Monday, February 22, 2010

Snowboarding - Or Something Resembling It - LOL

On the way out to the ski area on top of the hill was frozen fog - very cool!

Just another picture of the soon to be beautiful sun trying to peak through the clouds & fog

Yesterday a local ski area, Kissing Bridge, had a deal that was too hard to pass up. $25 for a beginner snowboard/ski lesson, rental, and 8 hour lift ticket. Now back in the day when I grew up skiing there was only 1 lift ticket and it used to cost $5.00 at Keystone in Colorado. Maybe I am dating myself, but I look back now and realize what a deal that was! Snowboarding was the only option because I know how to ski and he really wants to learn how to snowboard so off we went!

I had this preconceived idea that snowboarding would be simple because of all of my ski experience - boy was I wrong!!!!! We got our equipment and headed up the bunny hill - nothing like seeing a 43 year old on the bunny hill but hey you have to start somewhere! We got about 3 crash filled runs in before our lesson started. The instructors were very good but they forgot to mention one large key to snowboarding until almost the end of the 1 hour session - keep your weight forward not back!
My son on the tow rope - that was an experience in itself!

Ahhh to be 11 again and full of balance and limberness! He did great!

My son up on the big hill - he really did get the idea and I am sticking to skis!

We grabbed some pre-packed lunch in the truck and watched everyone ski/board down the mountain and decided to get back at it. He wanted to let his food settle - I told him it would settle on the walk back over.

The bunny hill was home to our assault for the next couple of hours and then we determined we were ready for the big stuff. We agreed on 1 run and then call it a day and go and rest. The one run took a while but it was all good.

We got home and he crashed so I took the bike out to stretch the legs. Not a real smart idea but it did feel good getting some good riding in!

The sun was out in it's glory all weekend and I got a full dose of 100% real vitamin-d and it was great! Hope you got to enjoy the same!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Back Country Skiing

I woke up early Saturday morning to get some back country skiing in at Sprague Brook County Park. The snow won't be this nice for much longer and I have not gotten as much ski time in as I would like to so I took advantage this morning. I was tired, but saw sunshine peaking through the bedroom window, so I rolled out of bed and hit the road!

The author :)
The sun was not out at the park when I first got there and it took a while for it's glory to shine down on me, but when it finally did I was in heaven. I just stood in an open meadow with my face absorbing the sun's light in - refreshing!The sun was trying to sneak out here. This meadow was where I did some brutal interval training. The snow was so deep that if you stood still you would sink 2' under, so I forced myself to cruise around the meadow in a big figure 8 and it hurt!
Deep sunshine and the shadows it causes. I love the ripples the wind caused in the drifts - not much fun to ski through - but they were beautiful to see!
This is where I finally got to break trail. The people before me (yesterday and before) went straight so I turned left and had some fun in the trail breaking mode! Great workout!
So the Indians have dream catchers and I guess this tree has a snow catcher!
The creek that runs through the park. I have ridden my bike through it many times but have never had to ski through it - lol. I look forward to mountain biking there this summer but today was about the snow!The warming lodge. My car was alone at first and I only heard someone cough after I came out of the woods. There is no better place to find solitude than on a Saturday morning at the local county park. Glad my Friday's don't cause me the need to sleep it off on Saturday :)

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Our Bodies And Their Engines!

Our bodies are amazing engines the God created. We know when we have to go to the bathroom, we know (or sometimes just imagine it out of boredom) when we are hungry and need fuel for the engine, and we know, although some don't always listen, when we are tired and need rest.

My daily routine usually starts at 4:45 with the alarm clock going off (if snow is blocking clear escape out of the driveway I go with 4:15 so I can snow blow it clear - sorry neighbors :) ) and me hitting the snooze button 1 time. I always have a pretty full bladder upon waking up so after the first snooze I get up and take care of that matter and get ready to leave for the gym. This includes finishing packing my lunch, replacing my laptop back in my backpack, and getting everything out to the car for my escape. A kiss on my wife's cheek and off I am.

The Southtowns YMCA opens at 5:30am Monday-Friday and I try to arrive around 5:20 or so to score a close parking spot. No big deal if I am later than that I just have a longer walk. Monday, Wednesday, and Friday start off with Boot Camp Conditioning class at 5:45 and I do that until 6:30, hit the shower, and then the pool. Tuesday and Thursday I hit the pool first, clean up, head upstairs, stretch, run, lift, stretch some more, and head off to work after cleaning up.

Work goes from 8:30-5:30 right now (or later if we have a work deadline). I usually get into the office by 7:30 or 7:45 after my walk into the building from my free parking spot - scoreboard!!! There is a lot of sitting at work and most of my daily exercise is in the form of walking to the restroom or taking the stairs down a flight or two to other departments.

Head home and then the fun begins. I try to get a night time bike ride in 3-4 days a week and if I don't head right out for that then I am in trouble. Errand running occurs periodically also. Some nights I just don't feel like riding (bad weather is really the only reason :) ) and I will take the skis out into the back woods and do some cross country skiing around the area.

Weekends play out the same pretty much just a lot more errand running and church and Sunday School on Sunday's!

All of this to reach today. Last Friday night I did interval cross country ski hill climbing, Saturday I did the same hill but on my running snowshoes, and Sunday I ran 1.5 miles before church, swam 2/3 of a mile, back country cross country skied for 1.5 hours, and then did my rollers for 30 minutes. I was wiped out.

So long story short - yeah right - I get to this morning and upon leaving the rest room I have an epiphany - I am too tired to work out this morning and I need a break. I climb back into bed and give myself 5-10 minutes of rest and if I fall asleep then it is good, if not I get up and go workout. I crashed hard!!!!

Like I said our bodies are amazing engines and if we listen to them we can fine tune them pretty good!

Sunday brings snowboard lesson and skiing with my son. I am very excited about that and it should be a blast!!!!! Until then - bike riding, running, swimming, and lifting :)

Go Ride Your Bike!!!!!!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Mid February Status

Well today is Monday and I am wiped out.

The weekend started Friday morning with Boot Camp Conditioning class and it was brutal. Did the work routine and Friday night dinner/errands routine and then decided to go do some cross country ski hill intervals. I don't know how the Olympic Athletes do that - brutal. I am contemplating skate skis though and think it would be easier but still those guys/gals are in fabulous shape!

Saturday morning I did a short ride on the snowmobile trails - the snow was too lose and I was hike/bike too much so I rode the roads and my bike did not have fenders so that was not any fun at all! Then I spent 3 hours at The Hub for our final basketball weekend awards ceremony, all-star game, and coaches vs. last year players. So this meant that I was playing against 17-19 y/o and trying to keep up with them. I had the distinction of being the oldest person on the court every time I was out there. I did alright - no points (missed an easy layup) - but had some very nice assists :)

Later that night after all was wrapped up I got this brilliant idea to go do Snowshoe Running Hill Intervals. Once again this is a brutal workout - snowshoe running on flat ground is hard enough - but add a nice 1/4 mile hill in there and the heart rate explodes!

Sunday morning I had to snowblow the driveway and then did a quick 1.5 mile run. We went to church/sunday school and then I did my Sunday errands (deli for lunch meats for the week!) and hit the Y for a lap swim. Got out of there just in time because some kid had an accident and they closed the pool. Got home, put away the food, grabbed my ski stuff and I headed off to Sprague Brook for some back country cross country skiing.

I love back country cross country skiing. There is nothing like pushing the skis through 1-2' of wind blown powder that no one had broken yet. It is so quiet, so exhilarating, so refreshing! I get out there and I want to move to the Rockies and just go disappear for the weekend: camping, skiing, sleeping, enjoying God's creation at it's finest :)

Got home from skiing and rested a little then I had to run the kids down to Youth Group. Got home from that and hit the rollers for 30 minutes. Did a very hard ride and it felt great. I love the rollers because it makes you focus on your form and balance and is a pretty good little workout because of all the secondary muscles you incorporate.

And today - Boot Camp Conditioning Class and I am dead!

Will have to see what tonight brings - hopefully something with pictures involved!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Loose Ramblings Running Through My Head

So this weekend was a pretty busy weekend and there was also a little thing called the Super Bowl going on as well. I just have some ramblings that I need to get out of my head so I figured what better place to do that than on my blog!I remember my first boss back when I was 16 or so telling me that I was a non-conformist. We were discussing something at work and I did not even know what she meant at the time. Here is what Webster-Rogers has to say about it:

Nonconformism is, in general, the refusal to conform to common standards, conventions, rules, customs, traditions, norms, or laws.

Looking at it I guess my biggest fault is norms, then common standards, followed by conventions. I love rules, customs, traditions, and laws so I am good there. I wear jeans to church, I wear a hoodie in bed and even slept in one last night, and I just figure that this is my life and I want to experience things so many refuse to see the good in. So last night on my bike ride I was thinking about this because of 2 key points; 1) I was riding a bike in Buffalo, NY on a snowmobile trail and it was about 15 degrees outside and 2) I was not holed up watching the Super Bowl and pretty much made it a point to not be doing so just so I could tell people I did not even watch the "Big Game". I wonder if this makes me Non-American or as they like to say on beginnertriathlete: Why do you hate America? - lol

Then I came to an open meadow on the trail that I had not ridden on yet and was awed by the awesome emptiness I was in. The sky was clear, the stars were shinning, I was 2 miles from any type of civilization even though I could see lights on across the v
alley on the other hill. So I stopped and shut off my lights and just stared around. It is moments like this that make me want to have a good camera so I can take photos at night!

I thought back to the baptism service we had at church today and the 8 people that made an outward declaration of their belief in God and that Jesus is their Lord and Savior. What an awesome day it turned out to be. I had the privilege of seeing 8 baptisms, had some great fellowship at a potluck following, hung out with the family for a while, and got to ride my back into a world that very few ever do get to see and the ones that do are on a snowmobile just flying by it!

I thought about the Jenna, the 17 y/o who is battling Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma and how I bet she would do anything to be able to ride a bike much less ride a bike into a frozen snow covered meadow and to see God's glory at it's finest in the stars, the skies, and the surroundings. And there are many more who are battling just like she is! But the good thing is there are many that have survived as well!

Her mom posted this in her blog yesterday:
“When your faith endures many conflicts and your spirit sinks low, do not condemn yourself. There is a reason for your season of heaviness. Great soldiers are not made without war. Skillful sailors are not trained on the shore. It appears that if you are to become a great believer you will be greatly tested. If you are to be a great helper to others, you must pass through their trials. The uncut diamond has little brilliance, the unthreshed corn feeds no one, and the untried believer is of little use or beauty. There are great benefits to come from your trials and depression…Charles Spurgeon

Fight Jenna Fight! Now my mind is at peace and my prayers turn from self to Jenna and the many others needing God's loving comfort and grace at this time!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Sunshine or the lack thereof!

If someone asked me what the worst part of living in Buffalo was I would tell them that sun goes down in November and does not come back around until March. Cold does not bother, snow does not bother me, heck I don't even mind the rain. But when you have cold, snow, and rain with no sun mixed in for 4-5 months it does become a little depressing!

I was getting ready to leave work yesterday and I looked out my window and saw pink on the building across the street. Could it be the sun setting and a photo opportunity? I doubted that it would last until I got out of work but held onto that little bit of pink hope.

So I got out of work at 5:30 and walked to my car with anticipation. I looked out towards Lake Erie and realized that it was pretty cloudy on the horizon. I don't know much about a lot of stuff but I know too many clouds do not make for a cool sunset. The marina is close by so my camera and myself headed down there in the car with hopes of finding something good to photograph.

Lake Erie through the small boat harbor at sunset. I wonder how long that piece of wood has
been sitting there pointing south?

The Lake Erie Buffalo Lighthouse. That is sitting on the Coast Guard base on the south side of the marina. I honestly don't know if they run it or not. I doubt they do in the winter because it is all frozen so no need for a light unless the birds are lost!

That is Canada off in the distance (over the break wall). This is probably the widest distance to Canada once you get to the Niagara River border area. It would be a good swim but more likely you would end up by Niagara Falls by the end because of the current the flows in once you get outside of the break wall!

A glamor shot of Downtown Buffalo since the other ones were pretty bleak and dreary looking since it was cloudy that morning (and pretty much every other morning around here!)

For some reason though I believe Spring is in the air and I am looking forward to it with great anticipation this year!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Biking on Snowmobile Trails

It is amazing how you learn different aspects of riding your bike. This goes from dry & cool weather, switching over to the heat of the summer, watching for leaves & branches during fall rides, and then what to do in the winter time for fun bike riding.

Three years ago I would have considered it crazy to ride my bike in the winter in Buffalo, NY. That is what rollers or trainers were for but man are rollers boring and I could not even imagine riding a bike stuck to a trainer for 2 or more hours. Then I found out about the TransIowa bike race and realized that if I ever wanted to compete in that I would need to learn how to comfortable ride in the winter.

Two years ago my sister and I were walking around Frisco, Colorado and I found some studded snow tires that would work on my Bianchi SS Muss mountain bike:So I bought them and took them back home with me. You should have seen the looks that I got in the airport carrying these around on my backpack. The questions were unreal also - you ride your bike in the winter? Now I do :)

Oh they were the Nokian and I love them. I don't use both right now. More on that later.

The first season was a learning experience. I did not understand the basics of deflating the tire to provide proper flotation so I stuck to the roads and the tires worked great. Last season I spent a lot of time on the bike but stuck with my mountain bike tires and stayed away from snowmobile trails because my first experience was a poor one, to say the least!

Well this year I made it a point to learn about snowbiking for 2 reasons:

1) Jill Homer - need I say more!

2) Arrowhead 135 - A dream of mine someday

So I put my 2.35 tires on the Bianchi, went to a lower gear combination (don't ask I have terrible memory about boring stuff like that!), and started reading. We had some great snow early in the season and the trails got put into use. I lowered my pressure and off I went.

My first trek was from Cole to Scherff just to get a feel for it. Once I became comfortable I started taking it from the other side of Scherff to Chestnut Ridge Park and then back home. One night I forgot my flat tools and ended up hiking back home 3 miles from the park because I put the bike down hard - it was that or a tree! - and I destroyed the valve stem.

Last night was a great night (or so I thought) for some riding. It was not warm - still below freezing - but the snow softened up too much and it was great fun. I did an awesome endo trying to cross a little summer water ditch that was full of soft snow. It was quite funny and I wish I had a camera crew with me at the time. Then there was the adventure onto the new trail I had yet to ride. Went from a ride to a hike-a-bike in a couple of sections. That is tough walking on ice with bike shoes!

Lessons learned: When in doubt, let air out
Always have your lights on in case of snowmobiles on the trails
Never dress warmer than necessary because you are going to be working hard!
The air temperature over the snow covered ground is about 5 degrees
cooler than bare pavement
It is a blast!!!!!!

Get out there and ride your bike!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

A Walk to Work

Downtown Buffalo in the wintertime: The Skyway - Southern Lake Residents way to work/home

The Erie Canal Inlet to Lake Erie
USS Little Rock at the Naval Park
The HSBC Tower from right underneath it
4 solid columns of these - wonder how much that would cost today.
My work - The Liberty Building

This is what happens when I get to work early and decide to take a walk instead of coming right into the office. I am glad I did this though!