Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas and Hops in Yer' Beer!

May the Christmas Season bring you fresh fluffy snow,
Tires free of punctures, and gift cards in bows,
A spring in your stride and a clean pair of heels,
Miles of turns, and more hops in yer' beer.

Merry Christmas from Santa Fe, NM

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Ski Commuting - British Columbia

Another amazing outdoors video making the rounds (see TJ Miller's Rio En Medio Bike Descent, and Danny MacAskill's Way Back Home). I'll need to substitute it for a more time-consuming destination post at the moment. It's been a busy week.

This clip features Canadian free-skier JP Auclair improvising a ski-run down and through the neighborhood. Chairlift via bus. The short is a trailer edited down from a longer film, All.I.Can, produced by Sherpas Cinema. A pretty stunning bit of artistry really. Enjoy.

Skiing by JP Auclair, music by LCD Soundsystem

Friday, December 16, 2011

Armijo Runs to an Olympic Trials Qualifier

Kandie and Armijo, side-by-side at CIM
After several previous attempts at a trials marathon qualifier, Albuquerque's Jesse Armijo put together a beaut of a race in Sacramento a couple weeks back, running to a sixth place 2hr 17:19 finish. That's a helluva run, especially considering it was a back-against-the-wall type situation. The qualifying standard for January's Olympic Trials race is a stiff 2hr 19min, and Sacramento's California International Marathon was likely the last fast race before the Houston Trials on January 14th. Armijo dipped under the standard considerably, running to a massive PR just ahead of fellow Albuquerque runner Solomon Kandie. Santa Fe's Joseph Mutinda converted his early morning rail-trail runs into a third place overall finish. Neither Joseph nor Solomon will be running in Houston.

Originally from California, Armijo has been studying and training in Albuquerque for several years with runners like Kris Houghton who had been targeting a qualifier himself. Jesse provides a pretty fascinating first-person account of his high-stakes marathon run in a great race report over at his blog. A clutch performance with a huge payoff after what I'd imagine was years of toil and effort. Way to go out and get it man! Along with Armijo, New Mexico will be represented at the Trials by Albuquerque's indomitable Mbarak Hussein, younger brother of former UNM All-American and multiple Boston Marathon champion Ibrahim Hussein. Mbarak ran a 2:16:57 qualifier to win the U.S. Masters Division title at the '10 Twin Cities Marathon. Dude's got wheels. has a listing of mens trials qualifiers and their seeded times here.

On the women's side, New Mexico will be represented in Houston by a couple of Los Alamos natives, All-American and former Adams State runner Heather McNiff (Wood) who qualified with a 2:43:53 run in June's Grandma's Marathon (MN), and former Oregon runner Magdalena Donahue (Sandoval) who qualified with a 2:44:41 run in May's Eugene Marathon. The women's Trials standard is 2hr 47min. has a listing of women's trials qualifiers and their seeded times here.

Related Posts:
  - A Brief Meeting with Billy Mills
  - Olympic Marathon Trial Showdown
  - New Mexican Runners Chase the London Olympic Standards

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Lunar Eclipse at Dawn

Lunar eclipse over the Hindu Kush, Iran - photo by Babak A. Tafreshi
Up early for a few ski runs this morning. I'll be damned if there wasn't a lunar eclipse mid-motion in the New Mexico sky overhead. I first noticed what I thought were clouds obscuring the moon as I stopped at the Giant for some coffee. On my way up the mountain I noticed the moon was shrinking into a crescent. Once on the slopes I could see it was pinching out to nothing as it dropped toward the Jemez, and then it was gone. I didn't have my camera but I would've butchered the shot anyhow without some telescopic lens setup. This guy at top-left caught a sweet shot of the same thing a couple years back over the hills of Iran, it looks identical so you'll just have to superimpose the snowy peaks of Redondo and Caballo in there. Ok, cool way to start the day.

When I pulled into the ski lot at 6:30am there were four cars and a truck already there. All four cars were Subarus, and mine made five. Subarus for the win sons. My climbing and turns this morning suffered badly from tired legs. Went running Thursday night for the first time in four weeks and it apparently aged me about 20yrs. The turns up top were pretty good. Saw a couple parties of skiers coming down Parachute. Didn't see too much ice or groomed ice-chunks but I could see it was trending that way without another storm. The forecast says something may come our way on Thursday. Time for a weekend of cookies and egg-nog,

I've updated the Winter Trails page to reflect current conditions and Nordic Trail areas for 2011-2012.   - Off Piste - Winter Trails (Dec. '11)

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Outside Magazine's Top 10 Running Blogs

If you follow Outside Magazine on Facebook or subscribe to an RSS feed you'd know that they churn out a lot of interesting posts and articles during a regular day. One that caught my eye last week was a Top 10 list of "the Web's Best Running Blogs". The list is more of a blog post itself than an exhaustive article, but I found that I was familiar with most of the sites that made the cut. The list includes the following:

10. Running Technique Tips
9. Track Focus
8. Nate Jenkins's Training Log
7. iRunFar
6. Coach Jay Johnson
5. Japan Running News
4. Runner's World Daily
3. Track & Field Superfan
2. Peak Performance
1. Science of Sport
My personal favorite of the bunch is Track Superfan, that's why it has a home in my bloglist on the sidebar there. J. Squire keeps up with a lot of cool stuff that I don't or can't. He also rocks a sweet mustache which I feel has to count for something. iRunFar is great for trail listings, mountain running events, and trail gear reviews. Brent at Japan Running News provides a window into the somewhat insane world of Japanese marathoning. Know how many entries there were for this year's Tokyo Marathon? Over 282,000. Makes Boston look like a casual Spring event.

What makes the list even more fun to read is that it was put together by Santa Fe local Peter Vigneron, who laced 'em up for October's Big Tesuque Trail Run, finishing eleventh in a tough field. Nice work Pete.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Opening Day at Ski Santa Fe

cross country ski santa fe
Climbing the catwalk alongside another set of tracks
Delayed from what looked like a possible Thanksgiving Weekend opening, Ski Santa Fe is officially running the lifts today with a reported 18" base. I'll be chained to my office desk most of the weekend but I did make it up top for a few runs early this morning. The timely storm that arrived last night left much less new snow than advertised. I thought there was probably 2-3in. of new up there this morning, but it might have snowed another 1/4in over the couple of hours I was there. No complaints from this guy however, this morning being my seventh ski day of the year - complete before the year's first skier even boarded the quad on opening day.

Not a lot was groomed or even roped off up there. In fact, I noticed all of the clocks weren't even showing the correct time. All still unplugged or needing fresh batteries or whatever. Kind of funny considering the place was opening in a few hours. Talking with ski patrol a bit later they told me the only open skiing would be Midland and lower Easy Street. Those were in fact, the only runs I found to be groomed. So, hope for a bit more snow up there today and this evening. The discounted full day lift price of $48 might be a bit optimistic for that kind of ski-able terrain.

cross country ski santa fe
Visibility low looking up towards the top of the Quad Chair
cross country ski santa fe
The fog was working over Midland most of the morning. My new skill with telemark turns made the descents a lot more fun and a lot less evel-knievel

I saw a few others during my loops, skinning up for tracks of their own. The one guy I stopped to chat with up above lower Parachute happened to be Chris Keyes, Editor at Outside Magazine here in town. Cool guy. I'd been on a trail run with him once before with mutual friends but it's been a while. We talked about the snow and my Rossignol cross-skis. He mentioned that he and friend used similar equipment in a few tries on the Elk Mountain Traverse a few years back. I've spent time contemplating that beast of a race, but need another season or two to sharpen my backcountry skills before taking on a trek that serious. Anyway, good to hear and see that Chris finds time to get out and rip it. Santa Fe needs a bit more snowfall though if the ripping will continue in the short term.

Roping off upper Easy Street just below Totemoffs. I'm sure they have their reasons but this one puzzled me.


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