Towing in hail and lightning

Towing in hail and lightning was a good physical and mental exercise for the challenges I’m going to face down south.  I wasn’t too worried about the lightning, as I didn’t see any cloud to ground strikes.  However, with clouds just overhead, that can change in an instant.


I hid under a tree on the side of the road for a moment to grab my iPhone to get this little video clip when my boots almost took a little swim.  The heavier rain and hail above me on the hill began channeling down the side of the road, creating a mini-flash flood.  Nothing too severe, just something to get my footwear muddy.

When you spend time in the desert and you see storm clouds over the far-away mountains, you always keep watch because that moving water can come up on you in an instant.  This looked just like something out of the desert, minus the hail.

Add more rocks


Since I had a short tow time today, I decided to add even more rocks. I loaded enough so that I was just able to flex my legs and move uphill. Then, once I made my hour 15 uphill, I loaded even more rocks to ensure that my downhill speed was just like going uphill.

I tested and figured out that I could actually crawl on my hands and knees and move quicker. And that was crawling backwards, too. The whole point of this exercise, besides the heavy workload on my legs and joints, is to prepare me for the psychology of feeling like I’m going nowhere fast.

When you are looking at an infinite plane of ice and blue sky, it is difficult to feel as though you’re making progress.

Until I begin passing mountains, it will feel like I’m going nowhere real fast. I need to be mentally prepared to deal with such circumstances. Adding incredible weight to the tire, up to 40 pounds of rocks, gives me that sensation.

I can stare at the trailhead for a good 15 minutes before I finally arrive. The final curve revealing the end is only 200 yards away. That really does do a number on your head.

That is exactly what I want.

Add rocks

To make towing up the mountain more difficult, I’ve added 8lbs of rocks to my tire. I was afraid it was getting too easy.

The rocks are a nice addition for the psychological component as well. The first time I had them in there, I wanted to throw in the towel. The drag force was strong enough that I could still flex my legs to pull, yet not so much that the only thing to do was to lean forward and hope it slid. It was just right.

These rocks allow me to regulate the difficulty both going uphill and downhill. I can make going downhill more difficult than having an empty tire going uphill.


Mountain Athlete

Thank you very much to Jordan Smothermon at Mountain Athlete for the great training session.


The facility has all of the classic materials expected a real training gym. No hokey machines – just old school material. It was much more effective I think. I do have to agree with their philosophy that having isolating machines doesn’t really do you a lot of good for the amount of time that you have to put in them.

Kettle bells, barbells, dumbbells, lifting rack, things to stand on, and pads are all around. I saw there were some other tools for more specific training but the basics will take you far, so unless you need something specific, it’s all good.

Jordan was quite good at observing my dead lift technique, so he help me work on that quite a bit. As I have not really done that exercise much at all, it will take some work.

I’m going to do a running session up the local ski mountain and then hit the gear. My goal is to get everything weighed and measured out to make sure I’ve got all my basics and that nothing is missing or needs replacing.

Time is growing short.

Climb the King goal

Even with the top of my right knee feeling weak, I was still able to power up Snow King in 41:22. I am within spitting distance of my goal of making it in under 40 minutes.

One thing that slowed me down is that weakness in the right knee. I’m not exactly sure what it is, though I will need to give it some ice and Advil. It felt like that after my tow yesterday.

I was able to power through at about 80% of maximum speed through the towing session. That is far better than when I first arrived here. I’m beginning to acclimatize and feel better, though I’m kind of sniffly from all the different new allergens to me. I need to go find some locally made honey and consume it so I can get used to those things.

Today was a much more enjoyable climb. Yesterday was blasting hot, as it got to 94 degress in the valley. Not exactly pleasant for stomping up mountains.


First day in Jackson, WY

This is my first full day in Jackson, Wyoming. It’s very beautiful today, though a little bit warm. I was hoping for snow on the ground. Haha!

The drive up from San Diego took much longer than normal, as I was towing a trailer full of equipment and living stuff. It wasn’t too bad, though.

Once it cools down, I will hop on my bike and ride around to begin getting used to the altitude. Going up and down the stairs makes me a little bit winded. That is kind of funny, considering I just ran a half marathon three days ago.