Blog

Value of the workout log

The workout log has again proven its value.

After finishing the 1:20 towing session, I loaded in my pedometer data to see

Average tire tow speed
Average tire tow speed

where I am in terms of performance.  It looks like I’m reaching a plateau in travel speed.  Once I add the hill from El Camino Real to Skyline Dr on Tamarack in Carlsbad, my speed drops a full 0.5 mph.

That’s huge!

But the hill is huge, too. Continue reading “Value of the workout log”

Best time yet

My short route time is still getting better.  It’s good but it tells me that I’m not at peak performance ability.  I was able to crank out the 1.4 miles in 26 minutes.  3.2 miles per hour.  My average speed is now my walking speed.  That’s great!  It’s my best speed yet.

Funny thing – a guy slowed down in the morning to take a photograph of me.  I gave him the thumbs up, he snapped the shot and continued taking his kids to school.

It must be pretty funny to see a guy dragging a tire wearing shorts outside of his sweats, using trekking poles.  Too bad I was drinking from my water bottle at the time.  I need to grab a friend to get some better photographs.

Field updates

I’ve been working on updating my website for a few with some serious help.  One thing I’ve been trying to do is embed a map of my current position.  This has been a little more challenging, as it has to be done in the field.

The goal is to do field updates with my iPhone for the Yellowstone expedition in a few weeks.  There are various services and devices (Spot) to do this.  However, for the moment it’s just another bill against the funds to get me to Antarctica.

As such, there’s a risk I won’t have a good enough data connection to send map updates and I’ll be out of business on the website.  That would be unfortunate but it’s worth a try.  One trick I did find with the iphone is screen capture.  That would be my last hurrah in trying to update my site from the field.

To do a screen capture with the iphone, simple click the home and power buttons at the same time.  The screen will be captured to your pictures (camera roll).  You can then email, send or whatever else you want to do with that.

Very handy indeed.

Finding Windpro fleece for ski pogies

Finding outdoor raw fabrics by the yard is a challenge!  When you search for fabrics and

Fleece
Fleece

materials, all you initially come up with are products made out of the material but not the raw material itself.  Thus it’s very difficult to get started making ski pogies.

What are pogies you ask?  Here’s a site on pogies:

Wizard’s Sleeve Ski Pogies

In the instructions, the author lists that outdoor fabrics are easily found at specialty stores.  Finding the specialty stores is the killer.  The website Specialty Outdoors has a wonderful source list for most any outdoor fabric you might need:

Specialty Outdoors Fabric Sources

This pages saved me hours of stumbling around, trying to find just the right thing.

I’ll be ordering some Windpro fleece to make those pogies.  If I don’t have to wear my mega-mittens skiing, I’ll be much happier.

A week off and still good

After a week off of towing due to Thanksgiving travel, I’m still doing well with tire towing times. My short morning route was still 27 minutes for 1.4 miles. It’s t minus 2 weeks until I ship up to Wyoming to give my basic rig the full run.
With the new harness that arrived from skipulk.com, I was able to pull the tire with less pressure in my midsection. When the drag on the road got intense, the shoulder straps helped me take the load off the waist.
I did do two runs in Lewiston, ID of about 10 miles. It wasn’t as challenging as the local neighborhood with hills but testing the body in a new location adds additional mental challenge.

Up Tamarack!

Finally.  I was able to drag the tire up Tamarack off El Camino Real and not die from it.  I’ve been putting off going up that hill for fear of being injured while doing it.  But, it looks like I’m strong enough to hang with it now.

Getting up the hill is a beast, as the incline is 16%.  That’s steeper than anything I’ll experience in Yellowstone, though not by much.  And, I was able to keep an average speed of 2.6 mph!  That’s huge because now doing maximum output, I’m still able to keep a reasonable walking speed.  If I can keep even a portion of that speed over a 10-12 hour towing day, I will be able to pick up some serious miles.

How tough it is

How tough is it to make it to the pole, let alone making the return trip?

Antarctic progress
Antarctic progress

There is a team in Antarctica right now attempting to make the round trip.  They’re running into some difficulties, as to be expected.

Based on their current rate of travel, their projected arrival time at the pole is approximately 112 days from start.  Note that as the team is going along, they will deposit caches for their return trip, so this will improve their speed.

Powdery and deep snow are surprising this far out.  Normally you experience that at your near-lowest weight south of 88 degrees.  This team is getting and extra dose of hurt.  Not something that I would wish on anyone!

My experience in Yellowstone has taught me that I have to be ready for soft snow for hundreds of miles.  As a consequence, modifications to the sledges have to be made to deal with just this sort of circumstance.  Modifications I made last year to my sled made my life 2x easier compared to my 2009 trip through Yellowstone.

Posted even better time

Slogging up the side of San Jacinto did have an immediate impact. I was able to get my standard tire towing route under 28 minutes. That’s a first! I was able to push much harder and feel my muscles strain to pull but I didn’t flame out like I would have last month.
There’s still the balance to be had of keeping injury-free while improving in performance every time.