January 19, 2020

Winter Sports

It's not all about the bike. [Well, it's mostly about the bike.]

Our HR system started admonishing me “You should take a vacation!” [Challenge accepted.]

Off to Utah, home to the best snow on earth. And the home of good friends who welcome a stream of visitors, mostly during ski season. Great skiing is just a plane ticket away—it's easier than going to Tahoe.

They encouraged me to give their Peloton bike a try. I'm not really a spin class fan, but ... why not? The beginner workout got my heart pumping. And the advanced beginner session reminded me why I'm not a spin class fan. It's not cycling. It's a workout, for sure; but I'm happier on a rowing machine or a StairMaster. [Personal preference, that's all.] Spinning my legs at a cadence of 90+ rpm bears no semblance to cycling.

Case in point: some of my colleagues are HIIT fans, and they've tried enticing me to join them. “You'd kill us on the bike!” one said. It's not about the cadence, she insisted; the goal is distance, 3/4 of a mile in a minute. [Hahahahahahaha.] In other words, 45 mph. A pro cyclist might average 31 mph in a time trial.

But this isn't about the bike, it's about the skis. Alta had already collected more than 400 inches of snow this year, and mid-week I had the lift (and often the trail) to myself. On the last day, I shared a chair with a woman who exclaimed “Challenger [a black diamond run] is beautiful, they've groomed it!” Turned out she was 83 years old. “My husband passed away at 95,” she shared. “And he kept skiing till the end.”

I had been puzzled why one of my favorite runs was roped off, until it opened on the last day and I realized there's a slide path down the face of an adjacent peak.

One run stood out on this trip, one so special that it will live on in my memory: The snow was the consistency of flour. I've never experienced anything like it.

Looking forward to many happy returns. The best snow on earth.

January 3, 2020

In With the New

And my fingers are freezing.
Rooftops are frosted;
The sun is low in the sky.
Warm toes? Warm fingers? Pick one, because you can't have both on a chilly winter morning. By the time my fingers stopped stinging, my toes were numb. [Eh, it's not really that cold here.]

And what better day for a bike commute, when the office is empty. Best time of the year to catch up: no meetings, no interruptions, no one else around. It was so quiet in the afternoon that one of my colleagues couldn't take it anymore and headed back home to work from there.

Pink clouds and trees reflected in still water, Vasona Lake at dusk, Los Gatos, California, USA
A fine day for an early departure, to get home before dark!