Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Winter in Missoula

Oh Man! It's been awhile since Old Man Coffee Chronicles has fired off a hot blog post.........I apologize. When La Nina hits the northwest an unemployed landscaper has two options: ski or write blog posts. I chose the former. That being said, the backcountry is getting a little bit dangerous and my uncanny ability to break everything I touch has rendered most of my skiing equipment unusable. Plus I really like to update the blogosphere on the whereabouts and happenings of the Old Man Coffee Chronicle crew.

I'll have a full report in a couple of days but in the meantime here are a few pictures of our most recent adventure at the Boulder Yurt outside of Sun Valley Idaho. Enjoy

Unloading and Relaxing

Thats what 14 folks will do to the backcountry

Doug "powder" Dale

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

MIssoula Athletic Enterprises

Missoula Athletic Enterprise’s stock is sky high right now! Schultz wins his first National Series XC in Wisconsin, Corbin wins CDA with a course record, terminator Jenson breaks the top 10, and Matty Ice was ICYHOT with a 12th place in his first Ironman ever. Then there was a penalty ridden Halpin still taking 14th in a fast Pennsylvania field. And that was just this weekend! Last weekend Missoula dominated the BigHorn endurance run in Sheridan, WY. Anya Weschler took third overall in the 50K and crushed the woman’s field. Heidi Gaskill took 4th in the woman and I believe she was 11th overall. Local Mike Wolf dominated the 100 mile run and shattered the course record by 30 minutes.. Missoula is off the chart right now.

Let’s talk Matty Ice: ICYHOT has been training all winter, living like a monk and now it’s paying off. He swam like a dolphin without a tail, biked liked the wind blows, and started out the marathon like he was running a 10K and ended like he was running a 100K. Pure guts brought him across the finish line of his first Ironman in an amazing 12th place. He might have well been a lead singer in a boy band because the girls were going crazy. Two girls approached me to ask about him and I simply told them, “you girls better get in now because his stock is going through the roof!”

Lets talk Corbin: She put on a clinic. I haven’t looked at her spits but from a spectators viewpoint it went as follows. Lindsey went out a bit hard on the bike but let off a little toward the end and gave up the lead to save some energy for the run. In the run she slowly chipped away at the leader (I don’t know names) and from what I could tell her splits never varied. It was like a wolf slowly wearing out its prey. She took the lead with a few miles left, never looked back, and shattered the course record in the process. A damn fine race!

Lets talk Jenson: Terminator swam like a dolphin missing most of its tail. Once on the bike Jenson looked unreal. He had no one in sight the whole bike and still turned in the third fastest bike split. If you want to see pain and guts take a look at some of Adam’s run photos. I have never seen the terminator in as much pain as he was in this weekends marathon. Only Terminator can go to dental school 100 hours a week for four years and still get 9th in the pro field. Ballsy performance!

Lets talk Full Throttle Sam Schultz: First national series XC win! A huge performance from the tenacious Missoula badger. He’s been training with the crazy eye over the last couple of months and it's paying dividends. Somewhere on that Wisconsin race course there is half a throttle lying in the grass where Sam broke it off past full!

Doug "ironfan" Dale

Monday, June 14, 2010

Camp Cryptic

What do you get when you combine eight mangy cats, gnarly ridgeline dirt-bike trails, a hangover and a hot day?

Camp Cryptic!

As with most things we do, camp cryptic is a fly by the seat of your pants operation. Unofficail Camp Cryptic proprietor "Crypic Phil" made a call to Missoula on Friday informing us that the Tally lake trails west of Whitefish had cleared of snow. A small crew was assembled Saturday morning and that evening we were sipping keg beer in Whitefish on the new Great Northern Cycles patio.

The Flathead valley trails are a different breed than those here in Missoula. Most are made by dirtbikes, they are rocky, very rooty, steep, long, and technical. We rode for five hours and 90% was singletrack. It's fun to brush up on technical climbing and descending, and it makes a guy want to buy a full suspension.

The crew was a motley bunch. Representing the Flathead was ride leader Clint "the lung" Muhlfield and his cronies Matt "ultralite" Butterfield, Ben"decends like the wind" Parsons, "Cryptic Phil", and Ben "all that is man" Ruffatto. Representing Missoula was Bryce "powerstrip" Daviss, Sam "world cup" Schultz, and myself Doug "one is all you need" Dale. A little side note on Ruffatto: He's been in Med school in Seattle for the last year and this was his third ride of the season. Any mortal man would have been eaten by the wolves but Ruffatto is barley human.

Our planned route was Reid Divide to Ashley Mountain trail, but ride leader Clint warned us that it had been years since he had done it. We set out with bottles full of Perpetum and pointed our 29ers toward the heavens! Bryce was having a bit of trouble pre-ride. His new Cannondale didn't arrive on time so he was borrowing Ben "rides it hard and puts it away wet" Horan's Kona Kula. As the name suggests, Horan's whip is in a decrepit state and his brake pad fell out as soon as we got to the trail head. Turns out it was so worn it had basically disingrated. So Bryce took off with only a rear brake.

The first climb was a 45 minute grinder, similar to riding snowbowl overlook backwards but with more roots and rocks. At the top Bryce was no where to be seen and when he finally arrived he was visibly pissed. Part way up the climb, the bike started ghost shifting and if you know Bryce you know he is too strong for his own good. At some point while he was laying down over 1000 watts, the bike ghost shifted and in an instant he turned a deore XT derrailler into a $.15 peice of scrap metal. His day was over.

The rest of us pushed on with Ultralite Butterfield and World Cup Schultz leading the way. The trails are amazing. You can never let your guard down, everysecond it's a rock, a punchy climb, a techi root sections, or a brake burning descent. 31/2 hours into the ride, Parsons has had two flats and our water is starting to run low when we come to a creek crossing. Ruffatto has been powering through his water and decides to run the risk of Giardia and fills his bottles. The rest of us push on, using our water sparingly. The day is heating up fast and the sun parching me. These trails are no place for a single-speed and all the hard efforts are starting to take a toll on my legs.

We think we're getting close to finishing when "the Lung" informs us that there is one more climb. Ashly mountain climb turns out to be a 2000+ feet sun baked grunt. I couldn't sit because it was too steep for my gear and couldn't stand because my heart was about to blow up. For the next hour the seven of us fought and clawed our way to the summit, reaching it almost completely out of water and absolutely exhausted. Word Cup Schultz took the KOM, holding off Cannondale/Sportsman's Ultralite Butterfield and Cryptic Phil. We were starting to worry about Ruffatto when he finally summited looking worse than death. I gave him my last sip of water hoping it would get him home without a helicopter ride. The descent off Ashley was epic and we made it home in one piece.....but just barely. The Lung was so thirsty he was about to drink from puddles and had any of us had a mechanical at this point I think the wolves would have had their way with us.

There will be many more camp Cryptics this summer and I don't think a guy could ride all the trails in one summer. Phil says he's been in the Flathead for two years and has only ridden 10% of the trails. Until next time good-bye to the land of epic rides.

P.S. No one brought a camera but I think Butterfield took a couple on his fancy iPhone. I'll try to get them


Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Self Checkout Issues

I really made a fool of myself in the Albertson's self checkout line this evening. Having just broken my backup mountain bike, I was flustered. I came home to Horan (my roommate) trying to install a new battery powered rotisserie on the grill. Horan has a nasty habit of buying lots of stuff. By stuff I mean things you really don't need and only use occasionally. Horan has lots of it and it's always in the way.

Fast forward twenty minutes and I'm at the store buying a whole chicken so Horan can try out his new rotisserie. Along with the chicken I picked up a bag of red "patatos." Turns out when you look up "patato" on the touch screen look-up item function, it's not there. I started getting really flustered as it was rush hour at Albertsons and there was a line of hungry folks waiting for me to finish. Finally I called over the high school aged brace faced self checkout attendant, and in a not so pleasant tone asked her, "why the hell isn't patato in alphabetical order." She looked up at me and asked if I meant "potato." In fact I had meant "potato" and sure enough she clicked three screens over and there was a full screen of different "potatoes" to choose from. So next time you don't know how a common food is spelled do yourself a favor and don't use the self checkout.

Doug "can't spell patato" Dale

Friday, April 30, 2010

Coffee and Rain

What do you do in Whitefish when you're supposed to be landscaping but it's raining too hard? If you're the biker type that likes to drink coffee, head straight to Great Northern Cycles. It's where true aficionados meet to talk bike and bean. Their coffe is some of the best. I'm half way through the cannibal ( a stiff cup of drip infused with two shots of espresso) and the restroom is occupied. Sandry construction is doing some road work across the street and I'm eyeing their port-a-loo. Later

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The recession pig delivers

Today was a special day. We are moving out of our toxic black mold cave we've been living in for the last four months. I can't wait for my asthma to subside so I can return to exercising. Jamie and I have been slowly filling the recession pig with spare change over the winter and now it's time to reap the reward. $67.36 to be exact. We both agreed to go to dinner with the money but now the question is where. I think Jamie's choice would be the Lotus Cafe. It's super heady vegan and gluten free. To be fair you can get meat and wheat there too and it's actually really good. My choice is the War Bird Cafe in Driggs, ID. The War Bird is a war plane museum and cafe with a view of the Driggs runway. In the summer you can take to the sky in these classic air combat beauties. What more could you want!

Choice #1 Lotus Cafe

Choice#2 War Bird Cafe

Doug "loves all planes" Dale

Sunday, March 28, 2010

It is derby season

It is called the rental derby and from the numerous folks I've talked with, it is the hardest and possibly the most dangerous event you will ever do on alpine skis. The drill is simple. Grab a pair of sport skis (beginner skis, usually super skinny old Volkl's that we rent southerners who have never skied) and set the binding to a type 1 skier (super loose release setting). The skis cant be above your chin. Every rental shop employee in Jackson (probably almost 100) does this and we all ride the tram to the top of ol' Jackson Hole. At the top everybody throws their skis in a pile and heads to the start line 100 feet away. It is a Le mans start and you have to grab the first two skis you see. You might get a 140cm Volkl and a 160cm Rossingnol. Immediately set the binding to fit your boot and take off down the hill. The first man to the bottom wins, absolutely no rules except you have to cross the finish with both skis on your feet. The stories are gruesome, and crashing hard is part of the game. Endurance and a neutral stance are the key to survival as a slight bobble will be too much torque for the rental binding to take and you'll be on your ass and sliding down some icy chute before you know it. The fastest route down is heinous, and even on a good year it is rocky and steep, this year it might be almost unskiable. I'm going to try to round up a helmet cam. I can't wait!