Sunday, November 17, 2013

Backcountry Touring Ski Comparison Chart 2013-2014

If you ski stuff like this, you may need a new pair every year.
If you did any backcountry skiing in December or January of last year, chances are that you took more core shots than face shots and ruined an edge or two.  It might be time to buy a future pair of rock skis.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Richmond, VA: Buttermilk and The Unpainted Two-By-Four

Remember to yield to this dude if you see him on the trails.

I rounded what I guessed would be the last in a series of switchbacks on my way down a steep embankment to the James River near Richmond, Virginia.  I was already well behind my seat to compensate for the steep downward angle and travelling beyond a comfortable speed.  Ahead of me appeared a wooden ramp structure with one more ninety degree turn.  A single two-by-four was all that stood between my inertia filled body and a ten foot dive onto rocks and pavement below.  As my tires skidded onto the dirt covered wood it was all I could do to keep them from locking.  As I looked ahead at the fast approaching two-by-four, I couldn't help but notice that it was conspicuously fresh looking and unpainted.

I clearly wasn't the first person to test that ramp.

Friday, August 30, 2013

2012 Scott Spark 29 Elite Review

The Scott Spark 29 Elite

As a general rule, it isn't a good idea to chase freeride bikers on a 100mm cross country bike.

It was early on an August Friday morning and I had Burke Mountain to myself.  I had climbed up the CCC Road to the entrance of Lower J-Bar without seeing another soul when I rolled up on four guys getting ready to drop in on the morning's first run.  I was looking decidedly cross country while they looked like they had just stepped out of a game of Halo.  The 100mm of travel on my 2012 Scott Spark 29 Elite was contrasted with the full 5+ inches of coiled suspension that adorned each of their rigs.  We exchanged pleasantries as they adjusted their full face helmets and armor, and with a wave they dove down the trail catching air on the first drops.  I rolled up to the edge of the CCC in my lycra shorts and flimsy powerdry t-shirt, as they hooted and hollered somewhere down the trail below.  I gave them a good ten second head start before launching onto the hard packed dirt below.  Cross country bike or not, I was determined to catch them.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Sacandaga Area Trails: The Pine Orchard Odyssey

Brian points home  "Why can't we go that way?"
At some point in your mountain biking career you're going to learn a lesson about snowmobile trails.  Hopefully that lesson won't be in a classroom full of muddy, poison ivy infested swamp ruts with mosquitoes and deer flies.

Friday, July 26, 2013

A Weekend on the Sacandaga: Double Rainbows

Hypoxia awaits.
Out of the people that ever were, almost all of them are dead. There are way more dead people, and you're all gonna die and then you're gonna be dead for way longer than you're alive. Like that's mostly what you're ever gonna be. You're just dead people that didn't die yet.  [Louis C.K.: Hilarious, 2011]

Although a bit overly morbid, Louis C.K., has a point.  We're all doing to be dead one day- and for a long time.  So what makes it have any meaning?  [In my best double-rainbow voice] What does it mean?

Don't worry, I'm not about to tell you a parable about footsteps in the sand, or break out baby photos or start crying uncontrollably while you awkwardly check Facebook on your smartphone.

Instead, let me tell just you about a weekend I had earlier this summer.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Ellicottville: A Little Magic In Western New York

Make sure to get wide right of that tree.
It was 1999 and the beginning of the playoffs for Lord Stanley's Cup.  I was a marginal Bruins fan, and they were facing my girlfriend's Buffalo Sabres in the early rounds.  We were headed to meet her family for the first time, and I commented on how I could tease her father about the series if Boston played well.

With the most serious of looks on her face, my future wife looked at me and said, "That wouldn't be funny.  Don't do that.  Really.  Don't."