Saturday, February 11, 2012

Perfect Storm

After nearly two months of warm, dry weather here in Colorado, I was beginning to wonder if I was going to get any proper Winter training in before the Iditarod Invitational. It was rarely dipping below 20 degrees at night and we had gotten at most a foot of total snow in 6 weeks. Things seemed a bit promising though last Thursday night. The forecast was for 4-7 inches of snow that night and much cooler temperatures over the weekend. I went to bed with a few flurries starting to fall and woke up 8 hours later to over 30" of new snow! I don't know if I've ever seen that much snow fall in such a short time. By the time it was done we had close to 40" from that one storm. Since then it has been down around zero most nights and snowed at least another foot.

The last 9 days of training has been incredibly enjoyable for me. I think I had forgotten how much I love proper winter. The snowshoeing around here right now is as good as I've ever seen anywhere. The nordic skiing is also incredible. I don't know what it is, but I just love slogging though really deep snow. I've known for a few years that I love doing rugged mountain "runs" with tons of vertical, in which I'm covering very little mileage for the time that I'm out. I don't think it was until this week though that I realized that I seem to just love any "runs" in which it takes an insane amount of time to get anywhere. I don't know why, but there is something really satisfying about busting my ass to cover 3 or 4 miles in an hour.

The other thing that's been great about all the snow, and a bit of cold weather is that I've been able to test a lot more of my Iditarod race gear. It feels really good to be 2 weeks from the race and have almost no concerns or doubts about my gear. I still have some decisions I need to make on certain items, but there isn't anything that I'm really nervous or uninformed about as far as gear is concerned. It feels good to be going into the race having used everything I will be taking with me numerous times in the past couple weeks. Not something I can say about either of the other two times I attempted this race.

Here's a few photos from the recent playing I've been doing in the snow:










13 comments:

Derrick said...

Great pics. Pulk looks small...is that the one you're using? You must have things dialled in nicely. Good luck!

Just back from YAU and that's one you should do another year. The Yukon is amazing.

perma-outashape said...

that's a sweet looking pulk, where can I find out about it?

Rob said...

So I just googled "pulk". Good luck pulling that thing for 350 miles. Thanks for coming out to the "Unbreakable" viewing last night.

trailrutger said...

Wow what amazing pictures.
And great to hear you are enjoying your training and time spent outside.
i will be doing a 20k run in about an hour here in the Netherlands.

Best of will in all your doings.

eric said...

same question as Derrick, is that ALL of your load for ITI? seems pretty little!

Reese said...

Good luck...Lucky you arent't trying to beat my sister Stacy in the race ;)

Geoff said...

yeah, that's pretty much my entire kit... although i only had about 1,000 calories with me in that photo. will probably start the race with at least 10,000 calories. but that kit also includes the tent shown in the other photo.. and i'm still undecided about the tent vs. my bivy sack, so the kit might be even a bit smaller than pictured if i go with bivy. more than anything though, i think these photos make the kit look smaller than it really is. it's at least as much or more stuff than my kit for this same event in 2008 and 2009.

Viper said...

same on the pics, awesome shots. thats quite the storm, thx for sharing

eigerwand said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
shawn said...

Nice pics Geoff. Send some of that snow out this way. Good luck, Be Safe, and Enjoy Yourself in the Iditarod Invitational.

I think this has always been the most intriguing event for you, now go out there and have an awesome time.

Stay Vertical said...

Geoff,
Wondering how much that tent weighs? I know you are a Mt Hardwear/Montrail guy, but I would consider the BD Firstlight as a tent. It goes at around 2.5 lbs and is very AK worthy. I have done 2 Denali trips with it and it held up great to high winds and big snows. But, if I had to carry it all that way, I think I would go with a bivy sack and suffer. An even lighter option is a Blizzard Bag http://www.blizzardsurvival.com/product.php/100/blizzard-survival-bag, which weighs 1 pound and is a shelter and sleeping bag. Don't count on getting comfy in that thing though. I would give it a close look, because then your kit would fit in a small daypack and probably eliminate the Polk. I bought mine from a medical supply company in Texas for $29 and it is killer for barebones survival missions where weight is key.

Good luck,
Jeremy in Idaho

Geoff said...

jeremy,
tent weighs just over 2 pounds.
carrying everything in a pack is really not an option in this event. getting your entire kit around 20 pounds (before food and water) is about as light as you can go, unless you're really willing to take some serious frostbite/hypothermia risk. add another 10 pounds of food and water to this (when you are full on both), and you're talking about needing to carry at least 30 pounds of weight at some points in the event... and this is on the very low end of what's possible. In reality I will be carrying more like 35-40 pounds when i'm fully loaded with food and water. even if I didn't bring anything to sleep in, the kit would still be too heavy to go with a pack instead of a pulk. in my testing the point at which it becomes more efficient to drag your gear vs. carry it on your back is somewhere around 15 pounds. going under 15 pounds for this event would pretty much be a suicide mission.

Rich said...

Damn dude. I wish I had known about this before. I could have recommended some super lightweight gear for you. Perfect example is some of the gear Skurka (Andrew Skurka) took on his Alaska Yukon Expedition. Ultralight tent from Mountain Laurel Designs, ultralight sleeping bag, this and that, all carried in a GoLite Pinnacle. Noticed you are carrying Mountain Hardwear gear. The Steck stuff is amazing. A little late now, but check out his gear list and other posts about his trip.

http://andrewskurka.com/adventures/alaska-yukon-expedition/

http://andrewskurka.com/wp-content/uploads/gearlists_alaska-yukon.pdf