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Saturday, December 26, 2009

Another great ride... oops, not a great ride without an endo.

Nome is notorious for sudden wind and ground storms. That was the theme today, blue sky above ground storm below. It's what can make travel so dangerous and interesting. Many a person has been caught in a sudden whip of a ground storm, including myself, it can be freaky and disorientating any non-windproof clothing you might as well be naked.

There is no cover, no way to block the wind and one mistake can lead to a very quick snowball effect. Today was pretty mild and I didn't go too far but its always good to get out in it.

Then it was a great moose roast with friends! I'm starting to like these Christmas Holidays...

Friday, December 25, 2009

Nome Christmas

A snow ride on a non-snow bike...

A nice sleigh ride...

A cool new first bike...

A scenic sunset over the Bering Sea...


Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Here's my secret to ITI training. Playing wagon airplane. Awesome workout.
Duration... 3 hrs, Weight... 25 lbs, Motion.... lift, up and down arms, Calories..... 23,000. A serious arm burn, lots of happy screaming.

After the wildly self-injurious 2008 ITI and minimally injurious 2009 ITI I am only now finally feeling pretty good on a bike. The feeling that biking is not just a sole means of pain. My main goal has been not to (re)injure myself before the next ITI. One way to do that is to sit on a couch till Feb but that's not really in my nature. I've been working on becoming more of a wanna-be-pseudo-biker-with-a-crap-bike. We'll see how it all pans out. Normally, I think it best to simply get out and do multi-day trips, gain serious altitude, be anoxic and have fun. But with a family everything is time management so I have these very high intensity, focused training sessions during the week balanced with a periodic full or half day completely geared bike trip on the weekend. It's been working well I think.

I get kind of bored, though, doing the same thing so I have two sort-of-outings planned for January that have been stewing in the recesses of my mind. The first is biking to White Mountain from Nome. It's 70 miles, on a trail. The trail is not well traveled yet so it would hold some good pushing and obstacles. It runs through my favorite windy bear (summer) infested blow hole of Topkok. The other is biking from Unalakleet to Shaktoolik. This I may do with some folks as part of my work travel. It's 70 miles roundtrip, obviously on a snow machine trail. Fun stuff, cross my fingers I can make it happen. Anyone interested let me know.

Sunday, December 6, 2009


To many, Sundays are a little dreary but it's usually my only really free day. It started off with a good morning making and baking pretzels with my daughter....

...followed by a nice solid four hour effort of biking and climbing. No muskox or dog encounters, bike rode fine (for a piece of junk) and the weather was perfect (for me) though a little warm.

Couldn't ask for a better day.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Whisper lite

Revelation #325: I am not an animal whisperer. In fact I think I give off a tasty scent of some sort or maybe just an odd odor. On Sunday, 13 miles into my bike ride out in the country, relatively in the Middle Of Nowhere (any distance greater than a few miles out of Nome feels MON) I was chased by angry dog #423 (not really that many but feels like a good number). Then about ½ mile later I turned a corner still looking back for the dog when a muskox charged me. I didn’t see them hovering off the road. It wasn't really that dramatic but I ended up turning around since they wouldn’t let me pass.... oh yeah and my freewheel was freewheeling. So much for the planned 40 mile outing.

Domesticlife is hard enough, so when wildlife interferes with my outings I'm not a fan. Lately, it seems every time I go out in the country it’s always something. Last weekend my free wheel started rebelling for freedom. What an odd feeling to anticipate resistant only to rapidly spin the pedals. Luckily they eventually engaged. Of course, after a week long weather bound stay in Gambell through turkey-giving I forgot about that problem. It sort of floated into the recesses of my mind and I sure wasn't going to let it stop my fun. That's one way to learn how to fix things I suppose, out on the trail in the cold.... sandwiched by a dog in pursuit and stubborn muskox.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Bluebird day

This is one my very favorite things about Nome, the storms. Finally after a month of mellow weather, this is my bluebird day and a chance to get out try some new gear. Three hours of 47 mph gusting winds in a snow storm is always exhilarating on a bike. Chris enjoyed his first taste of a winter storm in Nome.

Friday, October 9, 2009

In a van down by the...

Fairbanks. Hahnah sleeps in our magic van while I wait patiently for Sarah and The Box of Candles to finish the last "show" at the UAF Pub. It was a late event so I gladly hung out with Hahnah this evening. This week has been another whirlwind tour as usual but great fun. Pics to follow but check out Sarah's interview and photos on Wholewheat radio when we stopped in Talkeetna earlier this week. Thanks Jim and Esther for a great time and hospitality!!!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

On the road again

Not quite Willie Nelson but we are leaving Nome with a little Nome entourage for a music tour in Fairbanks. If you are in the area come see Sarah C Hanson and A Box of Candles:

10/5 Tues, 11am- Whole Wheat Radio Interview

10/7 Wed,6-8pm Lavelles
10/8 Thurs,7-9pm College Coffee House
10/9 Fri,9-11pm UAF Pub

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Just Moosey

Sarah recently was a finalist in a small business initiative sponsored by Norton Sound Economic Development Corporation. NSEDC deserves a good plug not only because they helped Sarah but they are probably one of the few for profit companies that help this region so much; rural clean up programs, education scholarships, grants, and they even recently donated a percentage of one of their boat profits to the Bering Sea Womans Group. Very cool.

It sure was nice to get a moose last weekend. Tyler and I headed out on Saturday early squirrely and by the afternoon tracked a bull and had it packed out by early evening. Lots of work but really worth it. Tastes so good and hundreds of pounds of lean meat where you know they are not shot full of hormones and antibiotics.

I was pretty rusty but between us we did a nice job getting all the meat out properly. The meat hung for a few days then Sarah and I spent last evening and well into the early morning cutting, packing, labeling and vacuum sealing the meat for the freezer. Quite the chore, I'd much rather be exploring than hunting but glad we have meat for the winter.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Old man candy, maybe no-so-good...

Over the past two years I have struggled to come up with evidence to support that Ibuprofen can shut down kidney function. It's certainly possible (according to research physiologists) but I have not heard much first-hand direct input... until now. I'm sure there are more out there but I finally read about a well known ultra athlete who had what he felt like kidney failure due to Ibuprofen. We had virtually identical symptoms except, like an idiot, I never went to the hospital or have my enzymes tested at the time.

I have researched my issue the past two years ever since ITI 2008 and repeated the McGrath leg in ITI 2009 to evaluate a recurrence. One interesting facet this year was that I did have swelling in Rohn and waited till it went down. It just so happened I took one 200 mg IB at Rainy Pass 16 hrs prior to the swelling and we all ran out of water before Rohn (dehydration + IB = no-no). I was ok in McGrath, just a little swelling in the knees and feet until I took an 800 mg dose of IB after the race. Then I swelled so much I looked like a freak. I even consulted some high falutin ultra-sports-university-research-Ph.D.-type-physiologists. While I sincerely felt like a catalyst of events led to an ultimate kidney failure that first time in 2008 all I really had was speculation. Particularly since swelling never presented itself in any of my previous trips, even during my 53 day kayak excursion.

I'm definitely no ultra runner nor follow those events with the exception of Geoff's blog and it was through his last entry I found the blog and article. I'm glad the runner will be ok but it sure helps me as I felt out in left field with my "theory".

Monday, September 7, 2009

Laborious Day

I am not much into hunting, however, filling the freezer with quality moose or caribou meat is always a good idea. Most folks use a motorized boat or 4-wheeler to get where they need to go. Not having any of the motorized fun toys I used both of my kayaks. I was hoping for a small enough antlered moose I could kayak out myself. To see if I could even haul 400-600 lbs in my boats I filled both cockpits full with water, I think there was easily about 50 - 60 gallons between them and it was entirely manageable but not exactly a good time.

It seemed fitting to go down to Topkok Labor day weekend to end the summer when I entered the summer down here on Memorial day. I haven't been back here since that bear encounter on the beach side. I was hoping the lagoon side was a little more bear-free.

It ended up being both bear and moose free (at least none I saw). Just some muskox...

.... and tons of cranes, geese and ducks. I'm not a big fan of the taste of wild bird so I didn't hunt those, though the north wind was so strong I doubt I would have hit anything flying. I stopped periodically and glassed all the willow creek beds almost up to the last lagoon before the cliffs. It was hard to get a really good look b/c the wind was so strong and the vantage points were low.

It ended up being a fairly labor intensive 10 hr 12 mile outing and was almost glad not to have to go through the tremendous effort of prepping then hauling a moose by kayak.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Summer week... ends

We had a small storm blow in the past two days and I always enjoy watching the surf. Today I did a little "extreme" logging of cutting up some wood while running from the waves. Never a dull moment.

Last week The World boat stopped in Nome. I saw this on the History Channel a while back and couldn't believe they were stopping in Nome. Pretty swanky with only 165 residents on this huge vessel.

Hahnah trying her hand at a mini banjo during Sarah's surprise b-day party last week.

Singing at Sarah's surprise party with Dave. It was a great time and I really have to thank everyone for making an appearance, it was a lot of fun!!

Heading to Unalakleet with my in-laws and family. Sarah's folks used to teach in Unalakleet in the late 60's and this their first time back in a loooong time. It was very cool. I also happened to live in Unalakleet for a couple of years, we know a lot of the same people, small world...

Unalakleet fun!

B$ cooking with laryngitis...

Monday, August 24, 2009

Sunday Trolls

Sunday's day-trip was worth a few pics with more than just my usual scenic shots. I, surprisingly, found someone who wanted to tag along. The unwitting individual was newly arrived Nome-ite, Chris, who was enthusiastically energetic about Nome’s outdoors. Normally, (b/c of the silly factor) my outings are solo but I think we both clicked because we are on the same wavelength.
Is it an alien?

The outing consisted of climbing up Mt. Osborn the highest peak (4,700 ft) on the Seward Peninsula. I have been up there a few times in various ways and in very diverse conditions. Some might consider our small elevations not "climbing" worthy but the Kigluaik Range has sharp faces, sketchy scree, loose rock, exposed ridges and it is quite remote. This wasn't so much a madventure as a silly trip... I didn't just want to hike into the valley and top Osbourne but I wanted drag, push, ride, kick my 26-er beater bike to the top of Osborne. The trail is virtually a non-existent 10 miles up grand central valley then a 2.5 mile vertical scramble up the southwest ridgeline. As most outings off the gravel roads there really is no trail through the tundra and is pieced together by luck, always fading old 4-wheeler tracks and plain ole willow-thrashing.

It was comedy at its best. We started out at 9:30 am and I managed to ride the first 5 miles before I found some tacos.

I just had to bring some part of the bike up Osborne so I grabbed the taco tire and strapped it on while leaving the bike till the return.

Chris (smartly) hiked so he didn’t have to worry about mutilating himself with bike parts. We continued on and the weather was a low 40’s that turned to low 30’s when we started climbing up the base of Osborn. The peaks were obscured in clouds and there was snow, something I didn’t really expect so soon.

With no crampons and entering a snow storm up top we stopped about 400 vertical ft (1/4 mile) shy of the peak. Too sketchy and too slippery for the last section up top.

It’s not the first time Osborn turned me back. We smoked it back down the valley with only one adrenaline rush with a bear cub encounter that had my heart racing wondering which willow momma was in?? We skirted the bears, I picked up the rest of my bike and dragged it to the truck by 9:30 pm.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

This summer has been fantastic for weather. After a busy day yesterday preparing for Sarah's songwriter showcase today was a wonderful 60+ degrees with little wind.... mostly. We played on the beach all day. One of the really nice things about Nome are the beaches, white sand for miles in each direction and the nearest person was 1/2 mile away setting a salmon net. We built sandcastles.

Later that day I was itching to go for a kayak on the ocean as my workout.

I expected a smooth hard paddle and got a great treat instead. At my turnaround point of 7 miles I noticed the west wind picked up considerably. On the way back it was a headwind and within 10 minutes the wind went from 10 mph to 20 to gusting 30 mph. It was excellent. Lots of breaking waves, hard exertion and a satisfying 3 hr jaunt. I had to look up the wind graph from 5 - 8 pm, perfect timing.