2015 – On a Roll

First off, this site is not being updated as much as I’d like. But while retired from most business, managing investments has occupied most of my time, and managing my health and fitness a number one priority. I am feeling better in overall fitness than I ever have and I attribute that to a balance…. A balance of activities and doing just what I want to do and not feeling compelled for whatever the reason, to do others.

Photo – C. Silvester

Starting the year with A SUP Race at home in Santa Barbara and clearly I’m not in race mode but perfectly able to compete. I tend to race to win and not to be pack fodder so the joy of competing becomes less and less when results begin to slip. Part of the reason is I have been favoring a bad left knee since 2011. Standup Paddling while a good workout is strong leverage against the knees as is balancing a narrow board. The choppier the conditions the more taxing. Race starts can be choppy as hell and for me a narrower board has made me suffer the starts. The point for me on a 14 is to get away fast out of the chop that ensues. Either my board is too narrow for me or I’m not as driven as I used to be or so many good paddlers coming up and the last thing is I’m just getting old. Nah…. Just not as psyched as I was.

Photo by Grumpy

10818514_10204117957336396_7803478101089468626_o 2015 did mark a great moment for me already and I do tend to go from sport to sport every few years, racing, training and more racing till I am no longer competitive of lose interest for any number of reasons. I decided to try a motorcycle race… A Hare Scramble on the Husqvarna. Mind you I’ve never raced a dirt bike, never ridden on a MX track or jumped much but it was all in store for me, including a mass start at the track with all the tabletop jumps prior to exiting the track. My last motorcycle race was probably in 1984 or ’85 at Loudon on my Kawasaki GPz550.

I had read about this event nn Cafe Husky and it sounded like if I was going to do my first race this was about perfect for temps, terrain, etc… I entered the Sportsman Division thinking I would stage in the last row and be out of danger from faster riders trying to pass out of the gate.

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That was the plan anyway…. Some bonehead hit me on the first lap and luckily for me he bounced off my left calf. I was sore but serviceable and continued with my race ending up with a win in Sportsman and my name on the AMA scoreboard.

A friend shot this footage of his first lap and he started the row just in front. You can see the carnage that ensued right out of the gate…

to be continued….

2014 Adventure Tour

Fruita, Colorado

Fruita, Colorado

I had plans to do a few things this summer… One was to visit my Aunt and cousins I had not seen in years in Sheboygan, WI., and also to take a trip to paddle and ride around the west. It made sense to pack up my gear and make a trip out of it. I’d stop each day at a destination, to ride or paddle and move on.

Helpful in planning my route was Garmin Basecamp, Riderplanet.com and Bing Maps. My gear consisted of a Husqvarna TE 310 R, SIC Maui X-14 Pro, and a Specialized Epic MTB. Lake or mountain trails were destinations I needed to find daily. First day out was Flagstaff, Arizona, as I had done this route last fall and provides cooler temps at altitude and 2 great trail networks north and south of town open to dirt bikes and mtb.

Flagstaff, Arizona

Flagstaff, Arizona

This time instead of a direct route to Durango, went east and up to Santa Fe for a night. Great place to relax for the night and morning as I planned to ride up to 60 miles near Taos on the Husky.

Taos, New Mexico

Taos, New Mexico

After Taos was to Pueblo for a day to paddle the reservoir and re-supply. Dillon, Colorado to paddle and ride the Husky above Breckenridge…

Breckenridge, Colorado

Breckenridge, Colorado

Lake McConaughy, Nebraska to paddle after the prior nights storm…

Lake McConaughy, Nebraska

Lake McConaughy, Nebraska

Council Bluffs Lake, Madison, Wis., and into Sheboygan, Wis., my furthest east destination.

Sheboygan, Wisconsin

Sheboygan, Wisconsin

Returning I tracked further north towards the Black Hills, then Cheyenne, Dillon, Fruita and Ouray, Colorado.

Cheyenne, Wyoming

Cheyenne, Wyoming

Last night was in Flagstaff once again so I could ride the Husky in the morning before heading home. All in all an excellent trip. Missed the tornados and storms and no breakdowns along the way. It is a bonus today to be able to map routes efficiently with time to destinations and satellite imagery. So many great places to visit here in the USA. A gallery of my adventure shot with my Nokia Lumia Icon (dng files)…

 

Tahoe or Bust

Over the last weekend I took a trip to South Lake Tahoe to compete in The Race the Lake of the Sky, one of the biggest events of the summer season. Had planned to race this event for a couple of years but had not, so planned and trained for the sunday distance race which would be 14+ miles.

Also planned to check out the motorcycle riding opportunities in Mammoth and Tahoe and brought the Husqvarna as well as the SIC Maui X-14 Pro SUP. Arrived Friday in Mammoth and had enough time to grab lunch, check out Lake Mary and decide what the plan for the afternoon would be. Decided to check into Motel 6, unload the bike, and ride to the trails.

Lake Mary

Lake Mary

Right off the main drag in town is the Shady Rest Park. After 1/4 mile or so in, the road turns to dirt and becomes a 4×4 route. Further in, trails go in different directions, to June Lake, Mono or Mammoth trail/loop. I headed towards June Lake initially till a steep blind downhill. Figured starting late it was better to not chance getting surprised so turned around and rode the Mammoth loop.

June Lake Loop

June Lake Loop

Mammoth Loop

Mammoth Loop

Had dinner at Perry’s across the street and left early Saturday for Tahoe. Arrived at noon to a packed event and limited parking for 5 blocks. Hung out at the beach up the road and relaxed before checking in at my motel for the night.

Race the Lake of the Sky

Race the Lake of the Sky

Up at 5:30 am to get a parking place for the race and then have breakfast…

Breakfast and Lunch

Breakfast and Lunch

I had planned to train through this race. My distance training has come very late. Only paddled 14 miles this year two weeks ago, and 10 a few days later. Bad sinus issues have kept me from pushing hard since January with a flue as well. I’ve just not been feeling 100% with getting winded quickly, vertigo, etc… Doing the distance at a pace I can sustain while keeping my heart rate in check was the goal. All worked out as I envisioned except for my early course misjudgement which caused me to paddle an extra .4 miles on the first leg. Never paddled this race before… I heard from a team mate the bay was over there and so that’s where I aimed. Was the wrong bay :-/ I hoped that the wind would build and not hurt me too badly. In the end 8th place in 50+ 14 ft. Happy with that considering my expectations and level of fitness. Good to see Braly and Brad and a large group at the SIC Maui Tent. Also good to see many NorCal competitors I have not seen for a year or two. And then there is the SoCal group I see all the time.

A long race requires a really good recovery day. For me that meant some singltrack close to town…

Upper Trailhead

Upper Trailhead

Midway Down Corral

Midway Down Corral

Stream Crossing

Stream Crossing

Samsung 840 EVO SSD

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When on the road using a laptop for processing video or photographs, it’s important that the computer has some room for swapfiles or virtual memory. And in case you use GoPro Studio and forget to pre=create a destination folder, dumping a few video files to your boot drive won’t immediately stop your forward process in some coffee shop of grocery store Starbucks as I had happen.

I set up my machines with a minimum of 2 hard drives. Initially due to cost of SSd drives I would chose a boot drive/SSD large enough to handle the OS and applications I use (Win 7/64 and Adobe Master Suite plus Go Pro Studio). 120 gig drives were the sweet spot a few years ago but they only had around 25 gig free when loaded so no room for sloppy hd management. I use a normal hd for secondary or tertiary drives, client files/photos, etc.

Today 250 gig drives are affordable ($140 per 250 gig SSD). This gives me a much faster drive for the OS and enough room for a larger swapfile and any OS updates, etc… Samsungs EVO and Pro drives are very fast and their upgrade kits include a dongle so you can clone your boot drive quickly and without any issues at all. They include data migration software and Samsung Magician which aids in maximizing the performance of these drives.

I run a Dell Precision M6500 with an i7, Nvidia M2800, wide gamut screen and 2 drives. It’s 6 years old and I noted the boot drive was slowing and mostly due to reading/writing heavily to that 20+ gig of free space. The Windows Experience index had gone from 6.9 to 5.9 due tot he SSD alone. With the new Samsung 840 EVO installed the index is up to 7.7 for the new SSD, which is excellent.

I recommend the Samsung Drives and the upgrade kit without hesitation.

Nokia Lumia Icon

I recently updated my phone from the Nokia 710 to the new Icon from Verizon. I wanted a better camera and the Icon provides the ability to shoot raw files as .dng, as well the ability to crop or basically do a lossless zoom at any time while shooting or in post. One also can define the shooting aspect ratio as shown…

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With the 5 mpxl and 16 mpxl .jpg selected you can resize on the fly non destructively, thereby allowing you to resize again at any time or revise aspect ration…

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I am using the 16×9 16 mpxl dng + 5 mpxl .jpg mode so I can process in Adobe Lightroom. The phone always uploads the 5 mpxl version of the file and if using the dng mode it will only use the 5 mpxl version for resizing so in that mode you lose the benefit of the second full resolution image. I would be uploading any full resolution final images later from Lightroom so the benefit of dng allows better control of white balance and any other parameters. The .jpg processing is excellent and good enough to never really need to shoot in dng. What it does do though is decrese any noise with a fair amount of noise reduction and so I have created a preset in Lightroom to lessen just a bit that noise reduction but gaining the ability to adjust white balance as desired and resize and then output at a high resolution or upsample if needed for large prints from my Epson 3800.

All in all the Nokia Lumia Icon is a great phone/camera. It’s screen resolution and pixel density if the highest and best looking to date of any phone. As my eyesight is deteriorating, that was a compelling reason to have it. As smartphone cameras eclipse compact cameras in image quality and portability it’s great to have along in a pocket while riding my dirt bike. When in areas with no wifi it is also nice with it’s fast LTE service to be able to pass files from laptop to phone after processing and upload by cellular to the web. While Windows Phones are not as popular as iPhones and Android devices today they have a wonderful OS, interface and all the apps I care to use currently.

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NW 2014

A  3 week trip ensued to beat the heat this summer so I could enjoy some of the northwest single track. Did not want to be without any recreational gear so had most bases covered with Husqvarna, SIC x-14 Pro and my Specialized Tarmac road bike in the van.

van

After a 6am start I wanted to get an early few miles of paddling in before a long day driving to Redding, CA., where I’d spend the night. Morro Bay was on the way and arrived at around 8am and got close to 6 miles in.

morro

An early start out of Redding and arrived in Bend mid day, in time for a paddle on the Deschutes. I made a contact for a dirt bike ride at China Hat for the next day as the trails were sure to be in great condition after the rain. Sure enough the riding was perfect, about 60 miles for the loop and a stop at the lookout tower where Russ and I got a tour.

mapchina

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tower

towerview

I planned on a few days or more in and around Hood River to visit some friends and do some paddling on the Columbia and ride some of Hood Rivers great single track. The afternoon I arrived and hooked up with Doc Doolittle for a short downwind run in Rowena.

dwrowena

The next day I headed to Binns Hill Road to access the trails. Pretty cool zone above the Post Canyon mtb trails. Super well maintained and no crowds as well as just a bunch of friendly riders, even on Memorial Weekend. 10 miles of tight sngletrack on this day as well as 10 the next, riding the south loop one day and north loop the next.

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hr3

hr4

hr1

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After the long weekend headed to Seattle to visit a few friends and paddle Lake Washington for a few days. Met up with Steve Linden and Scot Sumner for a sprint across the lake and back before the chop and wind was in full force. We paddled into the wind and it dies for the return leg, then reappeared just when we hit the beach. Fun few days in Seattle seeing Steve, Scott, Mike, Bobbie and Tom. Nice to see everyone riding the SIC Maui X-14s.

3boards

I left California with a sinus issue of sorts which had been lingering a long time. I felt like I wasn’t getting enough oxygen so would crap out under heavy workloads. Somewhere along the way that subsided whether the dry air or elevation along the way, I was feeling better. I planned to return as I had come but skipped Hood River on the way south to spend a few more days in Bend. I wanted to check out a few houses and see if there was anything I might want to buy. With homes going fast and many pocket listings barely hitting the mls before selling I decided not to chase a fickle second home market that can top out at any time. My Sprinter is a good vacation van that carries all my stuff and can take me anywhere.

A couple of days checking out neighborhoods and houses, a road ride to Bachelor and back and a revisit of Millican on the Husqvarna made for a great adventure tour.

mill

Finally it was a 2 day drive home from Bend, first stopping at one of my favorite lakes in Oregon, Crescent Lake. When I pulled in it looked perfect for a paddle but soon was in a swarm of mosquitos which I had forgotten enjoy the snow melt and moisture. Wasn’t going to soak myself in Off and paddle so hit the road south.

crescent

I stopped in Shasta to get a veggie juice concocted for me at the local organic market and then made my way down to Lake Siskyou for a few miles of tempo paddling and a swim with no mosquitos this time. Then was south to Redding for the night and an easy drive home the next day. A great trip doing what I planned to and more plus got rid of a nasty sinus issue. Dry and hot already east of the mountains here at home and north of here to lucky to have gone when I did and glad to have spent some quality time on the Husky with no spills! Almost ready for another trip.

SIC in 2014

1102451_10202818576160005_167915252_oHaving taken  a bit of a break in 2013 to do some road trips, including Utah and Colorado with dirt bike, mtb and SUP, I decided it was time to get back into some SUP racing in the 14 foot class once again. I had been paddling a 12.6 but missed the added glide of a 14 so was on the hunt late last fall for a new board. Luck would have it I emailed a friend from way back in the 80s who I knew was in San Clemente, for a visit while checking out what was on the market. Well… turned out old windsurfing pal Anthony and SIC Maui had a new 14 footer that felt great first paddle I tried it.

I’ve done a number of races and placed well since that time and stoked to be an Ambasador for SIC on the Central Coast. Great shape by Mark Raaphorst and about the best ocean pedigree of any brand today. Thanks Anthony and Braly alike for giving me the opportunity. Going to be a fun 2104!

Western Tour

In a hailstorm earlier up top. Good challenging ride =)

Early September seemed a great time to head to Colorado before the hunting season was in full swing and snow arrived. Summer has been a scorcher so was anxious to get out of town. Packed all my gear; Husky 310, 12.6 SUP and a mountain bike. For a few weeks attempted to avoid the sudden deluge of rain… Worst in history for Colorado. Just my luck as the rains began I was just arriving in Flagstaff, AZ.

The following day arrived in Durango to more rain but was able to do some riding out of town near the College. With more rain coming I decided Moab would give me more options… Slickrock would be rideable so first stop was Poison Spider….

The first afternoon in Moab headed to Poison Spider and did a loop on the mtb until storms were looming. I camped near the end of Potash Road for a couple of days and rode Porcupine Rim from the Colorado River up and back down instead of heading up Sand Flats. Next was a dirt bike ride out to Hurrah Pass as I thought as did Jim Ryan at Dualsport Moab, would be clear and easy. Unfortunately as you can see in one of the photos below was right up to my fenders. Luckily made it across and back without ingesting water.

Next up was heading to Fruita to mtb for a few days and make my way back down to Durango after touring around a bit. After a night at Super 8 Motel rode the awesome singletrack on Kokopelli. The next day headed out of Rabbit Road on the Husky for a nice 30+ mile tour of the mesa towards Moab. The following day toured the Colorado National Monument as rain was in store.

Leaving Fruita and Grand Junction, I planned to paddle at Ridgway Resevoir and stay a couple of days in Ouray so I could ride a couple of the pass roads. Though it was raining and hailing I made it up and over Imogene Pass into Telluride and back as shown in the top photo.

Was time to head home so back tracked to Flagstaff and rode the Husky for a night before arriving back in Santa Barbara the following day.

To Hurrah Pass and out of Rabbit Road …

Paddling on Ridgway Resevoir…

 

Mistral for 2013

Happy to announce being a Team Rider for Mistral in 2013 and will represent their product line as well for Maui North. I have been putting the 8.6 surf and 14 foot inflatable through their paces the last couple of weeks.

The 8.6 is just under 30 inches wide with powerbox thrusters and all glass fins. It’s a crisp handling board that slots into  waves nicely, while also having good stability for less than perfect conditions. A great go to SUP for the surf.

The iSUP 14ft M1 is a new experience for me. The versatility of an inflatable board is compelling, allowing easy packing when you are bringing all the toys!. When you need performance for racing too, the Mistral M1 iSUP Line delivers, as my early GPS testing shows. I’de say in most smooth water races, speeds are comparable between the M1 and the average 14 footer. Besides performance you get a really easy handling board or 25 lbs, and one you won’t stress hitting the door, etc…

Avenue of the Flags Criterium

Mike Hecker’s innaugural Avenue of the Flags Criterium was a big success this saturday in Buellton. I drove up to shoot a few of the races mid afternoon. I posted a sequence on Facebook. This race was the 35+ Men, Cat 1,2,3 and 4.