Sunday, May 11, 2008

Sunday - one mutha of a day.

Lately, my blog has been media rich yet light on verbage.
Is that because the photos can convey beauty better than words?
and pain too?
If you watched the video posted below you know that moving this mutha proved difficult.
The boys where I get my Stihl sharpened suggested this tool (or is it a machine?) after I convinced them that there was no way that I could get a bobcat or mini-dozer near it. Thomas and Henry were moving huge rocks and logs at will.
The 1 ton come-a-long did its job. My wife also came along @ 8 months pregnant and 2 miles into the trail.
Turning this rock catastrophe into a veritable sidewalk.
My regular rock guy was taking a break this weekend (hey, that's my beer!).

And this little rigg'in carries my rigging.

Today was a different matter altogether. After making a mother's day breakfast for mom featuring poached eggs (Gordon Ramsay-style) cleaning up and taking care of the kids I headed up to the mountain. Wanting to make some quick progress, I left the heavy tools at home and took only the McCleod, loppers, and a steel rake. I started where we (the family) left off yesterday, near Vulture Rock (the end of the last Wednesday night ride) and headed South. Very quickly I burned down to the end of the rock spine creating two nice rock moves complete with alternate lines (for climbing) and then began searched for a naturally occurring switchback to get me down to the forest floor. Didn't find one, so I manufactured one (read: benching).

It rained off and on all day long, but I was cozy in my PSU Mont Alto timber sports t-shirt, my synthetic Patagonia pants, and running shoes (Adidas Response trail). The hat and clear safety glasses served to keep me dry and bug-free for the better part of the day. Besides I had my cellphone/camera/mp3 player and I was jamming to Mt. Stage, Gypsy Sun & Rainbows, REM, and the White Stripes (to name a few). At 6 pm things got really wet. What was a sporadic shower here and there become a full-fledged soaker. I had just finished benching and gathered up the tools. There were 8 flags left and I decided to try to shoot a bisecting line to Blue in last ditch effort at reconnaissance rather than retrace my steps back up das Berg. First I donned my TNF Activent jacket from bygone years - it is highly breathable and water resistant and 11 years old (read: leaky).

This scouting proved complicated. In reality, I would need around 50 flags to do the job and would be lucky to find any of my original eight. However, I did get the "feel" of the land - what Ansel Adams would have so eloquently referred to at the "earth gesture". While I may never go that route again, I did find the contours and eventually - blue.

I was completely soaked. What I mean is that had I jumped into a lake - fully clothed, I could not be wetter. The temperature was in the very low 50s so I did a reality assessment: Big guy, mostly synthetic clothes, soaked, no shivering, light on food, mildly dehydrated - cool. I would just run to warm up. So McCleod and rake in hand and backpack on back I began running down blue. Couldn't help but notice that all of the water bars were clogged. Thinking when is the next time a bloke is running by here in the rain with a McCleod in hand? I stopped at each one and McCleoded it clear.

Back on the road, I knew I had less than a mile to go. Still pouring, I ran/walked back to my car. Started it. Turned the heat on max and hit the A/C button - you know that trick.

Put the tools away. Hmmm. What to do about clothing? I removed the running shoes, socks, and then my pants. While standing on top of my sandals, I wrang out my pants. Took off the t-shirt, hat, and gloves and then put the pants back on and donned a cycling jeresey.

On the drive back to town, my pants completely dryed out as well as my TNF jacket. So much so that I was comfortable stopping in at Giant Eagle and picking up some beef tenderloin, shallots, bread, shrooms, and thyme - you know the usual stuff.

I wanted to try Gordon Ramsay's incredible steak recipe. Couldn't help but notice that Ye Old Spirits Shoppe on 7th street was closed. Luckily, I still had some Stone Oaked Arrogant Bastard and Brooklyn Double Chocolate Stout in the fridge at home.

Got home, fed the dog, unloaded the car, changed, cracked a beer, checked email, and then got to it. Gordon makes a mean steak - in the skillet not on the grill. In short, it was unbelievable - a stout, thyme, and shallot reduction over a rare to medium-rare filet accompanied by assorted wild mushrooms.

Had a portion left over for when Michele and the boys returned from Annapolis and apparently, it was better than the Mexican they had in Annapolis.

While there is a little more trail to go - Wednesday's ride should be better than last week's.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Sunday, May 04, 2008