) and then being sick, and unmotivated and thefore I didn't get around to writing about it.

Last Friday we took a half day and headed up to Mt Cain which is a non-profit ski hill north of Campbell River on Vancouver Island. I have been north of Campbell River (on the island) once, back in gr. 8 and that wasn't this far north. Once we got to Campbell River the winter weather started. The previously pouring rain (some of the heaviest I have seen) turned to snow and back to rain and back to snow. All the way to Mt Cain. High beams were a no go and the drive was slow going. When we finally got to the base of the mountain, and drove up the dirt road (snow covered) I was finally able to relax.

The hill itself is very funny. There are maybe 20 cabins, plus a lodge and hostel. There are 2 t-bars and no other lifts, and its all volunteer run. Everyone knows each other. The ratio of ski patrollers to actual mountain patrons was unlike anything I have seen before.

The heavy snow/rain continued through Saturday and it made for cement like "powder" skiing. I'd say the guys (there were 7 of us) enjoyed this day more than the girls - they are also better skiers/boarders than us. I did something to my knee and between that and being soaked through, it was a half day on the hill for me.

Sunday it had cooled down, and was maybe -2, but it made a huge difference in the snow. I would say this is the first day I have ever really "got" powder skiing. All day long there was fresh tracks available. I haven't skied as much this year as I had last year by this time (mostly due to my back) and my legs were really feeling it. Between that and the t-bar I was done by 1:30. We had to get going anyway and were on our way down the hill by 2:30. Instead of over 4.5 hours which it took us to get to the hill from Nanaimo, it took us 3 hours to get back. Light and a lack of snowstorm make a huge difference!

The t-bar

Riding the t-bar

The funny cabin

Digging the car out

The road out

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

New purchase

I bought a bike. But this is not one of those I BOUGHT A NEW BIKE! posts. I think I did that last year anyway, but then I didn't actually get the bike due to issues with Argon 18.

This time I actually have that bike, but it's still not an I BOUGHT A NEW BIKE! post.

It's not that I'm not excited. I am. But, I also have I'mnotworthy feelings. It feels weird to say it so publicly, but its true. The bike is much more fancy then I am, and I'm going to have to work really hard to live up to it. I guess that is motivation?

I know there are a lot of way more accomplished triathletes who don't have as nice as bike, and I guess that is part of what makes me feel not worthy, but Graeme keeps telling me I'm wrong and I need to listen to him. And work hard to feel worthy I guess. Thank you once again to Speedtheory in Vancouver. If you are anywhere in the vicinity, this is where you should be going for all your tri-related needs. They always do such a great job and are great guys.

It hasn't been ridden outside yet, but it has made it's debut on the trainer. I think a new saddle is going to be in order too! And possibly a name or at least a gender but I haven't figured that out yet either. I need to get to know it more first!