Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Uh Oh….the 2009 AZ mountain bike race series starts in 17 days. I haven’t tossed a leg over a top tube except for a handful of times over the last six weeks and counting. Got my mind on my snowboard and my snowboard on my mind – what can I say? This is the thing that sucks about our AZ series – it’s geared (no pun intended) towards Phoenix and Tucson residents. They train their asses off Oct through December and are ready to rip in January. Us northern boys…….we pretty much get our behinds kicked until May and then kick the flatlanders to the curb for the final race of the series in Flagstaff in early June.

I don't have any pipedreams for the 2009 series. I'll be in a very competitive singlespeed category where the top 10 guys are consistently fast. Maybe by May I'll be near the top 5, so I'll put that out there so there's some accountability - and a reason to ride an indoor trainer in January. By July, I'll bring my A-game to Wisconsin for a 24 hour duo with Ace. Ain't goin' home without hardware. No how, no way even if we're pukin' up Accelerade at 6am. Then it's off to Big Steve's cabin (did I clear that with you yet Steve?) for a few days of legs-up chillin.

Left the house @ 5:15am, and as far as I know, the only other person on the road then is Big Steve. ‘Cept instead of driving to work, I was headed for a hike up the Bowl. The hike was tough today because I felt worthless and weak, but I made it up by 7am and took another 15 minutes to traverse the upper bowl in search of fresh powder. It didn’t look good – Strapped on the board and headed down. Other than about a 400 yard section, everything was pretty tracked out and crusty. Once I got to the groomed slopes the snow was nice so I just carved fast turns until I ran out of snow at the parking lot. We get more snow this weekend, so I’ll try and get back up on Sunday morning.

Me, D, & Lyza are all headed down to the 10:00pm ‘pinecone’ drop @ 10:00pm tonight. They do an early drop for kids. To be honest with you, that’s about as late as I want to stay up. Be safe everyone…Don’t be Sir Charles tonight.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

“Chris, I’m gonna be honest witcha’”

What the hell is it with this lead in to no less than maybe 20 conversations I had last week? Sure, a guy from Philly probably was responsible for 10 of those lead in’s, but this little “I’ll be honest with you” thing is becoming a farce. When people say it now, I kind of crack a smile and I had one guy say “did I say something funny?” I wanted to tell him, in fact my gut was burning to tell him what I thought was funny, but I didn’t – he was a guest.

I now assume that everything somebody tells me that doesn’t start with “I’ll be honest with you” is a lie. And guess what – that’s a pretty accurate statement. Especially in this business. Christmas Holiday complaints include:

· My skylight is leaking like a river!
To be honest witcha, you couldn’t fill a pitcher of water from it over 48 hours
· All of the heaters in my house don’t work!
To be honest witcha, it’s already 80 degrees but my kids want to wear new shorts
· We’re out of hot water – this is unacceptable!
To be honest witcha, we snuck 4 kids into the house and the hot water is gone
· The Lions are the worst franchise and team in the history of pro sports!
True, that is all too True, Fisher…..

I mean, aside from the anomaly above, how am I supposed to believe anybody anymore? I can't wait for January so we can get through the holidays and "this wretched year".

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

So I'm hiking up the slopes at the crack of smack AM and it takes me a full hour to catch two guys on skis who were skinning up to telemark down. I worked way too hard in my effort to catch them on foot - only 30 yards from the summit mind you - but I'm glad I did. After a few introductions at the top, I come to find out that one of the guys is a hand surgeon -and he happens to be Dr. Durham, who fixed my wrist back in 1997. Small world.

His expertise has allowed me to continue riding mountain bikes after a bad crash - pain free. I LOVE this guy.

Turns out he's already skinned up 8 times this winter.....damn, the mountain was only ready to ski down maybe 13 days ago. So tell me this, he makes bank, has a family, does complicated hand surgery and finds time to spend over 16 hours on the mountain over the last couple of weeks? How do I get me one of those jobs? Oh yeah - have natural talent, apply myself at an early age, and have a goal of what I want to do with my life. Whoops! I blew that one. Guess I better start working on that soon. I've barely made the time to get up the mountain twice and my job ain't 1/10th as complicated as his. Good on ya Dr. Durham. I love you, man.

The lifts were still
Trees dusted white
Moon above
White clouds below
The sun creeps up
but not enough
It's dawn
It's cold
Layin' down first track
Powder in the trees
Up to my knees
I'll be back
Merry Christmas from Flagstaff, Arizona
CB, DB, and Lyza B

Monday, December 22, 2008

My 41st B-day came and went last week like everything else in life – fast. It was a good day capped with cards, cash, and a coupla’ gifts from the girls. Lyza B got me a new pair of sunglasses that I had bought for myself on E-Bay, and D hooked me up with some nice new skivvies. Ellen managed to get my birthday card signed by a dubious list of B-list celebs like Swayze, Kip Winger, Brett Favre, Floyd Landis, Mariah Carey, Erykah Badu, Kid Rock, and A-listers Al Pacino and Keanu Reeves. It was a hilarious card that probably took her a while to assemble – thanks Sheck!

My planned hike up and down in the powder didn’t happen last Wednesday. Too many snowdays, and getting behind at work forced me to skip that attempt. However, we’re getting another 7-10 inches tonight and you can bet that I’ll be at the base of the resort at 5:45am (thank you Subaru). I did manage to hike up on opening day - Saturday morning - to the base of the upper bowl (11,500 feet) and was rewarded with some nice corduroy groomers to get those first choppy turns out of my system. Half way down I was feelin’ groovy and throwing down some deep carves until I got cocky, caught an edge, and went down like a sixer in a trailer park. Ouch – that one hurt. Dusted the snow off and continued on with more respect for the lower half of the run. Based on the tracks, I was the second person down that morning.

Yesterday, out of internal angst, I tried snowshoe ‘running’ last night having spent most of the day Christmas shopping and doing stuff around the house. It was a good workout, but not one that I could see myself getting into. It feels like a slogging death march, and there’s no high speed reward when you come downhill. D would laugh if I even suggested that I ‘ran’ in snowshoes because she knows how much I have gotten away from running except if a neighbor kid is talking trash – then I’ll giddyup and whoop his ass.

41? Just a number baby. So long as I’m still winning snowball fights, playing video games with my girl, and acting immature I’m in a good place.

Friday, December 19, 2008

3 Snowdays and a 2 hour delay

What a week. 24" of snow, Lyza is out of school for three days, plus a 10am start this morning. I can recall a few back to back snowdays in Minnesota growing up, but we never had a trifecta. Let's just say I'm a little behind at work, but, I should be able to make it up this weekend.

Have you seen this?

Snowbowl opens tomorrow with a 50+ inch base, yeah baby, game on. Time to put the mountain bike on ice.

From Bill Simmons: If I had told you in June that Brett Favre would make the Pro Bowl as a Jet and Aaron Rodgers would lead the Pack to a 5-9 record, including an 0-6 mark in games decided by four points or fewer, you would have responded, "And this was followed by Packers fans rioting all over Wisconsin, setting off cheese curd fires, littering the streets with dark beer and hanging themselves with XXXXXL replica Favre jerseys, right?" Nope. Not even close.

Monday, December 15, 2008

My own worst enemy

OK – starting at 12:00pm today, the National Weather Service is saying that we should expect 15-30 inches of snow in 24 hours, plus another 2-4 through Thursday. I drove the Subaru today, and left the rear wheel drive old fashioned car in the driveway as it would never make it back up the hill.

I missed the group of dudes who were headed to Sedona at 9:00am….so 1:15pm on Saturday afternoon and I am out the door. 32x19 so I have a little extra spin for this late season climbing finale, plenty of gear/layers, and unknowingly, a Camelback full of dogwater. Never start a ride with dogwater. I filled up a 110oz reservoir for this estimated 3.5 hour fun fest that hadn’t been filled in months – and it must have had some dust and funk in it because the water had this nasty, semi-solid, backflow sorta taste. D noticed it first when I crossed her path on her way back down from a trail run.

She had furiously chucked her water bottle at a dog she was running with to stop it from running back to the car. The stubborn old dog made a beeline for the prison fence about 3 miles into a run, but got caught by Warden Hard Ass D. She said “I wasn’t going to let this little shit wreck my run”. 8 miles was the plan…that dog hadn’t run 8 miles in a looooong time. At 5’ 3” D appears slight in stature, but don’t f*ck with her workouts. That dog learned her lesson. The owner had a 50/50 horrified – smiling look on her face when told of the incident, but was cool about it – I think.

Anyway, D took a sip of my water since hers was gone, and just about spit it out. Dogwater. I’ve tasted nastier water before, but only from the City of Phoenix faucets. Anyway – onward. The climb from my house to the top of Sunset Trail is about 8 miles, and about 1,800 feet. Once at the top, it was a snowstorm with around 2” of snow on the ground and more coming down. Traction was still fabu, but it was getting’ cold so I plummeted back down to 7,000 feet to the North side of Mt. Elden where the snow turned to flurries but it wasn’t sticking. Singletrack, sand, singletrack, rocks, and not a soul out there… was a great section of trail. The last part of the ride really took me down though. Two-track jeep road into a steady 30mph wind with some bigger gusts. I was standing and pushing that gear as hard as I cold at what felt like 4mph.

Almost exactly 3 and ½ hours later I rolled home and the euphoric feeling of a great ride was quickly washed over by dehydration, and exposure to the wind/cold. I had maybe downed 30-40 ounces max of that crapwater, a bar and a gel. Muscle aches, headache, and just a general “I feel like shit” kicked in. Plus my hot tub was about 5 degrees below optimal because I cleaned it earlier in the day….major white guy problems going on. The prescription for this was filled at Casa Bonita. A huge plate of enchiladas/beans/rice, 100 oz of beer and water, and a bowl of chips/salsa. By 8:30 I was feeling human again. That’s it for the riding season in Flag. With this snowfall tonight, we won’t see trail until March/April. It’s been a great season. Time to take the bike apart, clean-grease-repair-upgrade and fire it back up in a couple of weeks down in Sedona.

Snow day tomorrow – for sure. I’m sure I’ll drag Lyza down to work to shovel snow for a few hours and then we’ll head for the hills and do some sledding.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Got me a new baby Niece!

Callie Danielle Sulger was born last night 'round abouts 8:30pm. My sister and little Callie are doing great. 9lb 4oz. My sister grows 'em big. So of course I started thinking of nicknames right away.

Goin' Back to Callie
Callie D
(insert your nickname here)

Pics to follow, although all smashed head kids pretty much look the same. pink skin, dark know the drill.

Squirty and I are going to make many dozens of christmas cookies tonight and deliver 'em tomorrow 'round town. The snow should be falling from Saturday afternoon through the next five days. I may be able to skin up to the top of the Snowbowl on my birthday next week and get a huge powder run in. I've only snowshoed up and boarded down 2000+ vert of powder once. It took 3 hours to climb up, and the 10 minute ride down was like being on a magic carpet. Could I get that lucky? Maybe!

Best to my Sis, Bro in law Mike, newphew Troy and her new one Callie....can't wait to see you all 'round Christmas.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

I went down to see Yoda today. We played 5 games of racquetball and I took him in 4 of 5. He was tired...had been up since 4am lamenting the fact that the Sedona real estate market has been consumed by its own bad self. Yoda specializes in land sales - residential and commercial - and he couldn't tell me which was worse right now.

He brought his worries to our game, and because of that I got his "b" game today. To even things out, I brought my "b" game as well but for different reasons.

The guy brings out the best in me with regards to sportsmanship, and his game is a constant reminder to me to play in control, and play smart. Back in the locker room, he again laments about the sagging market - and he's upset that he brought that to "the one place where I usually forget about everything". I know the feeling, as I get that escape from r-ball games and tough bike rides. These days, that escape is pretty important.

I had to talk to my crew about potential layoffs, cut hours, and don't even come in to my office and ask for a new logsplitter - I'll buy you an axe and a hatchet instead. Usually I catch some slack time this year, the slow season, but I can already feel the ramp up to the reality of me covering extra shifts for laid off staff. The reality is that when the money is coming in, you can afford to make mistakes and everything is still fine. When money is tight, every misstep is amplified, scrutinized - and thus my back becomes a knot of sinuous material that keeps me up at night.

Got a nice ride in Sedona planned for Saturday - and I won't even remember this blog post for those 3-4 hours of shredding the Sedona red.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Proposed New Year's Resolutions

-Spend less than $86 at Starbucks

-Get Lyza on a board and into guitar lessons

-Patent my 'garage gym' training program, self-publish a book, and sell 100 copies

-Get a newer car before August when mine turns 300K - one that screams "mid life crisis"

-Evolve this blog into an actual website

-End up on a beach in Mexico for at least a long weekend

-Podium once, or twice - age group doesn't count

-Buy something on E-bay, use it for six months, and sell it for a profit

-Wear bib straps over a white T-shirt at a state series race

-See either Sara Bareilles, The White Stripes, or Night Ranger live

Monday, December 8, 2008

11 months + 6 days.....

5:30am rolled around and I found our team campsite at the Pemberton Trailhead. I'd had a calm drive out to the venue, and I was in a very relaxed and mellow state until I opened the car door and was greeted with Tool/Korn/Slipknot......everyone was mumbling and grumbling - fer crissakes I'd have rather heard some Beck, Big Head Todd, or even Barry Manilow. Save the TOOL shit for the start line.

Anyway, still mellow as jello, I got prepared and went down to the line with my teammate C-Dub. Gooooooo! He looked strong at the start and I waited for 1:02 minutes when he came in from the 15.5 mile lap. My turn.

I went with the 2:1 gear ratio and it paid off. I felt strong, rarely spun out, and never felt like I was standing too much at all. 1:03 for me. Back to C-Dub..1:04. Back to me 1:04......and so on. 8 laps later I came in at 4:12 pm and they were only allowing people to start a final lap up until 4:30pm. We figured we were 30+ minutes up on the 4th place team, and 10+ minutes down from the 2nd place team who had already departed for lap #9. We waited at the line until they called the race - high fived - and took a slow 3 mile ride back to camp savoring the highlights of the day. No mechanicals, no injuries, consistent lap times, great weather and a ridiculously fun course that offers everything Flagstaff doesn't have.....smmoooooth crushed gravel, endless water bars to jump on downhills, banked turns and sandy washes to mosh through.

Cat: Men's Open Duo - Singlespeed
Team: Numbnutz
Number: #269 (love the irony)
Distance: 8 laps, 124 miles in 8.75 hours

So I trained, raced, spent $400+ on entry fees and traveled over 1,000 miles for 11 months and six days to get a Pint sized beer glass that says 'third place' on it. Does that even make sense? I know it makes sense to D, Big Steve, Mr. X, C-Dub, EC, and Ellsie. Just livin' the dream baby!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Sittin', thinkin', drinkin'

Put the girls to bed 'round 9pm tonight. Lyza...tired from a good day at school. D....awaiting a new crown for a molar, getting hammered by the exposed nerve. After a couple of valiums, she passed out in a better state.

Me? Out to the garage for my nightly foray into the world of pullups and back exercises. Now I'm sittin in a recliner drinkin' 24 ounces of Tecate, reading Newsweek cover to cover with my old mp3 on random. Radiohead's "High and Dry" - one of the greatest songs ever recorded - comes on and I dunno....the articles talk about transition teams, Michelle Obama, bailouts, Pirates off the coast of Somalia and somehow it all seems OK. How is today much different from, say, 40 years ago? Just different problems and for the politically correct "challenges". The parallels between FDR's transition into office compared to Barack's are strikingly similar and - inspiring.

Me and Slacker Wilkens are jacked for Saturday's Dawn 'til Dusk race in Phoenix. I slapped a 16 tooth cog on the back for a 2-1 ratio for the SS since the course is a moderate climb, rollers and down down down to the line for a 15 mile loop. The 4th lap will hurt if we get to that point. There will be a big cooler of Mexibeverages and some tasty eats. It's December for crissakes - time to train like a slacker and get some AZ sun on my milk-toast Wisconsin-looking face.