Monday, September 21, 2009

'Cross fun

Tuesday crits, run by Midweek Mayhem, change to Tuesday cyclocross. Just as much fun, if not more! Ask someone that has done cyclocross what it's like, and invariably the answer is "fun!". It's strange, since all the running up hills, lifting bikes over hurdles, and contantly accellerating out of corners is SO PAINFUL! :)

Tim has gotten pretty hooked too. He's flying back from a quick trip to Vancouver, so that he doesn't miss his last chance for 'cross before he leaves this fair land.

Love this pic taken by K2:

Last hurrah...kayaking the Red Deer

For Tim's last weekend in Calgary, we headed to Stephen's cabin (thank, buddy!) on the Red Deer River. It's a wild one! And considering our last kayaking trip ended with a trip to emergency, we were a little....cautious. :)

First we ran the river from after Double Ledge down to the campsite, then the next day we showed Double Ledge who's boss and ran it twice. Scouted it, discussed our line, and kicked some ass! Woohoo!

How about this last that's what I call the relaxed look of a conquerer! Woo!

Hang gliding

Last weekend we crammed in yet another new activity...hang gliding! At first we thought we'd be shown the basics, then be soaring off cliffs, but realistically, if they don't want a 50% survival rate, they need a little slower progression. We started by running on flat ground, then moved a couple of metres up a hill and got more speed before "flaring" (pointing upwards to intentionally stall) which gave us a couple of seconds air time. Woo!

Then we moved further up the hill and started actually gliding. Lots of knees were dragged on the ground, and fun was had.

I couldn't make the second day, as I was contesting the Provincial Hill Climb in Banff (unsuccessfully), but Tim was getting the hang of it (oops, that was an accident) on the same hill, and had a great time. I hear Australia has a pretty big gliding might want to keep an eye out for my brother some time soon!


After an epic Saturday, we decided to "take it easy" and go mountain biking. Tom's crew had taken us up Baldy Pass the prior Wednesday, which was so much fun we wanted to go again. Following recommendations from Powderface website's top 10 trails in Kananaskis, we decided to hit Sulphur Springs and Powerface-Praire Creek Link, and had a blast! In fact, we had so much fun, we headed out again the following day with Sean on his brand-new bike.

Attempt of Castle

I'll start off with a rather embarrassing story of what happens when you get two Holmes brothers together. By ourselves, we are often late. But the two of us leaving for the long weekend on Friday afternoon, for activities Tim has barely done before, was, well....put it this way, I was supposed to be home at 5:30 so that a 6pm departure would put us at Mt Athabasca by 9pm (for a 4am start to Saturday). We ended up leaving at 10pm! and so scaled back our plan to hit Brewer's Buttress, a 5.6 rock climb on Castle Mountain (the "Castle Junction" Castle Mountain, not the ski resort near Crowsnest Pass). So we still got to the carpark at midnight, briefly wondered whether the car stinking of Safeway roast chicken would attract bears, and rose for an "alpine start" at 8am. By the time we changed out packs from being equipped for glacier travel to rock climbing, we left the car at 11am.

Castle Mountain is really, really big. It has two obvious tiers, with our rock climb starting on the second tier. I figured the approach similar to Yamnuska, a 45 min to 1 hour tough switch-backing hike to the base of the cliffs. Castle, however, took four hours to hike to the bottom, then climb 4th class (i.e. just easy enough to not use a rope) rock to the large ledge at the top of the first tier. Wow. We stopped for lunch at the hut and pondered an attempt on a 8 pitch rock climb with 5 hours of daylight and a rappel descent back to the hut, followed by a descent of hike and climb we'd just taken four hours to do in daylight. Being stubborn and wanting to get at least SOME rock climbing done, we headed off to try to exceed all reasonable expectations of climbing speed.

The dunny for the hut has a killer view!

Hiking to and from the base of the climb traversed some pretty steep scree slopes. In the following pics, Tim and I tried to show how wild it was, and the massive scale of the place in general.

I'm the tiny black dot in the very centre of the photo

The ledge we climbed to is on the upper-right of the photo.

After two pitchs at the expectable pace of 1 hour per pitch, we decided to call it. We rapped back to the ledge and got to downclimb to the base of the cliffs in twilight, getting back to the car at 11pm. So tired!

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Iron Girl!

Tim, Jess and I went to Penticton on the last weekend of August to support Emilie as she attempted an Ironman: 3.8km swim, 180km bike and a marathon (42km). And she killed it...under 13 hours, around 1300th out of 3000 people. Congrats Emilie!!