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Discussion Starter #501
Damn it's cold

I got up this morning to go riding, then looked at the temps. 3.5c. Holy God. Waited an extra hour, and finally went out when it hit 5c. I'm wearing the long riding pants now, which helps a bit, and a merino overlayer. Did okay mostly, although I might have to consider a lower base layer as well. When I was done, my abdomen was that bright red that I used to get when running in the winter.

I'm ready to ride as late into the year as possible, but boy I gotta tell ya, I don't like the cold. I might even start wearing the full-face just for the extra insulation. I'm more concerned, though, about wet rocks, roots, and ladders. Granted, we're just getting off some rainstorms, but everything was damp today. I was careful, but it's concerning.

Two things of significance happened. First, my right shoe's lace randomly got snarled with the pedals and started wrapping with each stroke, until suddenly I couldn't pedal any farther. Of course, I started going over to the right, with my foot literally tied to the pedal. Fortunately I thought to do a dismount to that side and saved it. But irritating.

The second thing happened on the rock roll at the top of the Toads rock dome. It was a little damp (as mentioned) so I had to be careful about braking, so I almost didn't handle the transition out. But again, saved it. Not so irritating, more like reassuring.

All in all, a relatively uneventful ride (the best kind), and most importantly, I got my exercise.
 

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Discussion Starter #502
Snowboarding!

It's coming up on snowboarding season, so I have to start transferring my obsession from mountain biking to snowboarding. So here goes...

It's looking like a good season coming up. There was snow on the locals back on Oct 11th, which is probably a record of some kind. Whistler's already got snow at the top of the gondola, and the other day I could see snow on the lower runs from village level. Sure, there's always the possibility of a warm front moving in, but the overall trend looks good.

I'm concerned about my Whistler pass, though. It's on auto-renew, but they haven't taken the payment yet. I can't get through to customer service because the Whistler customer service office is closed and the 800 number just thanks me for my interest and hangs up. I've sent an email, that being the only remaining option, but no joy so far.

I posted this six months ago, and it's time to reiterate: I need to read these old posts at the beginning of the season, to remind myself what this season is going to be about:


18/19 season recap
Beginning of 19/20 season expectations and plans
19/20 season recap

And the last item--gear. I've got all the clothing I need. I got rid of about half my boards last season, and bought a Rome Blur. Unfortunately I sold a couple of my boards with my Rome DOD and Targa bindings. I should have swapped the Unions onto them, since I've found I don't much care for the Unions. I'll make a point of re-trying the Unions before I make a final decision, but I think I'm going to try to replace them. And I don't have a binding at all for the Blur. I'm hoping to pick up some Rome Katanas for that board, and I think I'll move it to Whistler. Maybe bring the Heritage with the Flows back to the lower mainland.

And that's about it, for now. Season is a'coming!
 

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Discussion Starter #503
Mountain Biking recap

It's probably a bit early to do this, as mountain biking season isn't really over. However, the weather is getting wetter and colder, which means I will be riding more conservatively from here on in, concentrating more on keeping my conditioning up rather than trying for new highs.

For me, this was an excellent MTB season. For some reason, everything started to click this year. I've started doing rock rolls, rock gardens, drops, skinnies, ladders, and while I'm still not doing trails at speed, I'm certainly not creeping down them any more. I think my only regret is that I never visited the Burnaby Mountain Air Skills Park. And really, that was just a case of not wanting to go to the trouble.

Next year, I hope to start doing jumps (small ones), drops (slightly bigger ones), and taking on more challenging trails. Two trails that are good harbingers are No Horses and Pinocchio's Furniture in Whistler. If I can get to the point of doing those routinely, I think I'll call that a good season.

I'm also considering again the idea of doing some Whistler Bike Park. I still don't think I want to spend the $$ on a downhill bike and season pass, but maybe a couple of day lessons would be good. There are skills I think I could pick up that I'm just not getting on my own. Or alternatively, there are some bike clinics and private coaching companies that I could consider. Dunno, I'll have to see.

But one thing's for sure. This is my summer snowboarding replacement. And I'm not entirely sure I can call it my 'off-season' sport any more.
 

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Sweet, biking season for me starts when the weather gets above 40 degrees and stops when it gets below that. I definitely do both snowboarding and biking during shoulder seasons.

You don't need a dedicated DH bike for Whistler. Any decent, modern trail bike will do until you want to do the more rough and difficult double blacks. Even then you can do them on a trail bike, but they get even more difficult.

Sent from my VS995 using Tapatalk
 

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Discussion Starter #505
I went for a bike ride this morning. I really needed it after two days off. It's all about weather, these days. The weather report says this is an unusually cold October, and a lot of that probably has to do with the levels of cloud/precip. I'm conflicted on this, because while a cold fall is bad for mountain biking, it's good for an early snowboarding season.

But the important thing is that I did get that ride in, because as I write this, it's pouring rain. WTF? The problem with even scattered rain or occasional showers is that it keeps the roots wet. And far more than wet rocks or mud wallows, wet roots are the bane of mountain biking.

I did the full meal deal today, except that I substituted Starz Line 3 for upper Jo-Jo. I wanted to try the small rock roll again, and take a shot at the drop just past it. I did the rock roll with no trouble, and I think I'm going to have to categorize that particular feature as routine now. The drop was a tiny bit more interesting. I scoped it out, and it didn't look bad at all, so I backed up and took a run at it. I did everything right except that I came down a little too far to the left on the trail. I'm not sure if I went in crooked or if the drop is pointed a bit left of trail center, but whatever. The result was that I almost went over a log that marks the left edge of the trail. Braked just in time, but had to hop off and almost dropped the bike.

I actually had a pretty bad day, fail-wise, at least in terms of count. I had the dab mentioned above, plus I screwed the pooch on one of the rock garden sections on lower Jo-Jo and ended up putting the bike down. I didn't go down, and I'm beginning to think I may be learning how to recover from those kinds of bails. I also dropped off the second skinny, but again recovered fine. The high point of the Jo-Jo run, though, was that I executed the final drop beautifully. So that one isn't quite routine, since I still have trepidation, but it's essentially mastered.

I finished the day with the Hett Creek run. When I got to the root garden before the bridge, I initially had some crazy idea of trying to ride it out. Nope. The moment my tires hit the first roots, the bike started picking random compass headings. Ended up walking it, and I think that should be official policy. That section is dangerous when wet.

Other than that, it was a nice ride, if a bit cold.
 

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Discussion Starter #506
SNOW!!

It's snowing in Whistler, at village level. It's snowing on all three locals. Woot!
 

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Discussion Starter #507 (Edited)
Brrrrrr!

While it is possible that the temps are going to come up again, it seems unlikely, at least for more than a day or two here or there. At this point, the trails are all wet and slimy, and at these temps they don't dry quickly. Essentially, the mountain biking season is over, although I may still be able to get in the occasional limited ride. I will keep practicing techniques in front of the house, using my Insta camera to track my progress. But although that's exercise, it's not the same as a full ride.

Meanwhile, all the mountains with snow guns are running them full-tilt right now. Even though the predictors are showing a temps bump in a couple of days, it still helps to have a bunch of snow on the ground to keep the ground temp down. It's time to start breaking out the snowboarding gear.

Some small items to aim for next spring when MTB season comes around again:

1. Finally hit that rock roll on North Starz. This really isn't much of an issue--the one on Toads is scarier.
2. Start hitting bike skills parks. I visited Burnaby a few days ago and there's lots of opportunity there.
3. Practice jumps. Both Burnaby Mtn and Whistler have a beginner tabletop jump line. No reason not to.
4. Work on techniques. Now that I've figured out the Insta and the tripod, it's both easy and very, very informative.
5. Start practicing running trails with less braking.
6. Nail bunny hops.

That's it. I'm really not going to commit to a ton of aggressive resolutions. If I can end 2021 having done all these things, I will consider it a complete success.

For my snowboarding goals, post #502 above lists the old posts that I need to reference. I'll do a recap of the items in those posts as soon as I've reviewed and digested them.

This may just turn out to be my best snowboarding season yet.
 

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Discussion Starter #508 (Edited)
Plans for this season

Okay, so let’s get started on summarizing the 2020/21 snowboarding goals.

First, general technique items:
  • On toesides, I need to make sure my form is good. Hump the air, keep horizon level, keep weight centered.
  • On heelsides, don’t kick into a braking maneuver. Try to make my heelside turns symmetrical with my toesides. Squat and bend the knees to save the quads.
  • At speed, fight the slope less. No cross-slope turns more than 45 degrees. If I need to slow, do a slash-brake.
  • Fast S-turns on moderate slopes, C-turns on steeper slopes as necessary. Bombing steep sections is about strategy.
  • Do turns from the hip, not the shoulders. Keep the lead hand slightly heelside of center.
  • Modify my expectations to match the conditions. Going slow in fog and icy conditions is not failure.
  • On moguls, work on keeping weight forward. Leaning back is doom. Try to carve the sides of the moguls instead of following the troughs. Try to use windshield-wiper turns to scrub speed. Plan my path instead of just blindly charging in.
Strategy items:
  • Decide when to hit the mountain. In icy conditions, going up first thing is pointless and not really enjoyable anyway.
  • Vary my location. Don’t hit family bowl all the time. Make a list of runs on the mountain, and hit at least one new one every session.
  • Don’t quit after two hours, no matter how tired I am. Change locale, or work on small techniques, or take a break.
  • Try to follow other snowboarders that seem a little faster than me. This forces me outside my comfort zone.
  • Ride bumpy terrain and side-hits whenever possible. In and out of the trees. Getting used to being tossed around is excellent for improving balance.
  • Explore a little. Some of the stuff we visited on my lessons are runs I'd probably never find on my own normally.
Specific techniques:
  • Practice things like penguin walk, ollies, nose rolls, nose and tail manuals. Maybe even ground-spins.
  • Practice switch. A lot. I should pick a slope and practice going down the entire way switch. Up the ante once I’m successful.
  • Do the jump line early. It only takes 3-4 times through it to start to get the rhythm, and once I’m comfortable, I will hit it regularly. Wear armour those days if desired to make it a little easier.
Other plans:
  • Use the Insta360. Getting vids of my technique is incredibly valuable.
  • Desensitize myself to speed early. It makes a huge difference to my riding once I start bombing without chickening out. Don’t wait for it to just “come naturally” this year.
  • Get low, and keep legs loose. I always start the year with stiff, straight legs. Get over that. Following undulating terrain requires loose legs, bent knees.
  • Try to move up slightly in park features. Larger jumps, boxes, maybe a pipe.
  • Try to wear armour whenever possible. It makes a difference to my confidence. And with the weight I’ve managed to shed this year, I should be able to do it without feeling bulky.
  • Watch some snowboarding videos as obsessively as I’ve been watching MTB videos. Try out the techniques presented therein.
I have passes for Whistler, Seymour, and Cypress. Seymour is the default goto for weekday riding in the lower mainland, since they aren't busy and have no restrictions for pass holders. Cypress is unknown at the moment. For Whistler, it is conceivable that pandemic restrictions will make weekends tolerable. Test it out.

I will edit this post to add things if I think of them, so I’ll have it all in one place.
 
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