Saturday, January 31, 2009

Nordic Ski jumping

Jared and I went out for a Nordic ski today. Here is some of the video that we didn't shoot. Jared, however, did dig an edge in and fly 15 feet snow print to snow print.

Friday, January 23, 2009

They Call Me Coach

These picture shows a little about how I spend my afternoons from Nov. until Feb. This is from a Jan. 22nd classic ski meet I held on my school's campus. Great weather and fast snow.

My team is young. We were in the middle of the pack for our high school race, but took 1st with both boys and girls in the middle school race.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Kids on My Ski Course

Claire skied and Harris played. I gave the boy a shoulder ride while I skied around, so he didn't feel too left out.

Yesterday and Tomorrow

This inaugural eve has me excited about the future. Likewise, my middle school students from other language backgrounds hum with optimism about Obama.

In a belief based nation where our currency, banks, stock markets and government have value solely because people believe they have value, a positive outlook is essential.

Thus, it is fitting that the vision giving leadership of Barak Obama follows a day dedicated to the legacy of MLK whose "I have a Dream Speech" still inspires children.

Obama spoke the following words at a pre-inauguration speech.

As I stand here tonight, what gives me the greatest hope of all is not the stone and marble that surrounds us today, but what fills the spaces in between. It is you - Americans of every race and region and station who came here because you believe in what this country can be and because you want to help us get there.

It is the same thing that gave me hope from the day we began this campaign for the presidency nearly two years ago; a belief that if we could just recognize ourselves in one another and bring everyone together - Democrats, Republicans, and Independents; Latino, Asian, and Native American; black and white, gay and straight, disabled and not - then not only would we restore hope and opportunity in places that yearned for both, but maybe, just maybe, we might perfect our union in the process.

MLK's famous words,
I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal."

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification; one day right there in Alabama, little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Happy Feet Show and Tell

I have had problems with sore feet on long rides for years. I had numb toes for a month after my ride to Fargo a couple of years ago. Even with platform pedals and cushioned running shoes I have to stop every 30 miles or so to take the pressure of my feet.

With foot pain in mind, I borrowed Jared's Sidi Genius 5 shoes last year when I did the Ironman century. They were outstanding. I never had to think about my feet. I am signing up for the Ironman again this year, so I just put an order in for these shoes. $170 from Performance. Cheapest I've found in my size. Comfortable feet are worth alot.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

New BC Skis

After a long wait, I'm hooked up with new skis. These are made for on and off groomed trails. Jared has the same skis, older model. I used his on my trip to Itasca with a loaded pack. They are big boy tested and approved. I mounted the bindings last night and look forward to using them tomorrow. Hoped to use them today, but decided to let the glue cure fully. I'll go set a track for my ski kids.

The sales pitch for these skis goes as follows: "Face the downhill with confidence when you’re on the Fischer E99 Crown Ski. Full-length metal edges grab like mad so you can gracefully link tele turns down the hill. Mountain Crown scales bite into the snow on the flats and uphills, giving you unmatched traction on long tours, and air channels in the body minimize weight to help you conserve energy for a long day in the backcountry."

Friday, January 2, 2009

Skull Beneath The Skin

This picture is by artist Chitra Ganesh. While I'm not a fan of his art, I lifted the image from Boing Boing because it reminded me of the following lines from T.S. Eliot's Whispers of Immortality. A poem expressing that some beauty is temporal, and, thus to be appreciated more.

WEBSTER was much possessed by death
And saw the skull beneath the skin;
And breastless creatures under ground
Leaned backward with a lipless grin.

Daffodil bulbs instead of balls
Stared from the sockets of the eyes!
He knew that thought clings round dead limbs
Tightening its lusts and luxuries.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Winter Camping @ -27ºF

Monday 12-29-08 (High of 28º low of -2º)
I had a relaxing drive to Itasca State Park where I met my cousin Chip at the visitors’ center. We packed our gear and left later than anticipated heading to our campsite about 3pm. I skied and Chip snow shoed a hair over 1 mile into Coffee Break Camp site. This is a great summer camping venue. (Our location, however, becomes a factor on our second day.) We set up camp and went to gather firewood in a frozen marsh area that summer foragers couldn’t get to. We build a fire and visited in its warmth. Later, I slept well but got cold toes.

Tuesday 12-30-08 (High of 6º low of -20º)
I woke up feeling good and walked around a bit to warm up my toes. Chip and I hung-out at camp for a while and then hiked to the visitor center. We drove to the headwaters did a bit of 4 wheeling in a Porsche Cayenne, another of Chip’s amazing vehicles. The traction and stability control made it a super solid drive through ice and snow.
We spend some time drinking coffee near the fireplaces in the visitor center. To my surprise Michelle, one of the cool teachers from my school, climbs off a snowmobile and walks in. We stayed enjoying the hot coffee then head back toward our camp.
The temperature had dropped and the wind whipped up. We decided to build a fire and spend the evening at a lean-to shelter about a half mile from our camp. Despite two fire locations the wind kept blowing smoke into our shelter so that it was uninhabitable. We went to our camp and build another fire. The wind was coming right off the lake and nailing us on our exposed point of land. I didn’t feel too cold, but couldn’t feel any heat from our fire either.
Going to sleep scared me. The predicted low for the night was -18º. I was nervous about getting into trouble with cold. I didn’t bring my warmest sleeping bag, and felt like I was at my bags limit the night before. I wore more layers. Chip taught me a trick he learned mountaineering. I filled a couple of Nalgene water bottles with boiling water and stuff them in my sleeping bag. I put one by my feet and kept one up by my core. They stayed warm much of the night. I slept surprisingly well.

Wednesday 12-31-08 (Low of -27º high of 3º)
When I woke, I could tell it was quite cold. My thermometer was buried below the printed -20º. It took longer than usual to pack up. Fingers couldn’t handle more than a few seconds outside the mitten zipping or tying, and anything synthetic became stiff. I was unable to roll my tent tight enough to put in its stuff sack. This was not a miserable experience. We just slowed down, packed up and hiked out enjoying our surroundings with new confidences. After all we had Itasca to ourselves. We didn't know until later how cold it had been.