Sunday, December 20, 2009

Every year...

I seem to be forming an additional tradition each Christmas season...getting sick. For the last four years I've become ill the week of Christmas, and it's getting irritating. It set in yesterday on the way back from Jay Cooke State Park, where friend Ty and I went for a winter day hike. On the drive home I noticed the sore throat setting in, and by 11pm I had full blown body aches and was burning up. Suck. So I slept on and off for 14 hours, and have spent today mostly laying around with the cat on my lap, watching tv and reading cycling blogs. I also finally got around to shopping online for a deal on a new crankset for my 29er. Found a good one on a Shimano SLX, and it should be here in a couple days. Good. It will be nice to replace the garbage-y Evolve XC that's been getting looser and looser.
I also spent some more time thinking about the next cycle-tour. Edward D and I have been cooking up ideas for one or two bike trips for 2010. Ideas of the CA coastline, Death Valley, Big Bend National Park, and other locales have been floating through our heads, and we just need to get things on the calendar. I'm looking forward to living off my touring bike again soon. Riding all day followed by camping, then doing it again is a good life.
I'll leave you today with a couple pix of Jay Cooke pre-sickness:

Friday, December 18, 2009

Status Quo

I was sitting in my chair tonight thinking about how I'd like to write a new blog entry, but had thoughts that there wasn't much to report on. Life has been going on pretty much as usual. But then I thought about what those usual things are, and realized even though they are "par for the course", they actually stand out as pretty interesting. Here's what's going on:

Gym climbing is picking up as usual as winter sets in with a tighter grip on the MN area. And since my frequency of going is increasing, so are the returns. I sent what was probably the hardest climb I've done in the gym yet the other day, and Alison did the same for herself in one night. Nice. And even though if you know me and have heard that I think grades are stupid, I'll oblige to give you the ratings- 5.11b for my send and 5.10a for Alison's. It's fairly arbitrary, as I've been up 5.11c's, and Alison has done well on 5.10c's, but the routes we accomplished recently were both bigger hurdles. It was a mean 5.11b due to the flexibility and control involved on my end, and Alison came a long way in understanding new movement techniques to send her project. Big progress. Good.

Winter biking has come to a halt recently, due to the need to replace the crankset I've been nursing for awhile. I'm not going to push it any further so as to not harm the actual bottom bracket shell of my frame. Yeah, the play in the crank got intense and I should have replaced it a while ago.

I was out for the first nordic ski of the year not too long ago. Not a lot of snow, but enough to get out on. Further southeastern sections of MN has the best snow in the state, but the Cities isn't doing too bad for being non-mountainous. I hope we get bombed with snow this year; the past couple years have been lackluster.

Running has been going well. Continuing work on the treadmill at the gym every time I'm done climbing. Still rocking the Vibrams. Getting stronger.

We have quite a bit of family holiday visiting coming up. It will be great to see everyone again. The Hovde clan is meeting several times the week of Christmas, and the Jensen's will be arriving in St Paul the week after to party. Mullet's got his dancin' shoes on and is ready for it.

Work is sucking bad. Wish I didn't have to say it but to be cliche, it is what it is. Terrible. If you think of any stories you've heard about airlines on the news in the past year, just try to think of one that has been positive. My bet is that you probably can't. Suckville. Alison is being furloughed Jan 7. My boss "resigned" today. It's walking through a minefield right now. At least we still have our travel benefits. I don't see any flying in either Alison's or my future in the next year or two, but we'll see. If you are young and looking for a career field, the only way I'd suggest being a pilot is if you absolutely love it and are willing for tons of disappointment due to a wickedly unstable industry amidst the satisfaction you get from the actual flying part. You will have issues. But I don't know that many other career fields are exactly thriving in our craptastic economy right now. Just go on a very long bicycle tour/climbing trip and wait for the country to turn around for now. :)

That's the update.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

OK, I don't watch daytime TV, but I'm off today (a Tuesday) since I taught ground school over the weekend, and the Ellen Show showed up as I flipped channels eating a late breakfast. Just before I turned the TV off, I was impressed to see she was giving everyone in the audience a Specialized Globe bicycle as a Christmas gift. That's pretty cool. One point for silly talk shows I guess.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

It hits every least here.

The North is cold again. Woke up below zero, with wind chills in the region as low as -30. The ambient temperature in Grand Forks, ND last night was -22. Glad I live somewhere a little warmer now (but not much). I don't miss GF in the winter.
We had our first snowstorm of the year here in STP in the last couple days. Not epic by any means, but I got out for a ski afterward, and before there was nothing but rock-hard dirt, so it was a successful snow. I didn't ski long, as I'm having boot-issues (blisters, and the need to return my boots), so I headed to our climbing gym with Alison for some steep fun and a short treadmill run in the Vibrams. I think that's the only place I can really stay interested in running on a treadmill, due to the fact that there is enough good music, live climbing to watch, and high energy in general around. It takes a certain amount of distraction for me to take part in any form of stationary simulation of real fun. Bikes are made to go places, and so are feet, but sometimes inside is the only option due to weather and time (time, really).
This morning, while waiting for Alison to wake up, I'm brainstorming a mixture of winter biking adventures, and places to fly off to to avoid being in the cold 100 percent of the time. MN is offering a lot of good cold weather 2 wheel exploration this time of year, resulting in finding out more of what you're capable of, and at the same time, it's sure nice to thaw out in CA and HI. Alison got a furlough notice at work last week, so we're planning on using some of the transitional time (to who knows what) to travel a bit on the cheap. If work lets you down after all you've put in, you leave and go have fun somewhere. Travel therapy. Work sucks anyway.