Tag Archives: winter

Winter Trip to the Canadian Rockies

We originally had made plans to go to Lake Placid in mid-December for a little Winter ski vacation. We had plans later in the Winter to head to Arizona for a week, so we needed to get a little Winter-fix before going to some warmer climate. Planning a ski vacation to the Adirondacks in December can be a little questionable as to whether they have snow or not. Last year they had a lot of snow then, this year practically none.

So, with only a few weeks to go, we decided to change things up. Denise checked around with her friends living out West and there was not much snow to be had there either. She then came across Banff & Lake Louise in Western Alberta, Canada. They had a good November snowfall and conditions were perfect for some early season skiing. We had always wanted to go there too, so no time like the present. We quickly changed our plans and locked in our flights to Calgary.

Our departure out of Newark was an early one. We were up at 3:30 AM and on our way to

Early Morning Wake-up at 3:34 AM

Early Morning Wake-up at 3:34 AM

the airport. We dropped the car off at the usual parking place, ABC Airport Parking, who quickly whisked us away to the terminal. The airport check-in and security checks went pretty smoothly and we were on our flight just in time to see the sunrise before take-off.

 

Sunrise Take-Off from EWR

Sunrise Take-Off from EWR

Houston…We Have A Problem…

Our flight to Calgary went fairly well until we tried to land in Calgary. There was a low-lying, dense fog that we had to go through to land. We could not see anything as we entered into it at the very last part of our landing. All of a sudden the runway appeared out of nowhere within feet of touching  down. Before the wheels were about to touch the pilot “hit the gas” and we were ascending at a steep and fast pace. Denise and I looked at each other saying WTH??!

Before long the pilot got on and said that the visibility was too low to land and they were going to give it another try. I believe we were possibly too far down the runway when we were about to touch-down. We then made a long sweeping turn and got back in line to land again. Fortunately, the 2nd time was much more successful. I usually don’t have an issue with flying, but I was a little uneasy after that episode.

We picked up our bags and rental car and made our way to West from Calgary to Banff. Calgary had a fresh inch or two of snow on the ground, which was a welcome sight after the warm start to Winter we had back home. The outskirts of Calgary are filled with these large walled communities of very tightly clustered housing. It seemed a bit strange to me. After flanking the city we started heading West over large open plains with the Candian Rocky Mountains looming in the distance.

Canadian Rockies in Sight

Canadian Rockies in Sight

We reached the town of Canmore after about an hour and turned in to get some lunch at CrazyWeed restaurant. Denise had found this place as being one of the best ones in Canmore. She did not let us down with her research either. We had a nice lunch there and then drive through the downtown area and up to the Nordic Center to check that out. It is a pretty lively little place with lots of shops and restaurants. I think it is a more reasonable option as compared to Banff which gets a little more upper-class folks and everything is a bit more pricey.

I pre-booked the first few nights of the trip at the Juniper Hotel in Banff, which is located across  Highway 1(Trans-Canada Highway) from Banff. It sits up and above the highway and overlooks the town with a beautiful view of the surrounding mountains. Our room had a big window that allowed you to take it all in from your bed. The rates here were quite reasonable too. They have a nice restaurant that serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. We wish we would have dined there more cause food was really good! They also have a hot tub which was not far from our room.

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Juniper Inn Room-Banff, Alberta, CA
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We also dined at the Banff Brewpub(twice) and the Bison Restaurant. I really like the brewpub since they had a wide selection of food and the beers were really good. The Bison was a bit more upscale, but I didn’t find the food all that great relative to the price. There wasn’t much choice for vegan/vegetarian, so maybe carnivores would have a better luck here. Melissa’s was our go-to place for breakfast.

Skiing at Lake Louise

On Sunday, we headed about 40 minutes up Highway 1 to Lake Louise to ski. We didn’t have high expectations for the mountain, so we were pleasantly surprised by the terrain. The snow conditions were also very good for early in the season. We headed over to the Larch area in the morning which seemed to have the best conditions according to some people we talked to. There were some gnarly areas, but we found a few good runs there. After lunch, we made our way to the back bowls which contained a good amount of fluffy snow. Although with overcast sky it was impossible to see anything. It was like white-out conditions. At times I had no idea what the pitch was or if it was bumped up or not. I just pointed my skis down and hoped for the best.

All-in-all it was a good ski day. The temps were around 25F which was perfect. We had lunch at the sushi restaurant in the lodge which was quite good. We sat next to a couple of guys who pretty much ran the mountain so they gave us the scoop on the hill. We rented equipment at Wilson Sports just down the road in the Village of Lake Louise. Equipment was nice, but our skis were wider and more powder skis, so they weren’t the best match for conditions.

White Knuckles on the Icefields Parkway

On Monday, we decided to take a break from skiing and take a drive up the Icefields Parkway towards Jasper, Alberta. The parkway starts at Lake Louise and heads Northwest through the heart of the most beautiful sections of the Canadian Rockies. It is supposed to be one of the most scenic drives in the world and takes about 3 hours to get Jasper in good weather. The only problem is that it was now the middle of the Winter and they don’t maintain the road very well during that time. Another factor was that my wife decided she wanted to drive that day. Since I can be a little bit of a control freak where driving is concerned it left me a little grumpy for the start. When we hit the start of the Parkway there was a flashing sign indicating that the roads not in great shape and to proceed at your own risk. The start of the road was covered in very bumpy ice which appeared to be several inches thick. I was not having a warm-and-fuzzy feeling for this 3 hour+ drive. My grumpiness ended rather quickly though once we got into the mountains. It was amazing! The mountain scenery with all the snow was one of the most beautiful landscapes I have ever seen.

The road eventually mellowed out but was still covered with snow most of the way. Locals flew passed us in large 4-wheel drive trucks like we were standing still. We ended up stopping pretty often so I could take pictures, so the trip took even longer than expected. We knew we would not get to Jasper in time to come back again before night, so we ended up turning around just past halfway where Route 11 intersects. We stopped at Peyto Lake and did a little hike through woods to a lookout overlooking the lake.

When we reached Lake Louise we decided to continue our scenic journey and head down the Bow Valley Parkway instead of taking the highway back to Banff. We were rewarded with more magnificent views and even had an Elk sighting along the way.

Skiing at Sunshine Village

On Tuesday, we headed over to Sunshine Village  after a nice breakfast at the Juniper Hotels’ restaurant. Sunshine Village is only about 6 miles up Highway 1 from Banff. It is actually behind Banff, nestled in a narrow valley between the mountains that open up to a wide bowl at the top. A 20-minute gondola ride takes you from the parking area just to the base of the mountain. You can stop off part of the way up to hit the Goat’s Eye section.

When we arrived at the base we were greeted by a very friendly staff “greeter” that gave us the whole low-down on the mountain. It was a beautiful morning with the sun shining away before the snow clouds filled in later in the morning. We played around in the Wawa Bowl and Birdcage area for a bit in the morning and then eventually wound around to the Mount Standish area.

We had lunch at the Chimney Corner restaurant in the lodge, which ended up being a rather unpleasant experience. Our wait for our food took an exceptionally long time and when it finally did arrive the waitress indicated that my wife’s meal was accidentally served to another table. When my wife’s meal finally arrived, it was overdone and she asked to send it back. She also asked to get something else instead, like poutine, that would be quicker since she was hungry and we had wasted enough time in the place. When we got the bill, we noticed they had obviously comp’d us for my wife’s burger which she didn’t eat, but they still charged us for the Poutine. Given the poor experience, we were kind of surprised they didn’t just comp her meal all together as most places would typically do. We said something to our waitress who said she would talk to her manager.

Not soon after we were greeted by a slightly nervous looking younger guy who said he was the manager. We explained the situation to him and he then proceeded to tell us that we were basically wrong about our observation of how my wife’s burger was done. Really? Growing up in the restaurant business, I can tell that you that the customer is never wrong and that if they are not satisfied with their dining experience, you do whatever it takes to make it a good one. This kid was obviously a little puppet for someone else and was just following orders, but I was amazed at this. Especially in a country where everyone was so nice, this really stood out. And really, comp-ing a $10 entree to “make things right” would be no skin off their back. We are obviously not going there again, not that would have anyway. We were planning to hit one of the other bars there for Apres ski that day, but decided to bag it because I didn’t want to be paying them any more money.

Skiing at Sunshine Village pretty nice. We found a good bump run with a little tree section leading up to it.  We spent most of the afternoon on that before making our way down the Gondola back to the parking lot. We headed back into town to return our ski rentals and then grabbed another dinner at the Banff Brewpub before heading to our next destination.

Baker Creek Mountain Resort

We drove back up Highway 1 towards Lake Louise again and then about 10 minutes back down the Bow Valley Parkway to our accommodations for the next couple nights at Baker Creek Mountain Resort. Baker Creek is a somewhat remote little outpost consisting of really nice little log cabins and deluxe rooms. We got there late and they left a note on the office door indicating which room we were in. The room had a little kitchen, a gas fireplace, and big hot tub. The perfect little retreat for a couple days of rest and relaxation. The temperature was also dropping to below zero(C and F)  for the next couple days, so skiing was out of the question anyway.

We were a little disappointed to find out that the restaurant at Baker Creek was closed for everything but dinner, so we would have to drive up to Lake Louise Village next day for breakfast and get groceries for any meals we wanted to eat there. I was kind of looking forward to just hanging out there, but was not meant to be. They had also just sold the place to new owners, who had taken over only a few days before, so they were in a bit of a transition period. Despite that, the place was very nice and we had a very relaxing time there.

On our jaunt up to the Lake Louise Village, we enjoyed a great breakfast at The Post Hotel and then equally good lunch at the Fairmont Chateau at Lake Louise. I also got out on the lake for some photography, but it was so cold there I could not stay out there for very long.

We also managed to get out for a little snowshoeing around Baker Creek and I was able to get a few images along the river at sunset.

Last Stop…Canmore

For the last couple nights we headed back to Canmore, Alberta to stay at the Falcon Crest Lodge. The room at Falcon Crest was more like an apartment than a room. It was very spacious, clean and new. The only bad thing was we had no view of the mountains from our room. Instead, we looked out on a walking path and another building which looked similar to it. It did have an underground parking lot which was kind of nice.

On our fist full day in Canmore, I was able to get out to the Nordic Center for some skate-skiing. Their nordic center is pretty elaborate and I was looking forward to checking it out. The only bad thing was there was a bunch of signs warning of bears still on the prowl and mountain lions which are always around. I was a little uneasy at first, but there were enough other skiers out that it didn’t appear to be an issue. I ended up getting about 10 miles in which was sufficient.

Dining out in Canmore was not a problem. We headed back to Crazyweed again which was very good, but there wine prices were outrageous.  We also tried Rocky Mountain Flatbread Pizza Co. which was also very good. Our Favorite though was CommuniTea Cafe which we ended up eating at 3 times in 2 days! They had really healthy food and it was much needed at the end of a vacation where we were eating a lot of less healthy stuff.

After dinner at the Pizza place, we headed over to the Canmore Curling Club to check that out. The bartender there was really nice and sat down and explained it all to us. Super-nice guy! There was recreational leagues going on and it was pretty funny to watch them. Looks like a very fun social thing.

On our last, full day of the trip we did a little hike up to Grassi Lakes. It was a pretty well-established trail, but it was a constant ascent on a snow covered path which made it a little tricky. I only brought one pair of YakTrax, so we had to share them by each putting one on one foot. We were quickly rewarded at the top with some beautiful little crystal-clear lakes and cascading brooks linking them together. The walk back seemed to be a little more tricky with the traction since gravity was coming into play.

We then talk a more leisurely walk along the footpath that runs along both sides of the Bow River in Canmore. Still snow-covered, but a nice little path to view the river and surrounding mountains.

This trip ended up being one of my favorites. It is surprising such a last-minute decision. We didn’t have a bad meal the whole time other than the Chimney Corner at Sunshine Village. The exchange was also a nice surprise after getting my credit card bill when I got home. I would definitely like to head back here again in the warmer months. I know it will probably be much more crowded, but if we spend more time in the backcountry we may be able to escape some of that.

Thanks for reading!

 

IMCDA 2015 Training Update Week #4(of 26)-Lake Placid Cross-Training

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Adirondack Sunset

I mixed things up a bit for week #4 by heading up to Lake Placid for a bit cross-training in the snow. I try to get up there for a week in the Winter every year for some skate-skiing at Mt. Van Hoevenburg. We have a week planned in Sedona, Arizona next month so it wasn’t looking good for skate-skiing this year. We decided that we needed our Lake Placid Winter fix, so we arranged a long weekend up there which was perfect.

I tried to get in as much biking and swimming in the early part of the week as I could. Thursday ended up being a rest/travel day. I got a small case of swimmers’ ear too, so it worked out that I would not be swimming for a few days.  The rest day would also help since skate-skiing can be pretty exhausting .

2015 Training Week #4

2015 Training Week #4(1/19-1/22/2015)

We made up to Lake Placid in time to have dinner at the ADK Cafe in Keene, NY which is one of our favorites. On Friday, I was able to get our ski’s waxed in the morning so we were able to get in a good hour and a half in the afternoon. Conditions were great at Van Hoevenburg too. There was a really solid base and everything was open too. Temperatures were perfect as well running in the high 20’s to low 30’s on Saturday. On Saturday, we did our town shopping spree and lunch and then headed to ski later. Denise ended up pulling her back out though while putting her boot on. 🙁 She was in some severe pain too. I had to run her home, but then was able to go back again and get a good hour in anyway.

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One of my least favorite little hilly sections on the Perimeter Trail at Mt. Van Hoevenburg

On Friday night we had a nice dinner at Milano North in town and Saturday Cafe Rustica. Both of them are two of our favorites. The ladies at Cafe Rustica were also very accomodating of Denise’s back issues. I was a little disappointed to find out that my all time favorite, The Cowboy had closed up. Also Pan Dolce seems to be closed as well.

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Nice view of Cascade Mountain from the Biathlon area at Mt. Van Hoevenburg

Sunday was a different story though. We got about an inch or two of new snow and it got cold! Like 7 degrees in the mid afternoon. Brrr! This also changed the snow conditions too and the purple wax that I had on my skiis was no longer gliding like it was the past two days. Now I was getting a major workout whether I like it or not. To add to this I also headed out on one of the harder trails, Porter Mountain Loop. I was sucking some major wind on this one. It was brutal, but I got in another 1:30 of skiing. So all-in-all it was some workouts on the ski trails. It is nice to break up the running, biking and swimming during the Winter.

Sunday night we had a real nice dinner at the Interlaken Inn Pub with the couple we stay with in Lake Placid. Food was amazing, but we had to rush through it since we were going to the Banff Mountain Film Festival immediately afterwards. There were some really good films this year and it is always a packed house in Lake Placid. I threw together this playlist of some of the ones they showed there…

One thing to note this week was my Heart Rate Variability(HRV). I hadn’t had any alcohol since New Years and over the weekend I had a few glasses of wine on two of the four nights in Lake Placid. It is pretty interesting how my HRV dropped severly on both mornings after that. They were also not consecutive days, so my HRV went up on the night between and down again the following. My training was about the same on all the days too, so I don’t think that had anything to do with it. I slept good all the nights as well.

HRV timeline as of 1/27/2015- Wine playing a part here.

HRV timeline as of 1/27/2015- Wine playing a part here.

ithlete-pro-TrainingGuide- What a few glasses of wine can do...

ithlete-pro-TrainingGuide- What a few glasses of wine can do…

We headed home early on Monday due to the impending winter storm, Juno which was headed our way. It turned out to be a non-event, so all that rushing home was for nothing. Oh well. It was a great weekend in the Adirondacks and it was nice to change things up a bit too. Well next week it is back to some usual training again.

Thanks for reading!

 

IMLP 2014-Week 20 Training Update

Spring is on the Horizon #sunset #tree

Spring is on the Horizon #sunset #tree

I haven’t updated on my training lately, so I thought I would put out a quick post. 19 more weeks until Ironman Lake Placid. Winter continues here on the border of the NorthEast and the Mid-Atlantic. We have had a few sparks of Springtime show their face, but not enough. For example, yesterday was sunny and in the mid-50’s, today was a high in the mid-30’s and we are expecting a inch or two of snow tonight into tomorrow. Ugh! Regardless, my training pushes on.

Last week was a recovery week, so things were a bit laid back. This we are back to business again. I getting up over 10 hours a week and quickly approaching 11 hours. If the weather, get nicer that would easily jump up. I feel like I could easily do that without causing much harm. Anything over two hours on the bike trainer is ridiculous in my book. I would rather put in some additional effort/intensity instead of just slogging out a 3+ hour ride on the trainer.

As you can see from the PMC chart below, things are progressing steadily without too much fatigue. I have the next several weeks planned out as well, which are indicated by the dotted lines. The plan usually end up being a bit less than what actually happens.

PMC Week 20 IMLP 2014

PMC Week 20 IMLP 2014

Today I got over to the Ironton Rail trail for a nice 1:40 minute run. I felt really good the whole time and it gave me a bit of confidence heading into this season. I don’t remember feeling quite that good at that distance at this time of the year before.

My one concern right now is my weight. I am still up about 10-15 lbs over my racing weight. I would like to be at my racing weight at this time as I was last year. I feel like I have been eating pretty good and the scale is not budging. I am going to be patient with it, because I know that last season I could not keep that weight on once the heavy training started.

While we are talking about eating, I realized that this June will be my 2 year “anniversary” of being plant-based. Woohoo! I never thought I would be doing that for 2 months let alone 2 years. I have a full panel blood test coming up soon, so I am curious how that turns out.

I also convinced my manager(s) at work to let me get a stand up desk. I ended up getting a Varidesk Pro which sits on top of my regular desk and has a top that easily raises and lowers with my monitors on it. It is pretty nice and I am happy to get off my butt for a few extra hours during the day.

I have a few destination half-marathon races coming up in the next couple months which should make for some interesting posts. That’s about all for now. No news is good news I guess.

 

 

 

Winter Cross-Training & Vacation 2014- Stowe, VT

We decided to change things up a bit this Winter. We have been spending our Winter vacations in Lake Placid, NY for the past several years. This year we decided to give Stowe, VT a try mostly because they had much more kilometers of skate skiing trails than what LP has and I was starting to feel like I could ski the Mt. Van Hoevenberg trails with my eyes closed. This is surely not to say that Van Ho is not challenging me anymore…it surely does kick my butt every Winter! I just needed a change of scenery.

The surprising thing is we actually ended up Alpine(downhill) skiing this week much more than we usually do. That basically means more than once or none really. We ended up finding some more reasonably priced mountains to ski. We also got some nice snow midweek, which helped too. We found a nice little apartment for two to rent right in the heart of downtown Stowe. It was the perfect base of operations for the week. I have to say I was a little disappointed with the layout of the town of Stowe. I thought it was going to be much more consolidated so that you could walk everywhere. It was not. There were many places located up Mountain Road which heads north towards the Stowe Resort. We were in the most consolidated part, but we ended up having to drive most of the time to get to restaurants. Regardless, I did grow accustomed to this by end of the week.

Saturday(2/1)

We were packed up and on the road by around 9:30AM. We wanted to hit a place called The Hungry Fish in Troy, New York for some slow-food and also try to beat the snow forecast for NY & Vermont later that afternoon. Denise drove the whole way up, so I had time to play around on my phone surfing the web and stuff. Lunch was pretty good and they had several plant-based options and some locally sourced, grass-fed meats for Denise. We were also entertained by some live guitar entertainment.

We got into Stowe around 5pm or so. It was getting dark and snowing pretty good at that point. We stopped at a little health food store just before Stowe and got some snacks and things. People were real nice and the guy grew up near Collegeville.

One way to kill some time on the long drive up to Stowe…

 

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Stowe apartment pano

We eventually arrived at the little apartment in Stowe and were pretty impressed from the beginning. The place was nicely furnished and very clean. Perfect place for the 2 of us to relax a bit for the week. We then headed out to the Crop Bistro & Brewery for some dinner. The place was pretty nice and fairly busy. They told us we may have to wait a bit, but everything came very quickly. They had a couple vegetarian/vegan dishes on the menu and great homemade microbrews. I was a happy camper. Our waitress, Kathrine, also hooked us up with some good local skiing info. Namely, Burke Mountain, which was $25 lift tickets on Sundays and it was about an hour east of Stowe. We were all over that tomorrow.

Sunday(2/2)

Sunday morning we got up and made some breakfast and were on our way to Burke Mountain near East Burke, VT. We didn’t realize this until later, but this is the same town that is base to the Kingdom Trails mountain biking network that we had looked at going to some years ago. The drive over was long and the roads were still kind of snowy. We got there around lunch time and had lunch in their Tamarack Bar & Grill. We had a nice table overlooking the mountain. Mountain was really nice and we found some pretty decent runs with ample snow on them. It was a pretty good deal!

We made the long drive back to Stowe, showered up and headed over to the Bangkok Bistro Thai restaurant on the hill in Stowe. Food was good and pretty spicy(I did ask for that). It was Super Bowl Sunday, so no one was in the place except for us. Go Seahawks!!

Monday(2/3)

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Trapp Family Lodge

On Monday morning we headed up the road to the Trapp Family Lodge to do a little skate-skiing. Denise wasn’t feeling quite up-to-snuff, so she decided to rent some classic cross-country ski’s for a more relaxed day in the snow. On my first run, I headed out on the Telemark trail which was a little tough for the first run of the day and year for that matter. It went uphill right away around the back of the lodge, but eventually mellowed out a bit. I then headed down to some of the lower Deer Pond Trail section ending with about 6.5 miles for the morning jaunt.

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We then drove down the street to the Deli at Trapp Lodge for some lunch. We quickly realized we could have just skiied there. Lunch was pretty good and the Beer was equally good. I had a pistachio hummus wrap and a mug of Dunkel Lager, which was good fuel for the afternoon ski session. For the afternoon ski, I headed out the Luce Trail and then hooked up with the Haul Road trail which skirted the border of the property. I bumped into Denise out there but then we parted ways at the Oslo trail intersection.

“Cherish the cabin!”

– Mr. Ross(Susans’ father on Seinfeld)

The Oslo trail sucked to say the least. It was steep uphill the whole way and I was dying. It did have nice scenery with the sun going down. I was planning on meeting Denise at the Slayton Pasture Cabin outpost. I eventually got there but Denise was still making her way around the mountain behind the cabin. Stopping at the cabin was a mistake as I got pretty cold as my sweat had chilled. I decided to ski out and meet Denise since the cabin was closing anyway.

For dinner we walked down the street to the The Whip Bar & Grill at the Green Mountain Inn for dinner. Food was very good and they had a nice selection of options. I had the Butternut Squash Ravioli, which was to die for! There bread was also incredible and I ate the whole loaf. What the hey…I burned a ton of calories today!!

Tuesday(2/4)

We enjoyed a nice, relaxing, and lazy morning on Tuesday. I enjoyed an extra cup of coffee while catching up on the latest the Internet had to offer. I eventually got a bit antsy and we headed out for a walk up through town to find the bike trail. It is located behind the Church in town and is well groomed for x-country and skate-skiing. It parallels Mountain Rd. and is far enough away so you feel a little bit out and about.

 

For lunch, we hit the Cafe on Main just down the street for a quick lunch. We enjoyed some soup and sandwiches. Denise dropped her glove over the counter and down into the store front window display. One of the skinny kids working there had to climb in and fish it out for her.

Later, I had Denise drop me off at the Stowe Cross-Country Ski Center which is located just before you reach the Stowe ski resort up Moutain Road. It was a bit more low-key than the Trapp Lodge, but was a little bit more expensive too. I heard it was more popular with the locals. I actually enjoyed the trails here much more than Trapp. They were a little more narrow(which isn’t always great), but they were well-groomed and I had the place all to myself. It was a hard climb all the way out to the farthest outskirts of the area and then fast downhill all the way back. Some school kids had come out later on and came flying by me in the other direction.

We headed up the street to Harrison’s for dinner. It was a little place tucked in the basement of one of the stores in town. We didn’t make reservations and it was busier than we expected, so we ended up eating at the bar. I had the Vegetable Stir-Fry which was REALLY good! Denise enjoyed her meal as well, but I had forgot what she had. Their menu seemed very similar to the Whips’ menu. They may be connected which isn’t that surprising since they are across the street from one another. Worth a trip here, but make a reservation just to be sure.

Wednesday

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We awoke to a fresh coating of Snow on Wednesday and it continued all day. I think we ended up with a foot overall. We decided to head up Mountain Road to the Matterhorn Bar for some lunch. The place was pretty empty and freezing cold, but the food was really good. I had the Pizza which was excellent and Denise had a salad that she also enjoyed. The snow continued to fall as we overlooked the frozen stream behind the restaurant. This is probably a really killer atmosphere in Summer time too.

After lunch we headed over to the Sterling Forest to do some snowshoeing. We found our way via some unplowed roads to the trailhead at the start of the Sterling Upper Gorge trail. The plow actually came threw right behind us. We enjoyed a beautiful hike through the woods while the snow continued to pile up. We passed a few backbountry skiiers coming out as we headed in, but other than that we had the place to ourselves. The following Stowe area map provides a nice overview of the trails in the area.

For dinner we headed to The Bistro at 10 Acres Lodge just outside of town as you head towards the Trapp Family Lodge. It was a nice, cozy little place with good food. I had the Indian Vegetable Curry dish which was killer. The Stowe or Vermont Tourist board was also filming a video while we were there, so we may even make the Fox News on Channel 44 up there. Stay tuned for that. Anyway, this was a really good meal and I highly recommend it. It was also rated as one of the best restaurants in Stowe.

 

Thursday

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We ventured about 45 minutes South on Thursday to do some skiing at Mad River Glen. MRG is a cooperative ski-area so it is owned by the public skiing shareholders. They pride themselves on preserving the traditional ski-area style complete with a single-person chair lift and NO SNOWBOARDERS!! (A beautiful thing!). They also have no snowmaking so they are dependent on the weather and getting good snow. Since we just got blanketed with a fresh foot of the white stuff, we figured this would be a good day to hit it. It did not let us down.

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We found some really nice runs with ample snow for some fine skiing. There were a couple bad ones and some barespots here and there, but nothing bad. The barespots were also grassy and not rocks, so it was not a big deal. It was also a beautiful day too. The lift tickets were only around $47 each if you purchased them online, which we did, so that was a nice little bonus as well. I will let the pictures say the rest…

Denise shreddin’ some turns on our favorite run of the day. It was the worst run to get to though.

 For dinner we headed back to The Crop Bar & Grill again. It was much less crowded this time, but the service was twice as slow. Hmmm. We sat in the bar(the nicer one) area this time. There were a handful of very loud drunkards at the bar when we first got there, but they soon left and things got back to normal decibel levels. For dinner I had asked if they could prepare the Chicken Green Curry dish without the chicken and put some of the veggies from the Winter “Spaghetti” Primavera in the dish instead. The waitress said no problem. While it was a little more tasty than the Winter “Spaghetti” Primavera dish, it didn’t really taste at all like Green Curry. Not sure what it was. I did eat it and didn’t complain since I was pretty hungry. I wasn’t totally impressed with this place this time.

Friday

America, North America, Seasons, Stowe, Travel, USA, United States, Vacation, Vermont, Winter, holiday

Jay Peak-It felt colder than this!

For our last full day in Vermont, we headed north towards the Canadian border to ski at Jay Peak. My wife always has horror stories about when she was young and here with family. It was apparently excruciatingly cold then and she has not forgotten it. Well, Jay Peak did not change too much…It was COLD!! Them temperature was actually much higher than yesterday at Mad River Glen, but the wind was brutal and it it was snowing most of the morning.

We payed for our most expensive lift tickets so far(~$70) and stood in the long, slow line for the tram to the top of the mountain. Fortunately, there was an entertaining gentleman ahead of us to listen to the whole time. We eventually got to the top and it was so brutal! Really high wind, snow and freakin’ cold. I could not even see my way down the trail.  We ventured around the mountain to find some more protected runs and eventually found some on the western side of the mountain.

 

Finally lunchtime arrived and we headed to Alice’s Table restaurant for some lunch. I had a extra beer because I really was in no hurry to get back out again to ski. Denise decided she was done, but I was venturing out for a few more runs. I headed up the eastern side of the mountain. It wasn’t too bad at first but then I came up over a ridge on the chairlift and the wind was brutal again. Ugh! The chair was swinging side-to-side it was blowing so hard. I made two runs that pretty much sucked and then I had enough.

We headed back to The Bistro at 10 Acres again for dinner. It was another good dinner there. Pretty consistent. A bit more crowded this time. We had made reservations on OpenTable which I would recommend, especially on a weekend. OpenTable is great for easily making reservations via the web and we use it a lot, especially when traveling. Also, here is a listing of all the Stowe Restaurants on OpenTable.

Saturday

Saturday morning we packed up and started on the long drive home. We stopped over in Burlington, VT to do some shopping at the Eastern Mountain Sports store which had a huge sale and we had some gift cards to use from Christmas time. Next we stopped for lunch at Magnolia Bistro in downtown Burlington. It is hidden away in a basement of a back alley building, so it is a little hard to find. It was very busy though and the food was delicious. They had all local, organic foods and plenty of veg-options.

One thing with Vermont is that almost every place is local and organic. It seems to be a given there. It is great! Most every place had some veg-only options too. I wish PA would get with the program with that stuff. VT almost felt like Europe in this respect. It was a great week with plenty of Winter activities. I took my running and swimming gear with me, but I never really needed it. There were so many other activities to do to take their place. There will be plenty of time for that stuff during the rest of the season.

The drive home was not too bad. Of course I wasn’t driving either…ha! We stopped in Clinton, NJ for dinner at one of our favorite Thai restaurants, Pru Thai. A good ending to a great week.

Thanks for reading!

 

Training Log-Prep Week 4-Winter Prevails

Another prep week down. Cold temperatures and snow make for some additional training challenges this year. Last season I think we had it pretty easy. No worries though. This is all part of it and it makes you mentally stronger dealing with these little obstacles. This week I ramped up to around 9 hours despite even taking Monday off.

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Cold and windy temps kept me working out indoors all week. Except for Sunday where I did get out for a good snowing run.

 

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Only got in 2 bike trainer rides this week, but I replaced my Thursday workout with a Ice Hockey game. I sub for my work hockey team and this was only the third time I played this season. Although I felt I had the fitness, my hockey skills were a bit lacking. Oh well, I can’t do everything I guess. Managed to get 3 good runs and swims in too.

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Fitness(blue) levels are rising nice and gradual. Fatigue is creeping up a bit too, but one more week and then it is winter vacation time. Hope to get a little R&R in between downhill and skate-skiing. Eventually the pink line will drop down and the yellow will come up meeting the blue in the middle somewhere.

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The hours are increasing…

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After a snowy weekend, I was relieved to get out of the house and rid myself of the cabin fever. It was the first time I got to test out my new YakTrax Pro’s. I previously used regular YakTrax which worked fine, but I thought these would be much more subtle. They work good on ice and less deep snow, but deeper snow is still a struggle.

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A snowy Bob Rodale Fitness Park

A snowy Bob Rodale Fitness Park

Honda Fit

The Triathlon Mobile

Snowy Tracks

Snowy Tracks

White Out Conditions

White Out Conditions

Post-run selfie

Post-run selfie

 

And a moment of Zen…

IMLP Training Week 7-Enough Winter Already!

Well another build cycle comes to an end and a welcome recovery week awaits me. Spoiled by a beautiful, Spring-like weekend the week prior, this past week I was not as lucky. I ended up doing a 2 hour trainer ride on Saturday which always tests your ability to handle monotony due to a fresh dumping of snow. I probably could have gotten out if I didn’t dilly-dally so much. But the dog won out with an early walk. It must be those big brown eyes following me around all morning.

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It wasn’t totally a wash though. Sunday ended up being a decent day and I had a nice 1:40 run at the Ironton Rail Trail (IRT). I really like that trail since it is mostly flat, except for the gradual climb near the kilns, and protected. Sunday afternoon became a bit of sloth-fest though and my quads were a bit tanked. I might have pushed a little bit more than usual on my run knowing it was a recovery week approaching.

The training volumes are now starting to approach the higher volumes of last years half-ironman training weeks. Hopefully the weather will coincide with those long bike and runs coming soon. Also looking forward to the long swims at Dutch Springs too.

2012 Weekly Training Volume2013 Weekly Training Volume

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Playing Around With New Race Wheels

2013-03-16 12.15.15My new Reynolds carbon fiber clincher wheels arrived a week ago and I finally got around to putting them together this weekend. I wasn’t in a huge rush to get these on since I haven’t been able to ride outside much. Everything started out smoothly putting the rear cassette on. I thought this would be the more complicated. The problem came with the inner tube in believe it or not. I purchased tubes with 60mm presta valves, which was the largest they had. The tip was just barely visible in the hole opening in the rim. They provide you with these black “valve extenders” which are basically useless. You have to unscrew the base valve so you can get air in them and then screw on the extenders. The problem is that when you pump air in through the extenders it just comes back out again since the valve is just open. WTF???!!!

I did some searching online and found some that said to put plumbers tape on the valve and screw extension back on. This still did nothing since the valve is just open. So ridiculous. I did find some Continental valve extensions that have you unscrew the inner valve on the original valve stem, screw in the extension and then screw the original valve into the extension. This makes a bit more sense. Why would Reynolds provide such a lame solution? They didn’t even provide any instructions with the wheels on how things should be assembled. I went to their website but that was equally void of any helpful information as well. There also wasn’t even an email or support forum to ask them a question. What great customer service! Stay tuned for a more definitive blog post on this once I get it working.

Off to recovery land!

Lake Placid Winter 2013-Day 8-Haystack Mountain Snowshoe

We were originally supposed to be leaving this Saturday morning, but we decided to stay an extra day until Sunday. Fortunately our gracious hosts said this was no problem. Besides what the heck am I going to do at home on Sunday?

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We decided to forgo the skate-skiing today and instead get out in the woods for a snowshoe. While we prepared another breakfast at home, we decided to head over to the Haystack Mountain trail. The Haystack Mountain trailhead lies between Lake Placid and Saranac Lake in the large turnout parking lot on RT NY86. The trail is a fairly easy trail except for the last climb up to Haystack Mountain which is somewhat steep. You are rewarded with some decent views of the surrounding mountains upon the summit.

On our way to our snowshoeing destination, we stopped over to the Green Goddess Natural Market for some lunch. The Green Goddess is now in their new location at the Placid Pond Complex over on Saranac Ave. right in front of the Hannaford grocery store. The location is great and the store is much larger and they even have a small café too. It kind of reminds me of Healthy Alternatives in Trexlertown, PA. We had a nice, healthy lunch and were on our way to put some miles in.

We had attempted the Haystack Mountain trail several years ago, immediately after receiving a fresh 3 feet of snow. We were the first ones to venture on the path and we had to break trail with some fresh tracks which was quite exhausting. I don’t think I was in as decent of shape back then as I was now, so it was a bit of an effort. We only made it in about a mile or mile and a half that time, so we had hoped to surpass that effort this time since there was much less snow.

While the snow was not nearly as deep, the temperature was a different story. The highs for the day were still in the single digits. When you did get in the direct sunlight, it seemed more tolerable, but the shady parts were a bit chilly. I had been stopping here and there to take some photos and every time I did that, Denise seemed to get farther and farther ahead of me.

The first couple miles in are pretty mellow as they circumnavigate the base of McKenzie Mountain. When we reached around the back of McKenzie things got a bit colder. The sun was blocked and there was a small frozen stream that ran between the mountains that seemed to lower the temperature even further. I think it may have been some dampness. Denise had started complaining about some numbness in her one arm along the way. She was holding it in a funny position the whole time, so I know it must have really been bothering her.

We reached a slight grade that paralleled the frozen stream and eventually rose above it. Every once in a while a small black hole in the ice would be visible where you could see water still flowing. It is so amazing that water could still flow after all those days of sub-zero temperatures.

We eventually reached a stream crossing which looked like a larger pool with a waterfall. Obviously it was frozen, it appeared that all other tracks had stopped here. We questioned why no one had crossed the body of frozen water and were not sure about attempting it. I searched further up the stream for an easier crossing, but none emerged. As luck would have it, two younger guys came hiking up and one of them took the first steps across the frozen sheet. No problem and we all followed suit.

We started to head uphill in a pretty steep manner. The two young guys were a bit ahead of us now and we could see the last half mile was pretty far up. Denises’ other arm was now going numb so we decided to call it here and head back. We had just under 3 miles in, so it was a good 6 mile hike anyway.

Denise had put her neck gaitor on for the way back and her arms began to regain consciousness. I was getting a little concerned about that, so I was relieved to hear that news. Apparently the cold air on her neck was causing the numbness in her arms. We eventually made our way to the trailhead and it was nice to get back to the warmth. It was not the greatest of hikes, but always nice to get out in the woods.

We headed back to the house, showered up and then back to town for our final dinner. We hit Alegria Garden Café again for Brussel Sprouts appe’s and cocktails, then over to The Cowboy for some more of that killer Green Curry. I had it as it usually comes with Udon noodles, and Denise had it with Polenta.

The end of a nice day and a great week in the Adirondacks. This place never gets old. Tomorrow we will pack up and head back home. Time to start my official Ironman Lake Placid Training on Monday. 26 weeks until Ironman!