Thursday, March 17, 2005

Helluva blizzard brewing

Well, it looks like mother nature's hell bent on throwing a massive wrench into my training plans for the weekend. You know there must be a helluva blizzard brewing when Northwest Airlines proactively offers vouchers in anticipation of the storm:
Updated 3/17/05 - 12:00 p.m. CST

Due to a snow storm expected in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area, Northwest has issued a weather waiver for passengers ticketed for travel Thursday, March 17 through Saturday, March 19, 2005 to, from or through Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN.

From what I've gathered, somewhere between 6 and 12 inches are expected over the next 36 hours or so. Pretty crazy. I noticed that some of the bulbs in front of my house have started sprouting - I wonder how they're going to feel buried in that much snow?

Anyway, so much for taking the Cervelo out this weekend :-( I'll still try to get a long run in sometime this weekend, and probably take the Equalizer out on Sunday, but that's just not the same. I really want to start getting some miles on my road steed, but I haven't had her out since the infamous Cinderblock Stonehenge ride in Feb.

Monday, March 14, 2005

Second brick of the year

I originally planned on a more relaxed weekend than last weekend, and I only partially succeeded. PW emailed Friday, asking if I was interested in snowboarding on Saturday, and of course I was. Funny thing was, until PW emailed, I hadn't even considered snowboarding this weekend. I think with the unseasonably warm weather last weekend, the thought that snowboarding season is over lodged in my brain, despite the wintry weather we've experienced since then.

Anyway, so we snowboarded at Afton again and it was great. Notables: while eating lunch, the groomer laid down some perfect corderoy on one of the hills, so we enjoyed a few runs with nearly perfect snow (ok, well, it was still more like finely chopped ice, but it was still great in it's freshly-groomed condition!) Around the same time, we noticed a group of teenage guys boarding shirtless. They thought they were pretty cool, but they had to be freezing their 'nads off. Their red chests certainly gave away the fact that they were cold and windburned. And since the chairs on the lift are metal, I bet they got a little shivery surprise if they made the mistake of leaning back on the chairlift - too funny.

Sunday, I planned some serious training, since (big surprise) I still have a lot of catching up to do before Wildflower tri. (For you regular readers, best get accustomed to lots of triathlon training talk on this blog - it's going to be a recurring theme for the coming months!) I was riding solo, but decided to ride the Great Equalizer (GE) anyway, for several reasons.

1) mid 30 degrees outside, and my feet freeze off in my roadie shoes (I haven't invested in any neoprene booties.) GE has flip-flop pedals - platforms on one side, SPD on the other. So I can ride wearing my hiking boots, which keep the toes much warmer.

2) I wasn't sure how much snow/ice/salt was still on the road, and I didn't feel like having to clean the Cervelo off after the ride. I'm lazy that way. The mtn bike rarely gets cleaned, but the Cervelo gets babied. Better to not get it dirty in the first place.

I'm extremely glad I road GE, 'cause I took quite the spill on the greenway. I was daydreaming a bit, I'll admit, and I didn't see the patch of ice as soon as I should have. But it looked like it was textured, with snow frozen into it's surface, so I thought I could easily glide right over it. Well, that worked for like 0.00001 second. Then the wheels slid to the left, my body headed right, and both went careening down the path at like 20mph. I was cruising when I hit the patch, and went down hard. Luckily, with the winter clothing I was wearing, I wasn't much worse for the wear, except for the meaty part of my right palm, which took the brunt of my fall. Still a little tender today, but I'll live.

After that, the ride was pretty decent. Around west side of Cedar Lake, up Wirth Parkway, Memorial Parkway north, then east to the river, cross the river on 42nd/37th Ave N bridge. Snapped these photos on the bridge. The ice chunks are a lot smaller and thinner than they were earlier in the season.

Headed south down Marshall on the east side of the river - I cut across a vacant lot a few blocks later to get a better look at some giant scrap heaps on the west side of the river. The pier has seen better days (probably best to pull the pier out next year, fellas, rather than leave it at the mercy of the Mighty Mississippi.)

South to St Anthony Main, cross the Stone Arch, then south down West River Road. Road down to the river under the Lake St bridge, because I knew that one can see some pretty spectacular ice formations down there as the snow melts, runs down through the sandstone, then freezes again when it exists. I wasn't disappointed, although it's tough to tell the scale in the photos. There's an "ice waterfall" down there, big enough that me and several of my friends could crawl back behind it. Well, provided we could get to it, that is - the approach to the waterfall is a sheet of glare ice under a dusting of snow, and I wasn't going to risk it. If I had crampons, it'd be a piece of cake. Anyway, it's really pretty cool. And the ice had a bluish tint that didn't come through well in the photos either.

From there, south to Minnehaha park, then meandered through south Mpls back to uptown. By this time I was hungry, tired, and the outside of my left knee was feeling pretty tweaked out.

Gave Brian a call when I got back home (after wolfing down a powerbar) and we agreed to run a couple lakes. I'm SO glad Brian was available to run - not just for the company, but also for the motivation. If I hadn't had a partner, I would have run one lake and called it quits for the day. But we decided to shoot for two lakes, took an easy 9+ minute/mile pace, and in the end tacked on the third lake for good measure for roughly 10 miles. Not too shabby.