Bob WINS the 2006 Bronze Rush!


um, well, uh, not exactly... see below

Mary and I spent a week skiing.

The snow was spectacular. This is a view onto the deck of the cabin. The railing was clear of snow when we arrived.

After a day or so, we saw this great snow-curl on the railing.

After a few days in the Tahoe area, we set out for Mammoth  Lakes. This picture is the view driving down into the Mono lake basin. More Mono later...

Mammoth Lakes had incredible snow. The Mammoth XC area elevation  is around 8 or 9 thousand  feet. The snow was significantly drier than the Tahoe snow and, boy howdy, was there a lot of it!
Notice the Speed Limit sign that would be about 8 feet in the air.
On the last morning, I got up before dawn to ski "first tracks" . This photo is pointing down the hill behind me. Those are my striding tracks. When I returned to the XC ski center, the groomer was beginning to warm up his snow cat at 8 AM.

On the way back north to Tahoe, we stopped to look around Mono Lake.


The tuffa behind and to the left of Mary formed when the lake was higher. The calcium-rich underground water deposited the craggy formations as it bubbled up from the geo-thermal regions below.

The chart below shows the water level over the last 75 years. When (if) the drought eases, the water level should return to the target level (~25 feet below historic levels) eventually.

I really like this "Adopt a Highway" sign on the road to Mono Lake south tuffa.
oh yeah, I skied a race at the end of the week:

The amazing part of the race was that I was able o get to the start line.

Derrick and I rode in Derrick's car to RG. As I pulled my equipment out of Derrick's car, I realized that I had taken one of my boots... and one of Mary's. Doh!

Many people in the parking lot were amused as they heard my side of the cell phone conversation:
Bob: "uh, Kevin, could you wake Mary... I have to ask her something.."
Bob: "oh, OK, maybe you're right. Maybe Becky should wake Mary..."
Bob: "uh, Mary? would you mind driving over here with my other boot?"

I was in huge debt to Mary. But in the meantime, I had almost an hour to warm up but couldn't ski (Royal Gorge would not rent me a boot - the only ski resort in the Tahoe area (the world???) that wouldn't rent equipment for a race). So, I ran: up an down the parking lot. Again and again. Up and down, Over and over. After a half hour, I started my interval sprints. I  ran intervals for another 15 minutes.

In the nick of time, Mary arrived with my other boot. I kissed her, and she drove back to the cabin for breakfast.

I ran down to my equipment pile, put everything on, and arrived at the start line just as the gun sounded. This may have been the best warm-up I have ever executed before a race.

This is a strategic win:

The elite skiers all enter the Gold Rush (50k); The local wanabees enter the Silver Rush (30k) (or the Gold); The "I really don't want to ski for 30k(+)" wimps enter the Bronze Rush (15k). I saw my opportunity to take the "gold" and I grabbed it!

Yes! Bob can win (in his age and gender division) a cross country ski race! (cash value of 0.001 dollar; void where prohibited)

This photo is about 12.5k into the 15k race. I'm cruising along, "free skating" (no poles) on a flat section. I'm tired and I know that I have a 300 foot climb back to the finish line. I tried to smile, but, well, this is what you get. Sorry.

The snow was in great shape: fresh, clean, fast and immaculately groomed. Thanks Royal Gorge! After this race, the grooming at Royal Gorge dropped far below average. Thank you (sarcasm) Royal Gorge. Thank you, Foster Properties Investment Doodlewankers, or whatever your name is who bought Royal Gorge. May the bottom drop out of the condo market as you try to sell the hundreds of units you are roumored to be planning.
(insert obscene smiley face here)

free skate

Photo credit: Facchino Photography
I actually paid for this photo!
Thank you Keith Facchino for finally offering a digital product.

Obligatory heart rate graph:  Race started at about 0:25 and ended at about 1:30. The rest is warm-up and cool-down.

heart rate

Ok... I didn't really win, but I finished first my age division! (trumpets sound; all hail the Bob)
(scroll down to 18th overall in the Bronze Rush. Notice that I was beaten by quite a few men who are older than I am and at least one older woman)

Here's your lovely parting gift for getting this far:
This is a rainbow I saw driving home from work one day.
Notice the lighter sky to the left (away from the sun) versus the darker sky ( towards the sun). What's with that?

dunno. Would take a scientist to explain it

and I'm only an engineer,