Monthly Archives: December 2013

New Years Eve 2013

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I started a post a few hours ago about Dave LeDuc and the stupidity of a 62 year old dude doping. But, what a bad way to end the year. So, that will have to wait. Not that 2013 has been all that kind to me. I’ve been hurt and ill more than my share this past year. Hopefully, 2014 will be better. Anyway, I got my post interrupted by someone commenting on Strava that I had 9999.9 miles for the year. I thought that I was well into the five digits, but I think that Strava added in the miles I walked back in February when I was winged. Anyway, I agreed that 9999.9 was a pretty cool number to end the season with, but I “needed” that last push to 10,000. So I decided to throw on some wind pants and put on my MTB shoes and ride to Cable to meet up with Dennis, Trudi and Bill at the coffee shop. (Strava Ride Details)

It is less than a four mile ride, but the temperature outside was -15 ish. I was a bit worried about the frost bite issue I had on Sunday, but I figured I could cover up all my exposed skin. It wasn’t that big a deal as it ended up. It took awhile for my Garmin to find enough satellites to figure out where it was. Plus, the temperature was all wrong at 30 degrees. As I rode, it figured out where it was and the temperature got adjusted. My fingers got pretty cold, but it was such a short jaunt. Only about 3 or 4 people passed me in cars on the way in. They all looked at me like I was crazy.

Pulling into Cable, there is Gary Crandall, the director of the Chequamegon Fat Tire, riding his city bike through town. That was a little depressing. But, I got over it quickly. I rode up to Gary and said Happy New Year. We rode over to the Fat Tire office and took a selfie at -16. It is great seeing Gary. I meant to go back over and visit more properly, but got caught up with others, and by the time I was ready to head back, I was ready to head back.

At the Brick House, Trudi, Bill and Dennis were already pretty deep into some cinnamon rolls and coffee. They had a box from the post office that Michael Fatka had sent up from Ames, Iowa. It was full of Christmas presents. For all of us, plus Pete Caron. Just right then, Pete came walking in, which is just like Pete and me.

I’ve known Pete since I was a junior. I used to stay at his house in Western Springs, outside Chicago, when I raced up there. He was at KU when I did the one semester of college, then he did a stint as a Levis mechanic afterwards. He’s been up here since late 80’s and never left. He is doing carpentry out on Lake Owen now. A perfect job for him.

Anyway, we opened our presents and everyone got some FIT socks. It is weird, I’ve never heard of those socks before Christmas, now I see them everywhere. So, those guys took off, I caught up with Pete for a while, then suited back up and headed back to Dennis’ compound. I wasn’t nearly as cold heading back. I’m not sure what that is all about. My hands were pretty cold on the way over, but not at all coming back.

Tonight, we don’t have any big plans. We’re probably going to just eat, then snowshoe out into the woods and celebrate the New Year on a ridge a few miles out. It has always been great and is sort of a tradition at this point. The year is ending pretty great, I got a short ride in on the last day of the year. I should probably start out the year, in 10 hours with a little ride too. I can’t think of a better way to start out the New Year. Okay, last post of 2013. Hope you all have a Happy New Year and great 2014!

Gary and I by The Fat Tire Worldwide headquarters.

Gary and I by The Fat Tire Worldwide headquarters.

I stopped by the Rivers Eatery to give Mick and Beth's daughter's, Libby and Carley, some much over-do, Christmas presents.

I stopped by the Rivers Eatery to give Mick and Beth’s daughter’s, Libby and Carley, some much over-do Christmas presents.

Dennis and Pete at The Brick House.

Dennis and Pete at The Brick House.

Michael is very artsy.

Michael is very artsy.

Put my present on for the ride back.

Put my present on for the ride back.

The road to Cable, pretty scenic.

The road to Cable, pretty scenic.

I didn't bother to put on cross tires for the ride over.

I didn’t bother to put on cross tires for the ride over.

Man It’s Cold

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It not a great week to be in upper Wisconsin now. Or anywhere around here. That is pretty much the overwhelming topic where I’m at. And it should be. There is a huge difference between 30 degrees skiing and -4. That is what the difference was between two days ago and yesterday morning. I went over to OO yesterday morning and tried to do a ski clinic with Yuriy. I left the warming hut and just skied a kilometer or so. Then we started going up and down a small climb. Maybe the third time up the climb, Yuriy told me I had an icicle hanging from my nose. Then he said I had frostbite. He took a picture and showed it to me. Man, the tip of my nose was leathery white.

I rushed back to the warming hut and took a couple selfies myself. I was mildly horrified. I’ve been in way colder temperatures that -4. I’ve skied a ton in colder temperatures. But for some reason yesterday, my nose didn’t have much circulation, so it froze up in less than 10 minutes. When I got back to the warming hut, it thawed out pretty quickly. I was worried all the skin was going to fall off, but so far, it’s all still there.

So, I came back to the cabin and sat around, moping about not being able to ski when it’s below zero. Because, it is going to be below zero a lot the next week. Late afternoon, Bill and I decided to put on snowshoes and go trail break. It is amazing how much easier it is walking where someone else has already walked. The snow is maybe 3 feet deep, but you only sink in less than a foot. If I had bigger snowshoes, then it would be shallower, I’d imagine.

Last night sleeping, the Kansas Garage was cold. Like less than 40 maybe. Our little propane stove didn’t hack it. This morning we could almost see our breath. Bill and I turned on the electric baseboard heaters. I haven’t gone back over there, but I’d hope that it is warmer there now.

It is supposed to be a high of close to 0 or maybe just -1. It is supposed to be 46 in Topeka today. That is 72 warmer than the current temperature here. Wow, that is a lot. I’ll get off this weather update posts after today. I’m sure we’ll come up with some entertaining outdoor activities that doesn’t involve freezing body appendages.

A selfie of the frostbite on my nose.

A selfie of the frostbite on my nose.

Over the shoulder shot of Bill following me snowshoeing.

Over the shoulder shot of Bill following me snowshoeing.

The Kansas Garage.  Notice my van is plugged in.  It started right up at -28.

The Kansas Garage. Notice my van is plugged in. It started right up at -28.

We had a few Kansas beers for the Bears vs. Packers game last night.

We had a few Kansas beers for the Bears vs. Packers game last night.

Current temperatures right now.  Burrrrr.

Current temperatures right now. Burrrrr.

Double Birkie Ski

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Yesterday was the famous Double Birkie Ski. Tom Schuler started doing this 27 years ago. I started doing it, maybe, the 3rd year, with Greg Lemond and a bunch of other elite cyclists. Lemond went and won the Tour de France that year. I had skied, maybe, 200 kms in my life, so I was pretty worried before hand. But, the last 15-20 kms, all my compatriots fell apart and I ended up dropping them. I was too uncoordinated skiing to be able to get tired. I went on to finish 198th in the Birkie that year, starting from the 3rd wave. I made it into the Elite wave by less than 10 seconds.

Anyway, yesterday went pretty okay for me. The worst I felt was the first 20 kms. And the group was skiing really slow. My shoulder held up pretty good. It is pretty stiff this morning, but no horrible.

There were close to 50 skiers at the start and lots more met us a various points along the trail. I’d bet over 100-150 people participated total.

I ski like a hack. One year, maybe 5 years ago, I skied a fair amount and got a lot better. But, that didn’t really show yesterday. I have no issue getting winded or tired. I have issues with synchronizing my arms and legs. Actually, it’s much more complicated than that.

Anyway, I met up with all my Kansas guys, Stacie and Karl from Louisville, plus Dennis near the turn around. So, I skied with them for a few k’s. Then we had lunch, which was great, a sandwich and hot soup from the Brick House Cafe.

Starting back, I just decided to ski and not stop. I left my guys early and skied straight to OO. I walked across the road and at the warming hut, Tommy Matush was there, ready to go. Tommy told me he was toast and I needed to take it easy. He wasn’t that toast, but he was teetering a few times. About 1/2 way back he said he had to stop for a Coke. He pulled a micro Coke out of his pocket and shared it with me. It was one gulp each. I hadn’t had a Coke for quite a while, it tasted pretty good. Another guy hooked up with us at OO, his name was Tristin. He was skiing pretty well. He said he was a cyclist from Chippewa Falls. It turns out he won the Fire House 50 this year. Tommy stopped a Mosquito Brook, so Tristin and I skied back to Fish Hatchery together. It was nice having someone to finish up with.

I can’t complain too much about yesterday. My back is a little sore, but that is from shoveling the roof. My biggest complaint is a blister on my right foot. Cyclists don’t get blisters. I haven’t had a blister in a decade at least. I was internally whining like a baby the last 10 kms. Plus, when I got back, one of my toe nails had turned blue/black. That isn’t a common occurrence either.

Today the temperature has dropped considerably. It is close to 0 right now. I’m going to go over to OO and do a ski clinic with Yuri Gusev from CXC. I’ve never really had a ski lesson, so I’m sure he’s going to rip my “form” apart. I’m a little worried about standing around too long in the cold. I hate standing around in the cold. That is one of the worst parts of this sport.

Tonight it is supposed to get close to -20. That is pretty cold. It is supposed to stay cold for the next few days. High below 0. Might have to snow shoe a little more and ski a little less.

Double Birkie Ski 2013 from Steve Tilford on Vimeo.

The group heading out from Fish Hatchery.

The group heading out from Fish Hatchery.

Bromont is pretty done every night from romping in the woods.

Bromont is pretty done every night from romping in the woods.

Double Birkie Day

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It’s way too early for me. I don’t very often get up before my body tells me to get up, well, sometimes my mind does, but I don’t like it much when I have to “force” myself to get out of bed. This is one of those few mornings. One thing good, it isn’t close to cold. It is already 25 degrees, with a high of 30. That is almost too hot.

One bad thing is I woke up pretty tweaked. I shovelled Dennis’ roof in the morning and skied for a couple hours in the afternoon. I think the roof thing was the main cause. Dennis doesn’t have enough insulation up there and he gets ice dams. So, we I shoveled down to the ice, then I’m trying to stay on the roof, with limited friction because of the ice. It makes legs wobbly. The skiing just adding the icing. My shoulder is not horrible. It is sore, but that is to be expected. We’ll see after skiing 7 hours today.

The group today is probably going to be pretty big. The early snow here has allowed a ton of people to get a lot of hours on their skis, plus the weather is good, but is going to get ugly tomorrow, so they probably would like to get a bunch of exercise before the deep freeze.

Okay, I have to cut this short. I have only 30 minutes to do an hours worth of stuff. I should probably wax my skis. They were waxed 4 years ago.

The snow is pretty deep on the roof.

The snow is pretty deep on the roof.

I left the snow on the eve so I didn't slip off when using the rake on the steeper parts.

I left the snow on the eve so I didn’t slip off when using the rake on the steeper parts.

Dennis gave Catherine a waxing lesson last night.

Dennis gave Catherine a waxing lesson last night.

Winter Wonderland

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We made it up to Cable late yesterday afternoon. This is Bromont’s favorite place on the planet, so he did his normal hour loop, checking out all his places. We put on some snow shoes and did an hour out in the woods. There is a ton of snow here, over 3 feet, so all the winter options are on. Dennis has been doing some pretty serious loops out there, so it wasn’t too strenuous.

Then we headed over to Cable to the Rivers Eatery. I could eat there ever night here. It is the local gathering spot, so you never know who you’re gonna run into. Garrott Kuzzy was there because his sister was getting married. Kuzzy was on the 2010 Olympic team for nordic skiing. I haven’t seen him for a while, so it was nice. Plus, of course, Mick and Beth, the propriators of the establishment, is the real reason to go there. We never get out of there until they have already been “closed” for at least 3 hours.

Bill, Keith and Catherine showed up before 10. Mick opened another bottle of wine and it just kept going. We got out of there before midnight and while the new imports from Kansas unloaded, I took a long hot tub. I’m going to be spending a fair amount of time in that this trip. My plan here is to do as many different physical exercises and motions that I can, to try to get myself back into some sort of balance. I’m so out of balance that it is going to have to work.

Tomorrow is the long ski. It is not going to be 90 kms. It’s probably only going to be close to 80. It starts at 8 am at the Fish Hatchery, near Hayward. Everyone is invited. I guess it is going from Fish Hatchery, up to the North End warming hut. Supposedly there is going to be some food at the warming hut, supplied by The Brick House, but I wouldn’t bank on that.

Okay, Dennis is making pancakes, so I’d better get in the queue.

Hawkeye came out to meet me this morning.

Hawkeye came out to meet me this morning.

Mick, Beth, Catherine and Bill at the Rivers Eatery last night.

Mick, Beth, Catherine and Bill at the Rivers Eatery last night.

Dennis starting his "famous" pancakes.

Dennis starting his “famous” pancakes.

We ran out of eggs, so Dennis called our friend George, who just lives through the woods, and he brought over 2 dozen eggs his chickens laid.

We ran out of eggs, so Dennis called our friend George, who just lives through the woods, and he brought over 2 dozen eggs his chickens laid.

Heading to Snow

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Packed up this morning and am now driving the 450 miles up to Cable to cross country ski for a while. There is tons of snow up in Cable , so that isn’t a problem. The problem is the temperatures. It is going to be okay through Saturday, then get super cold, like high temperatures nearly double digits below zero. That isn’t conducive for skiing. Guess we’ll be doing some snow shoe-ing. That is a pretty great work out in deep snow.

Bill, Keith and Catherine are headed up from Topeka, so we’ll meet up with them tonight.

I might of over did it yesterday playing Frisbee. Trudi’s nephew, Parker and I played in the street for a long time. My shoulder was telling me to stop, but I didn’t listen. Might be a bad trade-off for skiing all day.

That is exactly what is on the agenda for this weekend. Saturday is the double Birkie ski. That is big group ski of about 90 K. Since Telemark is closed, I’m not sure what the 1/2 way lunch stop is going to be. It usually takes 6-7 hours, so it’s a long day on your feet.

Okay, just a mobile update. Better get back to driving.

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Brrrrrrr……..

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Nice, behind the back, form, huh?

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Bromont’s position.