Sunday, January 22, 2012

Weekend in Atlin

9:38 sunrise
16:42 sunset

I’m not training for anything specific, but I like to pay some attention to my workouts.  So I am aware that my resting heart rate is 54 beats per minute and my max heart rate is 186.  I get a kick out of wearing Ben’s Garmin 500 and downloading spin sessions and bike rides.  One of the first times I used the device was during our Coal Lake ride back in July.

I intended to wear the Garmin on Saturday when Julie, Paula and I went for a snow bike ride in Atlin.  I wanted to track our route, the outside temperature and my heart rate.  However, in the rush to get out the door, I forgot to put it on.  Bummer, as I wanted to blog about the trails in Atlin and how my outdoor exercise compares to indoor.

The view from Paula's front door

Instead, I am blogging about heart rate maximums while playing an Amish card game.  The evening's crazy antics were Dutch Blitz and tea drinking while wearing a heart rate monitor.  It was my heart vs Ben's (aka the loser vs the winner of the game).

I peaked somewhere around 101 bpm with the pressure of trying to get rid of my blitz pile and dig myself out of a negative score.  I'm not sure Ben ever cracked 70bpm but he claims he was feeling the stress.

We really did have a fun outdoor ride on Saturday but this is the only photographic proof I have to show for my weekend out of town.  I promise to do better next week when we head out to Arizona.  Ten days back in the state that I called home in 2004-05.  I'm looking forward to it.  Maybe I can monitor what sipping a margarita in the sun does to my max heart rate.  Stay tuned.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Dressing for the weather

9:53 sunrise
16:27 sunset

It's been a fairly mild winter so far but that came to an end this weekend.  Yesterday's high was -31C and today's is set to be -36C.  When I left for work this morning it was -40: the temperature at which both Americans and Canadians can agree - it's cold.

When I woke up on Sunday morning, I knew it was cold before I crawled out of bed.  I don't think the furnace turned off once all night and the light peeking through my bedroom blinds had a certain edge to it that is hard to describe.  When I did finally get up, this is what the world looked like:

Beautiful, yes, but all that condensation in the air tells me that furnaces and wood stoves in my neighbourhood were running full tilt.

I am not as nutty as my bike-wife who went out on Sunday.  You can read what it's like to ride a bicycle at -40 on her blog.  I instead chose to sit inside by the fire with the Mr and my in-laws.  But this morning I had to return to work and venture outside for more than five minutes.

I contemplated my -40 work attire carefully.  I usually like to try and look halfway decent while at my place of employment and in cold weather that often means a dress.  It's amazing just how much clothing one can layer underneath this practical women's garment.

I begin with tights, long underwear, and knee-high wool socks on the bottom.


Then it's a tank top, a long-sleeved wool shirt and a sweater dress on top:


And finally, winter dress boots and a chunky wool cardigan sweater as the last of the inside layers.


Top it off with a long down jacket and a second-hand fur hat (yes, I am conflicted about fur but damn it is warm) and you too would survive outside on a Yukon winter's day.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

First Fat Bike Ride of 2012

10:04 sunrise
16:11 sunset

Given that we still only have slightly more than 6 hours of daylight, you would think that the average Whitehorse winter cyclist would be excited to get out for a group ride on a warm Sunday in January.  But Monika is not average.

Stronger, faster and fitter than most, Monika doesn't get enthused about a ride before noon; she has to be dragged kicking and screaming from her bed to get on her bike in the morning.  And it doesn't matter if it's summer or winter, at home or on vacation.  Force her to exercise before noon and she looks like she's having as much fun as Liz Lemon at a strip club.

All the same we managed to convince Monika to come out for an 11am ride on one of the Grey Mountain trails - even after a very late night at Whitehorse's Pecha Kucha event.

It didn't begin well.  Fifteen minutes up Grey Mountain Road and the bonk had to be averted - breakfast in the form of Pepsi, a powergel and some water.

And was it one of the best snow bike rides ever? Nah. The trails were kinda soft and the day was sort of grey.  But it was still wicked fun and laughter filled.  Any Sunday spent on a fat bikes with these  kick-ass women is better than sleeping in.

We slipped and slid and youpie'd our way down the mountain, leap-frogging each other when one of us would spin out or veer off trail.  By the time we popped back out on the road, an hour and a half later, we were all smiles.

Even Monika.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Northern Lights for the New Year

10:09 sunrise
16:01 sunset

The northern lights came out yesterday on my mom's last night here.  They weren't spectacular but they were visible so it was a cool way to send her off.

This was was taken from my driveway:

And these were taken in a darker area just down the street and into some of the neighbourhood trails.  I tried a flash and a long exposure for the one of just my mom.  It's a bit weird but you get an idea of how the aurora, when it isn't very strong, sort of glows in the sky like an internally lit, greenish-yellow cloud.  I'd say it almost looks like smog (which is kind of weird considering smog is gross and northern lights are awesome).

Remember that if you click on this or any of the photos you'll see a larger version (which I think helps with shots like these).  I am fond of this one since we're both in it.

Thanks, precipitating energetic particles, you little protons and electrons, for making our night.