A journal of living outside

Fraser River Sturgeon

Posted by bckcrainbow on September 26, 2012

Finally got a photo of the sturgeon I caught in the Fraser River a few weeks ago. They really are an amazing fish. And since they are now a protected species it is cool to know it is still swimming around the Fraser gorging on salmon carcases.

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Labour Day long weekend

Posted by bckcrainbow on September 18, 2012

Turned the Labour Day weekend into a 5 day holiday at Cluxewe Resort on northern Vancouver Island. I fished lots, here are a couple photos.

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Multisport TNR

Posted by bckcrainbow on August 15, 2012

Last night was the annual TNR multisport race, paddle-run-swim-run-paddle. My paddling seemed off a bit more than usual, many guys got to the beach ahead of me. But my running was good…seems my legs have mostly recovered after the active weekend of running, paddling, rollerskiing and hiking. The only bummer was having to use 1 hand to hold up my shorts while running, didn’t have a draw string so they kept sliding down. Before jumping in the water for the swim took off the outer shorts and stuck them in my inner shorts…then gave them to Kim to bring back to the dock…thanks Kim. I think only Gareth made it to the water before me, but while I breast stroked the swim trying not to drown most of the guys I passed on the run blew by me in the swim leg. But once back on land I took off again. Gareth finished well out front. Race results.

Loppet season is still a long way off but the race schedule has now been posted. Couple changes this season, the Cariboo and Nickel Plate loppets are both scheduled for Feb. 9…bummer as these are probably Katja and my 2 favourite races. Too early to say which race we’ll do. Also the Overlander loppet has been moved earlier in the schedule, to Feb. 17. This will give us a 30 km skate loppet 1 week before the 50 km P’ayak skate loppet. I really enjoyed the Overlander loppet course this past winter but found I was quite tired still from the previous week’s P’ayak loppet effort. The new date will allow me to be more fresh for Overlander and will be great preparation for P’ayak.

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Posted by bckcrainbow on August 13, 2012

After my initial freaked out ski at Seymour demo forest I’m now comfortable descending the hills. I still ski early in the morning before the trail gets busy. On Saturday I did 2 laps, didn’t set any speed records but trying to get my body and perhaps more importantly my mind accustomed to training/racing for longer periods of time. The 2.5 hour ski went well, with the exception that I broke a binding changing skis at the far end of the trail. Fortunately only half of the heel portion broke so I could still ski the 9 km back to the car. On my way home stopped in at Deep Cove Outdoors where Bob replaced my binding so I’m good to go again.

Did 6 hour hike of the Howe Sound Crest Trail Sunday, legs are feeling it today!

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Summer snow skiing

Posted by bckcrainbow on July 31, 2012

Wanna see where we skied July 5-7 in Alaska…check out this video!


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Rollerski in the forest

Posted by bckcrainbow on July 29, 2012

Have a new favourite place to rollerski…Seymour Demonstration Forest. Actually it is an excellent place to cycle too, which Katja and I did Saturday. After riding the road Saturday I was a bit (a lot?) worried about some of the descents, one in particular with a relatively sharp right hand turn at the bottom. We really flew down this hill Saturday on our bikes, and without brakes I was wondering how I’d manage on rollerskis. The  fellas I was going to ski with didn’t make it so I headed out on my own. Was anticlimactic actually, the descents were not an issue since there seemed to be a flattish section after each hill to slow me down before having to negotiate any corner. The biggest challenge was to get slowed down at the speed control barriers blocking the road early on. Just barely got slowed enough to step between the barriers…not sure why they chose to put these things in the way. I was less tentative on the return trip so made it out 3 minutes quicker. I’ll definitely be rollerskiing here again.

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Alaska adventure

Posted by bckcrainbow on July 23, 2012

After something like 8 consecutive weekends of fishing in the Merritt area we changed things up a bit by going to Alaska for a couple weeks. Leaving the fishing rods at home, on this trip we skied, hiked, flightseeing toured, boat cruised and camped with grizzly bears. So how’d we end up in Alaska? Found an ad on FasterSkier about a masters training camp on Eagle Glacier hosted by Alaska Pacific University’s ski club. Neither of us thought we’d be interested to ski in July, but the prospect of spending 3 nights atop a glacier and skiing in bluebird conditions amidst stunning mountains was too much to pass up. And Katja was keen to check out the Alaska bear viewing scene. We met our fellow ski campers on the APU campus Thursday morning (July 5th) then we and our gear were shuttled to Girdwood, about 40 miles south of Anchorage. The weather cleared just enough to allow the helicopter to take us up to the glacier, despite the strong wind atop the mountain. The flight is only about 10 minutes and was quite exciting in that it was the first chopper flight for many of us. The facility on the glacier is quite amazing considering where it is. Apparently the military devised some creative training missions to justify using their powerful helicopter to hoist much of the equipment up the mountain, including a couple trail grooming machines. The house is really comfortable, having many rooms of bunk bed and a small work out area complete with some weights and a couple stationary bikes. Downstairs on the main floor there is a very well stocked kitchen…there was no shortage of food for the hungry skiers, there are many tables for eating and multiple couches and chairs to lounge on while watching technique lessons on the big screen tv. And there was a very effective drying room to get our gear ready for the next ski session. There was even a sauna. Thursday afternoon, Friday morning and Saturday morning we skated, while Friday and Saturday afternoons we skied classic. That turned out to be a lot of skiing, and by Saturday afternoon my body had enough and was starting to shut down. It was such a nice place to ski that I wished my body was ski fit enough to stay out longer each session on the snow. I managed to ski about 8 hours over the 2.5 days, which is more skiing than I did over that period of time during the peak of the last winter ski season!

Despite being early July we got snow nearly every day or evening on the glacier. The first session we skied in near white-out conditions in blowing snow, pretty much skiing from trail marker to trail marker while bundled up for protection from the wind. When the skies cleared the scenery was stunning, an awesome winding track carved into fresh snow surround by rocky outcroppings, seemingly endless mountains and a wicked view down to the town of Girdwood nestled in the valley near a long fiord named Turnagain Arm. At times rocks could be heard tumbling down cliffs above the moat, a deep glacial trench surrounding one of the large rock hills. It really is a special place…I felt so privileged to be there. A close second to the magical location of the skiing on the glacier was the group of people we shared the experience with. Our fellow ski campers were an excellent group, each of them contributed to making this trip a highlight to remember. I especially enjoyed chilling out together after a great ski and listening to awesome stories shared by the group. The folks who ran the camp did an amazing job, they worked tirelessly to ensure our experience was as good as it could be. Erik, Dylan, Greta and Mike clearly love what they do, they were always so positive and helpful, even though they were busy all day and a good part of most nights. They were up early to groom the tracks for our morning ski and prepare breakfast, then they’d come out and help us with our technique. Then after lunch while most of us napped they’d be out setting tracks for the after classic session, and again they’d ski with us. They are amazing people, cannot thank them enough!

I’m still digesting many of the technique lessons taught by Erik and the gang. Some of the tips I was able to incorporate immediately while others are going to take much more effort. Erik Flora coaches this season’s world cup champion Kikkan Randall and the APU coaching team has developed and adopted very specific and in some cases rather unique skiing techniques. I’m hoping to be able to work on incorporating some of the techniques to my rollerskiing in advance of the snow ski season.

The cool level of the rest of our trip stayed really high, including a flightseeing tour around the lower peaks/glaciers at the foot of Mt. McKinley, a boat cruise to remote fiords to watch calving glaciers, orcas, humpbacks, sea lions, sea otters, mountain goats and many kinds of birds then topped it off which a remote fly in camping trip to hang out with a bunch of grizzly bears. Katja took a ton of photos and should have her photo essay up on her blog soon.

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Favourite loppets of 2012

Posted by bckcrainbow on April 18, 2012

Now that the ski season is over I took a few moments to look back at the loppets I did, and ended up working out a system to rank them. I came up with 5 criteria to rate the events:

1) Snow conditions

2) Loppet course

3) Loppet competition

4) My race experience

5) Loppet atmosphere

Each event was graded as:

1) Excellent

2) Above average

3) Average

4) Below average

5) Poor

The results for the loppets I did gave the following ranking:

1) Nickel Plate Loppet (6)

2) Sovereign Lake Loppet (7)

3) Overlander Loppet (9)

4) Reino Keski Salmi Loppet (11)

5) The Woppet (14)

6) P’ayak Loppet (16)

What were your favourite 2012 loppets?

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Last ski of the season

Posted by bckcrainbow on April 15, 2012

Skied Cypress this morning with Guy and Trish. TM was skiing without poles and I was impressed at how well she was able to skate up Powerline without poles. GL and I headed to the upper trails where the fog somehow got even thicker. Guy was a climbing machine today, I lost sight of him in the fog on the climb up to the peak…I even stopped a couple times hoping I could wait for him to come back down…but he was graciously waiting for me at the top when I finally arrived. After blindly descending from the peak we did a bunch of laps of the triangle lakes trails where once again I was working hard to keep GL in my sights…he slowly distanced me on each lap, although I seemed to catch up on the biggish descent…bit of a surprise if my skis were faster since I hadn’t touched then since the week before The Woppet, and even then I only had soft CH10 wax, followed up by some liquid wax that I put on for The Woppet…was too lazy to do another hot wax. I still had great structure showing so maybe that was helping my descending speed. After GL and TM left I did another couple laps of the standard loop, then called it a season for snow skiing. Was really nice skiing with Guy today…I am a strong believer that training with others is an important key to improving. Maybe next winter some of the nordic racers would like to make group training sessions part of our loppet preparations.

Rather than hit the lake this afternoon for a short paddle we ended up prepping the living room for its new paint coating…an activity that is surprisingly taxing.

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Allouette River

Posted by bckcrainbow on April 14, 2012

Paddled my Neloski on the Allouette River this morning. Katja, John, Jim, Ian and Jan did marathon K1 racing, well, John was on his surfski…and he got to spend the afternoon repairing the hole in his ski after a log decided to place itself directing in the path of his rudder. I paddled upstream exploring the different arms of the river, turning around when the water got too shallow. Really nice place to paddle…although at times it feels like paddling in a really big ditch. Would be an excellent place to paddle a marathon C2, so many arms and backwaters to explore…could imagine some quite creative race courses. I paddled downstream of the launch to where the Allouette flows into the Pitt River. There was a pair of swans defending a patch of the river, making themselves look really big by fluffing up their wings and flying low to the water smacking their feet on the surface…makes surprisingly loud noise. I’ve seen the damage an aggressive goose can do to a K1 after one poked its beak through Katja’s boat a few years back. These swans were nearly double the size of a goose, and were chasing away geese from their area…so I didn’t stick around to see what size hole a swan could put in my neloski.

Sunday the 15th is the last day for Nordic skiing at Cypress, so I’ll be heading up the hill for one last ski for the season…then it’ll be rollerskiing, but that will have to wait for another post!

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