Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Quadrathaloning in Winter

In no official capacity -- as in sponsors, check points, water stations, sobriety tests, etc. -- I pulled off the "Whitefish President's Day Winter Quadrathalon" yesterday. According to Wikipedia, a traditional quadrathalon consists of swimming, kayaking, biking, and running. Variations can include mountain biking or roller blading. Mine was a little different ... at no point was there any aero equipment, paddles, Roller Blades ...

Part 1: The bike up.
Rig up the trailer, throw the hiking gear in, lash the snowboard down. Cody looked sad. Either he was bummed because he wanted to come and wasn't or he was bummed because he thought I was going to make him come. Cody vs. the trailer vs. coming with me on bike trips is still a point of contention.

I made it, 7.5 miles, 1,600 feet of climbing. It was slow going: I rode my 'cross set up, knob tires and a 38x23 low gear, while dragging about 40 pounds behind me. I feel like I got as many "Right on!"s as I did "You're an idiot!"s from the cars going by me up Big Mountain Road.

Part 2: The hike.

Trade the bike for boots, two wheels for two feet, snowboard on my back, 2,300 more unpaved, snow-packed feet to go. Going up!

On the way up, I only got one "Get a pass!" and no "You're going the wrong way!"s, less than usual ...

Part 3: The snowboard.

Summit! That's Canada back there. Hell of a view on a cloudy, windy day, eh? The ride down was okay; it was icy and my legs were tired.

Remember: All this up for one run down ...

Part 4: The bike down and the drink.
Descending back into town, 7.5 miles, 1,600 feet, at about 40 miles per hour with about 40 pounds of gear in a rickety trailer trailing behind me was a little sketchy ...

Before heading home, I stopped at the Great Northern Brewery and celebrated my "victory" with a pint of the great Good Medicine.

So my quadrathalon didn't include kayaking, swimming, or roller blading, but Big Mountain Road and Big Mountain, about 3,900 vertical feet, conquered, bike, boot pack, snowboard, beer, in winter, below freezing, lots of snow, without car or ski lift!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Man, we're literally half-miles away from civilization ...

Ben and I hiked up Columbia Mountain, near Columbia Falls, to see the Columbia Falls.

T-shirts in February? Right on.

It's more impressive in person. Come visit?

Ben titled this "Weird."

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy "Too Fat for Love" Day!

"Too Fat for Love" wasn't so much a Pittsburgh tradition as it was something we traditionally talked about.

We love bikes, none of us had girlfriends, and, mostly, Valentine's sucks. The plan was this: Valentine's weekend, ride 20 miles to Cici's Pizza in Robinson, Pennsylvania, gorge ourselves on their $3.99 "pizza" buffet and salad bar, then ride home. This was how we'd celebrate the "holiday."

Girls suck, Valentine’s sucks more, the $3.99 "pizza" buffet rules. The name was appropriately inspired by Steve K.'s love for Motley Crue.

"Too Fat for Love" 2009.

The Saturday evening before Valentine's, me, Steve, and Brad "Urban Velo" Q. rode out of the busy city and into the busier suburbs, psyched for pizza, hating on girls, bellies ready. We flew through traffic on busy, suburban roads where cyclists are rarely seen and probably never on February evenings. It was a typical Pittsburgh winter night, cold and damp, perfect for a ride.

We met a few friends in Robinson who'd wimped out and drove. We smuggled beers in and toasted them under the table in soft drink cups while families around us gorged themselves, our Valentine's muse their going out to eat with the family on a Saturday night. To justify the trip in terms of us being "healthful" cyclists we each ate at least a plate of salad from the salad bar and slices of "desert" pizza -- desert pizza has apples on top.

After, we rode home, bloated and buzzed, decked out in blinky lights.

That was two years ago ... today-ish.

Ben and I celebrated "Too Fat for Love 2011" last night at Jersey Boy's pizzeria in Whitefish. We walked; I'd ridden 45 miles earlier in the day. Two veggie slices and a beer was $8. There was no salad bar.

The scenery's changed and some friends have moved on, but the feelings are still mostly the same: Girl's are still a pain, Valentine's will always suck, pizza rules, always has, always will.

Happy "Too Fat For Love" Day! Keep the tradition alive.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Sick day ...

Cough, cough, ack, ack, too sick to go to work today.

Me, Ben and Jess, Pennsylvania and Minnesota kids who've come up here to preserve the wild wilderness through their work with the Montana Conservation Core, and Cody went hiking in the Bob Marshal last Monday.

In Ben's words, "Was it a sick day, or a sick day?"

These photos are by Ben, mostly.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Game feed and pool games ...

Ben and I went up to Coram for Wednesday night free game feed at the Dew Drop Inn. It doesn't get much better than free venison goulash, fresh, free apple cobbler, and free darts. Games of pool are $.25 ... cheap bastards.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Dogs don't listen ...

"No, Cody. Cody, no! No!"

Dogs don't listen. He chases a cat onto the thin ice; the cat makes it across, Cody does not ... crash, into the Whitefish River.

Panicked, he thrashes at the ice with his paws, but can't pull himself out. The more he flails, the larger the hole he's in gets. His eyes are wide and scared.

Man, I don't want to do this. I take my coat off and empty my pockets, cell phone, wallet, iPod. I decide it's probably better to keep my boots on.

I'll walk out until I break through; it'll only be up to my waist. I'll punch through the thin ice, wade over to him, and pull him out.

I take a deep breath. This is going to suck. I take two steps out onto the ice, creak, crack.

"Come on, Cody. Cody, come!"

I take another step, I see the ice begin to fracture under my feet. Man, this is going to suck.

"Come, Cody, come!"

He thrashes again and this time digs his claws into the ice. He pulls himself out of the icy hole and runs over to me.

I put his leash on. I put everything back in my pockets. We jog the mile home so his fur doesn't freeze.