Tuesday, May 26, 2009

MOMAR Squamish Afterthoughts

Looks like the first MOMAR of the year went off well and ended up topping the 'hardest MOMAR race to date' from last years Squamish course. I think you outdid yourself again Seggs! From what I've heard, the course was mountain bike heavy with some gruelling trails and the repel off the Cheif was supposed to be unreal. Can't believe I missed it! Must have been super hard as just looking at the times, you can see that the mid pack was taking 6 1/2 hours with a winning time close to 5.

Congrats to Bart Jarmula who took his first overall win and of course, to Gary Robbins and Shane Ruljancich for taking 2nd and 3rd respectively. Seems like Gary had some tough times with the Nav but didn't give up and winded up pushing hard to the line to move up to 2nd. Team Helly Hansen/Vancouver Island must have been screeming out there to pull off 5th overall.

Looks like my pre-race picks were pretty close to the mark. :)


Fosen 350km Bike Trip

Kim and I just got back from a 350 km, four day bike trip around Fosen; an area on the north side of the Trondheim fjord. We had decent to great weather despite the weather news telling us otherwise. This was actually the longest bike trip I've done and I am definitely hooked. Can't wait for the next trip! We took a bunch of photos and they can all be found here. Here's a nice video I put together though which includes some photos and some videos that I took.



Visit to Pompei and Roma

After Ischia Island, we spent the next three days we had to visit the ancient ruins of Pompei (the city that was covered in mud, ash, and other debris from the eruption of Mount Vesuvius). Being from Canada, I have never been exposed to very old structures, monuments, etc so, going to Pompei was quite the treat.

Even though Pompei was great, Kim and I were really glad that we first went there before we went to Roma. For those of you have never been there, visiting Roma was just something else. The grandeur of the ancient buildings completely topped anything from Pompei. The shrear scale of the buildings just made me wonder, the Romans were architectural genious. The best example of this was to see the Coloseum. This enormous arena held upwards of 70,000 people and, get this, took them only 10 years to construct it! How long did the Victoria arena take? Maybe not 10 years but in comparison, the Save on Centre is a piece of garbage compared to the engineering of the Coloseum.

Everything in Roma is so close that we were able to visit almost everything we wanted to on foot. All our photos can be seen here but the following is a sneek peak:

St. Peter's Square (we were very exited to be blessed!)

The Vatican was pretty amazing

Vatican Roof

Some old white dude
A really big sausage

Piazza Navona

The Pantheon

Fountain di Trevi

Monumento a Vittorio Emanuele II
A more recent building that is impressive but kind of ugly compared to the ancient structures that surround it. It's the 'ass crack of Roma' as one local put it.

Roman Forum (this and the Coloseum were the best places to go for me)

The Coloseum

S. Giovanni in Laterano Church
I think the scuptures in this church were the best to be found anywhere in Roma.


Ischia Island Tour

Kim had a conference on the island so we went together and while there, I had some time by myself to explore the island. I just put this video together from my trekking trip around Ischia Island. It turned into a bit more of an explore trip as you'll see but it was so worth it. A little long but I'm sure you'll enjoy it!


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Italy Trip Into a Four Day Bike Trip and... MOMAR THIS Weekend!

Kim and I just got back from an amazing trip to Italy which included the island of Ischia, a visit to Pompei, and then to Roma. There are many, many great pics and they can all be found here.

Now, we are off for a four day bike trip starting tomorrow. I just realized a coupld of days ago that the first MOMAR of the year is already here! I just had a quick glance over the registered racers and here's my take:

Best Team Name: Forever Chasing Gary and Todd
Love this one from Martin Middleton and Tom Roozendaal but you'll only be chasing Gary during this one!

Don't see Team HH/Vancouver Island signed up there. They would have been my pick for team of 4 coed. Maybe they are late comers?!

I assume 'Renegades of Gunk' was a last minute name? :)

Sarah Seeds will once again rock the female podium.

I think the overall win for this one will be fought by the solo males with favourites going to John Markez, Bart Jarmula, Shane Ruljanchich and superman Gary Robbins. Depending on the complexity of the navigation, and where it is placed throughout the race, the better navigators such as Markez and Jarmula might shine through. If I had to put my money on it though, I think I'd go for Robbins and he'll be fast on his feet and knows how to completely suffer to the line (since he hasn't been on the bike much). Just don't forget about the map!

Looking forward to seeing the results!


Vassfjellet Mountain Summit and Tour

A while back, I did a 100km ride that consisted of pavement, dirt roads, trails, a bit of singletrack, and a 700 meter climb up Vassfjellet mountain. It was a great ride with over 2000m of elevation for the day.

Sun, No More Snow, My Good Friend RIP9

Again and again, I just can't seem to keep my blog updated. I think my problem is that everytime I think about it, there are just too many things to update that I get put off by the task and the list just grows bigger everyday.

Take the Centre Line

Trondheim has been nothing short of amazing. The mountain biking here is simply world class. Needless to say, I have logged over 1000km on my RIP9 in the past while and am continually impressed with this bike. I thought that the RIP9 might be too much of a bike for the terrain here but once the snow melted and I really saw what the trails had in store, I am smiling from ear to ear. Yesterday, I went out for a 80km ride where I explored some new terrain. I got onto a particular trail that is part of a network called the 'Pilegrimsleden' or the old Pilgrim trails that would connect Oslo to Trondheim. The trail was barely rideable. Read this as roots like cumberland over a vast open marshy area with intermittent rock faces, mud pits, and wooden logs placed over mud pits. Basically, you had to get it your all just to not fall over sideways. I think I averaged less than 7km/hour. Slow and extremely difficult... my kind of trail.

Cumberland Anyone?

Road Ride on the Mountain Bikes Around Bymarka

Of course, it hasn't all be biking. There was a national holiday here on May 1st that is the European version of the Canadian 'Labour Day' in September. This time of year is typically the first warm burst of spring and this year was no exception. With temps in the low 20s and a hot sun, it was hot enough of shorts only weather with some frisbee and some barbacue action at the 'beach'. This is actually what what Norwegian's do so our large group (consisting mainly of immigrants from Italy and France) were in midst of a sea of others enjoying their day off and having a cold brew in the sun. Yes, you can drink outside pretty much anywhere as long as you're not being a nuisance.
1st of May - The National Day

Barbacues, Rock and Ocean

One tradition that happens in Norway is something called 'RUSS'. Russ is the celebration of finishing high school but instead of just happening for a night or weekend, it lasts over at least two weeks and is filled with alcohol, booze, beer, liquor and alcohol. Oh, and while drinking they all dress up in primarily purchased 'Russ wear' that is decorated with the Norwegian flag and colours, and has the word 'Russ 2009' all over it. It is quite the sight... in a bizarre kind of way. They also make up these cards that they write slogans on or other words of wisdom and while strutting through the town, kids will run up to them to get a card and will try to collect as many as possible. The kid with the most is super cool! They literally wear this stuff everyday, puke stains and all, and... get this... after two weeks, THEN they write they're exams!

This was unfortunately the only RUSS photo I got

Kim's boss at work took us out to a local 600m mountain to climb. We drove part way up only to be faced with thick snow cover on the road. We pulled over, parked, and hiked up the road to the summit. The day was hot and with shorts and no shirt on, it sure felt good to feel spring on the skin. The top afforded great views of the entire area and we were lucky enough to have some paragliders taking off. Looks like a lot of fun!

I ended up doing a small trip up the fjord with the wife of one of Kim's previous collegues. There was a big conference going on in Trondhiem, so, we rented a car and did some exploring. We ended up going over to Tautra Island which is home to a small community and bird sauntuary. There was an old monastery constructed here with some of the remains still standing.

Monastery Remnants

Through Kim's conference, there was a field trip up to Røros which I participated in. This was our 2nd trip there and it was quite nice to get to visit the Mining museum this time and see the place with no snow. It was still freakn windy though. I don't think the wind stops blowing here!

400 Year Old Homestead in Røros

Check it out! An unpainted plastic Car!