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Training Log Archive: Swampfox

In the 7 days ending Jan 8, 2017:

activity # timemileskm+m
  Yowsa!!!4 4
  Total4 4

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Sunday Jan 8, 2017 #


Having read about the floods and other snow/rain catastrophes about to be unleashed from and in the High Sierras, I spent much of the morning in prayer, doing what I could to assist the survival of the mountain peoples there, as well as the Boreal Pass. Even though I-80 at Donner Summit is nowhere near as high as I-80 at The Summit here in Laramie, it's still beautiful over there, and it would be a shame if it got erased by floods. Plus, I was worried about biggins.

But, at the same time, I did want to go skiing. And then I realized biggins would be safe no matter what. Even the mightiest flood probably wouldn't get much above biggins' knees. So up to The Summit and Happy Jack I headed.

It was only after an hour into the ski that I realized I had forgotten all about Carol. A mighty flood that was up to biggins knee level would probably be enough to be devastating for Carol. Oh, well! I was already up skiing, and the prayer books were back at home. Maybe she could climb up on biggins and perch on his shoulders or something.

Very nice conditions today--milder than yesterday, with air temps above freezing. It was perfect for whatever wax or wax remnants I had on my skies, which had unusually good glide today.

I ran snow bike trails afterwards for something a little extra, and finished up right around dusk--perfect!

Saturday Jan 7, 2017 #


We're a month past our earliest sunset (Dec 7, easy to remember), and today is the first day where the afternoons start getting longer by more than a minute. Now that we have sailed through the first 10% of winter, the remaining 90% will be a piece of cake, and July (the traditional local end of winter) will be here before we know it.

With the sun shimmering away and the temps well past the single digits (a relatively toasty 11F), it almost feels like summer already!


Skiing seemed like a good idea after the arrival of all the new snow and the passing of the extreme cold, so up I headed in the early afternoon for a planned long, easy ski. I expected to find to find a smattering of cars in the parking lot but not much more than that, given that the university is still on break, and the high school and junior high school teams were off racing elsewhere. I was instead astounded to round the bend on the approach to the parking lot and see the parking lot was jammed with quite a few cars parked in the snow on the other side of the highway. Outside of race days or Wee Ski Sundays, it's the most cars I've ever seen up there in the winter.

Luckily someone was leaving the lot just then, so I was able to sneak in and nab a spot. Parking on the other side of the road can be an iffy thing--sometimes you end up stuck and can't get out until May or June.

Once past the Campground Loop and the Meadow, the trails didn't feel crowded at all, and before long I was by myself. I must have gotten distracted, because when I hit the start of the hill on the Summit Trail, I was still skiing. It's not a huge or steep hill, but normally I stop and take off my skis on all the hills, and walk up. It's way faster--I don't know why they don't do it that way in all the big races--and the footsteps in the snow make for ideal places for pole plants for folks who want to ski up instead.

But anyway, I was still skiing up, at a brisk rate of at least 1 km/day, when my revery was disturbed by something loud and coming up from behind very rapidly. Maybe another skier had taken off their skis and was walking up the hill and overtaking me? Could a moose have mistaken me for wolf, and, enraged, was initiating a fierce stomple attack?

My real fear was that it could be ISIS. As long back st 2009 I had written the Obama administration to warn them that their number one priority should be to build a wall on our southern border and make Mexico pay for it because I had very good information that ISIS was at any moment ready to sneak across the border, and make a beeline for the Laramie Range in order to unleash a completely devastating act of terror on unsuspecting cowboys and cowgirls clad in the brown and gold. However, as soon as I thought that, I relaxed, because I had nothing brown or gold on me. Whew!

I should not have relaxed so soon, however, because when the gap had finally been closed and the noise making object pulled up beside me, it proved to be the notorious man from Greeley, CO--racer X8A7.

He said hello, and the truth is if he hadn't slowed down and kept quiet, I wouldn't have even recognized him. Everything is so different since the Russians elected Trump, and you just don't know what to believe anymore, not even your own eyes, sometimes.

Graham was doing some various drills and it was at a pace I could manage, so we skied together until he was done. I did my best to pepper him with questions to keep him out of breath so as to enhance the training effect from the altitude, and it might have even worked a little bit.

It was fun to see him, and to see he was fully recovered from his ankle wreckage back in July. I haven't mentioned it to him yet, but seeing he is good to go, I plan to send word to the Broncos--who are in bad need of some more help with running back duties for next season--that racer X8A7 might be just what they're looking for.

Total ski was 3+ hours, adequate to exhaust my flimsy arms.

Friday Jan 6, 2017 #


Just heard on the radio that the National Weather Service is reporting it went down to -40F here in Laramie last night, the 5th coldest reading in over 50 years, with the other 4 readings coming in 1962 and 1963, While of course that's what first comes to mind to most people when you ask them about 1963, a small percentage of people will also mention that as being the year The Beatles released their albums "Please Please Me" and "With the Beatles" which featured songs like "Lordy It's 39 Below", "Baby Why You So Cold To Me", Give Me All Your Wind and Make It Cold", and of course the English folk traditional "Four Dog Night."


I drove up top again today to assess conditions, feeling a little bit perhaps like Moses with the great flood.

Once I got up top, I sat in my truck for a while, watching snow swirl across the parking lot. It looked cold, even though it was completely sunny. Then I got out and just stood by my truck for a few moments, and it didn't seem so cold. The next step was to walk for a minute or two, so I walked over to the warming hut and stood inside. The walk didn't feel bad. Then I saw a skier coming down the trail, finishing up, and they were skating. Not fast, but they were moving okay. You can often look at someone and tell if they're really cold or not, and this skier looked fine. Okay, then!

I walked back to my truck, grabbed my skis, and headed out. My feet got a little cold, but otherwise I was fine. And considering the wax I had on and the temperature and fresh snow, I was surprised I had any glide at all. I ended up skating for 85 minutes, and didn't see another skier until the last 3 minutes of it.

When I got back home it was -9F in Laramie, but I really don't think it was anywhere near that cold up top. If it had been that cold, I should have had zero glide given what I had on my skis.

Thursday Jan 5, 2017 #


-15F out at the moment, with lots of sun. Not looking too good for skiing today--not unless the Cowboy Ski Index improves by quite a lot.

Yowsa!!! 1 [4]

Funny to see how different the snow situation in town is over just a couple of days. Whole lotta Yowsa! today, just as much as yesterday. Road biking is not going to be a good option until we get a few sunny days coupled with some mildish temps. Not going to happen today, and it's definitely not going to happen tonight--which is supposed to get really cold.


Checking the weather history, it looks like the (now old) record low for the date was -19F, in 1971. That is versus the current -29F. Brrrr!

Wednesday Jan 4, 2017 #

Yowsa!!! 1 [4]

It snowed all day long, making for very nice Yowsa! conditions by mid-afternoon. Unfortunately, that's when I was planning on going up skiing, and by the time I was about halfway through Yowsa!, I realized it was colder than I had thought and that there was much more snow on the ground than I had realized. I went in to check conditions up top, and saw from the highway cameras that while the roads were open and there was still traffic on them, conditions looked pretty iffy, and almost blizzarding. When I checked the temps and saw it was also already -2F up top, then that settled and I scuttled plans for skiing, and returned outside to finish Yowsa!!!

Too bad about the skiing, but the Yowsa! was fantastic! The biggest piles of snow in my yard are about 6' high, and I no longer have no idea where my mailbox is, except that it is generally somewhere to the west, kind of like California, but not quite that far. I may put together an expedition and attempt to reach and locate it tomorrow, if it stops snowing.

Tuesday Jan 3, 2017 #

Yowsa!!! 1 [3]

Even though it was snowing during last night's Yowsa!, I left about half the driveway untouched, just to make sure I could have some pleasant Yowsa! in the morning.

I need not have worried; it snowed all night long, stopping right around daybreak, about 6"-8" in all. Still no wind, and the temps in the high teens this morning made for perfect Yowsa!. The time went by all too quickly, and it seemed like I was done almost no sooner than I had gotten started. Maybe it will snow some more today. Even if it doesn't, at last the Laramie Valley has a proper winter to it.


I will give skiing today 4 out of 5 snowflakes. It was probably worthy of 5 snowflakes, or at least nearly 5, but I am a hard grader and like to save the 5's for when everything is absolutely perfect, and for one thing that means absolutely no snowsnakes. I didn't see any snowsnakes today, but then I skied for a long time after dark, and they can be very hard to spot in the night.

While I was skiing I couldn't help but think some about an article I had seen. It was about a survey taken to see what people thought were the most underrated things of 2016. Most of the items made some kind of sense, and #1 was Donald Trump--which was kind of obvious. But #2 was puzzling: Jack In The Box tacos. The folks doing the survey thought so too, until they hit upon a quite odd relationship. It turned out that when they did a word association test and asked people what the first thing was the came to mind when they heard "Donald Trump", more than 44% of the people immediately responded with "Jack In The Box Tacos"! It sounds almost preposterous, but then so many people are pretty weird to begin with; how else can you even begin to explain the election of a man with utterly no redeeming qualities and zero moral and ethical character (I know, I know--I'm being overly generous) to be the nation's next president? It would really make more sense if people had elected an ordinary mushroom instead.

I guess this caught me off guard because I didn't even know Jack In The Box had tacos. I thought they just served hamburgers and stuff like that. But then, I've never been in a Jack In The Box.

Anyway, it was really pleasant out tonight, and the christmas trees were all lit up again.

Monday Jan 2, 2017 #

Yowsa!!! 1 [1]

At last, some honest to goodness Yowsa! I was beginning to think it was never going to happen, Without Yowsa!, there really isn't much point being in Laramie for the 6 winter months of the year.


Woke up this morning, looked outside, and was surprised to see snow had fallen during the night. Excellent!

I was surprised because before going to bed, the skies had been dark. Around here, the skies almost always take on a pinkish glow to the SW (lights from town) before it starts snowing and while it is snowing.

Later in the morning it started snowing again, and it snowed at a steady, light rate all day long. The best thing was that after eight days of nearly incessant wind, today the gods of wind took the day off, and so the snow was falling straight down--exactly what was needed to patch up scoured parts of the trail net.

I went up skiing in the mid-afternoon, and it was so nice to at last have some nice snow on trails again and not have an accompanying amount of treefall that I skied well past nightfall and skipped running. There was very thin cloud cover and so while you couldn't see any stars, enough of the moon was seeping through that the lighting was quite good, and way more than I needed for skiing (map reading, on the other hand, would have been a problem!) It was such a nice time to be out. The clouds weren't touching the ground, but looked so low and thin that my guess is that if the trails were just another 500' higher or so, then maybe they would have been above the clouds, with a clear shot at the moon and nearby Venus. (The elevation of the ski trails is a little less than 9000', and so high enough that sometimes it seems like you can feel the thin air if you're working hard enough.)

As I was finishing up running Saturday night and approaching the parking lot, I was surprised to see a group of people had shown up and were out stringing up lights on small fir trees. It seemed odd, so many days after Christmas, and to be doing it then, the 31st--plus I'd never seen anyone doing something like this up there before--but the lights were quite pretty.

Tonight I saw the lights were still up. They really add a surprisingly nice bit of atmosphere to the place after dark. I have no idea how they're powered--maybe batteries, maybe solar + batteries?

Normally the place is just dark at night, except for whatever headlamps skiers might have on, or from bike lights. There's no electricity up there and therefore no lighting otherwise.

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