Yesterday marked my long ride ever, coming in at approximately 139 miles as a part of the Rapha Gentlemen’s Race. We headed out to the beach (Lincoln City) on Friday evening and stayed in a suite at the Inn at Spanish Head thanks to team president Jim who served as sugar daddy for the evening. [...]
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The end of September brought about the end of the cycling season and time for some cross-training. This involved my first week-long vacation from work since last Christmas and a week-long trip to Glacier National Park to go backpacking!
Photo gallery of some awesome scenes at the end of the post – mostly taken on Jess’ point-and-shoot since my dSLR was a bit bulky for lightweight backpacking.
The first day in the park we drove the Going to the Sun road on the last day it happened to be open for the season, saw a rainbow, and then made camp at Many Glacier on the East side of the park before starting our hiking the next morning. It rained all night, and a forecast for inclement weather combined with wet gear starting off on a 50+ mile trip made things a little up in the air, but we decided to set off and see where things went.
The first day of hiking was 10 miles with a climb up to Ptarmigan tunnel and a great view out towards Elizabeth Lake, our campground for the night. We made camp that evening and woke up to a fresh layer of snow several inches deep.
Day two was supposed to be a very short day, but due to the questionable weather and muddy, wet trail, we decided to detour a bit past a ranger station to check the weather. We came out of the forest into a clearing with fenced in horses and a small cabin with smoke coming out of the chimney. It felt straight out of a movie. Even the park ranger fit the bill – dressed in a full ranger outfit with a handheld radio to check the weather. After some warm tea and a promising forecast, we headed to Glenns Lake for our second night of camping.
Day 3 was 8+ miles and included a climb up Stony Indian Pass, which was easily one of the highlights of the trip. We woke up to fresh snow and frost for the second morning, and enjoyed seeing all the fresh animal (including bear) tracks on the trail with a complete lack of human footprints – the weather had caused cancellation of most of the other trips that would have been on those same trails that week. The climb up to the pass included a view of a massive cascading waterfall surrounded by snowy hillsides with some autumn colors poking through. We didn’t come up with any photos that did it justice. Coming over the top of the pass, we saw fresh bear tracks, and several hundred yards later we saw the culprit racing away from us across the hillside. That night we made camp at Stony Indian Lake and managed to convince ourselves that the deer outside of the tent was actually a bear.
The next day took us another 8 miles from Stony Indian Lake all the way down into the valley just to immediately climb back up 2900 feet to Fifty Mountain campground. The weather had gotten considerably better by this point, and with the snow melted and the trail dry the going was much easier.
From Fifty Mountain we set out along the continental divide via the Highline Trail, and got a close-up view of several bear cubs with a mother nearby. This was our longest day, which ended up being slightly over 12 miles to Granite Park.
Our final day brought us a final bit of climbing 700 feet to the top of Swiftcurrent Pass, and from there it was all downhill back to the car at Many Glacier.
There are many great stories and experiences to share, but this is just a very broad overview of the trip. 54 miles in 6 days of hiking, and it’s certainly one of the more memorable outdoor experiences I’ve had. It was a great getaway from the everyday routine, complete with the fun of dehydrating some of our own food, seeing bears, staying warm curled up in sleeping bags, and nearly running out of toilet paper. Jess was a great travel-mate and I think she enjoyed it every bit as much as I did (except for perhaps the last mile back to the car)!
Now, some photos!
You probably wouldn’t guess that these photos were taken in February on the Oregon Coast if I hadn’t just told you so. Today was a brief but fun escape from reality to go explore Seaside to Tillamook with Jess, and the weather was perfect.
Tomorrow: Going hiking in the morning with cousin Jessie. We’re thinking King’s Mountain Trail if the snow is gone, otherwise another trail in the area. In the afternoon, a ride – likely some hill repeats on my bike.
Friday: Heading to Eugene in the morning where I’ll meet an aunt and uncle and finally pick up most of my worldly possessions and haul them back to Portland. Then comes Christmas – I don’t remember half of what I’ve got since I packed it all up last July.
Saturday: Team O ride where I’ll get my team kit and take it easy before the race on Sunday.
Sunday: The race on Sunday.
Next Wednesday night: heading south to Corvallis to my aunt and uncle’s place, where I’ll be house/cat/fish sitting over spring break while they go visit my parents. I’ll have to figure out how to keep myself entertained in Corvallis for a week and a bit. Probably will be an unofficial one man cycling training camp to really jump-start my legs for racing season. Maybe try to catch up with friends from Eugene who will be celebrating graduation. Definitely will bring the camera and find interesting things to explore.
A week from Saturday: I’ll show up at UO’s host road race and time trial and be put to work doing whatever Karey/Ivar tell me to.
A week from Sunday: I’ll show up at OSU’s collegiate criterium since I’ll be in Corvallis anyway. Maybe take some pictures.
Eventually: back to Portland.
It started as an idea planted in my head a mere four days ago (thanks Mike!) – the Tour of California is coming up, you’re unemployed and free to travel, and California isn’t that far away…
That in combination with hearing of recruiters at the finish line of stage 2 got me at least considering the possibility of finding my way down there.
Talking with Joey the other day really solidified the idea, and I decided I wanted to go.
I set about looking for transportation options, but after no rideshare options appeared and train/greyhound options took the better part of a day each way for absurd prices upwards of $200, I was about ready to write it off. Until I checked airline prices, that is. Kayak.com is a great resource, just so you know. Round-trip flight to Oakland for $170 with an hour and a half travel time. Now we’re talking.
That price sounded just about right, and it sounded even better after I calculated my tax refund (read: not being claimed by anyone else as a dependent makes a HUGE difference when you don’t make much money). I booked the flight leaving early on the 15th and returning late on the 17th and will be crashing on Joey’s very familiar couch.
So then I set about viewing options… and the best I came up with was hopping the BART to the Daly City stop and walking a couple miles to the beachfront highway the race goes by.
It’s a decent viewing spot with a slight grade that would be considered a hill if it weren’t for the fact that we’re talking about professional cyclists. 3% won’t be enough to slow them down. I decided I really wouldn’t be doing myself justice.
I started looking into car rental options, but quickly became frustrated as renting a car while until age 25 is far too expensive. Then I found another option: rent-a-wreck. Not a nice rental car by any means, but cheap, and only a $5/day under 25 charge. As long as it can manage to drive 150 miles or so, we’re good.
So now I’m in the process of planning my viewpoints during the race. I think I’m going to try to make two different stops – one at approximately mile 52 at the top of the biggest climb of the day, and then head to the finish line in Santa Cruz. Now I just need to double-check road closures and where to find parking.
And of course, I’m bringing my camera. I need to get some practice getting clear shots of fast-moving objects in the next week. And as much as I’d like to be able to shoot in RAW, I think I’m going to have to go back to Jpeg for the race due to the massive number of pictures I’ll be taking within only a minute or two. The buffer just can’t handle more than 6-7 RAW+Jpeg shots in a 15 second period. I’ll likely be taking upwards of 100 in a two-minute period. I’ll just need to make sure I’ve got the camera set perfectly before the race gets there. Let’s hope there’s a break off the front up the hill.
Here’s a link to the full course profile
Exciting times. More to come!
Sticking snow in Saint George? I didn’t think so either. But we had a couple inches last night, and it was fun to watch the neighborhood kids playing in it, potentially for the first time. It sounds like it hasn’t snowed like this in a decade.
We already had plans to go skiing today, but the forecast for snow and a huge storm passing through made the prospect all the more exciting. We left Saint George early in the morning and headed Northeast to Brian Head Resort. Saint George’s elevation is a little under 3000 feet, and the base of the mountain is over 9000 feet, so we went up the entire way there. It was still snowing vigorously this morning and the interstate and back highways were blanketed in snow and ice. Days like today are what our Subaru was made for. I’m glad my parents kept it.
We got there this morning to find that there was still a massive blizzard going on and winds were too strong to go all the way to the top of the hill, so we messed around in bitter wind chill and blinding snow on the lower slopes for a while. It’s rather difficult to ski/snowboard well when the lighting and visibility is such that you can’t see the terrain you’re going down.
I skied, Ian snowboarded. He’s holding poles because I needed hands to take the picture.
Then they opened one lift to the top when the sky suddenly turned blue, and up we went. I realize that this picture doesn’t look particularly blue-skyish, but just go with it.
The view from nearly 11000 feet is stunning, especially with all the surrounding terrain being several thousand feet lower.
The afternoon was all about finding powder. Growing up skiing in Alaska, the best we usually got was hard-pack, icy slopes. This was the complete opposite end of the spectrum, with over a foot of fresh powder in the last 24 hours. Some runs that hadn’t been groomed yet this year were covered with 2-3 feet of nothing but powder. We had to learn a slightly different style of getting down the hill with all the fresh snow. Steep slopes became our friends, flatter slopes our enemies that liked to pull us under and bring us to a stop.
And of course with that learning curve comes a crash or two. It’s the softest landing ever, but the downside is you have to dig yourself out of the hole you create just to get going again. I cracked up for a good 5 minutes as I watched Ian get unstuck from this one, only to start out goofy and miss the narrow packed trail before falling into powder again at slow speed.
I had two good crashes on the day. The first was when I somehow sunk in a ski tip going across several other people’s tracks in deep powder. I face planted pretty nicely and was confused to find myself on my back. At least one somersault must have taken place. This was still during the stormy part of the morning, and I initially couldn’t tell which way was up the hill and which way was down. Nor could I figure out where one of my skis went. I spent several minutes digging for it before finding it. Next time I’m selecting skier level III instead of II so they don’t pop off so easily.
The other fabulous crash also involved losing a ski, but this one in a slightly more original manner. I was skiing in deep powder near the edge of a run and was noticing little 3-4 foot tall Pine trees sticking out of the snow. I was dodging them easily until one snuck up on me when it was too late to avoid. I figured I could glide right over it since only 3-4 inches were sticking above snow, but I wasn’t thinking about the fact that my skis were actually below the surface a bit. The tree ripped my right ski off and I spent a few moments ragdolling down the slope in a most comfortable fashion.
All that skiing and crashing and getting unstuck was a nice way to burn off some energy.
Now off to some sort of exciting evening adventure, such as playing cards or watching a movie or working on a ridiculously hard puzzle where all of the pieces look the same (and there are 2000 of them). Seriously, someone must have felt particularly evil the day they decided the entire bottom third of the puzzle should be a bunch of fall-colored leaves.
Oh, and the post title? That was my brother talking about cereal this morning.
We’ve got a good 3-4 inches of snow in Portland, with more potentially on the way and a week of freezing weather to go with it. Not that I haven’t seen snow recently… and I suppose I am from Alaska, but it is still exciting since this much snow in Oregon is a rarity. We used the day to sit around drinking tea, eating homemade rolls, playing Hearts and Rummy, and I even prepped for my interview in the morning a bit.
It should be a lovely time tomorrow morning scurrying around trying to get to my interview. As it snowed today, the weather got colder and it transitioned from melting to freezing, which means there will be a nice layer of ice on everything tomorrow. I’m taking public transportation, which is probably more reliable than driving would be. Wish me luck. If nothing else, it’ll be some good interview experience. Then it’s off to Saint George, where the forecast is snow! I think there are already plans to go skiing when I get there.