Saturday, January 08, 2011

cough bug - flu

I still find it staggering that it is the year 2011 and we still not can not prevent a flu or common cold virus. Sure, vaccines at one end exist and a vast arrange of over the counter medicine's at the other, even self help breathing or yoga are suggested to keep the symptoms at bay. I get the feeling a lot of this energy is being wasted or thinking sinister, put in place to keep the sales going for the healthcare-pharmaceuticals industry. While the search for a magic potion has merit I feel the answers will found in data rather than in a chemistry kit. What data? Every bit we have captured and have under control of the individual, if those individual share that information to enhance their collective intelligence then those lost days of poor health will be behind us, for all.

Monday, May 31, 2010

training mind set

Just thinking out loud on the swimming programme I am planning for tomorrow. Warm up for a start then some kick. A see a lot of kick tomorrow, then some light work with the pull buoy to concentrate on technique. All in all looking forward to being back swimming.

June tomorrow

It is the first of June tomorrow and apart from it being the start of the best month of the year, it is also my planned day for resuming swim training. That will be the best part of 6 months out of the pool. I expect it will take a few weeks to get back into form - all going well.

Monday, May 10, 2010

free skiing season over

Well, not because of a lack of snow. With fresh snow falling today, it seem odds on for mid summer skiing in Scotland. Not that ususal but the length of run available could be substantial. Time will tell.

dry swim training

I have been thinking about what dry land exercises are best to do for keeping swimming muscles in best shape?

shoulder injury update

I given my right shoulder a couple of week break from any streneous activity, well not humphing a pair of skis across a mountain side. And it feel real progress being made in my recovery. Still stiff on performing some gentle streaching exercise but reducing everyday, hopefully make it back to the swimming pool next week.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

walk to aberdeen

With no swimming in my exercise routine then I get the opportunity to walk more. Not that you don't get plenty of walking in (up to 8 + hours worth) when free skiing. So, I am going to see if I can walk to Aberdeen, hopefully monday if the sun is shining.

no swimming still

If you had asked me 6 months ago how many times I would swam in the first 4 months of 2010, I'd probably have said 40+. The total is only 3. I've finally figured out I must have tore or bady pulled the liaments around my right shoulder socket. But not unversally just on the inner side. Sort of ties in with the action that gave me the injury. Now the ski season is over, not really, the high Gorms still have massive snow fields but I'll take a break to give myself time to heal.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Braid Cairn adventure ski

I used to bike up the Tarland road from Aboyne in the Spring to see a strip of snow splitting Braid Cairn hill in Glen Tanar. I recall imaging skiing down it many times, now I do not need to imagine, I have skied that exact track of snow.

I also skied Gathering Cairn. There was so much to ski but the weather while bright was real windy and a weather front was approaching. Leaves something new to explore for when I next have the energy for an 8 hour walk, climb and ski.

hardly a swim 2010

The best laid plans in all that. 2009 was all about gradually getting back into competitive swim shape. I think I got there especially on the endurance side and I trained regularly but this year I don' think I have been in the pool more than once a month. I picked up an innocent shoulder strain over the festive period and its turned out to be a show stopper in terms of swim training. It seems to be in the stretching of the right arm and at full extension and at cross extension that the pain brings on an acute grimace. It does get better with rest but I think I am looking at 2-3 months of rest and then build things from there. So, looks like a half year of swimming in 2010, not what I had planned.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

First free skiing Craigmahandle

Craignmahandle sounds like a bit of windup name, but its a hill in Glen Tanar where I go hill walking, yesterday I added it as a place to go skiing too.

I had expect the snow cover in the walk in to be reduced or gone completely, like in Aboyne. But I got that all wrong, icy and hard packed snow, then it was 3 inches of spring snow, then 6 six, then a foot and then 40cm. 40cm of solid wet snow and that was just after 1 hour of walking. There was a set of tracks to follow but they were to slippy to follow so I just cut a fresh path. A lot sooner than I had prepared myself for, the mind games started: is it going to be possible get up this hill?, its a two hour walk in at the best of summer times. Progress was slow but I stopped regularly for rests and set mini milestones for where to get to. The snow kept on getting deeper as the path climbed. As it turned out the hike up yesterday was a lot more dangerous than the descent. The paths have drainage channels cut into them but they were under a lot of snow but I seemed to find every one, that meant a twist to each knee. So, every step was checked and I walk with my ski poles, so that allows you to catch your weight when your footing shoot away. This step by step focus took the focus away from main goal of getting up the hill but before long the tree line was below me. The views were amazing, Mount Keen and Lochnagar soaking up the sun. But it was no blue sky day another immediate danger was abound. The wind. A fresh north westerly was forecast but it was blowing a gale, at least it was blowing me up the hill. The hill was a mass of snow patches, snow was firming up to soft spring but the legs were liable to disappear as the snow sank un expectantly. A bare rock ridge made for quicker progress but I did loose my left leg to a whole in the rocks. Time to get the ski on. A change in to dry warm socks, a challenge in a storm force wind. I was skiing.

Skiing on deep porridge again but I must be getting the hang of the technique and the wind was breaking my speed. The tree line was reached, ancient Caledonia pine forest, the grandest of old trees. Much to my surprise the skiing around the trees was doable. What fun. The flatness of the valley floor meant that gravity was not helping much now, the slog home to Aboyne was ahead. I got a lift to Glen Tanar on the way up but I was walking home, just another 2 miles to add to the expedition. The snow was real wet lower down but the skis were kept on, a ski time of 2 hours in the ski boots was recorded. No snow on the walk home, felt like you were walking with zero effort, now 50cm of sludge to kick through was missing. 7.30am start and home a 3pm. By then the hills were wrapped in clouds and getting battered in the wind.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Pressendye - Mount Keen ski weekend

Both Saturday and Sunday woke to the clearest of blue skies. That left no choice for what to do, head to the hills with my skis strapped to my back. Pressendye lies north of Tarland a few miles and I'd always wanted to ski it. A couple of years back we took out a bowl on a sister hill but this season, Pressendyle’s south facing slope has been loaded with snow. I started the walk in from the Queens View on the Tarland - Aberdeen road. Blue sky and snow covered landscape, farmers field to Lochnager and beyond. The walk starts with a steep climb until you reach the woodland, under foot the lightest of powder snow. Out of the wood and the first glimpse of Pressendye, looking amazing in the sun, motivation enthused to get to the top. The path sort of doubles back on itself so its a long slog through the forest, the snow is lying on old snow, I'm cutting virgin tracks so it is tough going but then a bit of luck. A couple of walkers join the path and I can follow their footsteps up Pressendye. There was about 3-6 inches of fresh powder around on top of a rock solid frozen spring snow base so the hiking was relatively good. Earlier in the season with no base, your feet were disappearing up to your needs and sometime beyond! The walkers were sitting in the sun at the top. And what a view. 360 degree view of a Scottish winters day at its best. I wanted to ski a different slope from the one I had walked up so I checked it out, it was steep and full cover, time to get the skis on. It was about 2pm, sun at full burn, goggles were needed. While I was getting excited about the powder all the way up, the snow was suffering in the sun. The top was 20-30 cm of fresh blown snow on no base, then 20cm of fresh slabby snow on a hard spring base and lower down and into the trees where the slope was real steep, the snow was turning spring like. This all adds up to a bit of tricky skiing. As I discovered on my first run, mid way down, slope getting steeper, a few good turns have got a bit of speed up and then before you know it, too much weight pressing forward, a quick flip forward and a head plant into the snow. Which I repeated lower down on the second run. Yes, you have to walk back up the hill, only took 20 mins. While the skiing felt awkward, two good s tracks had been laid. Time to head for home, some 2 hour trekking but I would ski down where I had originally walked up. The snow was in the shade of the direct sun so this was a soft powder run on a gentle slope. Plenty of young trees to ski through, much fun. Got down off the hill as the last glowing amber light from the sun fractured through the trees.

Learning the lesson that the best snow was in the shade of the sun, I decided Glen Tanner to be the best place to ski on Sunday. The snow looked stunning from Pressendye. I had some doubts in my mind about the location, its a long walk in, 8 miles, carrying skis, boots, water and food, could I make it? Well, I could try and see how far I could go. The answer was 1/3 of the way up Mount Keen. Took just over 2 1/2 hours to reach the base of the mountain. What a sight. Powder smooth slopes, it's a bit of sexy looking hill anyway so today was a marvel to behold. A hill walker has just been up to the summit and he talked of deep powder, the excitement only grew as I listened. Before that a lie down on the bridge to rest and soak up some warm rays. The temperature was about -10c when I left aboyne and I am sure it was minus something on Mount Keen but I wore no gloves all the way up, in fact keeping cool is a greater challenge. I started following the walkers, quite a lot of foot marks around and it was hard walking, a slip a slide, a fall through some weak spring snow. Then I took a left off the main path to follow a ski tourers tracks. This was good and bad, snow got a lot deeper so harder to walk but then a rock hard spring base was found covered with 3-6 inches of champagne powder. The goal was now simple just keep on this hard base and climb as high as I could for an hour. You had to make sure to kick in to the snow as the slope got more of an incline, you could imagine yourself sledging down on your backside for a few metre if you were to slip. I didn't get as high to get to the real steep slopes off the right of the corrie looking up. The whole corrie was in the shade of the sun. I'm not sure when it had last seen the sun, maybe October or November 2009? The dream run would be from the summit to the left of the corrie. Mega steep with pillows of powder and a gentle get out at the bottom. I expect there would a significant avalanche risk with that route! A touch of wind in the air I stopped, got my ski boots on and prepared to ski. I had to do this snow justice. The lesson I felt I learnt from Saturday’s skiing was the feeling to sit back on the skis more and this worked a treat. Floating along on the whispering powder, s turns smooth and a puff of powder to stop. A look back up to reveal the marks I'd left on the mountain. To be honest I don't see many of them as the camber of the slope hide my line, even from the bottom I saw no trace of me ever being on the hill. Not that, that matters. As you will see no photos from either day, my mobile broke last week but I guess the best camera caught it all. In short the best free skiing weekend of my life thus far.