Five days from now the boys and I will be picking up our male Chocolate Lab puppy, pretty exciting. At the moment he's 7 weeks and 2 days old, here's a photo our breeder took today.

Strider on task

We've named him Strider, an idea that came from a discussion with the boys. If you are a Lord of The Rings fan you will recognize why it's a great name - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aragorn.

The breeder is located in Quesnel, which is approx 12hrs from Rossland. I've decided to make it a four day road trip, breaking it down into approx 6hr driving chunks, not sure of all the details yet, I'll figure it out along the way.

So what's in it for the boys? They will get to meet Strider's parents and littermates, learn some more about Labs, see some more of the world, skip some school and maybe roast some marshmallows along the way. Two boys, a puppy and marshmallows... what can go wrong? ;-)

May 19, 2014

Salty Dog 2014

I headed out to the Salty Dog race just over a week ago, some of you know it as a tough 6hr course in Salmon Arm. I've done it 3yrs in a row now and it's always a good assortment of Western Canada hammers that show up, which keeps it real. Last year didn't go as well as I hoped, I raced for most of the 6hrs without a seatpost or saddle which was hard, that story is here. Obviously I was hoping for better luck this year.

The race weather was looking a bit dodgy, and to confirm that dodginess I was only 45mins outside of Rossland when I hit a snowstorm. This photo shows the start of it, by the time I hit Nancy Greene Provincial Park there was snow forming on the sides of the highway.



It rained on the course for the two days prior to the race, which made for some tricky conditions on race day. Lots of mud, wattage sucking boggy climbs and people flying off the singletrack descents and crashing into trees. I got lucky and managed to keep the nose of the bike pointed in the right direction and pretty much had a crash-free race. I had five other athletes at the race, some had good luck and some not so much, amongst them there was everything from 1st place finishes right through to seven stitches on the 1st lap (Julie slashed her forearm open in a crash and after finishing up at the hospital she headed back to the course and raced for another 3hrs - nails!). I managed a 5th place finish in my Expert category, not bad for the token 50yr old. ;-)

As you can see, everyone was in pretty good spirits after the race.



The rest of the evening was made up of sitting around and having a few laughs, while refuelling with an IPA and Chris's homemade cookies.



This was the first race I've done on gears since 2010 Worlds in Australia, the new 1 x 10 system worked flawlessly and I have to admit the geared thing is pretty handy for racing. No doubt about it, I luv my Orbea Alma singlespeeds, trg and racing on them is a blast but the 1 x 10 is going to see some love this year as well. Of course it's hard to stay off the new 1 x 10 bike because of the 2014 Orbea Alma geometry/tech advances versus my 2012 Alma's. The differences aren't huge but they are noticeable out on the dirt. I'm looking forward to seeing how the new bike performs at the 24hr Solo this weekend, my 26th 24hr Solo, my how time flies.

Last thing on the new bike, I want to meet the Orbea engineer who designed the magical ability to keep the ORBEA markings clearly visible on the downtube, while under the assault of a metric ton of race mud. It even defeats Rossland mud. He is a mud genius.



Beautiful day on the trails, best watched in HD.

The roots and rocks were a bit slick from the recent rain, so the boys spent some time adjusting their riding style. Be sure to watch it in hi-def.



And then we got hit by hail.


Apr 25, 2014

Balloon in a van

Like the title says, it's a balloon in a van, but as simple as the title is the video will challenge your understanding of how things work.



Random condensed thoughts...

We've been staying busy through this year's winter. The start of classic and skate skiing became a reality when we had most of the Blackjack Jackrabbits coaches over for a pre-season get together.

Skier development coaches meeting at our house, planning for future Olympians.

Pretty soon we were doing night skate skiing in the moonlight.

The boys were working on technique with their coaches, while I skied with the full moon.

And the boys were racing and getting on podiums.

Evan standing on the start line. Keegan raced in the next group. Both boys got on the podium.

Christmas came and went, Santa sat down in his office to set up a couple of Chromebooks for the boys.

Santa is busy setting up these two silver devices.

I continued to ride my Orbea Alma's.

Hard packed singletrack goodness.

Beauty day.

Day and night.

Upside down photos aren't cool, so I'm reposting this image of a great day on the snow.

A great night ride, trails all to myself.

Cold temperatures require warm beverages. Not sure why people insist on drinking bad coffee, when you can drink good coffee.

Maybe a bit too much milk.

When I got tired of drinking warm beverages, I drank cold ones.

Dry hopped sour ale, should have bought two.

Time in the tracks was fun this year.

Out in the tracks with the boys.

There's lots to see, if you look.

Hoarfrost

Hard to beat this.

Great view off the top of KC Ridge.

On a gorgeous sunny winter day.

Hoarfrost on today's ride.

Dave and Julie came out to Rossland, to get in some quality winter singletrack.

So we started like this.

And some of this.

That went to this.

Top of KC Ridge, getting it done again.

Dave wrestled with a tree, the tree won.

Is it supposed to look like that?

Evan raced the John Heintz Cup as a Solo racer again, here's how he did last year. I shadowed him throughout the race just to make sure he was ok through all the stages, so inspiring to watch him dig deep. It's a tough race as a Solo competitor, part racing/part gear organization and transition point optimization. This is some of the gear starting to get piled up on race morning.

The beginning of the gear organization for John Heinz Cup.

On the way up to the top of Red for the start of the race, it's a downhill ski to the base lodge.

Evan getting his game face on for his Solo effort

Followed by the bike race stage, then a skate ski stage, then a snowshoe stage.

Evan pounding out the snowshoe run portion after the ski off the mountain, the icy bike portion and the XC ski leg.

The last stage being the run.

Blazing the run, Evan was crushing it.

This year Evan was the only kid racing Solo, he improved on his time by almost 25%, a huge bump.

Evan at the awards ceremony, the only Solo kid racer. He did so awesome knocking 10 minutes off his last year's Solo results.

Skiing in the day.

Sunny day at Red.

Tracks in the evening.

More track time.

More tracks at night.

20cms of fresh over the last two days have made thing challenging.

And some more racing.

Blackjack Loppet.

More skate racing.

And some hard work up Ophir Dam loop.

Working hard up the Ophir Dam loop.

Sunny days.

More classic.

Not as sunny days.

Another nice night for some XC skiing. The boys are getting faster.

Throw in some mixed martial arts to break up the winter routine.

The boys working the pads.

As long as it doesn't interfere with tree skiing.

Some tree skiing.

Or some steep skiing.

Dropping in.

It's been a great winter season so far, with lots more skiing at Blackjack and Red Mountain to come. In the next few days I'll get my thoughts posted up on my race a couple of weeks ago at 24hrs of Old Pueblo (Arizona). Till then...

Jan 29, 2014

The Emerald Isle

Aaaannndddd still catching up...

At the end of Oct we headed off on a family vacation to Ireland, home to my mom and most of my relatives. Several years have gone by since we were in Ireland, with the boys getting older the travelling is getting easier.

Nice setup on the big plane. Reading Tyler Hamiltons 'The Secret Race' on my Asus Zenbook.

As always, the arrival in Ireland required a trip to the Omagh Golf and Country Club for a pint of Guinness.

First pint of Guinness.

My mom had arranged for a nice cottage on the outskirts of Omagh, in a small village called Killyclogher. Doesn't get much more Irish than that.

The boys in front of the cottage.

Our days were mixed, sometimes we would jump on the bikes my cousin Ciara had lent us, and ride into town to hit the library so the boys could read and I could get work done.

Getting used to looking the wrong way on the bike.

Getting some work done in the Omagh Public Library.

Sometimes I would break bikes, apparently they weren't designed for singlespeed mashing.

No wonder I like singlespeeds, a $75 invoice to fix my cousin's bike.  It was not prepared for singlespeed mashing.

Sometimes we would tour the local region.

Ulster heritage Park.

Checking out Dunluce Castle.

Bushmills Distillery.

Evan on top of the Knockmany Cairn.

Great light in the Knockmany Forest.

Great light on the church at the top of Omagh town.

We ate and drank, a lot.

Belfast Black

Great lunch at the Bushmills Hotel.

First phase of the pour.

Insanely good.

A surprisingly good British IPA.

Hard to beat the take out fish and chips.

Line up those Guinness.

Mmmmmmm buttah.

Seriously good homemade veggie soup (and mandatory Guinness).

These chips are so bad it's hard to describe.

We celebrated Evan's birthday, and enjoyed an Irish Halloween.

Evan opening his b-day presents.

How about all those mustaches.

Most of all, we just hung out.

Evan dealing with the coal for the fire.

Evan learning to start the fireplace.

The Irish nightclub scene has begun.

And the night continues.

Playing with Uncle Brian.

Outside my mom's cottage.

Guinness, check. In an Irish pub, check. Next to a coal fireplace? Check.

Heading off to a castle.

The boys soaking up the love from my Aunt Maureen.

Just got outwitted by my crafty wee cousin.

Cause you know, the Guinness needs to be chased by a by a bit of take out.

Too many stories to tell. Loads of quality time. A great trip. Before we knew it we were headed back to Canada.

And so it begins.

The plane hasn't moved off the Calgary tarmac and the boys are already in deep REM.

And spending a couple of days in Kelowna.

Near the waterfront in Kelowna.

Waffle madness.

When the pourover gets misplaced, it's time to get McGyver on it.

We arrived back in Rossland and started enjoying the snow.

A nice day out on the snow.

A quick break for some hot chocolate.

2hrs of this today.

Got some runs on the mountain after the racing was done.

An hour of night laps with the kids up at Blackjack. Kinda chilly so we were moving fast.

Sunny day

Yup, I cheated on this blog post. Not much writing, lot's of images. But at least I'm almost caught up.

;-)