Thursday, December 17

Hurray for Ouray!

Been planning and hoping this trip would work out ankle wise for a while. Since the snow bike isn't here yet and the ice is in, I'm road tripping with Aaron and some other climbers down to Ouray, Colorado this weekend to play around in the ice park. Should be an awesome time! I'll be back Sunday and hopefully next week the hubs will arrive. They're on the way :) Frame should be following close behind.

Wednesday, December 16


What a wild ten weeks it's been. From a crazy self rescue to not knowing how bad I hurt my ankle to wondering if I made the right call for healing to pushing just how far and fast I could do my PT. I always felt like I was healing and doing the right thing but never having been hurt like this before, there were a lot of question marks. I got a lot of warnings and advice from friends and even random people and I appreciate and did listen to every single thing. But in the end I had to make choices based on intuition and what my body told me and so far it seems like I've done an okay job.

Today the doc (who is meh) and PA (who is excellent) cleared me for normal activity, including biking off road and climbing, with a caveat to give high impact things like running a bit more time. The bones have healed well and I'm not having floating body pain or any pain at all beyond soreness from pushing ankle back to it's normal range of motion and strength. The PT (who is also excellent) worked on my joint mobility again today and we've got a couple more sessions scheduled already. The strength is coming back well and it is sure nice to have. The range of motion is really good except in one area where I'm still a little ways away from perfect. My limp should go away once I fix that last area. I'm certainly not at 100% and it may be months before I get all the way there, but I'm confident now that I'm going to make a full recovery and be good as new at some point in the not too distant future. That's a big, huge, gigantic, amazing relief.

And I guess I just felt like I should shave off the goatee. It was a fun experiment but it's never fully grown in (up close it's a little patchy) and it's probably more trouble than I'm willing to put up with. Back to the baby face, back to firing hard!

Monday, December 14


Yesterday Brett and I wrapped up his year long project of a century every month of the year. Nice job Brett! He's less than 200 miles away from his other goal of 7,000 miles on the year as well.

I got my 12 in 12 last year and was on track to repeat until the injury knocked out October and November. A couple weeks ago I made a half-hearted attempted at getting November but a pretty sore tendon and knowing I missed October had me bailing at mile 80. Yesterday I had a goal to help Brett finish off his project and despite an okay forecast, we got tossed around pretty good by a stiff wind and colder than expected temperatures. Impending snow over our intended route had us turn back early leaving some route improv at the end. Just past mile 50 we hit the gas station for a bathroom break and Brett handed me a king size Butterfinger when I walked out. Those 500 calories helped strengthen my resolve and we put the Hump and the Wall behind us without any drama, added some bonus climbing and did a couple laps around the lake to finish off the century. Beer and wings were our reward and we earned it.

I'm a lot stronger than 2 weeks ago but Brett is a machine. He pulled into the wind 99% of the day and I'd have never done the full 100 without his help and that Butterfinger. Guess that's what friends are for, thanks!

Sunday, December 13


Someone thinks I have a lesson to learn repeatedly out of this injury. Thursday and Friday were good days but not great. Some lingering soreness in the arch of my foot was bothering me and I was wondering if I finally would stop progressing. Nope, not the case. Saturday I felt better from some rest and after baby doc stuff in the morning and a delicious breakfast at Root Down, Marni and I came back to the house. She napped and I did my PT and finally managed the elusive one legged calf raise! It has felt so funny not to be able to do that. Then on my bike ride I made it up one of my test piece hills in a great, normal time and even finally was able to ride over small obstacles and pop my rear wheel behind me accordingly. Sweet! I might be able to ride some singletrack soon.

I know I haven't talked much about the fertility stuff on here but I've really got my fingers crossed this month more than ever. Last month my numbers were down a lot from normal and the only explanation we could come up with was the injury. I was really hoping everything would be normal again this month and instead it was almost 4x higher than my best ever and off the charts good. Everything on Marni's end looks perfect too and I just can't believe it won't work this month.

All we want for Christmas...

Wednesday, December 9

Chilly Backyard Campout

It may seem silly to sleep outside when you're paying (a lot) to heat a nice warm house...where your wife and dog are sleeping in bed. But here in the foothills we honestly don't get that many nights where temperatures dip below zero, much less into the negative double digits. Heck that's probably happened less than 5 times since I've lived here. So while "real" camping it is not, sleeping in the yard at least is helping my body continue to develop it's cold adaptations without wasting gas driving to the mountains. Plus hopefully I'll be a little smoother with the whole system by the time my Fatback is ready. Not to mention it was a good excuse to sleep in my new pyramid tarp!
Temps were just at zero when I went out after 9pm and they dropped to a low of -11.7F by dawn. I spent much of the night not quite zipped up all the way in my -25 bag and skimpy sleeping pad but by morning I zipped'er to the hilt and snuggled down in way too many dollars worth of awesome down warmth.
Time to get up and start the day! I didn't sleep in the DAS parka but it was nice pillow. Marni stole it to wear to work this morning :) Temps are going to start warming up slowly now and I'm not sure we'll see negatives again down here in Westminster for a while but if we do I'll be sleeping outside. Got to get ready for Minnesota and Alaska!

And in unrelated news, I'll be darned if my ankle isn't slowly, slightly getting less swollen!

Tuesday, December 8


Quite the cold snap we've had this December in the Front Range! PT and cycling have been indoor activities with a very specific focus lately, especially since my fat bike frame has yet to arrive. That doesn't mean that I'm confined to the house though. The last campout got postponed to tonight when it was going to be colder and the hex tent has been staked for a while now, weathering the snowfall and wind like a champ. After Saturday's killer ride with Brett more snow moved in and we took to the trails on foot instead. RMNP was our original goal but terrible roads and a bad "fun to drive" ratio found us in Boulder instead. Might as well go scouting for ice lines right?Brett had only been here once before in the summer we we climbed the 3rd Flatiron but I think he still had a good time following footsteps in the snow for a few hours.
The sun even came out at times. There is ephemeral ice in the Flatirons and if there was ever a time that it's coming in, now is it. Hoping to find a way up at least one route before it all disappears but that will take some luck.
Yesterday Aaron and I went in search of some fat ice despite our lack of screws (errrggg) and made our way up to Mt.Lincoln and the falls. The ice was blue and fat. I hobbled my way up the hill, a bit less confidently than usual, but I made it. Aaron was a good sport for going out with the cripple. We eventually got a sweet top rope setup on the upper falls and lapped the heck out of it. My first lap I had cold fingers so bad from over gripping! Luckily a bunch of laps helped me remember my technique and the climbing was far easier than the approach. Aaron topping out a harder variation (WI4).
Me coming up the main vertical section (WI3). Hard to believe it was warmer up here at almost 12k feet than at my house. Other than swapping the belay jacket we never needed any other tricks to stay warm and I was wearing a cap1 base layer and a softshell.
When I got home Marni and I hung out and admired out sweet Christmas tree...
While playing with the next size larger boots I ordered. I think these guys will work this time. I guess they're a little large since they're basically a full double boot.
Yup I can pedal in them, now time to make the inserts.
Before you go to bed you've got to lay out everything to dry. It won't be long until you get to do it all over again.

Saturday, December 5

Another busy day

Today Brett pulled me around for a few hours and we managed 55 miles and a couple thousand feet of climbing on ice and snow splattered bike paths and roads. Temps were in the 30's but the sun was shining and it was plenty warm, even hot at times. I felt a heck of a lot better and stronger than just a week ago and I could still walk when I finished, a nice improvement. There is still a ways to go to get to 100% but I've just got to keep progressing. Tomorrow is supposed to be cold (high 12degF @ 5400 ft and colder up higher) and snowy so some snowshoeing is on the potential agenda. Otherwise I'll hit the trainer to keep the biking muscles on task. Then tomorrow night is another camp out.

My PT appointment on Friday at Kaiser went pretty well. They taught me a couple new stretches and gave me some stronger therabands for the ones I'm already doing. I got to ask them a lot of questions which is always helpful and we talked quite a bit about the swelling I'm still seeing and will likely be seeing for a while. They massaged and stretched the ankle out a bit more than I dare on my own. Afterwords they did some electrode therapy thing on my ankle while icing it to try to help with the swelling and hopefully that makes a difference. I've got more appointments scheduled for the next two weeks plus my hopefully last set of xrays and ortho checkup on the 16th. In the meantime I'll keep doing my PT and everything else that doesn't hurt the ankle. Too bad those ice packs are going to be my friends for quite a while longer, even when the bone is healed. It's pretty funny to have very lousy fine motor skills in my left ankle while my right is perfectly normal.

In exciting news, Marni and I got our Christmas tree tonight. We didn't get one last year and it's going to be a lot of fun to have a real tree again this year. Tomorrow we'll get it all decorated with our awesome ornaments and angel!

Friday, December 4

Fatbike Friday!

Just a quick Fatbike Friday post that I forgot to publish. Soooo much cool stuff coming, sadly none of it is here yet. Arrrg. Oh well. Sleeping out went well, a low of -3 deg F. No pictures because I forgot to bring out the camera. Luckily it's supposed to be cold and snowy on Sunday so I'm planning another one. This time it will be inside my new pyramid tarp (Golite shangri la 3) that I picked up at the sale for $67! Temps are once again predicted to drop below zero and maybe up to 6" of new snow will fall. If I can pick up my stove tomorrow I'll be playing with that too. I've used white gas once or twice but never owned a white gas stove myself. Should be fun and testing hot chocolate is always a good time. :)

And for on going "will it freeze" testing?

Reece's Big Cup - Awesome! Hard but thin chocolate shell and soft insides. Soooo good.
Caramello - Fail. I thought the runny caramel would work but it was way to hard for my wussy jaws. The chocolate was hard and it was not easy to chew and the squares were too big to suck on. Darn, I really like those things after the Tour Divide
Hostess Chocolate Chip Mini Muffins - Success! The chocolate chips are a little hard but they're tiny and the muffin part is delicious. Bonus for bite sized-ness. I foresee packing these into a big ziplock for ride and resupply food. Hopefully I can find a sale as they come in tiny packs.

Thursday, December 3


Things have been going well with recovery but it's not all roses every day. After hitting PT and working out hard for a couple days in a row my body demands some rest. I oblige but mentally it's tough since I'm used to stacking days easily. With the Arrowhead and Iditarod plus ice climbing season coming regardless of what I do, I want to be ready! Still I can't be ready if I'm injured so I continue to listen closely to my bodies desires. It's a fine line to be sure but to be where I'm at after only 8 weeks on a very bad break I'm pleased.

Yesterday was a big breakthrough day at least. In the AM I was able to increase my reps on all my PT exercises and finally was able to stand on one foot! By the evening I could balance for over 30 seconds. Some ROM stuff is still impeding totally normal walking, especially down stairs and up hills, so I'm hoping "real" PT tomorrow will help with that. I've ditched the cane however and the calf strength is coming back more and more every day.
Yesterday afternoon, the snow was falling lightly and I headed out for a few hours of riding and systems testing (15 deg temps, light winds and clouds) My Fatback isn't here yet so I took the Selma. Nanos aren't bad snow tires as long as we're only talking a few inches and the ride was awesome. It's so easy to forget the fun of snow biking at the initial cold snap every year but 20 minutes into the ride I was grinning from ear to ear and loving the slow churn of snow biking speeds (ha!). I was even able to clean every hill with careful SS weight distribution and my increasing left leg power. The PT has really been strengthening my ankle support muscles and now my left foot isn't greasing to the outside when standing up.
The gearing was 32x20 and that was great at 6-7 mph average unloaded. I'm thinking the 30x20 or 30x22 is going to end up the sweet spot on the loaded Fatbike but we'll see when it gets here and I load it down. I'm stoked for it to arrive and then my new Epic Designs bags and maybe a Larry up front! The RU Outside boots arrived but I decided the 13's weren't quite big enough so I sent them right back to swap for the 14's. I'll post pictures when they "rearrive" next week and I get started on the clipless inserts.
Clothing is still a question mark. I know I can stay warm, the key is just doing it with a nice combination of pieces that adapt to temps from 40 F to -40 F. I've lost all my post Divide food monster weight and it will take an extra layer at times to keep my body warm now. Of course that will also get better with cold adaptation but I'm not there yet for this winter. For the first time in 10 years I'll be playing with different layers on my legs though my top layers are fairly dialed (base, R1 hoody, LS jersey, softshell, puffy) minus playing with a few styles and fabric weights. I'm curious if the goatee is worth anything in the warmth department or if I should just shave it and not worry about the ice beard factor.
I also tested food for another Fatbike Friday post and that part was awesome too! :) Today I'm filling out applications and writing from bed while my ankle ices and rests. The swelling, while not painful at all, is still pervasive and mentally disconcerting at the least so I'm trying to keep it under control.

Tonight the low is supposed to be close to a record and in the -2F range so I'll be bivying on the deck or in a secret spot to test more gear. I might have to get the walkie talkies out again so Marni can check to make sure I'm still alive all night, haha.