Monday, April 30, 2007

Mud season in Vermont

It wasn't all that muddy. This was the deepest we saw:

It was nice to go someplace NOT for a race or a training activity. I mean, we walked a lot, but thats not really training. I love Vermont, if only for the free buffet (some people call them samples) at the country store. They had fudge out! Normally its just cheese and dips. We walked around checking out damage from the last storm and taking pictures. There were a lot of trees down but nothing too bad.

This picture sort of sums up April in vermont for me--the maple trees are blooming and its getting warm, but there is still snow and its damn muddy. We went exploring where they had been doing some logging--although it wasn't as muddy as I feared, it was still pretty soft. Those damn northern states and their snow.

This is where we lived for two summers. It was great. We traded work on the house for rent. You can't tell from here but the house has a sweet new roof. This is the shower (outdoor):

Nothing beats an outdoor shower in the summer. Except for maybe grilling food on the rock and drinking beer on the porch. I posted more pictures on Flickr.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

How I sometimes join the ranks of the stupid people we make fun of

There was supposed to be this all-women's mtb ride at the Fells yesterday. I decided I would just ride from work. Its 9mi to work, 8.5mi from work to the Fells, and 12.5mi home from there. I figured thats only 30 miles of riding, even out of shape and with a little mtb ride in the middle, I can do that.

Being sunny in the morning, this girl left in shorts and a short sleeved jersey. Luckily, I brought gloves. When I left work, it was cold and raining. Now, the smart person would have gone home, taken a warm shower, and curled up with a mug of hot chocolate. I entertained that thought for about 17 seconds, and then decided, what's a little rain? Its not like I never train in the rain, I may as well get used to it. I'll be riding, I won't get cold. <-- this is what we call being stupid. Cold+wet+Alex=hypothermia and general miserableness.

Rode north to the Fells, and didn't really get lost, but definitely took a wrong turn. At 6:01, I realized I was all the way on the east side, which was not where the ride was leaving from. Managed to find a map (I had drawn one out for me, but I left it on my desk), and figured out where I had to go. I got there, and it was 6:20 and there were no cars. I decided to go ride on my own, since I was there. I figured that I could do a little ride, just to warm up in the woods, and then I would go home. I should mention that I was sopping wet.

About three feet into the trail, I realized my hands were too cold to shift or brake... I think it was about this point when my core started shivering so badly I couldn't stop my teeth from chattering. I was pretty much at that point where you become completely useless because you are so cold. I proceeded to call everyone I know trying to find a ride, because the prospect of riding 12 miles in the rain on a mtb seemed pretty bad... I wasn't sure I could do that, actually. Finally got through to someone, and while waiting for her, crouched over the sink in the ranger station bathroom with warm water running over my hands and feet...
I don't think I've been that stupid or that hypothermic in a really long time. I almost couldn't push the buttons on the phone. The kicker: I got home and there was an email from the girl leading the ride saying it was called off. This is bad experience number two (of two) at the fells. (The first one involved a bonk and being lost and riding in the dark with no lights). And I didn't even get to ride off road!

On a happier note, its sunny out (checked the weather; it will be sunny all day) and I rode my Pinarello in to work today, and its so smooooooooth. I think I'm in love. How come nobody told me how nice steel bikes are to ride??

Wednesday, April 25, 2007


I finally got the OK to ride a bike (finally being after not quite a week... I guess its not that long), so I rode in to work today. I want to go mountain biking in the afternoon, and its a lot closer to work than to where I live, so I rode in on my Aegis. As I was peacefully pedalling up a [the only] hill, a guy on a road bike goes by. Kind of fast. End of "easy ride" plan. As I actually put some power into the pedals, I realized that I really want to race. It doesn't matter how out of shape I am. I want to race! I guess this means I can start the skiing year. Mentally, I'm ready. Its time to start training.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007


I'm a little excited. I just bought a pinarello cross bike. We just looked it up. That frame is worth ~$2000 new... good thing it wasn't new! I have trouble finding small enough bikes, because I'm short, but someone advertised a small Pinarello bike on craigslist, so I went to go check it out. ASAP. I was worried someone else would snap it up. Its eight speed, which sucks if anything ever breaks, but it still shifts really smoothly (its not Sora eightspeed). And its BEAUTIFUL!! Definitely a steel bike... but god she rides so smoothly! I was able to talk down the seller to 700, which makes it doubly cool. I mean, I could have gotten a new bike for 700... a redline tank... or I could get a gorgeous steel Italian bike for 700. Not a tough choice.

The other great piece of news is that I am officially allowed to bike again! I'm just supposed to do the whole icing/physical therapy/stop-if-it-hurts deal. I can deal with that. Woohoo! New bikes!!

Friday, April 20, 2007

The Shin Report, Part 1

All that bandage for this little tiny cut. I was finally allowed to take the bandage off, and I could see what they did. It really doesn't look all that impressive. Not that I want to impress people with scars... So anyway, I can walk around now, albeit in a gimpy sort of way, which makes today incredibly difficult: Its beautiful out! No wind! Perfect biking! And I can't bike... arrrrrrgh. But, at least I can walk. Thats step 1, I guess.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Compartment surgery

Woooot compartment syndrome.

Yup, I had them cut open my shin. You can still see the iodine all over my leg. I can already kind of hobble around my apartment, so I bet I'll be walking around soon... it doesn't hurt too badly, but I bet thats just the painkillers talking.

Compartment syndrome, in case you don't know, is more common to runners than skiers, but skiers get it sometimes in the anterior something-or-other when they skate. Kris Freeman, Sarah Renner, Haley Johnson, Alison Flint, Ezra Hark (a mix of famous and less famous skiers) have all had it, and now they're all fast, except Ezra. (Sorry Ezra). What happens is that the muscle in a certain compartment, usually lower leg somewhere, tries to swell up bigger than the faschia that holds it in. This causes lots of pain and you stop skiing fast. To release the pressure they just cut open the faschia, and poof, you're better. In my leg, they found a slight defect in the faschia which had caused the pain I was feeling all winter in every skate race, because it was like a hole that the muscle was trying to push through. So, they just made the hole a lot bigger, and now hopefully the muscle will relax. I hear that this is often a very successful procedure, but I'll know for sure when I start rollerskiing again.

So for now I am just sitting on the couch, eating blueberry muffins (even crutches won't keep me from baking!) and drinking water. I still feel dehydrated. They tell you not to eat or drink anything after midnight the day before your surgery. That meant no water for like 12 hours, and MAN was I thirsty when I got out of there. Of course, it being free cone day at Ben and Jerry's, the first stop was free ice cream. Priorities, priorities :).

(Sorry for the inane drivel, I am on intense painkillers and I've been sitting on my couch with my damn leg elevated for a day and a half... this causes a little verbal diarrhea).

The Evil Side

Thats right. Me. I started a blog. I guess, like everyone else out there on the internet, I would rather fill up what little free time I have with mundane drivel about my life than do something productive. Like make chocolate chip cookies.

So I have a job, right now, but its only a year long position, and it ends right around thanksgiving. For those of you in the skiing know, this is prime early-season skiing time. So, in the strange world of Alex-logic, the timing is perfect to start a pro-skiing career. Am I good enough? We'll find out, won't we... this would be where the luck and the hard work comes into play.

So, for anyone (parental units) who is interested in my whereabouts, hopefully this blog will keep you updated if I forget to call you (Don't wait by the phone). I'll post a tentative schedule at some point, primarily of races. My big goal here is to prepare for the 2009 Ski Orienteering World Championships, in Sapporo, Japan. If you know anyone who wants to sponsor the US Ski-Orienteering Team... please let me know.