Wednesday, December 31, 2008

skiing random thoughts

man, skiing is so much better than running. today i went out for a 1 hour 25 minute ski. And, this was after about a month of very little training of any kind and eating like an absolute pig over the holidays. I took about 30 minutes nice and easy then found a perfectly groomed little 600 meter section and hammered it. Felt good, skied back to start then hammered it again and again and again. Its so fun to go fast, tuck around corners, glide down a slight hill, hammer another corner, then skate in to the finish. so fast, so free, so non-jarring (like running). Of course, skiing takes time - waxing skis, driving to a groomed area, getting the right clothes on, rewaxing, blah blah. running is nice because you put on shoes and go right out your door. But, on the best day, skiing beats running hands down. You can be totally out of shape and go out and cruise to a great ski for 2 hours. good stuff.

Monday, December 29, 2008

New Years Resolution

I'm in the same boat i was in last year at this point. A wimpy fall (coaching just takes my competitive testosterone away), too much holiday spirit (great food !!), too little time (school, work, kids, Bball games, etc.), and low motivation ... but, January 1, 2009 (wow, weird) is just around the corner. I'm motivated already just thinking about it. My general plan, as it was last year, is to hit it hard at the new year, eat right, drop about 10 pounds, do some short races, end the ski season at the Black Mtn 30k classic race then run my butt off. The spring will end with the Bayshore Half Marathon like last year, then some long runs, speed tuning in June and July and the Grand Island Trail Marathon.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

groove on

great snow, christmas break, groomed classic tracks and 18 degrees. could you ask for more? some pics of todays 18k ski.

Monday, December 1, 2008


Looks like December outside now !! Snow day today, no school !!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

rampin' up

i gave blood last week, plus had a very poor workout schedule in october and november so i'm SLOWLY rampin' up my ski time. I started with 30-45 minutes, but today i had a pretty hard 1:20 with some nice 4x2 minute hard sessions thrown in for fun hammering V2 almost all of it. Sketchy snow, but not bad considering its Nov. 30th. Pic below is on the Michaywe Lake, skied around it for 10 minutes or so ...

Monday, November 24, 2008

snow snow snow

Here it comes, another 6 inches of the wet, humid stuff. I didnt get to work out today so shoveling was my "core body workout." Just a few pics of the winter wonderland. It makes some people swear, but makes me smile.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Classic AND Skate

had a good classic ski yesterday and a good skate today. Funny, but i haven't done much in the way of ski season prep work this fall. No rollerskiing, no arm work, not much running ... but when you get on skis its amazing how fast you can go on efficiency alone. You don't need a whole lot of lung power unless you're racing really. Today I hooked up with some guys from the CCSS ski club ... skiing right here in Michaywe, pretty cool.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


I waited and waited, patiently, waiting ... until the ground froze. When you're 23 and it snows you ski immediately. Then you go home after 10 minutes because the ground is warm and underneath the powder is slush. Its demoralizing. When you're 42 you know better ... you wait. Today was the day though... 28 degrees, ground frozen, perfect skating conditions with about 3-4 inches of solid snow. Awesome. The pic is not from today, but its a good ski pic anyway.... Ski season has arrived.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

2nd snow

More snow today, but only 2-3 inches ... here are some pics of a little hike Harrison and I went on today ... just around our house here in Michaywe.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

fall's almost over...

33 degrees, just one degree from my favorite temperature, today. Fall's on its way out and winter is coming fast. 9 inches of the white stuff last weekend, rain during the week wiped it out, but there is a dusting on the front porch again now. We're due to get some flurries all week i think. That's ok, i'm ready to start skiing. The glide, the kick, the poles, the arms, the full body workout. Hard to describe the smooth, flowing feeling of power when you're skiing along and feeling good. Its ... its, just plain old good.

Saturday, November 8, 2008


And here are my wife's wooden skis circa 1979ish.


When my grandfather passed away last year I got his skis. He had them hand made by an "old Finlander in Ironwood" he told me ... I think he said that he bought them back in the 1970's or early 80's. The craftsmanship is amazing, bindings in great shape and I've got two sets of sweet bamboo poles to match. Maybe i'll ski the birkie on them this year .... I'll put them to good use Grampa.

Friday, November 7, 2008

back at it

Two runs in a row, back to back .... CC season over and i've got some time to myself !! gotta love it. Already thinking about a long run this weekend .... ah, yes.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

lazy lazy lazy

Since august i've been a lazy pig. once my high school team's xc season starts i get lazy. Its tough to find the time to train when you spend most of it behind a watch, timing them, encouraging them, chasing them, etc. But this weekend i got back at it with two nice hour runs. the leaves are changing, the temps are dropping, the outside smells great. its good to be back at it. today i was treated to 54 degree temps, some geese flocks headed south, lots of orange and yellow and red leaves, a wet packed trail and a great big lunch after my run. doesnt get much better than that. I should have probably gone rollerskiing to prep for ski season, but i just dont have the enthusiasm for off season work as i once did. I'll stick with running exclusively until the snow flies.

Friday, September 12, 2008


this picture has nothing to do with running, skiing, mtn biking, camping or being outside in mi. but, it is humorous.

Saturday, September 6, 2008


Today i got owned at the CHX MUD RUN. Its been a 5 weeks since my marathon and i've been pretty lazy. Most of the kids that i beat at the Alpenfest run beat me bad today ... oh well, that's how it is when the XC season starts. I'm in great shape in July, they aren't. In sept/october i start to fade (too little time to train properly) and they get fast because its XC season. 21:30 for 5k stinks. hahahaha. I did notice this older gentleman in the pic owned me too - but I must admit i've got a better beard growth going.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Assorted Pictured Rocks highlights

As we hiked up the hill to Potato Patch on day one of our pictured rocks hike we noticed a pretty substantial patch of THIMBLEBERRIES. The patch here was not quite ripe, but we did find one or two that were bright red and ready for eating. A bunch of years ago i camped in this particular campground and had a huge bowl of thimbleberry oatmeal! Thimbleberries are a species of plant very sensitive to air temps above 80 degrees and are therefore found only along cool stretches of Lake Superior shoreline.

As we hiked along past Chapel Beach and Chapel rock we finally came to the beautiful spray falls. Imagine what this tiny little river must look like in spring (say early May) when the 200+ inches of snowfall fills its tiny riverbed. It must be a huge eruption of water over the cliff's edge!

Filtering water at the lakshore's edge is a fact of life on a backcountry hike in the UP. To be honest, I bet you could get away with drinking lake superior water when you're 20 miles from the nearest town, but why take a chance?

Where else can you get 6 foot waves, 65 degree temperatures, and 20mph winds on August 9th? 12 mile beach, that's where.

There is something so elemental, so primitive, so soul quenching about sitting by a fire after a long day walking. Its the perfect end to a perfect day after a big meal.

Friday, August 15, 2008


Pics above are -
1. Blueberry Pancakes
2. Beaver Creek bridge
4. Miner's beach just before Potato Patch.

Well, after 8 days in the bush i'm back to reality... Spent four days hiking with Andrew then four more with the GHS XC team at our team camp - all in Munising!! Wahoo. Here is a brief report on the hiking trip.

Day One - We left Gaylord about 7am, arrived in Grand Marais about 10am. Went directly to the Grand Sable Visitors Center and registered, paid our fee, then ate up our sub sandwiches I packed up. ALTRAN (Alger County Public Transport) picks up hikers (for a $20 fee) and shuttles them from one end of Pictured Rocks to the other, so we ate and waited for it. We were on the shuttle at exactly 11:30 am and arrived at Munising Falls about 12:30. A quick bathroom stop and top off the water bottles and we were off!! Munising Falls has a small little visitor center with fresh drinking water so hikers don't need their water filters for a while. The uphill section to start off the trail is a bit of a tough way to start, but it simply takes you to the top of the cliffs then levels off. The first section over to Miner's Castle is pretty flat and has some nice waterfalls, views of Grand Island, boardwalks, and dense forests. The typical temperature here is around 65-70 degrees even in the heat of summer - Lake Superior breezes and dense forest shade ensure comfortable hiking. The cool temps also foster the growth of some plant and fern species you won't see many other places in the midwest - Thimbleberry, Devil's club. We arrived at Miner's Castle in about 3 hours (7 miles exactly) to FRESH drinking water, bathrooms and an amazing view of the rock formations. There is a small visitor center here and if you forgot a book you can purchase one at the store! Civilization in the wilderness. After refilling the water bottles we hit the downhill to Miner's beach, crossed the Miner's River, and hiked the last 1.8 miles to Potato Patch - our desination campground for the day. The last 1/4 mile uphill is TOUGH going, but worth the view at the top. After dinner (seafood shrimp and crab on rice with fried onions) we went down to the beach and watched the sunset and explored the rocky shoreline. On a calm day you can go out to the point to the east. We hit the beds early today as we were pretty tired.

Day 2 - Potato Patch to Coves. This was by far our longest day of hiking over the toughest terrain - 12 miles of up and down hiking over roots, twists, and turns. Luckily there are beautiful sights every mile of two so we could stop, view, eat, drink and take it all in. Andrew's knee started to bother him a bit so we took it nice and easy with a good hour break at Chapel beach and tree. Arrived at Coves Campground about 5pm for a great dinner.

Day 3 - Coves to Benchmark. Flat flat flat but a bit sandy here. Right along the lakeshore with great views and cool wind. A few times we got downright chilly !! Funny feeling in August. Andrew's knee felt much better so we covered the 10 miles in about 4-4.5 hours. Packs feeling lighter all the time. Nice bridge at Beaver Creek, blueberries everywhere, amazing lunch of sausage and cheese and crackers at 7 mile creek made it a great day.

Day 4 - Up early and outta there so we could get home early. 8:30am start got us to Grand Sable visitors center about 12:30. We covered a good 10 miles quickly with some short stops at the lighthouse on Ausable point, Hurricane River (awesome), Log Slide (what a view). The trail here used to followed the road betweeen 12 mile campground and Hurricane, but they've since put in a new trail that goes through some old growth Hemlock that is beautiful. Quick wash up at the visitors center and off to the Dunes Saloon for lunch - !!! MMMMM GOOD way to end the trip.

Sunday, August 10, 2008


just back from our 4 day trip, here's the two of us just starting the hike (43 miles of fun) and ANDREW on the GRAND PORTAL. His, and my, favorite spot. amazing trip.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

HERE WE GO !!!!!!!

Pictured Rocks here we come, 4 days with my son Andrew, followed by 4 days with Gaylord's XC running team. Wahoo !!