Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Obsessed with Improvement

"Obsessed with improvement". That’s a line from famed FortyNiner football coach, Joe Walsh. I recently read his book, "The Score Takes Care of Itself". I heard of the book from the blog of Sami Linkin. The blog is here: http://www.samiinkinen.com/archive I highly recommend it. Sami’s theory is to have a spread sheet for everything and keep track of details. If you’re not seeing improvement (this is for training and every area of life), then adjustments need to be made. Either in training or rest.

So this morning as I prepare for Ironman #6, I was doing 1 km intervals. Recording the time in my spreadsheet. Earlier I’d done a 5km time trial on the same course. We’ll see if the times can come down this summer.

In my training spreadsheet I’ve got columns for strength, body weight, VO2max (my Polar heart rate monitor has a quick & easy test), time trials for cycling and swimming, weekly hours, mountain peak running time trials, summer skimo transitions and sprint course test (more on this in another blog) and summer bootpack course.

When you actually record yourself you find that you give it just a bit more effort each time to improve...and improve I’ve done. One of my goals is to get up to 20 pull ups by the end of the year. In May alone I’ve gone from 11 to 15.

Each Mon. A.M. I pull up my 4 spreadsheets and review the last week....see if I improved and make a plan for this week to get better.

They say that the difference between an Olympic champion and the other Olympians, all at the very top of their sport in the world, is that the champion sets and achieves goals in the sub areas that make for success in the sport, while the others simply have outcome based goals such as "winning a gold medal".

Man, if I’d only have discovered this 20 years ago! If incremental improvement is striven for and accomplished consistently over the long haul, there’s no telling what someone could accomplish!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Skiing the Sister in late May

Man I look old and tired in this photo! Oh well, I guess that’s what happens when you get almost no sleep the night before an anticipated ski. Even though it’s June 1 today, this past week I knocked off the Middle Sister right here in Canmore. It’s kinda fun to do a ski that stares down at you every day. In the photo she’s right behind me.

For this mission I enlisted the partnership of Eric Groenevold, who actually is the son of a very good friend and competitior of mine (Jon). Eric had previously done the line a month ago, yet is pretty new to backcountry skiing and I think was glad to have me along.

We hit the trail at 5:30 A.M. for the requisite early start. It took 1.5 hours to get to the snow. Part of the hike entailed climbing up a gully with previous years avi debris to clamber over...a good reminder to play it safe. The whole time up we were quite sure we’d have to turn back as the forecasted cold night didn’t seem to really materialize. Patches of snow we attempted to walk over always gave way as we sunk down deep.

However, as we reached the snowline, crossing a recent avi slide, things began to harden up. Skiing up the moderate angled slope we constantly were checking the hardness of the snow. As long as we stayed in the shaded part of the mountain, things seemed good. The original ridge we’d planned on booting up was more in the sun and we began to ominously break through. So with a little beetle back over to the shade and what we felt was bomber, it was all a "go".

We elected to use crampons...a good decision. The boot packing was steep and though slipping wouldn’t be fatal, still not a good idea in the very firm conditions. It’d be a fast ride for sure!

The ski down was pretty uneventful. Fun, but not crazy. It’s funny because from the road this line looks incredibly steep and epic. Yet up close it’s just another black diamond run. It’s fun though to tell friends what you skied. They think you’re crazy. I shared the adventure with one of the official "Crazy Canucks" downhill aces, Jan Hudec. He thought I was studly, until I told him the truth.... "it looks a lot steeper from the road". Oh well, at least I’m honest.

So am I done for the year? It’s been a wonderful 8 month ski season. Maybe it’s time to dust off the bike, lube the chain and try some other stuff. However, after meeting with our federation president, the honourable Dave Dornian, I’m committing to go to World Skimo champs next year and being in the best absolute condition I can be in. The adventure continues!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Wailin' on the Wapta

It's been 2 weeks now since our Wapta Glacier trip and the tan has finally faded. One week after the trip the 6 of us got together to share photos and vids and generally reminisce. While together, 5 of us realized that we shared the pain of sunburned lips. You think you’re putting adequate sunscreen on, but in late April/early May the sun burns pretty bright in the hi altitude reflective snow. Our lips had cracked and opened up to reveal a painful sore.

But ultimately the pain is always worth it!! Such great memories. The ski in was stellar with hardened snow and cold conditions that made the avi conditions real safe. We elected in this trip to stay at the Bow hut and do day missions as oppossed to traversing the glacier, which is what I’d always done before. This way you could really enjoy the ski without that heavy pack on your back and the pressure to make it over the heavily crevassed high col.

With the extra freedom this method allowed, we bagged a couple peaks. Gordon and Olive. The latter we came back to our last day bootpacking up with our skis this time so we could ski the seldom shushed slope just off the peak. After waiting out the whiteout we were rewarded with some fab pow turns.

I find it amazing that even at the beginning of May you’re basically skiing in mid winter powder conditions. I love living up here! My MN friends put their skis away 2.5 months earlier. Actually, this trip was supposed to unite some of my flatlander midwest pals and open them up to the wonders of the Canadian Rockies and skimo. This was year #2 where they didn’t make it up. Oh well, thanks Ben, Kylee, Ian, Dave and Arnfinn! It was a spectacular trip!!