Tuesday, November 30, 2021
Sunday, November 28, 2021
Wednesday, November 24, 2021
Tuesday, November 23, 2021
Early on in my climbing I had read somewhere that one of the great alpine climbers of the 1920 or '30s said, "where there is snow, I can go". That to me was imagination, as silly as it sounds now. That quote opened my eyes to what might be possible. Then as now I do a lot more reading than actual climbing.
But it wasn't long after reading that I went looking for snow to climb. The quote might well have been from Wilo Wasenbach.
If you have been around the climbing community long enough if becomes pretty obvious it can be a dangerous sport no matter the level you climb at. The higher the level of your achievements puts you at a higher level of risk. It doesn't take much research or experience to see that many of the "best" in every generation of alpine climbers don't generally live full lives.
What I am really thankful for, isn't the technology advances that a good many climbers have brought to the sport but the level of imagination they bring to do things differently. Making adventures and efforts once thought impossible, eventually common place. Even if those sorts of efforts were only being done by a very capable few.
The inspiration you get for free. And often as not that will still spark my own imagination and give me a goal to aspire too. It doesn't have to be a cutting-edge goal. Just a goal. For that I am grateful.
Monday, November 22, 2021
Bear with me ;)
10 years ago I came home from the Alps tired and not recovering well. One of the toys I had to play with trying to stay on top of my efforts and recovery was a polar heart rate watch. I'd used in in Triathlons and running in general prior. And I'd used a Mio HR monitor prior to that.
I was lucky enough to be sponsored by Polar for a few seasons and had great faith in the Polar products because of their support.
I am genetically blessed with a resting heart rate of 44 to 46. So when I couldn't get my heart rate below 60 after any of my efforts in the Apls (and none of them I'd consider BIG efforts) I figured I was just burn out, and needed some time off and a rest. That as in April. By June my resting heart rate was still in the low 60s or high 50s. Still not good enough. I just kept blowing the discrepancy off to no working hard enough and by mid-summer intentionally being a lot less active.
My annual physical is in Sept. every year Even my GP thought I was healthy but thought I should see the ENT guy for some swelling on th exterior of my neck. I was getting concerned as my throat and side of my face's symmetry seemed slightly off. Enough that I could see it shaving. Thankfully a Physician Assistant (who had previously been a MD in Russian) knew what he was looking at. it was bad enough that 48 hrs. later I was in surgery for stage 4 throat cancer.
I knew there was something wrong. My resting pulse was sky for me. I was lucky my cancer was caught before it could go any further or get any bigger.
Neat thing about the older Mio HR monitors was it didn't need chest strap. The Polar HR monitors did. They are a pain to use. But not enough of a pain to ignore one. I'm glad I didn't.
Today? I bought my wife a Fitbit watch not long ago to help her on her own fitness program. Turns out she really likes it. The little watch tracks her steps, her HR and he sleep patterns. Handy tools all if you wonder why you aren't feeling as healthy as you might.
I found myself a little jealous of a little watch that does so much. I have my own testing and endurance data going back to the '80s. And I like making comparisons to a 40 year younger version of me. Even more so with some of the health issues I've worked through.
Which got me thinking a watch HRM might well be a handy thing. Might just tell me when i ma stoking out on the side of a hill or the ditch where I fell off my bike :)
So the bike? (follow along I'll get there eventually) Power meters 10 years ago were very expensive. I always wanted one to up my training but never had the coin I was willing to drop on one. Turns out the price has been chopped in half these days and better yet the data is even better.
Recently I was wanting to rebuild one of my 10 speed Cervelos and though the addition of a power meter would be a fun toy at 1/2 price while doing that. And it was. I learned more from 5 ride on a power meter than i had on years training with just a HRM. Basics is by the time a HRM shows you have blown up you have pretty much toasted the effort for the day.
A power meter can tell you how to ride a fine line and never intentionally blow up if you are paying attention. I ended up buying a Wahoo Element and a Quarq Power meter. If nothing else I wanted to see just how different the power of each leg was after breaking my pelvis. No additional straps and the Element takes care of the rest through a phone app that you can study and apply at home.
I was liking the power meter a lot and learning from it. It didn't take me long to start thinking GPS tracking of my actual ride would be pretty cool. But I wasn't interested in another computer upgrade. I also started thinking a no strap HRM and the addition of a I phone might be really handy climbing, running, and swimming. Might be a few other things I could use it for as well. I'd seen them from Garmin and Yahoo and thought what a waste of money originally.
I had ended up with a good size credit at my LBS selling my tri bike. On a lark really, I bought the Yahoo Element Rival watch.
On the best purchases ever for me. If I had known I'd likely not have bought the power meter. I am still learning how to run the watch but so far it gives me way more info than I can use at the moment for training and a GPS route of every workout with a lot more useful additional data.
I like tech tools that surprise me and help me do more with less. I like knowing exactly how my main machine is working. The Rival makes that happen. YMMV.
I've never been on terrain skiing in North America or the little bit in South America where I really thought I need a technical tool in my hand let along on a harness or in a pack.
France? I can't say that. Stuff gets skied most every were that would likely scare me bad, put me in a pity party and really wanting a rope. Just seems to be easier to access and more common in Chamonix for me. But one thing for sure it is not common need for me.
I used this axe from Camp on a trip of the Classic Haute route from Cham to Zermatt. It never came out of my pack on the couple of small bits of boot packing we did.
Thanks Anthony! Among others Colin, Ueli and Kilian have been standouts for adding new techniques and specialized gear for us all in the last decade and more. Fun trying to keep up! (with just the gear)
Nomic weights are a perfect fit on the Gully tools. And an obvious advantage in anything but neve conditions.
Sunday, November 21, 2021
I still have a pair of size 29 Alien 1.0s I'd like to sell. Still pretty much new. I used them one long day in Cham. My feet paid the price. No booting in them. Just too narrow for my feet but I sure wish they weren't. $470 for the boots with a new and spiffy pair of the Lycra gaiters included. I'll pay the postage in the US. This could be a real score for some wanting an extremely lwt boot that skis really well.
The last time I wrote seriously here was in 2015/2016.
I had left Chamonix in the Spring of 16 burnt out and sick. I had bailed on a 6 week pre paid trip less than 3 weeks in. Heart breaking for me. But my heart, soul just weren't into it. I needed a change in life style.
Buy the Fall of 2016 we had sold our home of 25 years and moved 500 miles south west to the Idaho desert. No real snow close to speak of ( really Rainier and Alpental were close) and what therefor snow is goes fast in the Spring. I am close to the Sawtooths, and the Tetons. Sun Valley is just up the road. Haven't been. And we are close to where I grew up as a kid, or at least closer than the Cascades.
Moving was wonderful change of place and pace for our family. The family grew by 5 more horses on the way. For a total of 6. The new 5 all under 4 years old then. Now we ride them all. We adding acres of hay to nurture, cut and bail twice a year, water to run during the irrigation season, May to November. and horses to feed every day, twice a day.
Less than a year later (Spring of 2017) my wife got in a horse wreck riding in a remote section of the Snake River canyon. A badly broken the pelvis the result. A harrowing day followed with a life flight at the end of it. Two surgeries and a month in the hospital and then months of rehab followed.
Almost a year to date (Spring of 2018) I broke my pelvis but thankfully not as bad. And I was "lucky" enough to do it in our arena, a few feet from the back door on our house. No surgery but again months of rehab. Tracy likes to refer to it as pay back for not taking better care of her the first time around :) Truthfully? Knowing what a broke pelvis is like now....I should have been a lot nicer and way more helpful!
And you thought climbing was dangerous?
Today were are both back on our bikes and running again. Life is good. And I feel like writing again with new adventures just around the corner coming up.
I get an occasional question here on the blog. They always surprise me. I really thought Cold Thistle would just cease to exist. I have only ever written about what interested me. If anyone else found it helpful or entertaining that too generally just surprised me. Eventually a few folks saw what I was doing and spun their own web and most of them were doing it better with some rational behind it besides "just for fun". Good for them!
I had a question on skimo race suits today. Which I actually know very little about. But I have two of them and I like to use them on occasion. You can search that topic here but what I have is a Dynafit suit and a Camp suit. The Camp is 8 years old now and the Dynafit almost 6 I think. Likely made in the same factory but also slightly different. Both are good from my limited use.
If I were looking for a new one today I'll head to: Men's Race Suits (skimo.co)
They'll answer most any question you can ask and should be able to sort you out quickly.
Race suits are an acquired taste. But once you try one, you'll likely know pretty quickly if it is for you or not. The cost seemed a lot of money at the time. But I've also got a good deal of use out of them and will continue to for some time yet. Money well spent for me. If you wear Lycra on a bike you are probably doomed to own one. And they look cool on any boot pack :)