Winter?

Well, it’s finally winter here in Idaho now that spring has arrived…..go figure.  We had a storm earlier this week that left 18″ of new snow on Baldy and left 2-3 ft. of new snow in the high country.  On top of that, there’s another storm headed in for this weekend that is supposed to drop another 12-18″ up high.  After really not seeing any snowfall to get excited about for most of the winter, I was quite ready to give up on the idea of winter and start looking forward to the sunny summer months.  Oh well.  It’s springtime in the mountains and that could just as easily mean sunny & 60 degrees, or dumping snow and 20 degrees.  Looks like we’re getting the latter.

Skiing Teton pass with Susan, Reba, Cary, and Amy

Things around here have been going well.  I finally got around to taking the written portion of the National Registry exam to complete my Advanced EMT certification.  I’m thankful (and lucky) to say that I passed it and am certainly glad to have that monkey off my back.  I can now intubate someone and I can start an I.V. (or at least poke around trying!).

Last weekend, I went with Rebecca over to Jackson Hole to help her with the last showing of Race Across the Sky and for a mini-vacation.  It was also a great opportunity for me to meet with the Directors of a couple of cycling advocacy groups in that area and chat with them about their organizations and how they operate.  Tim Adams of Teton Valley Trails and Pathways, and Tim Young of Friends of Pathways over in Jackson Hole, both lead very successful non-profit organizations that work to enhance the quality of life and recreation in their respective valleys.  I hope that I can help the Wood River Bicycle Coalition find that same path to becoming a vital piece of making the Wood River Valley an even better place for all cyclists and pedestrians.

The Town & "Crunchy" chewed the license plate right off that car!

All in all, it was a great weekend of work, fundraising, and play.  We even got t-boned by another vehicle that ran a stop light!  Everyone is OK, and it’s all fine.  I was  super-psyched when Reba looked into the rear wheel well of the rental van and pulled out the mangled license plate from the other vehicle.  I quickly stashed it away inside the car to bring home as a souvenir!  On the weekend, we rode our road bikes through Teton National Park.  The roads through the park have been plowed, but are not open to vehicles until May 1.  I’ve never had the opportunity to ride a bike on a road without cars.  It was really fun and a very fortunate thing for me.  The road through the park is bordered by the Teton mountain range and, from that perspective, is as spectacular as anything I’ve ever seen and reminded me a lot of the view of the Sawtooth range as you drive north from here toward Stanley.  I was thankful that I could ride down the road on my bike, stare at the mountains, and not have to worry about being run down by an RV.

I’ve been all through the Rockies from Canada down through New Mexico, but that particular view of the Tetons might be the most striking panorama that I’ve seen.  I am drawn to the mountains from within my core.  To me, they represent everything that is wild, challenging, technical, unforgiving, and real.  The mountains demand and deserve respect.  The first time I felt that draw was when I first saw the Rockies while driving through Colorado on a ski trip.  It was the middle of March, 1995 somewhere around 7:30 in the morning.  We had driven all night from VA and were just coming into view of the Rockies as the sun was coming up behind us.  At that instant, I knew I had to live in the mountains.  On that trip, I bought Freedom of the Hills, a mountaineering textbook, and read it cover to cover.  I’ll never forget that feeling and seeing the Tetons from within Teton National Park struck that same cord in my soul.  My heart is and will always be in the snowy, windswept peaks of the West.  Maybe when I die, I’ll be lucky enough to come back in my next life as a mountain goat.  There’s something about spending winter on a windy rock outcrop at 12K ft. and subsisting off of lichen that sounds oddly appealing; not to mention the fact that those beautiful white creatures are some of the strongest and most agile animals in the world.

A ride with a View

On the racing front, a few weeks ago the Race Director who organizes a race in WVA, that was to be the 24 Hour National Championship this year, pulled the plug on the event.  For me, that was to be my “A” race for the year.  Not that I really “train” enough to peak for anything, but it was definitely the race on the calendar that I was willing to suffer the most for.  The competition was going to be good and I was super motivated.  Now, I’m trying to re-structure the season and figure out a new race schedule.  At this point, it looks like most of my racing will happen in the second half of the season, which is a good thing when you live in the mountains and the riding season arrives somewhere around the end of spring.

For now, I’ll keep skiing until the powder is gone.  It seems to be pretty good cross-training anyway and it sure beats trying to ride your bike on the road when it’s 30 degrees out.

Cheers

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~ by ketchumgreg on April 2, 2010.

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