February 16, 2015

Extreme sports, cross training, and dreaming

Have any readers had a chance to attend the Banff Mountain Film Festival? We catch it every year during the world tour, when Arcadian Shop sponsors it in nearby Lenox. This year extraordinary hang glider Jean-Baptiste Chandelier's film Touch included shots of gliding over Col de  Galibier, a pass made famous by the Tour de France, his camera even showing racer's names on the roadway.

Today I was thinking about extreme sports, my mind wandering. And about my cycling high cols (passes) in the Alps, less than five months ago. There is no riding, at least by me, at all here recently.

That's the warm and sunny side, with about 30 inches of snow

I don't do extreme sports, nothing even close. And generally if I am stressed, or tired, or lost, I forget to even take the camera out. Actually, I am probably getting so unfit that I won't be much able to push a pedal. Legs? Lungs? Haven't been on the trainer again at all this weekend. 

My mind wandering, hours into the day's activity, with hours left to go, when ... ahhah moment! This is like climbing, I thought. Just keep doing the same motion, and eventually I get there. And I have worked up such a sweat that my soaked-in-sweat-from-the-inside layer is meeting my covered-in-snow-from-the-outside layer. My heart rate must be up. Then another ahhah! .... I. am. cross. training. Some cyclists, some coaches recommend cross training.

Large quantities of a certain free, cold, material is needed for this kind of training. It is shown in the first picture above. And necessary tools, shown below.

Roof  rake, from the roof 
Snow shovel, on the roof

Definitely good for balance, snowshoes are needed to get to the top of the piles of snow I have shoveled off the roof. The top of these piles is the only good place left for me to get a decent reach and angle with the roof rake. Bonus: from the top, I can see over the roof edge.

It must be sport, it's a snowshoe.

Yesterday was the same, but in negative digit temps and positive double digit winds. on the roof, that felt extreme to me. Same drill last weekend. Shovel shovel rake rake. Clear the roof. Sky dumps more snow....and so the winter goes.  During the week: took time off work to shovel shovel rake rake. Sometime, not too long ago, I'm sure it was over 15F. The mind wanders.

It seems that I clear roofs like I climb ... slowly, but I get there. Progress has been made, there is still far too much ice, glaciers even, on the roof, but the snow is mostly completely off now,  and I beat it inside as dusk approaches. Inside to dream, to pull out two well-used maps.

Maps of  sunny southern France indoors, snow piles outdoors.

Gerry, from Vicious Cycle, southern France, tells me the roads up Mont Ventoux will be officially open April 15th. There will surely still be snow here. Maybe I'll be there.

Anyone with suggestions for spring rides in Le Sud?


  1. I do so love your escapades. Please be careful. At least if you fall off the roof, you will have a good cushion. Of course, being so tiny, you may disappear. Guess I picked a good winter to stay home. Stay warm, stay safe. Hope to see you soon.

    1. This winter I (truly) have been thinking ... you were so smart to stay home. We miss you, but I am glad you are there.

  2. Good looking maps. It's plus 5C here, clear roads and comfortable beds for visitors! I never realised that there was so much shovelling involved in living in America.

    Your blog won't let me - comment with my nom de keyboard - cheers, TootleP

    1. Indeed, nice maps ... and I believe you know some of their roads well. Be careful what you offer, I may some year appear on your doorstep!

      For the shovelling, I am just particularly lucky where I live ....

      And, as far as the nom de plume, I have been having a hard time commenting on your site (and Gerry's) recently. I thought it was me, but maybe not. A new mystery.

  3. Thanks for recommending the Banff Film Festival, it is coming to Denver, Colorado next week. I would have missed it if you hadn't mentioned it. So grateful - thanks!

    1. Super, I hope you enjoy it, and would love to hear your reaction. The program changes from venue to venue. Because you've ridden Galibier (or close by) I hope Touch is included. Let me know what you think.

    2. Banff Film Festival was excellent! Thanks so much Suze. The Colorado Mountain Club held the event at the big Paramount Theater downtown Denver and sold out 2 nights in a row. The event happened to be in the middle of a huge snowstorm in Denver, but did that stop all the hardy mountain "cross-trainers" from trudging through the snow - No! It was a great evening watching inspiring films.

  4. Cross Training, that's so funny! I was thinking the same thing last weekend: 45 minutes shoveling followed by a five mile run, et voila, cross training! Of course, none of that is getting our quads and hams ready for hills...

  5. As far as shovelling goes, sad but so true. As far as your run ... good on you for braving the weather.


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