Sunday, February 17, 2013

What next?

In the last Dirt Rag magazine, Rich Dillen has told me (and thousands of other dirt rag mag readers) what I have suspected for a while:

"The cycling Web log is a dying form of expressing oneself and sharing stories in a manner that attracts sponsors. Facebook and Twitter have all but squashed the medium nearly out of existence. If you haven't already obtained a healthy legion of devoted readers, it's likely that your hard work and creativity will be wasted on your close friends and family.

OK, I don't think I work on this blog too hard or in a creative way. But the fact is that I missed the train - I did not start a blog in 2005. Another fact is that as a regular person, with a day job and little time for adventures, my posts are more or less just diary entries, and who'd be interested in that? For my family who all live in Czech Republic, this should be written in Czech, not English.

So what's the alternative? Forget twitter, can't think of a more stupid idea, texting is bad enough. Facebook is where everybody is, right? My wife has an account, but Marketa and social media is like fire and ice. One of her Facebook contacts, Stepan Lata got it right: THIS TIMELINE SHIT SUCKS! Browsing other people's pages, I see what this medium seems to be good for: "We like absolutely have to get together for a dinner date..." If somebody "likes" a picture I post, so what? Why is one click better that sending me a message, email or call me and chat?

Perhaps I will take the leap into the future (somebody younger please tell me if Facebook is a dying form of social media, what's hot these days?) and move my brief updates about bike rides, occasional races, runs and hikes to an FB page. It's kinda scary. Others have done the homework, I should read it.


Third and last trail duathlon

That's it. The third and last of the Fort Steilacoom trail duathlons is history. It was a beautiful day, even if slightly chilly. The trails were either hero dirt or dry loose (!), enough to make my rear wheel slip a bit if I did not pay enough attention when powering up at the middle ring. The rear Specialized Captain tire is bald, too.
I have to say, I have enjoyed all three races, the second one despite a bad middle ear infection, but today was just perfect: I have gone too fast out on the first running leg, and predictably paid for it with cramps on the last running leg with 200 yards to finish. The bike laps in between were fun. Overall, the whole idea of running after you get off the bike instead of going to a jacuzzi with a beer is kind of masochistic. I really respect anybody who has done an Ironman. And swimming? Give me a break, I love to lay down on a hot sand after a swim... I might have shaven some minutes off my first race time, official results are not posted yet. Results are now here and I can proudly say, I have bettered my time by 6 minutes over the first race and 13 minutes compared to the second one!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Mountains and flowers

Apparently weather in Seattle (is the word weather in each of my recent posts?) is either Alaska - grey and drizzle, or California. Today was definitely California, and during the first step outside of the building on the lunch break run and the first breath of the outside air, there was clearly spring in the air.
In the middle of Blaine stairs, there is the hidden gem of Streissguth gardens and the crocuses were going crazy:
Once at the top of the water tower, I always check the first window on the right for views of Mt. Rainier:

 On the opposite side of the tower, looking north, Mt. Baker could be seen clearly (88miles away). The iPhone could see it less clearly, so after some massaging in iPhoto, you get a "painting":

 A quick detour into the greenhouse, the correct name is Volunteer Park Conservatory, to check out some orchids:

 And finally a "cactusarium", or a piece of a desert under the glass panes:

On the way down Howe stairs, the Olympics just beg to quit work and drive there (it is "far", 2 hours at least by car).
Lunch break over.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Weekend play on the snow

We have been waiting for more powder, but got more of the Cascades concrete. Earlier this winter, I thought of expanding my snow gear either into XC, or backcountry AT gear (big expense!). Somehow I could not decide which I would like better, so we ended up buying snowshoes. First, it seemed really silly to scramble uphill wearing these bear paws only to use them to slow you on the way down. But during a few short hikes on snowshoes, I slowly started to change my mind.

Among the minor advantages of snowshoes, I could name no lift lines, no freezing on a chairlift, no $$$ for lift tickets, but these are all the things that are necessary parts of downhill skiing. So why would snowshoes be any better than XC or backcountry skis? You move faster on skis and going down is definitely lots more fun than digging the crampons into snow to fight gravity.

There is one advantage of walking, hiking, jogging or whatever pace and form of movement you take on snowshoes: you can actually access terrain that would be unthinkable on any kind of skis in the winter, and actually make your own trail at places where there would be no trail, or even a chance of getting through, in summer. A big log across a creek with enough packed snow on it becomes a bridge. Snow covered spruces? Just walk over them! Boulders, rocks? Five feet below the surface!

The best part? Awesome places 45 minute drive away. As Marketa pointed out yesterday after our three-hour intense aerobic outing at Snoqualmie Pass, it takes less time to drive to this beauty than it used to take us to reach Santa Cruz from Silicon Valley.
I still miss a knee deep powder and steep slopes, and if I am patient, between now and June I'm sure we will get some more.