Monday, December 9, 2013

We're Back!

Sharon Chen photo

It's headlamp racing season again!  Put down the remote, step away from the elliptical, tell your boss you're coming down with the flu, and get yourself up to Cabin Creek, exit 63, for another round of Wednesday night Totally Dark Cross Country Ski Racing.

The rules, such as they are, are pretty simple: the course is two laps around the Berg loop for masters (there is a map inside the cabin if you're not sure of the Berg loop), one lap around for juniors.  Start any time between 5:00 and 8:00; record your own time on the sign-in sheet in the cabin.  Race against your training partner or your car-pool buddy, race against your own best time, or just enjoy the pure sensual pleasure of skiing fast in the dark, listening to the rustle of small animals, drinking in the fragrance of a cold dark winter night, with nothing but your own headlamp and the other headlamps twinkling in the forest for light.  It's magical, and totally worth the bleariness of Thursday morning back at work.

The schedule is posted over there on the left side-bar, and race organizer Brent Turner sends us some tips:

  • If you're skiing trails other than the race loop, ski with a friend.  Cougars, owls, and hypothermia are lurking in the dark.
  • The best headlamps for this kind of activity are 100 lumens or more, and can be had for about $50 to $100.  Notice that our series sponsors are headlamp purveyors Petzl and Mila.  Just sayin'.
  •  Safety and course conditions may dictate a change in the course on any given night, but we'll try to keep you up to date on this blog.
  • All racers are welcome in the Kongsberger cabin and waxing shed for prepping skis, changing clothes and eating dinner, but be sure to carry out your own trash.
  • Snow-park permits with a groomed trails sticker are required; car-pooling is a good idea.
  • This is a non-sanctioned, unofficial, off-the-grid event, so don't be expecting course marshals and  marked intersections and feed stations and a lit course.  Be the light.

At the end of the season in mid-March, we'll have an awards party.  The attendance award goes to the person who showed up and raced the most times in the season; you have to put down a time on the sign-in sheet to be eligible.  Awesome prizes from Helly-Hansen will also go to age group placers up to the top five, with weighted results: first in class with five people racing that night gets five points; first in class with two racing gets two points.  Get  it?  Go!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Let's Build Trails Together!

Did you miss the last trail work party?  No worries; there is one more, and it's this Saturday, 9:00 at the cabin, Cabin Creek, exit 63, potluck lunch.  See you there?

LAST-MINUTE CHANGE:  no potluck; bring your own lunch.  Come anyway!

Friday, October 11, 2013

An Invitation

This is coming ... can you feel it in the air?  In the darkness?  In the damp and chill?  It's coming!

Sharon Chen photo

But first, an invitation to get your hands dirty and your back tired and your muscles worked.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

End of the Season ...

The temps haven't dipped below freezing since last weekend, and it's been raining like crazy; only the die-hards would want to headlamp ski in those conditions, and that's exactly who showed up for the end-of-season relay and party!  And as it always turns out, the conditions at Cabin Creek were much better than the pass report would have you believe:  mild temperatures, light misty rain, plenty of snow, and even daylight.

Peter designed a fun alternative sprint course: classic skiers started first, a mass start on the road, then took the cutoff up Amabilis Road, turned right on the Berg and headed in reverse around the loop, then around the PK loop in reverse, and back to the road to tag off to your partner.  Skiing a course in reverse makes it a whole new day, and we took advantage of the fact that there were no non-racers to bang into.  After the race, most of us headed out for another cruise around the trails, reveling in the soft gray dusk, rich with the fragrance of a new-born spring, before going up to the cabin for dinner and prizes.

Relay results:

         Men-only teams
             Loren Hanson (44)/Mark Hanson (40):  15:57    
             Max Limb (67)/Peter Boveng (54):  17:43
             Jordan (ageless)/Purple Cow (ageless):  17:53      
             Chris Fast (46)/Ian Whyte (50):  19:05
             Jeff McGrew (53)/Dale Bohm (54):  20:39

         Co-ed teams
              Jeff Clark (59)/Joy Cordell (58):  21:48
               Jim Slyfield (55)/Elizabeth Bailey (52):  22:44

          Women-only teams
                Alma Fast (7)/Debbie Kolp (59):  fast like rockets

Many many thanks to Brent Turner, who sent us two boxes of great Helly Hansen wear to hand out, and to Peter, who convinced Petzl to loan us some snazzy headlamps to try out all winter and then handed out a new one as a prize.  Almost everyone went home with something new, and a great time was had by all.

Here are the season-total age group winners, men and women:

             juniors:  Anthony Evans, Camille Moore
             20-29: Jonathan Loeffler, Heidi Wood
             30-39: Brad Bauer, Diana Yuen
             40-49: Chris Fast, tie between Kirsten Wysen and Gina Jackson
             50-59: Peter Boveng, Joy Cordell
             60-69: Max Limb

And that's it for another year!  A thousand thank yous to every one of you who broke out of the routine to make the trip up to Cabin Creek on Wednesday nights, in the rain and the dark and the snow, to the parking lot that was alternately flooded or icy, to race (or just ski) on trails with a wide range of grooming conditions, to follow the glow of your headlamps through the trees and up and down the hills, to meet up in the cabin afterward to eat and share funny stories.  It was so much fun, and I will miss all of you this summer.  I'll look for you out on the running trails and the roller skiing roads, and we'll do this all again next year!

Train hard, have fun!

March 6, Skate

Better late than never?  I found the results, and I hear there was rain.  Note that these results do not change the season total age group winners.

Two Laps
Jeff McGrew 53 16.37
Jim Slyfield 55 17.25
Dale Bohm 54 17.53
Ian Whyte 50 19.20
Jeff Clark 59 21.02
Joy Cordell 58 24.13
Just Skiin'
Ozzie Nordheim
Per Johnsen

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Last Race of the Season!

I know, I can hardly believe the headlamp race season is over either!   But it is, and that means this Wednesday is the end-of-season relay and party.  It's going to be raining up there, but don't let that stop you; the air will be fresh and clean in your lungs, the cabin will be warm and dry after your race, and you won't need your headlamps!

The relay: one person classic, one person skating, alternating for three laps each.  The lap is the sprint course: head out the upper Berg loop like you always do, but when you get to the intersection with the road, just come on back down the road and do the little PK loop before coming back to the start, where your partner is waiting for the tag.  Results don't count for anything, so it's nice and friendly if faster skiers pair up with slower ones.  Start time is 6:30, with classic skiers going first.  It is a VERY fun race, and kids are welcome!  I've already got dibs on Alma Fast as my partner.

After the race, and after your cool-down ski around the course (unless it's pouring rain), head on up to the cabin for dinner and prizes.  I don't think anyone is bringing a grill this year, so just bring whatever you want to eat -- the microwave, stove, and oven will be available, as well as the wood stove.  Mr Helly Hansen has set aside a box of prizes for us; I don't know what's in there, but we'll do some kind of prize drawing after we eat.

And that will be it for another year.  So sad it's over; so happy to get one more chance to ski with all of you.  See you there!

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Feb 27, Classic

Many thanks to Peter Boveng, for picking up the race results and forwarding this awesome report of snow conditions:

"Soggy, semi-fresh snow that seemed like it was groomed by trolls."

Two Laps
Peter Boveng 54 16.25
Chris Fast 46 18.04
Jim Slyfield 55 20.03
Jim Cahill 50 20.05
Max Limb 67 20.10
Jim West 44 21.00
Jeff Clark 59 22.03
Joy Cordell 58 28.50
Elizabeth Bailey 52 29.46
Gina Jackson 43 36.24
Dee Gardner 48 36.57
Kim Saganski 51 41.04
Tom Flynn 50 41.02
One Lap
Cooper Jackson 11 17.43
Delaney Jackson 7 18.49
Just Skiin'
Jon Fewster
Ozzie Nordheim
Pat Kaald
Paul Kaald
Jonathan Loeffler
Oliver Isik
Galen Voorhees
Jason Paur

Next week: skating!  Only two more weeks of headlamp skiing, so if you've been thinking about coming, get your self up there before it's too late and you spend the whole summer wishing you had given it a try.  Good luck to everyone doing Vasaloppet this weekend!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Feb 20, Skate

Many thanks to Chris Fast for picking up the results last week while I was busy exploring the backwoods of northern Wisconsin between Cable and Hayward with 7,000 new friends.  Here is his report on the conditions:

Conditions were very firm and a bit icy, so very fast skating, provided you could stay out of the center classic grooves left over from Sunday's race that had not been completely groomed under.  I managed to crash twice in the downhill straight section between the road and the Berk-Viking fork (i.e., the easiest part of the course).

Two Laps
James Evans 13.02
Chris Fast 46 13.44
Brad Bauer 39 13.45
Jim Wood 14.09
Dale Bohm 16.23
Mike Renes 17.00
Bernd Drenk 17.05
Jeff Clark 59 18.05
Ian Whyte 18.30
Heidi Wood 18.36
Adrienne Haass 29 20.25
Joy Cordell 58 22.36
Gina Jackson 23.47
One Lap
Matt Shecks 7.45
Anthony Evans 8.04
Ingemar Sonnerup 13 9.25
Cooper Jackson 9.40
Jordan Ewing 16 10.02
Delaney Jackson 12.30
Just Skiin'
Jeff Hashimoto
Uhuru Hashimoto
Apollo Hashimoto
Gavin Scoville
Gwynn Scoville
Jerry Scoville
Isak Larson
Peter King
Anders Repsher
Rolf Sunnerup
Nils Melbourne
Tim Melbourne

Next week: classic.  Good luck to everyone heading to the Swedish Vasaloppet!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Feb 13, Skiathlon

I was trapped late at work, so Chris Fast sends us a mincing-no-words report: "The snow was soft, but the weather was nice."  Thanks, Chris!  It looked like a lot of people came to ski, but not necessarily to skiathlon.  That's cool; it's just nice to see people out there on a Wednesday evening, doing whatever kind of skiing makes them happy.

Next week: skate.  Don't forget: the real Kongsberger Skiathlon is this Sunday -- 7.5k classic, 7.5k skate.  Sounds like fun!

Classic/Skate Skiathlon
Brad Bauer 39 13.11
Chris Fast 46 15.15
Max Limb 67 17.11
Jeff Clark 59 18.11
Jim Slyfield 55 18.20
Robin Pederson 59 22.16
Joy Cordell 58 23.10
Just Skiin'
Jeff McGrew
Dale Bohm
Ian Whyte
Matt Sheeks
Alexandra Isbell
Fang Zhang
Adrienne Haase
Benjamin Cape
James Evans
Anthony Evans
Marcia Trussell
Whit Hammond
Craig Hammond
Hana Tinka
Kelsey Jones-Casey
Ryan Jones-Casey
Heidi Wood
Jim Wood
Doug Reid on the Viking loop
Jason Paur and 13 Bush kids on Ozbaldy

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Feb 6, Skate

You know how the snow gets when it's cold but it's been rained on all day, all fresh and wintry smelling?  Yeah, that's how it was last night.  Temps in the mid-30s, hard wintry mix falling at the pass, but damp and cool at Cabin Creek, plenty of snow on the nicely groomed trail, and the skiing was slickety fast, both in the tracks and in the skate lane.  It was another gorgeous night of skiing in the dark, with bright little fireflies of headlamps twinkling in the woods.

Speaking of bright little fireflies, I tried the Petzl Nau headlamp again last night, and I am even more enamored than I was last week.  This time I tried tilting the angle of the light, rather than the angle of my head, and it was as if the light could read my mind: it just automatically flicked from low to high and back to low the instant I needed it, without my having to even think about it.  Technology is a wonderful thing, and to be able to wear a beautifully-designed little piece of technology on your head, and to have it open up the whole dark trail to brightness, is a pretty cool thing.  If you've tried one and want one, they're available at Second Ascent in Ballard and Marmot in Bellevue (these two shops generously sponsor the Kongsberger races), as well as REI in downtown Seattle.  If you haven't tried one and you're interested, find me next Wednesday night; Peter will be out of town, but I have his stash of demo lamps.

Next week: something special!  As a warmup to the Feb 17 skiathlon at Cabin Creek, and to give you a chance to practice your transitions, the headlamp race will be a one-lap classic followed immediately by a one-lap skate.  Measure your total time, including the transition.  Sounds like fun!  Good luck to everyone heading to Spokane for the Langlauf or to Winthrop for the Derby!

Two Laps
Brad Bauer 39 12.35
Peter Boveng 54 13.47
John Outterson 42 14.40
Christopher Fast 46 14.44
Egor Klivak 28 15.55
Jeff McGrew 53 16.46
Max Limb 67 17.52
Jeff Clark 59 17.58
James West 44 18.01
Ian Whyte 50 20.15
Peter Turcan 55 20.17
Dale Bohm 54 20.24
Don Brooks 62 20.34 (classic)
Joy Cordell 58 20.43
Debbie Kolp 59 27.49 (classic)
One Lap
Jonathan Loeffler 27 6.55
Garrett Stout 17 7.14
Oliver Isik 17 7.59
Finley Terlin 16 8.03
Camille Moore 14 8.47
Benjamin Cape 15 8.58
Just Skiin'
Brian Palm
Jason Paur and 7 more Bush School kids (besides the ones who timed in the one-lap above)

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Jan 30, classic

It was kind of mean, actually.  A foot of fresh pow fell on Snoqualmie Pass on Monday, but on Tuesday and Wednesday it rained and rained and rained, with standing water on the road and avalanche control closures.  Maybe that's why the participation was way down this week, because the precipitation was way up, but the skiing turned out to be delicious: with temps in the upper 30s and a heavy mist that sparkled in our Mystical Cones of Headlamp Happiness, the snow was sleek and fast and wet, like a sea otter.  Zeroes worked, fishscales worked, and red klister sort of worked.  It was a gorgeous soft night of skiing!

And speaking of Headlamp Happiness, I got to test-drive one of the new Petzl headlamps that Peter Boveng is bringing up for demo-ing.  The verdict?  I want one.  And I want it now.  They are amazing.  There is a substantial, long-lasting lithium battery, rechargeable on your computer, that sits on the back of your head, but the strapping system is so well-designed and comfortable that you don't even know it's there.  The on-off button is a nicely engineered toggle that's easy to maneuver with your gloves on (and you can lock it so it doesn't accidentally turn on in your pack), and the beam of light is as wide and bright as you could ever want.  But the cool thing about this particular model, which is called the Nao (say "now"), is how it figures out how dark it is in front of you and adjusts the brightness magically by itself.  At first I thought it was a gimmick, but it is actually awesome: when you get to a long hill, or a dark corner, or better yet, a dark corner at the bottom of a long hill, you can tilt your head back an inch and all of a sudden it's like the floodlights came on and the entire forest is lit up!  Who thought of this?  And how did we manage without it before they thought of it?  (And what do the owls think about it?)  Peter is bringing several of these lamps up to the cabin every Wednesday night, so find him and grab one and give it a test.  We may be able to give away some discount certificates, or maybe even some lamps, at the end-of-season party.  Did I already mention how much I want one for my very own?

Next week: skating.  Good luck to everyone going to the Konig Ludwig Lauf and the Chicks on Sticks!

Two Laps
Join Fewster 42 16.34
Peter Boveng 54 16.38
Richard Clung 47 16.50
Jonathan Loeffler 27 17.43  (all double pole)
Don Brooks 62 20.02
John Outterson 42 20.35
Jim Slyfield 55 20.40
Dale Bohm 54 19.51
Debbie Kolp 59 29.04
One Lap
Jay Wyatt 26 8.25
Jordan Guzale 18 8.49
Fin Terlin 16 10.00
Oliver Isik 17 10.12
Benjamin Cape 15 12.02
Just Skiin'
Brad Bauer
Kent Murdoch
Douglas Holtan
Brian Dumais
Kirsten Wysen
Ryan Jones-Casey
Kelsey Jones-Casey
Sean Brown
4 Seattle Academy students
4 Bush School students

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Jan 23, Skate

Snowy snowy night ... snowy slippery drive up to the pass, snowy-but-plowed parking lot, snowy upper-20s temperatures, thick heavy snow on the trail, thick fluffy snow falling in our Mystical Cones of Headlamp Happiness. What a gorgeous night to be out skiing in the dark! It was a skating night, but the classic skiing was also glorious, especially after the track was skied in a little bit, and especially for someone who got to test-drive a pair of Jon Fewster's beautifully light and responsive Madshus Zeroes--perfect grip in the tracks, smooth-as-butter tracking down the hills and around the corners--and fell in love with them. The skiing was so wonderful, we hated to stop and go inside the cabin until we realized we were hungry and tomorrow was a work day. If you're not coming up here and skiing with us, why not?

Next week: classic. Good luck to everyone heading to the Methow Pursuit or the Marcialonga!

Two Laps
Kent Murdoch 51 14.28
Doug Reid 44 15.30
Jon Fewster 42 15.55
Chris Fast 46 16.17
John Outterson 42 16.20
Matt Sheeks 29 17.08
Jim Slyfield 55 19.06
Dale Bohm 54 19.51
Max Limb 67 20.02
James West 44 21.01
Ian Whyte 50 21.10
Jeff Clark 59 23.30
Joy Cordell 57 24.18
Debbie Kolp 59 32.44 (classic)
One Lap
Camille Moore 14 11.00
Just Skiin'
Jonathan Loeffler
John O'Brien
Brian Palm
Bonnie Loshbaugh
Alex Ingerman
17 Bush School kids