Wednesday, November 27, 2013

New Mexico Ski Season Arrives Way Early

Neff Mountain Yurt
I've got a fair amount of snow in my yard as I write this, and Thanksgiving is still a couple of days away. A big Gobble-Gobble to the pernicious winds of recent drought. The higher elevation running/biking trails (above 8,500ft) which are generally snowed out by the first or second week of December are probably done till April. All area ski resorts will open this weekend (Pajarito excepted) and the free-heel crowd has been at it for the last couple weekends.
A couple of area winter guides have already published, including the NewMexican's Winterlife Magazine insert which came out three weeks back and November's winter layout in New Mexico Magazine. I mention these two specifically because I had a few quotes published which duly impressed my in-laws.

Whitney Dreier covers the snowshoeing and winter sport opportunities in northern New Mexico, noting the Chama Chile Ski Classic and the Mt Taylor Quadrathlon as the highlights of the winter calendar. Daniel Gibson writes about the growing network of in-state backcountry yurts. He profiles the Southwest Nordic hut system in Chama and Taos noting that rarely are the winter backcountry visits dangerous or do parties encounter epics due to weather. This made us laugh. But without the occasional turn of adversity what kind of stories are you going to tell at the next get together? Boring ones, and who wants that?

Fresh snow on Cumbres Pass
It bears mentioning that Enchanted Forest up in Red River built out two new yurts on their trail network for this season. Now that we have a small tyke with us, the backcountry options are not practical whereas the groomed track criss-crossing Enchanted Forest are a diamond in the haystack welcome alternative. Also un-mentioned in any of the stories I've read: Taos Ski Valley offers daycare for the kiddies. It ain't cheap, but there may be greater cost to sacrificing a decent winter snowpack than a few greenbacks. Winter memories are lasting.

 - Daniel Gibson writes a regular winter column in the SFNM Outdoors section - worth a follow
 - Whitney Dreier is an associate online editor at Outside, wrtiting about running & skiing - worth a follow
 - Enchanted Forest XC almost always has updates and upcoming events - worth a follow.

Related Posts:
 - Enchanted Forest XC Ski Trails
 - Neff Mountain Yurt - Chama
 - Bull of the Woods Yurt - Taos

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Cobra Kai Sensei was a Dick

A friend's outstanding Halloween costume has sidetracked me into a three-week Karate Kid nostalgia loop. Why were the Cobra Kai kids so evil and how did they all end up at the same highschool? How did the sociopath sensei guy get a gig instructing impressionable minors? Why was there a proxy gang battle being fought between two damaged old war vets by their high school aged students? Why did Johnny suddenly transform from hardass-to-wuss after taking that crane kick to the face? Why was Pat Morita not in more movies when he was such an obvious badass? I don't know any of the answers here except that taken all together you get a stellar all-valley karate tournament montage and a bad-as-hell Halloween costume idea.

new video: first clip cut out early

Related Kick Ass Videos:
 - Rio en Medio winter descent
 - Jared Campbell runs/glissades Mt. Olympus
 - J.P. Auclair converts BC neighborhood to ski run

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

New York City Marathon 2013

The big marathon in NYC this last Sunday unofficially closed the year's running season. It was a big race on the men's side with legit representation from several quarters of the marathoning world. Geoffrey Mutai of Kenya was back to defend his title and course record and the way in which he re-defined how to run New York; Olympic and World Champion Stephen Kiprotich of Uganda was there to show that he can compete in the up-tempo style of a World Major and no doubt because of a large appearance fee; London Marathon Champ and World Champ 4th place finisher Tsagaye Kebede of Ethiopa was there for a shot at the World Major Marathon (WMM) title and the $500,000 in prize money that comes with it, which was Kiprotich's to lose; Yuki Kawachi of Japan was there to rep Japan and his celebrity back home as well as to bounce back from a poor showing in Moscow; 2009 NYC champion and Olympic silver medalist Meb Keflezighi was there to rep the U.S. and add an old school vibe to the race.

Mutai runs alone out front - his Adidas Adios Boost chart the way
Well, Mutai ran away with it like a complete boss, in 2hrs 8min. Kebede claimed the WMM title with a runner-up finish and the day's big payday. Meb had a rough go of it but powered home out of respect for the race, and out of respect for those who endured greater suffering in Boston this year and in the path of Hurricane Sandy in NYC and surrounding areas last year.

Don't care for how the results played out?, let's compare these runners with different criteria, such as the shoes they're wearing. This genius slideshow will allow you to do just that - Mutai still comes up on top. Three adidas in the top five. Can't lose running in Adidas, just ask Frank Shorter. The Kenyan contingent chasing him home (plus Kebede in 2nd) are nearly all in Nike Zoom Streaks, poor choice fellas. The Italian runner in tenth breaks things up with his Diadoras. Kawachi is in what look like some old school Tiger Asics. The Americans are in Brooks. Runner-up in the shoe competition goes to the American in Adidas that pipped Meb and his Skechers. Third place to the guy in Adidas running 2hr 11min in seventh without socks.

So where were the New Mexico runners at? Only kidding, we had a flotilla of runners out there chasing folks down First Avenue and into the Bronx. The NM contingent was lead by Raul Manzanarez of Abiquiu who finished in 2hr 44min (Raul was up front in 2011 but faded in Central Park where I caught him - not up in huhr!). Santa Fe High coach Peter Graham was in there mixing it up a day after both his prep squads punched their ticket for state, as was Vilma Ruiz, Sandra Wechsler, Amy Gordon, and former Lobo All-American Ruth Senior. A listing of all 43 New Mexico finishers and their results can be found here (the direct link to the list of NMexican finishers is breaking; key in 'NM' in the state-field for yourself and viola).

Related Posts:
 - New York Marathon Race Report - 2011

View New York City Marathon - Five Boroughs New York in a larger map

Friday, November 1, 2013

Trail Improvements on Winsor and Galisteo Basin

There was a slowdown in visible trail construction around town this year but that's not to mean that our trails were just lying unloved. The Santa Fe Fat Tire Society and the Santa Fe Trails Alliance continue to add to our existing recreation trail network with trail-work days, volunteer training, and now bridge construction. At least two new bridges went up on the Winsor Trail this Fall (at Borrego and lower Winsor), and one existing bridge saw improvements. If you've volunteered with the SF Trails Alliance you'll recognize some of the tools in the video below. If you participated in last October's IMBA World Summit you'll recognize the red shirts.

There's at least one more month of riding (and running) left before snow settles in on the higher sections of the mountains, so there's time to get one last ride in on Winsor and check out the new work.

from Santa Fe Fat Tire Society (Brent Bonwell) on Vimeo

Prepping the bridge work
New crossing on lower Winsor - completed
Sawing logs on upper Winsor. USFS certification is required to cut and remove
deadfall in the National Forest. These two have that. 

Kicking man-sized logs to the trail side like a boss(es)

Sheehan fending off an early winter, taking trail work to the next level

Recent Fall improvements included:
  - Needed work on the La Piedra Trail switchbacks to bring them back into shape
  - New 1mi-2mi section of trail in the Galisteo Basin Preserve
  - Clean up and improvements at La Tierra after Septembers flooding and erosion


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