MEGA TR: Utah Mountain Biking

Date: May 23 – May 27, 2022

Location: Salt Lake City, Park City & Moab, Utah

Riders: Jon & Nick

Photos: Jon & Nick

Synopsis: This is another super belated trip report! As I mentioned in my last Trip Report on Terminal Cancer Couloir, the snow coverage in the Eastern Sierra in CA was basically non-existent in May 2022. So Jon and I decided to road trip from Tahoe to Utah to hit a number of mountain biking spots over the course of a week. We ended up getting 5 very solid days of trails!

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TR:  Terminal Cancer Couloir

Date: May 22, 2022

Location: Ruby Mountains, NV

Skiers: Jon & Nick

Photos: Jon & Nick

Synopsis: This is another super belated trip report, but I figured better late than never! In May 2022, the snow coverage in the Eastern Sierra in CA was basically non-existent, as we had a very bad snow season. As a result, Jon and I thought through alternatives for a week-long adventure and came up with a road trip from Tahoe to Utah, with the goal to mountain bike in Park City and then Moab.

Given the drive was across northern Nevada on I-80, we knew we’d drive right past the Ruby Mountains outside of Elko, NV – home of the super aesthetic line of Terminal Cancer Couloir.

We really couldn’t find any beta on whether it had snow – aside from rough Google Earth imagery. But we just loaded up ski gear in the car together with all of our mountain biking gear and hit the road, figuring it was worth a shot.

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TR: Oregon MTB Goodness

Dates: Friday, July 23rd – Monday, July 26, 2021

Locations: Ashland & Oakridge, OR

Riders: Jon, Mike, Alex & Nick

Photos: Jon, Mike, Alex & Nick

Synopsis: This is a super belated trip report, but I figured better late than never! The overall plan was Mike, Jon and I would leave from the Bay Area super early on Friday, driving all of the way to Oakridge, OR to meet Alex – where he would have a camp set up for up and we’d enjoy two days of mountain bike shuttling. It’s a super long drive, so we split it up going up and coming back by stopping in Ashland for some mountain biking on the way.

Overall, it was an awesome trip – great riding with good buddies.

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Date: Saturday, July 28, 2018

Location: Santa Rosa, California

As described further below, the swim was cancelled this year due to fog and we had a rolling, time-trial start to the bike. Nevertheless, my total time on this year’s race format was 4:22:20, which put me at:

  • 30/257 Finishers in Men’s 35-39 AG (11.7%)
  • 232/2483 Finishers Overall (9.3%)

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Dates: Monday, May 7th – Friday, May 11th

Locations: Ansel Adams & Yosemite Wildernesses, including Donahue Pass (11,056 ft.), Mount Lyell (13,120 ft.), Simmons Peak (12,497 ft.), Kuna Crest South (11,812 ft.), Koip Peak (12,968 ft.) and Mount Wood (12,657 ft.).

Skiers: Jon & Nick

Photos: As noted

Synopsis: Towards the end of April each year, Jon and I start pouring over topo maps to piece together potential multi-day tours into the High Sierra. It is one of my favorite activities of the year, as there is so much potential for exploration deeper into the range. This year, the High Sierra had a pretty weak winter, so snowpack depth was of paramount concern. Colin was nice enough to link us to some NOAA snow coverage and SWE models that over layed on maps. Using this enabled us to quickly scrap some ideas we had been thinking about in the more Southern Sierra, as the snow coverage looked really thin.

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Date: Saturday, March 17, 2018

Location: West Shore Lake Tahoe (Rubicon Peak)

Skiers: Andrew, Alex, Nick and Mike

Photos: Alex, Nick and Mike. A special thanks for Alex to being willing to lug a DSLR and take the vast majority of pictures, all of which turned out amazing.

Synopsis: Words can’t really describe how fun this day was. We were treated to an amazing day of ultra deep, stable snow. At times, it was too deep to even ski, as we focused on a low-angle zone on Rubicon Peak in light of avalanche instabilities. It was great to ski again with Alex, who moved up to Oregon last year.

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Dates: Monday, May 22 – Friday, May 26, 2017

Locations: Mt. Gould & West of Palisade Crest, Eastern Sierra

Skiers: Jon & Nick

Photos: As noted

Synopsis: With a great winter and a huge spring snowpack in the Eastern Sierra, Jon and I spent the early part of map pouring over topo maps and deciding where to plan a five day ski tour. We had originally intended to cross the range over a variation of the Monarch Divide tour, but ultimately the hassle of car logistics turned us towards a loop style tour starting and ending on the Eastside. With no shortage of terrain, it was simply identifying a zone we wanted to stay in for five days. As is the case, sometimes planning only takes you so far, as we had set out originally on a tour leaving out of Onion Valley, but a broken ski boot on the first day quickly changed our plans. Fortunately, some quick MacGyvering ultimately kept the train on the rails, albeit on an entirely different track!

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TR: A Tale of Twos

Locations: Hidden Peak, West Shore & Herlan Peak, East Shore, Lake Tahoe

Skiers: Jon, Andrew, Nick & Mike

Photos: As noted

Synopsis: My life trajectory has really validated the theory that good things come in pairs. Ultimately, this TR is A Tale of Twos, so to speak. Two general themes, life and skiing. Two seasons, last year and this year. Two little boys, really struggling then triumphing. Two particular days. Two peaks on two shores of Tahoe. Two life arcs, pre- and post-parenthood. Two inversion layers, above and below the fog. It goes on and on, as does life…

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TR: Desolation Wilderness

Dates: Saturday, February 6 & Sunday, February 7, 2016

Locations: Desolation Wilderness, South Lake Tahoe (Ralston Peak, Dick’s Peak, Janine’s Peak and Maggie’s Peaks)

Skiers: Saturday: Jon, Andrew, Alex and Nick, and Sunday: Jon, Mike and Nick

Photos: As noted

Synopsis: After a period of heavy wet snow the weekend prior, last week a very strong high pressure moved in over California (and much of the Mountain West), leading to above average temperatures and a quickly solidifying Sierra snowpack. After 4 days of melt/freeze cycles and shifting winds, we settled on heading into Desolation Wilderness for a couple of bigger days alpine terrain. With above average forecasted temps, we new going in that working the compass dial and time of day would dictate quality of snow conditions, and in retrospect I think we nailed it both days.

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Date: Sunday, January 10, 2015

Location: Mount Tallac, South Lake Tahoe

Skiers: Jon, Mike & Nick

Photos: As Noted

Synopsis: While every day out in the mountains with friends is a day well spent, every once in a while a day will come across that literally just makes you stop, look around and deeply appreciate your surroundings. Sunday was one of those days for me.

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Dates: Saturday, January 2 & Sunday, January 3, 2015

Location: North Lake Tahoe

Skiers: Noah, Pat & Nick

Photos: As Noted

Synopsis: Following periods of heavy snow during Christmas week, the Tahoe Basin was subject to particularly strong winds that impacted much of the alpine zones above tree line, leaving wind scoured surfaces. However, the near tree line and below tree line terrain sheltered the snow from the intense winds. Coupled with very cold temperatures, the tree skiing continues to be excellent. With more storms forecast this week, fingers are crossed for more days out like this.

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Dates: Saturday, December 5 & Sunday, December 6, 2015

Location: South Lake Tahoe

Skiers: Sat: Andrew, Alex, Noah and Nick; Sun: Andrew, Mike and Nick

Photos: As Noted

Synopsis: Last Thursday, another small storm fell dropping between 5-12 inches of snow across the Lake Tahoe basin, depending on aspect and elevation. Saturday was largely a warming trend and rather mild weather, while Sunday brought very intense, gale-force winds (with gusts of near 90 mph on higher elevation ridge tops late Sunday afternoon).

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TR: Winter Returns to Tahoe

Date: Sunday, November 29, 2015

Location: North Lake Tahoe

Skiers: Andrew, Mike, Morgan and Nick

Photos: Andrew, Mike and Nick as noted (although everything was shot with various forms of cellular machines…)

Synopsis: So far in November, the Tahoe Basin has been consistently receiving small winter storms on a weekly basis. What has been interesting is that November in the Tahoe Basin has been below historical average for both total precip and snowfall. However, with the horrible “winters” the past several years, everyone is obviously excited with cold, consistent snowfall coming in. This past week in fact, Tahoe got a very cold storm dropping down from Alaska the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, followed by well below average temperatures the remainder of the week into the weekend.

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RR: 2015 Ironman Boulder

Date: Sunday, August 2, 2015

Location: Boulder, Colorado

Photos: Sarah (and finish line video from John Nickerson)

11:18:15 total time, which put me at:

  • 52/270 (19.26%) Starters in the Men’s 35-39 Age Group
  • 219/2306 (9.5%) Starters Overall

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Date: Saturday, May 30, 2015 (Race)

Location: Big Island, Hawaii

Photos: As noted

5:07:38 total time, which put me at:
16/156(10.3%) Finishers in the Men’s 35-39 AG
83/1466 (5.7%) Finishers Overall

My primary goal going into Ironman 70.3 Hawaii (Honu) this year was to break 5:00 hours, and that was ultimately not in the cards. I can’t really say I am upset, as I put in a 10:00 improvement over my time last year, felt I ran as strong as I could have given the hot conditions and had an absolute blast with Sarah and the TriForce Triathlon Team. I love this race and everything about it: (i) the overall location, (ii) the fabulous course and (iii) the top-notch production Ironman puts on for this race (i.e., the great finisher’s zone and post-race BBQ). It is my favorite race to be honest – so I had a blast! In my actual race, there were some hiccups and definitely a lot of key takeaways to improve on, but all-in-all I executed on my overall race plan and ran fairly well given the heat.

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Date: Saturday, April 11, 2015

Location: Lake Berryessa, Napa Valley, CA

Photos: Sarah

This season I started working with Coach Kevin Coady from TriForce Triathlon Team, with a goal of significantly structuring my training. My “A” races this year are Ironman 70.3 Hawaii on May 30th and Ironman Boulder on August 2nd. Coach Coady suggested I sign up for an early season local race around April, and HITS Napa Valley Half Ironman fit the bill perfectly.

I finished the race in 5:09:42, which was 3rd place in my age group (3/27) and 17th overall (17/261) in the race. I was pleasantly surprised by the results given where I am at in my training for the year and the general difficulty of the course (which, as described further below, is extremely hilly). My primary goals going into the race were to focus on (i) refining my nutrition strategy by upping the calories on the bike to see if my stomach could handle it at higher intensities and (ii) work on bike pacing using a power meter, all with a view to where I stand in my fitness coming off of a “middle base” build period before I shift into a half ironman specific build for Hawaii. I also ended up with two PR legs at the half ironman distance for me – swim and run.

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TR: Matterhorn Peak

Date: Saturday, March 14, 2015

Location: Matterhorn Peak, Eastern Sierra

Skiers: Jon & Nick

Photos: Jon & Nick (as noted)

Synopsis: As the “winter” has progressed here in California, I have been doing a lot of road biking… Long periods of high pressure, sunny skies and warm temps have largely dictated February and March. California was treated to a much needed storm about a week ago, which provided some moisture for the state and a blanket of low-density snow at high elevation. While not the base-building, heavy cement we really needed, no one was in a position to complain.

However, as quickly as the storm came, high pressure and warming temps generally returned. On Wednesday, another storm came across the Sierra that provided several more inches of snow, followed by a warming trend and high pressure. The weekend called for great weather for a mission down to the Eastern Sierra, in search of remaining “wintery” snow at high elevation, north-aspects.

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Date: December 2014

Location: North Lake Tahoe

Skiers: Jon, Noah & Nick

Photos: As noted

Early season in Tahoe this year was coupled with big expectation and hype (including the December Mega Storm), which as typical largely under delivered on account of fluctuating snow lines. As of present, we are once again combatting a high-pressure ridge off the West Coast leading to another dry January. As I sit and await our historically biggest snow months of February and March, I think back to some great days early season in December. There were certainly good days to be had, both in the resorts and touring in the backcountry.

Similar to the rising tides and fluctuations in the weather, each day had its ups and downs. Once such great day in December had a lot, in fact!

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Dates: Wednesday, November 26 – Sunday, November 30, 2014

Location: Joshua Tree National Park

Photos: As noted

Synopsis: Over Thanksgiving week, Sarah and I headed down to Joshua Tree National Park with Jon, Alex, Andrew and Judit. Joshua Tree is located in Southeastern California and encompasses the intersections of the Mojave and Colorado deserts. The park is nearly 800,000 acres large (roughly the side of Rhode Island) and is well known as a climbing haven. You could literally spend a year in Joshua Tree and likely not climb all of the routes.

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RR: 2014 Mammoth Fall Century

Date: Saturday, September 6, 2014/

Location: Mammoth Lakes, CA

Photos: Nick (unless otherwise noted).

Synopsis: On Saturday, September 6th, I participated in the Mammoth Fall Century Ride, a 102.6 mile ride in the Eastern Sierra with a total of 6,643 feet of elevation gain. I had actually signed up for this ride last year with my friend Pat, but I was unable to attend on account of a work conflict. Fortunately, this year I was able to make it and I had an amazing time.

The Mammoth Fall Century Ride is a loop style course that starts at the Village at Mammoth Mountain with an escorted mass start through the town of Mammoth down to highway 395. After that, the course heads out east and includes some great climbs on super desolate roads. There is only one stop sign on the entire course once you get out of the town of Mammoth Lakes! The ride is entirely supported with six aid stations, a lunch stop and full SAG vehicle support. Similar to most areas of the Eastern Sierra, you are in the Sierra Nevada rain shadow so the topography has a high-desert feel, with huge peaks to the West and rolling hills to the East into Nevada. The entire ride takes place between approximately 8,000 feet and 6,400 feet of elevation – meaning the lowest point of the ride is still 200 feet higher than our condo in Tahoe!

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