Saturday, June 30, 2012

Communication breakdown (continued...)

The more time moves on, the more I wonder about humanity and its unability to stay in touch. These days, we all have access the most amazing communication tools and yet we abjectly fail at using them, even so little.

Take the phone, for instance. If I didn't pick up the phone most of the time, no one would ever call me. You might say, “it's just because no one wants to talk to you in the first place, silly!” but I don't really think so. People are just getting too lazy and far too preoccupied with getting a handle upon their own lives.

They can't seem able to manage living in such a complex world. So, instead of wringing my hands and banging my head, I keep the communication channels open. At least, I know what's going on and this is a large part of what being alive is all about!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Republican's economics

Not only do Republicans display some serious intellectual limitations, but they appear to be stuck in a rut moving backwards. Consider this: Their main grippe with the present economic situation is that there is too much uncertainty. Uncertainty? Seems to me that life is woven around uncertainty.

I, for one, can't be too sure that I'll wake up tomorrow, but still, I'm planning, dreaming, plotting into the future as if I were eternal, or almost! Uncertainty or fear of paying more taxes is not what stops a smart business person from expending and from hiring.

To move forward, they only have to believe in their plan, in their idea, in their product or service and build their infrastructure accordingly. To hire they also need to see demand. If there's growing demand they don't care about life uncertainty or taxes! What's been a killer however is the unceasing negative-talk and obstruction from the Republicans.

This is a mood downer, a joy and job killer that broadcasts that life is bad and the end is near. It's been the only loud contribution from Republicans that I've heard recently, especially since Obama has been elected President. Seems that it might be time for Republicans to take a refresher, economic 101, course!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Five buddies, forty years ago...

Today, I just stumbled on this photograph, taken in March 1972, more than 40 years ago. We were five buddies on that picture. A sixth one, François Chauplannaz, snapped the shot.
From left to right, Dennis Pasquier, Henry Marullaz, Jean-Claude Page, Go11 and Jean-François Rosset. This was a wonderful outing from the Hauts-Forts to Ressachaux, in Morzine, France.

Both Pasquier and Marullaz have since passed away, too early of course, but that didn't stop life from relentlessly going on.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Evolving friendships...

Okay, travel back 40, 50 years ago, and remember some of your very best friends there. That was then, that was there. You lived close to each other, amidst the same culture, the same joys and sorrows.

Now, rewind forward to this day. Time has done its eroding work, life-choices and careers have taking you and your friends thousands of miles apart, personal experiences have also been vastly different.

The mutual appreciation is still there, but it's become much harder to relate, to understand each other. Each partner has missed enough “beats” to make the whole story more sketchy and a bit harder to comprehend and follow. Each one tries his or her best, but sometime, the split appears and seems much harder to leap upon.

Friendships, just like flowers need constant attention and even when they get it, they always remain a fragile and tenuous reality. Casual friendships don't like separation, sporadic contacts and diverging experiences.

Only exceptional friendships can take it all in stride, survive and sometime strive. But who ever said that there was that much room for so many exceptional friendships. Aren't we supposed to count them with only a few fingers of one hand?

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Utah's perfect summers

I always tell my out-of-state friends, and particularly those who live in the Eastern part of North America and abroad, that our weather is a two-speed phenom: Wet from November through May and dry from June through October.
Of course, when I say “wet” it generally means snow as water takes a solid form during the colder months and at Park City's 7,000 feet altitude. But it's not all snow all the time; we get plenty of beautiful sunny days too and there is rarely a snowy day when the sun doesn 't show up! This said, it pretty much works like clockwork; in the past 30 days, we haven't seen one drop of water coming from the sky and the last serving we received, on May 27, was freezing snow!

There are summer and fall days when we're praying to see some rain. We feel dry, dusty and could use a good natural shower, but this said, I'd never trade Park City weather for anything else in the world, so don't expect to see me move to Thailand any time soon!

Monday, June 25, 2012

The sales quandary

Apple products that are in such great demand are sold at retail by employees that are underpaid and don't stay on the job. Strong consumer demand doesn't require commensurate sales efforts, we all know that, but conversely, poor or lesser known products or services require masterful selling and star sales people.

The question is how can we find people able and willing to step out and start selling such products and services? For one thing, they need to be generously compensated for sticking their necks out and taking a chance as well as working much harder to achieve positive results.

There's also the ethical question of selling something that is legitimate and that reflect positively on the person selling it. Before selling anything, a good salesperson sells him or herself and put that reputation on the line. Selling a bad product or service is likely to be detrimental.

Selling a real estate project (a one time sale) is also different than selling consumer products that will demand to be replaced over and over again. In that case, a salesperson's reputation plays a larger role too. These questions of course call for discussion and within that process, suggest that there are gradation in the rate of compensation, work to be performed and sustainability in the sales efforts.

There must exist some studies made on the subject and I'd be curious to know what exist in the area. Can anyone come forward and tell me where to find such findings?

Sunday, June 24, 2012

The high cost of being Mormon

I am not too much into religion, and even less into Mormonism. It's probably because I live too close to its epicenter and am too familiar with some of its absurd tenets. What's more crazy though, is that Mormons have to pay 10% of their gross earnings all life long.

Take for example a household making $50,000 a year. In the course of their life they'll have paid more than $200,000 to their wealthy Church. This kind of amount compares with mortgage or student loan payments.

In a June 2011 article, Newsweek magazine estimated the net worth of the Mormon Church around $30 billion. It doesn't matter whether one is rich or poor, tithing is at 10% and that portion can be devastating on a household earning just $50,000 a year as it eats up right into their food budget, so no wonder why they only eat cereals at dinner!

Yet, the same percentage on a $300,000 yearly income my seem big, but has relatively no impact on the high-earner lifestyle, especially if one includes perks, like company car and expense accounts, that are not included into that household direct earnings.

Why do people stay in that Church? Probably because they are brainwashed into believing that they're doing the right thing and because of enormous and insidious peer pressure. I know skiing is expensive, but it's considerably cheaper than being LDS and I get to spend all my Sundays on the slopes...

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Know the terrain...

Unlike alpine skiing, mountain biking is all about well-defined paths and trails. One needs to faithfully follow the doted line (single track for that matter) and try to remember its incline, its ridding surface and its idiosyncrasies.

Not knowing or not remembering these particularities will cost a lot in terms of strain, suffering and mental frustration. Not knowing or remembering doesn't allow for conserving momentum at the end of a downhill to carry to the steep section.

It also puts too much burden on the brain, which already processes a lot of information by staying concentrated and watching like a hawk and has little desire to deal with extra uncertainty, anxiety or fear when the rider is spooked by some unexpected surprise. I've always thought that mental strain is the worst of all, because it has enough power to literally “cutting one's legs.”

So, in summary, when you venture on mountain bike trails that are reasonably difficult and that you've never visited before, expect to expend an extra 80% energy (I didn't measure, it just came to me as the right number!) so if you are comfortable riding 15 miles of single trails you know, never go for the same distance on some itinerary you've never experienced before; settle for just 8 miles, that will be more than enough!

Friday, June 22, 2012

When mountain biking beats me up...

Each time I go out mountain biking in company of my wife, it's a breeze. I get the sense that I'm (almost) on top of my game. I feel strong, agile, and somehow talented! Yesterday, I went on my own to ride between Deer Valley's Silver Lake area and Canyons' Red Pine Lodge. Picture the 16.2 mile trek like a mid-mountain trip overlooking Park City, starting at 8,115 feet elevation to end up 8,039 feet, with tons of ups and downs in between (1,698 feet elevation gain.)
This is hard work and lots of it. I stopped every time my heart was beating a bit too hard and after riding 2 hour and 22 minute, I reached my destination, out of juice, dusty and badly beat up. I was not feeling nearly as composed and smug as when I ride with my spouse, but there's little room for hiding or pretending when you're riding with your own self and feeling the full brunt of the effort.
My goal this season it to ride farther on that trail, but it may take me the whole summer to achieve it, stage by stage as I try to learn the intricacies of the terrain, one revolution of pedal at a time!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Decoding our summer concerts

Last night, first day of summer, was our first concert of the season. On this opening night, the crowd was huge, between 1,500 to 2,000 people. The band was Muddpuddle, a local rock-and-roll band playing a blend of original and cover music in a wide variety of styles. They were just okay, not great, but in fact, I don't think most people ever come to these concerts for the music.

The way I see it, there are three groups of folks at these outdoor venues: The musicians of course, the folks that have to be seen and the rest of us, looking to watch a little of both. I won't return to the musicians; they always play good, bad or in between.

 I want to focus on the two other groups instead; the “exhibitionists” are of two kinds: The “static” ones who congregate in “groups” of “friends” and are showing off their elaborate picnic and cocktail gear, more often than not towed or wheeled-in to the spot into custom containers. Their dress is highly noticeable: Concert t-shirts, Hawaiian shirts, cool head gear for the men and skimpy, super sexy clothes for the women.

Then among these people who are there to show off, there are the “cruisers.” Those are mostly women who run through the lawn top to bottom and side to side. They want to be seen and are generally quite successful at it regardless of their perceived or real beauty and sexy attire.

Finally there are people like us, who are bombarded by these visual and audio cues and have a lots of work to do in order to see everything, stay focused and not to miss a beat. Call this sensory overload. After 90 minute of that multimedia shower, our brains are fried, we're ready to return home!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Summer paradox

Today is finally summer; fantastic! The bad new is the days will begin their descent tomorrow and that their path will be downhill all the way to December 21st...

In strolling through our beautiful little garden (truly our pride and joy) I was able to see that the two young lilacs we planted in October of 2006 are finally bearing flowers and our first two clusters of prickly pear cacti are now in full bloom.

Today, the weather was unseasonably cool but we're told that we'll somehow catch up big time tomorrow; short and t-shirt weather, I guess.  Later, this evening, is our first summer concert of the season at Deer Valley, so we're now dialed-up for a festive quarter!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Unconditional love?

It's funny how politics work. Often times, supporters are so passionate about the candidate they support that they are 100% behind the person and lead you to believe that their favorite is worth, just that, 100%!

I tend to see things differently; for me most politicians are, from the get go, not the prime representative sample of society. For the most part they are folks who couldn't do something really productive, yet crave public adulation and lack the audacity for embracing a risky stage career. I see them as “second-choice citizens.”

Call me cynical if you will, but I believe that if 100% was the ideal, perfect individual for a political job, most elected official, are barely making it to the 50% mark, with a vast majority swimming below that salutary level. For instance, late April, when Sarkozy and Hollande were fighting for France's top job, I credited the former with 60% and the latter with just 50%.

Today, you could ask me the same question between Obama and Romney; I'd say that for me, Barack Obama still leads by 10 to 15%, but I won't say for sure if his opponent stands at the 40 or even the 45% level. The next months will tell... 

Monday, June 18, 2012

Full left turn!

After being elected president of France, François Hollande has now a solid majority in the Senate and at the Assembly. He'll be able to run the country and carry-out his promised reforms without any political impediment and of course, no excuse whatsoever. The tone of his mandate is likely to be “socialist-plus.”

Even if Hollande sees a need for slowing down his leftist rhetoric, he'll be surrounded by a crowd influencing and reinforcing his policies towards that direction. This of course won't help the European countries that are supporting belt-tightening policies and in particular won't earn him much cooperation from the Germans.

All political pundits agree that Hollande will have little margin to maneuver, which might ultimately choke his promises-laden policies. His only face-saving option will be to declare early in the game (read, now) that Sarkozy has spent all the money, cleaned-up the coffers, that his predecessor was very bad indeed, and that what he thought he could give the French, can't now be funded.

We'll see...

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Employers: Pick and develop good staff!

Last week, we were shopping for furniture; our needs were quite specific and we tried to explain them, first thing, to the salesman. He probably heard what we said, but didn't quite listen. He reacted to some of the product we saw in his showroom without trying to tell us more, to dig deeper and to make a genuine effort to find what would have been the perfect match for our needs.

He didn't know his product line well and missed out. Out of sheer luck, as he was asking his boss a question, she said, “by the way we have these models...” and that made all the difference. We found what we wanted, just by sheer accident.

The morale of the story: Employers, teach your employees better; don't be afraid to set aside time to train them in depth. First and foremost, though, make sure you pick the good team members; if a new hire proves unfit, have the courage to recognize the mismatch and move on.

On all these counts, no one quite likes the drill – employees and bosses alike – but the exercise is well worth the pain if a business is to become successful...

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Last remnant of winter

In every ski resort that can't boast having glaciers, there is a point when the last visible patch of snow finally melts. Jupiter Peak and its 9,998 feet dominates Park City and there always seem to be a tiny bit of snow that shows as late as the season permits.

After the thin snow-cover we got this winter, the patch is tiny today and is in fact about the exact same size it was twenty-seven years ago when I shot a video of the first house we'd end up buying in Park City. What a difference with one year ago!

The 84-85 snow season had been a good one though; I remember skiers still making it down to the resort base on May 1st, when we visited the place as we were house-hunting. The spring season must have been very, very warm that year!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Head-on collision!

This had never happened to me before, but was probably bound to. I've always feared the full-blown head-on collision on some blind corner, but this one happened to me in an area of Park City Mid-Mountain Trail, in the segment linking Deer Valley to Park City, where there's reasonable visibility. As I was cruising fairly fast on a level stretch of the trail, crossing the steep slopes where the old “Ski Team” chairlift used to be, a girl arrived barreling down a slight incline.
I instantly hit the brakes, she didn't not. She wrongly assumed that just because she was a woman, she didn't have to stop and failed to realize that she had to yield to me as she was descending. I almost head over the handlebar when our two front tires made contact. I fell, broke the GoPro cam attachment off my helmet and ended up with a few scratches.

 I told the girl “You should have stopped!” She replied: “You were coming fast and it was your fault too” I said: “You were going down...” She said: “You, were going down!” I was pissed off, gave up and left it at that. After all, she was a girl and her gender suffers from some serious limitations with anything spatial...

Thursday, June 14, 2012

We all can do better!

Once we get our lives “dialed-up” we suddenly become comfortable and with ease, comes laxity. We start adopting a rhythm that suits us fine, that is comfy, but fails to stretch us anymore.

As we mature, we also tend to decline, both physically and intellectually, and it might be time to remember that we can make up for this loss of performance by reaching out just a little bit more.

This applies for sure to the physical realm of things, but also to our mental condition. So, let's not curl up and ride our own demise. Instead, let's all remember that we can do much better and constantly stretch a little farther!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Dogs, herd of them...

Dogs and multi-use trails don't mix well. Well, they do when the dog owners are responsible and can control them. I'm not even talking about the fact that we have a County-wide leash law that applies to our trails, and realize that when outdoors, most dog owners will let their pouch run free.

I'm speaking today from the standpoint of a mountain bike rider, a context in which encountering a dog on the loose creates both anxiety and brings a real danger; the encounter is obviously a bit less disconcerting for a hiker or a trail runner. What bother me, of course, is when these same owner do nothing to put their prized possession back on leash or hold them by the collar to restrain them.

Then, you have these “dog-herder” who must either be kennel owners or are making a living dog-sitting in their neighborhood. These people generally have a tough time controlling their “herd” and encountering these mixed groups made of one human ans six dogs is always a challenge.
Now let me get you to the worst-case, but quite frequent situation, encountered by lone bike riders like us: Mountain bikers who let their own dog(s) roam free alongside them without any means of control except for voice commands. I find this behavior both reckless and dangerous.

We're dealing for the most part with single track trails which leave little space for evasive action and if a dogs gets in the way of a bike someone will get hurt and in most cast the cyclist will end up bearing the brunt of the encounter.

This happened twice to us yesterday and I think that kind of reckless behavior should be punished with memorable fines so there's always a choice between the bike OR the dog, not BOTH!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Local ski numbers...

Deer Valley Resort, Park City Mountain Resort and Canyons Resort, our three Park City ski areas weathered the bad winter season better than Vail Resort did in Colorado as they only slipped collectively 5.7 percent from last season, compared to 9.8 percent for the resorts owned by the Colorado based resort company, that include Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge and Keystone.

At the same time, Utah resorts only slipped less than 10 percent compared to 11 percent to their Colorado counterpart. Park City is therefore gaining market share over its powerful neighbor and a lot has to do with its convenient access (less than 40 minute from Salt Lake airport) a great snow-making infrastructure and an aggressive coverage this season (43 percent more man-made snow with 60 percent less natural snow, with Deer Valley increasing its output by more than 50% and spending over $1 million in utilities alone.)

Park City is also gaining more prominence among international skiers, that went up 39 percent from last year, including stronger visitations from Australia, Mexico, Brazil and the United Kingdom. What is also true is that locals (both in Colorado and Utah) didn't ski much this season as they (wrongly) assumed that skiing was bad...

Monday, June 11, 2012

What they should teach at Harvard...

Last night we saw a wonderful movie: “Jiro dreams of sushi.” This is a movie about sushi and yet it's not just movie about sushi. It's a movie about how to succeed at running a great business.

To start with, you need raw passion, a veneration for simplicity, a great talent if possible, patience, dedication, relentless desire to improve, paying attention to quality, picking the very best suppliers, carefully watching customers and considering the environment. Most of all, you don't need to be large to be great and when you're so good, location is even unimportant...

The 81 minute business lesson was powerful and awe-inspiring. Too bad Harvard and other big-name business schools don't use that film as the basis for their business curriculum!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

PIIGS... Almost done?

After Greece, Ireland and Portugal, Spain is now throwing in the towel. We're almost there... PIIGS, the only absent letter from the feared acronym is Italy. These guys are traditionally always late and understandably so are in no particular hurry to make their entrance on the stage of the financial hall of shame.

Will there be other candidates likely to join “PIIGS” ranks? France has often been rumored to be next in line, but with Hollande, its new president-magician, “très ordinaire” (very ordinary), the latter might be able to pull a few debt-eating-growth-producing rabbits out of his hat. Don't ask any economist to confirm that one, they've absolutely got no clues.

My guess is that in a couple of protracted years and with a real estate bubble about to burst, France might indeed rejoin the infamous quintet, but who knows?

Saturday, June 9, 2012

I feel good

As I woke up this morning, I took stock of all the things that are going well with my body. No headache, no vision, dental or hearing trouble, my heart and lungs are running so smoothly I can afford to ignore them, my limbs don't feel too stiff when I get off the bed. I simply feel good!

Do I feel as good as when I was half my age? Almost, I would say. It's really hard to pinpoint any major difference. There must be some though, but I can't seem able to put my fingers on them.

Now, if the body seems fine, how is the mind? Pretty good too, and certainly much clearer and far less stressed out than when I was in my twenties or even thirties... I'm so lucky!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Not impressed by Bill Clinton!

Every time the ex-president opens his mouth, it seems to be with the intention to damage Obama and his chances of re-election. Clinton's demeanor shows that he has a chip on his shoulder and that he can't stand being out of the limelight.

Some folks even suspect he's paving the way for a Hillary ticket in 2016, which I doubt; his wife will be a septuagenarian by then, and with the exhausted looks she sports today, she will greatly appreciate full retirement.

For some reasons, I've never trusted Clinton, never voted for him and still can't feel comfortable with his character!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Decline and Jubilee

It's finally over, the British Jubilee has been duly celebrated and all that pageantry as left me with the strong impression that, when a country is in strong decline, the only positive thing left to do is over-blow a trivial anniversary.
I mostly watched the news summary and one night, on Charlie Rose's show, as the question of the island decline was brought up, John F. Burns, one of the panelists and New York Time correspondent in London, said that wasn't true as British scientists could be found at all American research institutes (a sign of massive brain-drain, isn't it?) and that in Indy and Formula One, UK built chassis were still winning on the race tracks...

Pretty thin claim that indicates that in few decades, the old Empire, just like Greece today, will just be a popular tourist place. The Brits better keep the Royalty alive and kicking by then!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Why real estate agents don't impress me...

I found the real estate profession quite unimpressive ever since I briefly tried my hands to the job at the very beginning of the 1990s. I've always found most of the agent, lacking imagination, creativity and frankly, often lazy and not always ethical.

As a rule, I've decided to avoid doing business with any of them when it can and if I must call one of them, it will be about one of their own listings. I recently got involved in that way with one of them. In working briefly with him, I found the particular gentleman to be a terrible communicator and this – once more - didn't impressed me from the get go.

Yesterday, that same individual calls me about a real estate “deal” he'd like me to get involved with, and insists we need to meet in person because it's a “complicated transaction.” So, I carve time out of my schedule and arrange to meet with the man, outside, on some corner of Main Street, Park City.

The weather suddenly becomes freezing, it's around 5 pm and the obviously the agent isn't there on time. Of course, he has also neglected to make a note of my cell phone number, so he calls home to let me know that he's late; my wife relays his message to me. He finally shows up 15 minutes later and I ask him “what's the deal?” He says: “it's not one of my listings but I would like to represent you; no, the property isn't listed yet.”

I then asked him about the price and he came up with some absurd amount. I then tell him to never, ever bother me again with deals of that sort and, quite ticked-off, I leave.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

FIS and effective sport marketing

I've always been of the opinion that the International Ski Federation (FIS) could do much better in terms of promoting snow sports and appears to me as suffering of sclerosis and being a traditional “old boys club.” I also believe that it's living in the past and makes all of its decisions in a vacuum.

 Like many sports international sport federations, the FIS is super conservative, reactionary and unwilling to change. The sports it offer should evolve so they keep spectators and particularly TV viewers interested and expecting even more, which in turn would serve as a true showcase and promotion for the ski business.

The 48th FIS congress just came to a close in South Korea and with it, the executive committee was elected, with the exception of Gian-Franco Kasper, its president whose mandate expires in 2014. Following are the new members with the number of vote they received (123 being the maximum votes possible). These individuals (all men) will be the one to blame if FIS continues to remain the dinosaur it has become over a long period of years...

Mats Årjes, Sweden 123 votes. Patrick Smith, Canada 120 votes. Alfons Hörmann, Germany 119 votes. Eduardo Roldan, Spain 119 votes. Sung Won Lee, South Korea, 118 votes. Peter Schröcksnadel, Austria 118 votes. Sverre Seeberg, Norway 118 votes. Janez Kocijancic, Slovenia 116 votes. Bill Marolt, United States 116 votes. Michel Vion, France 115 votes. Roman Kumpost, Czech Republic 110 votes. Vedran Pavlek, Croatia 110 votes. Matti Sundberg, Finland 108 votes. Dean Gosper, Australia 101 votes. Flavio Roda, Italy 100 votes and Andrey Bogarev, Russia 99 votes .

Roda and Bogarev have just been elected this year, they're therefore new to the “club.” These individuals along with Kasper (all men), will be the ones to blame if FIS continues to remain the dinosaur it has morphed into, over a long period of years...

Monday, June 4, 2012

Surprise breakfast!

Eating insects seems to be what's hot these days; some have even found a respectable name for the practice: Entomophagy! These little guys are loaded with proteins and don't contribute much to greenhouse gases (have you ever heard a grasshopper fart?) There's hardly a day when a trendy restaurant isn't not broadening its fare with some edible insect meals. This means that either we fight the trend or we join it.

I finally did this morning; as we were running, we passed this gigantic network of beaver dams that the furry rodents have been building for the past six month on the edge of our neighborhood, and that now seem to attract mosquitoes from all over the world! As I was not in my best running shape this morning, was huffing, puffing and opening my big month, I caught a mouthful of these lively mosquitoes.

I found them just filling, not really tasty. I guess they're more delectable when they're fried. So one serving was enough for this morning. I'll do better next time and if I finally get used to it, I might, from that point forward, decide to catch my breakfast on the go!


Sunday, June 3, 2012

Influence of politics on the economy

I have often written that I don't believe that politicians and their policies hold a significant sway on the economy when the claim they can improve it, especially in the short term.  Granted, smart and only long-term governmental policies may have some positive influence on future economic development.

What unfortunately is true however for the short term is that politicians have a huge influence on hampering the economy through their actions, statements and aggressive posturing. We had that happened last Fall during the budget limit crisis.

In summary, politicians, which are the biggest problem we have, are pretty much impotent at making things better, but are incredibly skilled in screwing things up for all of us.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

National Trails Day

Today, we decided to come celebrate the 20th Anniversary of National Trails Day, in Park City's Round Valley with the Mountain Trails Crew. Round Valley is where we do most of our cross-country mountain biking and we love that convenient network of single track trails that starts less than one mile from our front door.

While another group gathered in nearby Glenwild, near Kimball Junction, we found ourselves at about 8 am with 50 other volunteers and after coffee, bagels and instructions, we were busy cutting the new “Ramble on” trail, named after the famous song by Led Zeppelin, that should be open in one month from now.

The overcast skies were a godsend and we worked till about noon, hoeing the path, cutting roots, removing rocks and raking the soil into a smooth trail. Not the usual intellectual work some of us prefer to do! At noon, tired and dirty we went back home but we had plenty of fun and loved the experience. See you all next year!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Audacity makes the difference

As we're trying to get back on the saddle and reacquainted with all the subtleties of mountain biking, I'm discovering, once more, how similar that sport is to alpine skiing. Believe you'll clear a hairpin turn and you'll clear it, have doubts about the outcome and you'll bite the dust!

Until this season, banked turns have always be by nemesis and it's only now that I can muster the audacity to launch into them, enter as high as I dare to, and the end result is that I come out in the perfect spot with good speed.

That says a lot about the psychology of mountain biking and its requirement for lots of guts if not aggressive behavior. Hard to do at first when one's “over the hill,” but achievable as long as one is rewarded by some tangible, positive results!