Showing posts from October, 2013


I don't have a lot of time for exposition, so I'll just get to the meat of my post. Beat purchased the most awesome expedition snow bike ever built, and today I took it for a test ride in Utah's San Rafael Swell.

Mike Curiak's purpose-built titanium Moots fat bike, nicknamed Snoots. Proven as a top shelf expedition bike when Mike rode it 1,000 miles completely unsupported to Nome in 2010, carrying 21 days worth of supplies. Why would Mike sell such a beautiful specimen? In his words: "I've owned this bike for a handful of years. Ridden it across parts of Colorado, Minnesota, Michigan, Wisconsin, Utah, and Arizona. And yes, all the way across Alaska on the Iditarod several times. The original inspiration to build and own this bike was so that I could ride from Ross Island on the Antarctic coastline, following the Overland Traverse all the way up to the South Pole. I spent literal years of my life following this dream — getting the body, bike, mind, and a…

Exploring Santa Cruz

Beat and I enjoyed a quiet weekend, working on a few projects and being lazy tapering for Frog Hollow. My friend Jan was in town for the weekend, and was interested in venturing out for a mellow ride on Saturday. Jan moved to Seattle recently and has been enduring autumn in the Pacific Northwest, so he was stoked about clear sky and temperatures in the 70s. He told us about the horrors of bike commuting in the cold rain, and I was quick to commiserate. "I lived in Juneau for five years. They get three times the annual precipitation of Seattle." Jan related his trials and I joined in with back-in-my-day war stories about showing up at the office covered face to foot in road grit and rigid, refrozen sheets of ice, which is what happens when it's 32.1 degrees and you ride a bike through three inches of slush, even with fenders. I'd have to stand outside the building until I peeled off the top two drenched layers, shivering with full-on convulsions as my extremities wen…

Fun in the pre-season

Even amid frigid winds and fog so thick it was visibly streaming sideways, I felt a tinge of disappointment when Leah suggested we skip crossing the Golden Gate Bridge and instead keep our Wednesday evening ride on trails within San Francisco city limits. She was feeling under the weather and I understood her reluctance to go out for hard climbs and descents on the exposed ridges of the Marin Headlands, but urban trails? How fun could those be?

We wound through the forested corridors of Golden Gate Park on sandy singletrack, then cut south toward Mount Sutro, a small greenbelt beside the University of California San Francisco. Foggy daylight faded to blue-tinted twilight as we climbed a narrow trail through a dense eucalyptus forest. Drooping branches and frayed bark captured the fog, which rained down on us as fragrant precipitation. It was a seriously spooky place, made more so by the fact that we were bound on all sides by urban jungle. I couldn't help but imagine creepers lur…

Running just because

Last weekend, after another hard rally up a mountain in Utah, I returned to find a text from Beat: "Yo, I'm signing us up for the 50K next weekend. That's what you get for not picking up your phone."

It's true that I'd expressed regret about skipping out on the Diablo 50K, and maybe I would enjoy going out for a long run in the near future. But in the very next breath, I reiterated our need to put in some more cycling miles ahead of Frog Hollow, and reminded Beat that my actual running mileage (as in, not hiking or scrambling or crawling) has been low since I injured my knee during the San Lorenzo 50K in June. My Iceland and European experiences were a different beast entirely, but running has remained on the backburner ever since. I've averaged one run a week, in the six- to eight-mile range. Not one of these runs has gone well. I felt sluggish on the climbs and tentative on the descents, got side-stitches and ITB tightness, became frustrated about my p…

Wasatch mountain bender

Well, I'm back in warm and sunny California after a great five days in Utah despite the disruption of my family's annual Grand Canyon tradition. I visited a couple of friends from college, did dinner and a movie with my best friend from high school, ate a few pounds of my mom's homemade pumpkin cookies, and binged on Wasatch mountain scenery just as autumn began its stark transition to winter. I got in 20 hours and 37 minutes of hiking over my five days in town — much of it at a similar effort level to the trail running I do at home, so it was a solid week of training, too.

Dad was coming down with a nasty cold but he rallied for a Saturday outing up the Cherry Canyon Logging Trail. This trail begins at a nondescript city park on the edge of Draper, about two miles from where my parents live, and climbs straight up the steep face of a mountain. On a good day one can ascend 7,000 feet to the top of Lone Peak, but we knew snow and ice conditions would prevent us from attem…

Shut down

Nearly every autumn since 2004, my dad and I have traveled to the Grand Canyon to hike from rim to rim. Traveling from Idaho or Alaska or Montana or California, rain or snow or 110 degrees at the Colorado River, south to north or north to south, hiking with a big group or a few friends or just my dad and me — I love our annual R2R. It is my favorite tradition. We always plan the trip a year in advance, and 2013 was to be a first for me — a Rim to Rim to Rim, over two days, spending a relaxing night with my mom on the South Rim before turning around and heading north again. But it was not to be. The federal government shutdown cut access to the Grand Canyon, and Arizona's deal to reopen it wasn't reached in time to save the trip. I already had nonrefundable tickets to Salt Lake City, so I decided to travel out for the weekend anyway, and salvage some of the tradition by spending time with my dad in the Wasatch Mountains.
Of course, I had to hit the double jackpot of bad timing…