September 07, 2014

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What I Learned From The Mountain Half-Marathon

When a close friend who has run several ultras and is one of those athletic freaks suggested I accompany him for a mountain half-marathon at Copper Mountain a few months ago I bit fast. At the time I figured I'd end up being out of my league when I showed up...understatement. This was my first actual race...any type of race. But given I was thinking of it as an interim adventure to train for leading up to the main event in January 2015 (week-long ski touring trip in BC), my expectations were low and simply to "have fun" and continue to get fit. Granted there were some unintentional mistakes during my race; an extra 500 vertical feet and a total of about 16.5 miles, but I didn't realize what I was really involved with. It's been well over 24 hours since I finished and I still can't walk right. And I ran a half or quarter of what most of the other people who raced yesterday did. After I finished (just over 4hrs), I sat waiting for our friend to finish her 50K in silence, agony, and awe as racer after racer stopped at the aid station near the finish as their mid-point for the 100K. How do they do it? I have no idea and probably will never know, but I do know this:
  1. Ultra runners are some of the toughest people I have ever seen
  2. You can't think of a mountain race as a run in the woods...study the terrain and the route
  3. If you are running a race, take the time to go to the pre-race events that are organized for you
  4. Your limits are only bound by how much you push to exceed them...but they're always there!
September 01, 2014

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2014 Hop Harvest!

I love this time of year...time to harvest the resiny, piney cones that make my beer taste so good. A close friend introduced me to homebrewing about 4 years ago now and I am so grateful for that. While I don't get to do it as often as I wish, there really is nothing like cracking a yummy homebrew at the end of a long day, or presenting one to a visitor and seeing their expression when your beer actually tastes great! It's actually not very hard to do if you get the right advice early, which I was lucky to have. Most important: exercise proper cleanliness with your equipment! If you do that your beer will likely never come out "bad." However, you may produce a few that aren't perfect to your palate. In which case, you simply tweak your recipe. Since becoming a brewer of beer I've essentially been forced to hone my taste, since ultimately I'd like to brew the exact perfect beer for my own consumption. Enter hops. IPAs and IIPAs are my favorite thing. I'm a HUGE hop-head and can't seem to get enough hop flavor in my beer. Only during stout-month do I tend to wander and explore. Otherwise, hops is where the heart is. It's also the easiest thing in the yard to grow and you can pick up a rhizome at pretty much any brew store in your area. First year will likely not have a yield, but in year 2 your hops plant will go CRAZY...20 feet at least. There are plenty of videos out there to help you figure out how to take care of, harvest, and cure your hops. Any my wife likes it because it makes the backyard look fantastic. I look forward to posting my brew session and then the first taster several weeks after that!
July 23, 2014

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Two Weeks Prior to Soft Launch - Labor Day Family Camp!

Headed up with the kiddos for our first family tent-camping trip.  While the weather suggested warm and partly cloudy, what we got was consecutive heavy rain storms coupled with 50mph wind gusts!  It was quite an adventure.  In spite of my desire for a 3-night trip, we headed home to comfort to avoid enduring what would definitely have been a sleepless night 3!

Brilliant glow in the dark ring toss!

Camping is fun, especially when you can have a fire!