30 November 2011

I like zippers [part two]

Commute By Bike just posted my latest review of the completely zipperless Ortlieb Saddle-Bag.  Read on, should you care to learn all there is to learn about my opinion of basic, black, waterproof, German bicycle seatbags.

Meet the GFSx

This is one of my favorite forecast models, it's called the GFSx.  That stands for something.  The G probably means Graphical.  And the F probably means Forecast.  But I can't recall what the S and the x stand for.  Doesn't really matter.  And I'm not inclined to go Google it right now.  What does matter is that I think this forecast model is one of the simplest to view and understand.  So I go to it a lot... like everyday, and often several times a day (they run a mid-day update most days), this time of the year.

What we're looking at here is an animation of the 9-panel 10-day Sea Level Pressure and Precip Forecast.  The GFSx does lots of different forecasts.  According to Unisys, this one, "The sea level pressure and precipitation forecast chart includes three parameters: sea level pressure (cyan lines), 1000-500 mb thickness (brown dotted lines, 5100, 5400, 5700 solid lines) and quantitative precipitation (color contours)."

The blue lines are wind.  The closer together they get the more wind is headed our way.  Now watch the purple blobs, that's our snow!  Watch it turn to blue over central AZ on Saturday, that's even more intense weather.  WARNING: Each run of the GFSx has pushed this Saturday feature a little more to the east toward NM, but for now it's still within range of us, too.

But the bottom line is this: As of this morning, things are still looking good for some exciting weather later this week!

29 November 2011


NOTE: The images below update daily and therefore may not currently reflect the textual commentary... but they did when I wrote it on 29 Nov. 2011.

Weather on the way!  Probably.

What's likely headed our way is called a closed, or cut-off low which means it has been dropped out of the main current of the jetstream... these can be very hard to forecast.  In the image below, you can see the circular-shape and speckled cold clouds of our little, lost weather system wandering around in the middle of the ocean south of AK.

But other than the unpredictability of closed systems, everything else is in place for a fine batch of wintry weather later this week.

The five-day precipitable water forecast looks good for Tuesday through Sunday.

1.7 inches of water, with snowlevels below 5000 feet, could produce up to a foot and perhaps as much as foot and a half of snow, assuming the storm positions itself in just the right place over our region and the right conditions are in place...  The more southern route of our currently split jetstream looks like it's in an ideal place to carry the next batch of storms right over us.

The water vapor loop also looks interesting, too... every good storm needs a good moisture tap... and, in this live image, you can see our closed low parked out in the Pacific with a lots of nice puffy white water-filled clouds to tap into all around it... a hopeful scenario.

So, what's gonna happen?  I think it's probably going to snow.  When?  Beginning late Thursday or early Friday. How much?  That depends on timing, atmospheric conditions, and the position the low takes as it crosses the southwest.  But right now, several days out, things look like they're coming together nicely.

I'm hoping for a deep, cold dumper.  But I've been wrong before.  Sometimes it's wise to consult with the experts.

25 November 2011

Riding with Rockman

Any time you get to ride in Sedona with Rockman it's a special occasion.  Few know their way around the area was well as he does. Today we rode a bunch of trails I'd never ridden before: Last Frontier, Special Ed, Witch Doctor, Cakewalk, Under The Radar... this list goes on.  Here's a little (crappy) video of  today's adventure, set (as always) to good music (Silversun Pickups):

A few stats about today's ride.
  • Total distance: about 13 miles. 
  • Total elevation gained: about 3000 feet. 
  • Total elevation lost: about 3000 feet
  • Riding time: about 2 hours. 
  • Time on trail: about 3 hours. 
  • Average speed: about 4 miles an hour.  
  • Real average speed: about 6 miles an hour
  • Broken parts: zero. 
  • Broken riders: zero 
  • Flats: zero
That's a very good day in Sedona.

GPX file and other ride-data available on Everytrail.

23 November 2011

I like zippers

I like zippers. Zippers do important work.  But I prefer zippers with zipper pulls. Zippers that lack zipper pulls are often more difficult to use than need-be.  And they tend to rattle.

Of a like mind?  Nice. Then perhaps you will enjoy my recent review of the Green Guru Spinner backpack at Commute By Bike dot com.

13 November 2011

Orange hat and pink hood

Today we went walking in the snow.
Bekah wore her orange hat and pink hood.
Snow was thrown.
Most of it at me.
I used to wear this same orange cap
when I was about her age.
I think it's cool that she wears it now.
Lisa often wears her Muppet gloves.
But she throws a killer snowball with them.

11 November 2011

A lot of people think this is a dumb thing to do

I got a new lens this week... Took a few first-pictures with it this morning... No flash, manual focus, just messing around, really.  But thought I'd write a blog about a few of them anyway.

This is the Onza H.O. clipless pedal.
I use these pedals almost exclusively, on several bikes, even my new one.
A lot of people think this is a dumb thing to do.
I don't use them because I think they're the best.
 I know that there are many other fine, newer pedals available.
I use them because I own about 20 sets of Onza pedals.
And because I've used them pretty reliably since 1995.
This is the Suntour XC-II platform pedal.
I use these pedals on several bikes, too.
The Suntour XC-II a great big, flat pedal with easy-to-service bearings.
For riding in real shoes there's probably never been a better pedal.
This is Pikachu. He sits on our mantle-piece.
When I visited Japan in 2001 a girl gave him to me.
If you push the button on his back
he says, "Pee-kee-kah-choo."

03 November 2011

Boot Deep

Know what I did today? I stayed home from work. Sick. Haven't done that in a while.

What did I do while I stayed home from work today?
  • Worked. Some (mostly answered emails and made phone calls). 
  • Did a bit of homework (gotta take classes if I want to keep this job). 
  • Lay around waiting for my temp to come down (it did). 
  • And, right around lunchtime, I watched this awesome film (see below).
I watch my fair-share of ski-videos and -movies, to be sure. And some of them are pretty good. Too often, however, in the films and videos I watch, I feel like the essence of skiing (basically: trees and pow and friends) gets lost in too many heli-drops, or too much slo-mo footage of big backcountry jumps and jibby park-stuff that just doesn't usually hold much appeal for me.  Mostly 'cause I can't or never will do that stuff...

There's some jibby stuff in this film. And there's at least one massive backcountry kicker, too. But, they hike to it all. So I gotta say, hand-to-heart, this film (shot near Alta by Janky Films) is one of the funnest, most essential and legit ski films I've seen in a while. Why?  Trees, pow, and friends.  Exactly that.  In my opinion, these guys nail the experience, the essence of skiing in this beautifully shot 30-minute short.  I enjoyed the heck out of it. Hope you do, too.  Make sure you full-screen-HD it, for sure!

BOOT DEEP! from JANKYfilms on Vimeo.
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. -- Ed Abbey