Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Birthday shenanigans

So my birthday's the 26th. Last year, I was in Queenstown, and got to do a local sprint triathlon on a cold and rainy "summer" day both sick and hungover.

Back in the Northern Hemisphere for winter after 3 consecutive summers, I've been itching to get back on the snow. After a week or so of fierce storms blasting through the Sierras, the skies cleared and I made an early break for Kirkwood with a little crew for a memorable birthday.

10' of snow over the last week? Check.
4' of snow over the last 2 nights? Check.
Mountain nearly entirely closed the day before? Check.
Cloudless skies, crisp cold air, and no wind? Check.
Itching to kill it after not strapping in for 22 months? Check.

Kyle aka The Captain aka The Hypotenuse was even kind enough to surrender first tracks down a few lines for the birthday boy. Thanks dude!

Ethel's cousin took some photos throughout the day, but I don't know if I'll ever see those; all I've got is a single cellphone camera photo of a special place on the mountain called Once is Enough.

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The pilgrimage back to this glorious land of steep, narrow chutes and bottomless pow is complete!

Exhausted from skipping lunch and riding hard 'til 2pm, we limped back to Reno, and Ethel had made dinner and invited friends over for both dinner and an afterparty.

It was an awesome birthday only enhanced by the Fockler boys' late arrival and subsequent perversion of all remotely phallic shapes in our kitchen.

Cheers to everyone who I got to share all or part of the day with; they don't get much better than that!

White Christmas in Reno

We awoke to a white Christmas in Reno for the first time in a long time. The soft bright blanket muted an already quiet morning, and a walk along the, um, panoramic Steamboat Ditch and through the soccer field at Horseman's Park that I played on 20+ years ago (!) sounded perfect.

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The tiniest of snowdrifts on a chainlink fence

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A fence between the ditch and the canyon

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Pinecone near Horseman's Park

This walk was a welcome break from the oppressive consumerism that is all but impossible to avoid around this time of year, but I sure was grateful for my brand new Patagonia® R4 Lightweight® Jacket that kept the gently falling snowflakes off of my Nikon®. ;)

Monday, December 29, 2008


We've got a new addition to the household. His name is Sam, he came from the Humane Society, and he's happy to have a home that's bigger than a few cubic feet.

He's got a great personality, he's really soft, and we think he's got a bit of ocicat in him. The Humane Society says he's about 11 months old.

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Mousing in the crawlspace

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First snow

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He's good at relaxing, too

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Worn out

So that's Sam.


They're Ethel's. Really. (not the hairy legs)

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Saturday, December 13, 2008

Stanford and SF

I spent the week in Stanford helping Melahn with a big project he's working on, so I spent some time wandering around the campus to clear my mind. Melahn's also renting a flat in San Francisco, and we stayed there two of the three nights I was in town.

Here are some sights from campus.

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Hoover Tower

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Courtyard in front of the church

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Memorial Church

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One of the Burghers of Calais

I also got to swim at the pool...such an awesome facility...outdoor, year-round, saline, and freakin' gigantic...4 pools, including 2 50-meter x 25-yard lap pools, a diving well, and a water polo pool.

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First lap pool

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Both lap pools

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The water polo pool

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Diving well

And some sights from the city.

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SF City Hall from Melahn's balcony

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City Hall in morning light

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Sunset behind Twin Peaks

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Moon setting over the lightly-fogged city

Melahn also kicked my ass on a rowing machine (I'm still sore 3 days later), and I gotta say that I'm pretty excited about his project (well, it's actually an energy startup). The learning curve has been steep but painful so far!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Monday, December 1, 2008

From the Frying Pan...

Boys and Girls-

Remember this?
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Well, this is your body:
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And this is your body on Ironman:
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Silverman was 3 weeks ago yesterday. And I'm still shattered. For a race that resulted in no mechanical damage (not even blisters or angry toenails, and no muscle soreness past 3 days), the wear and tear on the cardiovascular system has proven to be monumental. It is worth noting that this race was the hardest by far I've pushed myself in the 3 I've done.

Active recovery began with walking as much as possible for the first few days. 4 days after the race, my immune system figured out that the race was in the past tense, and hence all the stress and pressure of staying healthy was gone.

And promptly clicked its heels together, gave a smart salute, and went AWOL for about two weeks, leaving me nice and sick.

I've been in the pool a few times, but it's hard to go more than 100yds without stopping, gasping for air, and letting my heart slow down from "hummingbird" to "human."

I've been on the bike a few times, but my legs get that deep "are you serious?" burn within about 20 minutes.

I've been for a jog a few times, but within half a mile, my heart goes back to "hummingbird" and my lungs notch up to "bellows."

All in all, I'd guess that I'm no more than 50% recovered. 3 weeks later.

I'm certainly not asking for anybody's pity; I did it to myself! Why bother to write this?
a) you may have wondered what kind of a toll an ironman takes on a well-prepared, healthy individual, or
b) you may be thinking about doing an ironman yourself, perhaps because it sounds cool, and you ought to be aware of what you're getting yourself into.

That is all. Back to your regularly scheduled programming.

Past Detritus