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Training Log Archive: Swampfox

In the 7 days ending Apr 4:


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Sunday Apr 4 #

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Yesterday was such a nice day. Also something of a historic day, and a large crowd (well, large by Laramie standards) gathered to commemorate the time Rick Oliver free soloed up this formidable climbing wall, back when Olivers were biathletes and biathletes were orienteers, and Giants strode the Plain.



Some may wonder "why aren't these folks wearing masks?" Keep in mind they were all vaccinated (or claimed to be), and they took off their masks just long enough to make this photo.

Today was not quite as sunny, but it was even milder despite much more cloud cover, and at times even borderline warm. I considered donning a sombrero while running, but didn't--the wind made that impractical.

But I did make my official 2021 Spring Training debut, and just in time, because I think Wyoming Spring Football starts on Tuesday, and if they can get their spring training started, there is never any good excuse for anyone else to not start their spring training.

I went back out to Remarkable Flats, where, despite yesterday's total sun and mild weather both yesterday and today, there was still a whole lot of snow on the ground. But I was not deterred, and reckoned that if I could somehow flounder my way through the first 5 1/2 controls, I could get through all the rest. Which I did. I did a long course, about 14 kms w/ 34 controls, and when I wasn't running through snow, I was about to run through snow. I was adhering to the philosophy of "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger". When I was done I didn't necessarily feel stronger, but I did feel done, and downed a delicious can of ice cold Mountain Dew to mark the occasion. Legs may feel sore tomorrow, but so what.

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Pretty sure another new record high was set today, at 69F.

Saturday Apr 3 #

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I biked around a good bit of Laramie to see what was going on, and found out that, among other things, 4 foundations have just been staked out for new houses. That's usually the highlight of any biking tour, and so it was today.

I skied later on, by which time the trails had thoroughly softened up. Several gaps had appeared on lesser trails, and it looked to me like some major gaps will show up tomorrow. That, plus the fact I heard (and then saw) a robin while I was skiing was all I needed to make the call that this would be my last day of skiing this season--barring some unforeseen and unusual event. I got home in time for the very exciting UCLA-Gonzaga game, which was all any Bulldog fan could have hoped for (I wonder how many of those folks suffered heart attacks before all was said and done.) Basketball at its best.

Depending on where you checked, we either set a new record high for the date (69F) or we didn't; I saw old record highs varying from 65F to 69F.

Friday Apr 2 #

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It's in the books--already today the temps have broken through the 60 degree mark for the first time this year. Over at UW, there is a minor ruckus going on with students wanting to take off all their clothes and lay out in the sun in a discrete fashion, while the university administration is adamant that they must keep their masks on. Some students are slathering themselves in pig grease and daring the campus police to do anything about it. Local journalists are of course having a field day with all this.

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The plan had been to make my orienteering debut for 2021 today, and it was a good plan.

Some might object that I had already done some orienteering back in early January, but this presumes that there are people who 1) actually remember that fact and 2) care. Anyway, I'm not counting that, and consider what I did back then as more a "bonus" extension of the 2020 O' year.

So after going up to Happy Jack at mid-afternoon for a quick ski in the slush, I pointed my truck east towards Remarkable Flats. At about the point on the Happy Jack road where you can look over off to the side and see the Yellow Pine Campground, I was noticing a lot of snow on the prairie off to the other side of the road, and I had really expected less. But by a few hundred more meters down the road, as I was approaching the Telegraph Rd turn, I would be able to look ahead and see the Bisbee Hill area and parts of Twin Boulders and surely those lower prairie expanses would show many large areas of bare ground and very thin snow coverage.

Instead, it looked more like something straight out of Greenland. There was a lot of snow. Everywhere. Well, this last blizzard had been an upslope storm out of the east, and Cheyenne had been pretty much the epicenter of the deepest snow totals, so it made some kind of sense.

But I kept on going, since Remarkable Flats is a little lower still and of all our mapped areas, the one most prone to melt out first.

Well, it hadn't (melted out), as was clear when I came to the parking spot. There was a lot of snow. Everywhere. So I thought about it for about 2 seconds, and canned plans for orienteering, and just went out for a looping, somewhat random run in the snow, looking for the thinnest snow coverage and occasional windswept bare patches.

The snow was melting quite fast, even in the late afternoon. So I have reason to think that by Sunday conditions will have markedly improved for running, and I will plan to try again then.

Thursday Apr 1 #

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Mild and sunny out with lots of melting around town. Biked down along the river, where many blackbirds have arrived, with a few fishermen as well. And four crocus popped up and bloomed in my yard, for the first flowers I have seen (anywhere in Laramie) this year.

I skied late in the day, and the snow was still pliable enough that rut worries were low. No gaps across any trails yet, though I expect that to change tomorrow, which is forecast to be sunny again and quite mild.

Wednesday Mar 31 #

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It got down to at least 12F, so a cold beginning to the day, and despite full sun, it took so long to warm up from those depths that there was much melting. Tomorrow will be another story, however, and that's no pre-April Fool's Joke. Biked around town and then skied on the (today's) busy Happy Jack trails; when I arrived there were two other vehicles in the parking lot, and as I was leaving, it was down to just me. I suspect a lot of people have fled Laramie for Easter bunnies elsewhere, with this coming long weekend constituting UW's Spring Break this year. But how many days do you really need to get beer blitzed anyway?

Tuesday Mar 30 #

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I checked the National Map Download to see what the latest was, and saw some pretty big chunks of lidar coverage have recently been added to both Colorado and Wyoming. But nothing right here. Yet.

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Much chillier today, never made it to the freezing mark. But not bad out, because while there was wind, it had backed well off from yesterday, and the sun was out full. The trails were fast and frosty; the grooming left something to be desired with many ruts left over from yesterday. I skied for an hour and then ran for an hour--there was enough grittiness to the snow on the foot trails so that it wasn't slippery, even though it almost always seemed like it could be slippery. It wasn't easy running because the surface was very uneven and pockmarked because of the soft conditions yesterday. Lovely to be out even so. I came across several more trees that had blown down yesterday.

Could this be the last day of the season that doesn't make it above freezing?

Upon returning home, the obvious dinner choice was Calzone Gonzaga. The crucial ingredient that denotes this particular calzone is lots of finely diced jalapenos that should burst like tiny explosions with every bite. You really can't have too many if you want to Gonzaga like Spokane. I finished the calzone before Gonzaga finished USC, but to be fair, I was hungry.

Monday Mar 29 #

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Very windy, as expected. Also mild, and when I went up for some skiing, the snow was spring "crispy soft" and uniformly decently fast and not at all sucking. About halfway through, clouds overswept the sun, and colder air started coming in, and the trails began re-freezing. They were just starting to get less fun right about when I was stopping. Skied for a little over two hours.

The winds toppled several trees across or partially across the trails--not exactly surprising. For now, the coverage remains very good, but I am guessing that gaps will be appearing by Thursday/Friday based on the forecast.

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