Saturday, April 5, 2014

New River Rock Climbing (West VA)

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On somewhat of a whim, I decided to join Tobje and Gummi on their weekend trip to the New River.

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Just a week prior I had been certified to lead-climb, and this trip was the first time I'd actually put this new skill into practice.

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On Saturday morning we drove to West Virginia. Our initial hope was to climb at the Meadow River, but we found that the road was blocked just after we forded a creek.

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Since Meadow River access was blocked, we climbed one side of Summersville Lake on Saturday and the other side on Sunday. The area is beautiful, although it kept constantly reminding me of the initial scene of "The Planet of the Apes."

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On nearly every climb Gummi would climb first, setting the quick draws, then I would climb either top-rope or lead (usually with the first anchor in place). Lastly, Tobje would climb and clean the route of our quick draws.

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Eventually I became pretty comfortable clipping into the anchors and climbing above each. I even cleaned a 5.10a after one rest and one fall.

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Sunday, February 16, 2014

Morris Cabin (Virginia)

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This past weekend was the most enjoyable PATC cabin trip I can remember for one simple reason - fewer people!

Rebecca and I headed to the cabin on Saturday afternoon. The drive in was grueling - with one serious slide into a ditch and the need for a new strategy. We aired down the tires and managed to work our way out of the ditch. After that, the rest of the uphill road was taken with as much speed as possible, while I steered directly into the oncoming corners and snowbanks. It was fun, definitely.

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As the sun began to set, we exited the Jeep and began our hike in. It was a short jaunt to the cabin - about half a mile, but the deep snow made it challenging. When we neared the cabin, the smell of a wood fire welcomed us. Inside were Elmer and three of his friends. Along with our two dogs, it made for a cozy, but non-cramped stay.

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That night we drank wine, stoked the fire, and got to know our new friends, Rachel, Mya, and Robert. The wood stove warmed the little cabin well, further aided by Elmer's restless nature through the night - resulting in several wood stocking missions. On Sunday morning Elmer and I hiked back to the Jeep to grab more supplies for our breakfast. I decided to bring the chainsaw for this trip, which made our restocking of wood a quick task.

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Rebecca and I headed out midday on Sunday and the rest of the group stuck around for one more day of vacation on President's Day.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Bike Polo (San Juan, Puerto Rico)

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Wow! What an excellent excuse to fly to Puerto February!

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Ever since Evan moved to Puerto Rico a couple years ago, I've been meaning to plan a visit. This event helped set the timeline for that visit and the timing could not have been better! The winter was beginning to drag on and the recent snow storms had really cemented that feeling of "when will winter end?" To say the least, this vacation was a breath of fresh air!

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Although polo brought us to the island, the beach was where we spent the majority of our time. Our team merged with another, so court time was scarce. Luckily, however, the beach was just a few yards from the court.

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After playing polo on Saturday, we decided to go surfing with Evan on Sunday. We spent the majority of our day at Pine Grove and finished the day with drinks and fried chicken at Evan's house.

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Rebecca and I couldn't spare much time away from school and work, so we squeezed this mini vacation into a four-day weekend. On Monday we packed, took one more dip in the ocean, and headed for the airport. All in all, it was a perfect glimpse into a trip I'd like to revisit annually.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Snowshoe (West Virginia)

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Our timing could not have been more perfect for a daytrip to Snowshoe. The snow fell all day long and we could simply NOT find a single patch of ice on the slopes!

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We learned an important lesson on our first run - stay away from the BallHooter High Speed Chair. We stood in that line one time, and that was plenty to motivate us to find another lift to make runs under for the rest of the day.

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Rebecca is new to snowboarding and Ian had never gone before, so we spent the majority of the day on blue and green runs. They both improved significantly just over the course of one day.

The drive home was harrowing, but we eventually made it back to Richmond without incident.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

New River Rock Climbing (West VA)

Since our trip to Goshen Pass, I've been dying to climb outside again. Our crew from Peak chose to visit the New River Gorge, due in part to some of their experience climbing there in the past.

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The route options were limitless. On Saturday our group of nine split into two. One group consisted of the more experienced climbers and the other, well, was where I found myself! Although we did meet other climbers on every wall, we still never had much difficulty finding an open route to try.

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Sunday, September 1, 2013

Mountain Bike Double-Header

This weekend was an official MOUNTAIN BIKE EPIC! Downhill riding at Snowshoe on Saturday followed by the Shenandoah 100 on Sunday.

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Camping in Slatyfork was beautiful as always. Joey and I set up our hammocks in the mossy forest and grabbed a few hours of sleep before our first day of riding.

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The trail crew at Snowshoe has kept themselves occupied all summer, and their work shows in the trail conditions. There is also a new trail being cut, but I doubt we’ll see its completion this season.

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After we had our fill of DH at Snowshoe, we loaded up the Jeep and headed to the Stokesville campground. We arrived fairly late, but had decent luck finding a suitable area to setup camp. That night I registered and prepared my gear for the race before heading to bed. At the break of day (well, before then actually), I rolled out of my tent and cooked a protein-rich breakfast before heading to the 6am start.

As always, I wasn’t perfectly prepared for the race, but I suffered through the cramped muscles and loaded up on electrolyte pills at each aid station. The aid stations are really the key to the SM100 and its high completion rate. Each stop has a choice of food, drink, and nutritional supplements to keep riders sufficiently fueled for the long day.

Just after the eleven-hour mark I crossed the finish line. It was a long, but not necessarily painful day. I felt relatively relaxed at the finish – a contrast to years past when I’ve felt completely drained by the end of the day.

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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

North Anna Float (Doswell, VA)

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When Joey and I purchased our season passes for Snowshoe this year, we were pleased to find that our passes also included three free days at Seven Springs (PA) and Mountain Creek (NJ). Duteously, Joey called ahead to confirm this with Seven Springs. He found out, however, that this didn’t include Saturdays, so we shortened our trip to a single day. This left me with one vital question – what to do on Saturday?

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Immediately I remembered one crucial trip that we’d yet to make this summer…it was time to float the North Anna River! At the last minute, a group of eight friends agreed to meet the next morning to make the float. Along for the adventure were Rebecca, Alex, Jason, Mac, Virginia, Brett, Mark, and Catherine.

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As usual, we had a slow start to the day and arrived at the put-in about an hour later than we’d hoped. Luckily for us, though, the water level was high and moving faster than I’d ever seen. The four-hour float that we’d expected flew by in just over two hours. The swift current also meant that the tubers scooted along just as quickly as the boats, avoiding the typical need for a tow rope.