2010 The Plan…

28 08 2009
Castle Mtn here I come...

Castle Mtn here I come...

Here is my plan for 2010:

  • as soon as I’m back from Baja I’ll be hitting up Castle Mountain Resort for some powder surfing.  That will continue until they close in April with a keen eye on the snow reports we’ll focus on the steep and deep days.  I was interested in some heli/cat boarding, but with a new truck that’s not financially practical.
  • urban assault Pugsley action will also continue through the winter from downtown rambles to trips to Canmore the mountain bike is no longer idle in winter!
  • I’d like to do another 3-4 week work-cation in Feb/March like I did in 2009.  I’m thinking splitting the time 1/3 Moab mtn biking and 2/3 South Padre Island Texas kiteboarding.  We’ll work in the AM, ride and then work in the PM….work, play, work…=-)
  • I’d like to get in a short bike tour in May as well as start road riding early when the snow is gone.
  • June will see a trip to the Mojave for the 17 year moontribe anniversary gathering and some trips to Keho Lake for kiteboarding.
  • In July I’d like to take a good chunk of my summer holidays to kiteboard at Lake Nitinat BC.
  • sometime in June/July/Aug I want to take a 4 day weekend and do an uber light assault on the GDR.  I’d ditch the panniers and carry a lot less gear riding much farther every day.
  • In September I’d like to head back to Nitinat for a last gasp of Canadian kiteboarding.
  • September/October I’ll be poaching as much mountain biking as the weather allows.
  • an early November trip to Moab seems like a good idea.
  • finally I’ll close the year out with another kiteboarding and Pugsley trip to Baja.

Gosh…I’m tired just writing that all down!  Should be a blast…=-)

What’s left for 2009?

27 08 2009
Kurt gets another drop in the bucket...Moab UT

Kurt gets another drop in the bucket...Moab UT

I’m happy to report that 2009 has been a great year for bikes, boards and travel.  Although snowboarding and kiteboarding do cut into some potential bike time it’s really nice to be able to switch things up and use my body in different ways.  Now that we are about to hit September I can already see 2010 creeping up on me so what’s left to do for the rest of 2009?

  • I’m off to Burning Man this weekend and will be gone for a little over a week.  Besides music, dancing, art and other forms of mayhem on the playa I’ll be riding my Surly Pugsley as well as flying kites and riding my landboard under kite power.
  • the rest of September and October I’ll be trying to fit in some fall mountain biking while the weather is cool and dry.
  • at the start of November I’m hoping to get away for a week of riding in Moab Utah.  I’m really keen on riding the whole of Porcupine Rim.  The upper section of this trail was snowed in when we were there in Feb ’09.
  • in a perfect world I’d also like to get away to South Padre Island Texas for a week of kiteboarding in late November.  However, things at work would have to line up with the stars to make Moab and this trip both happen.  At the moment if I can only do one I’d rather get my Santa Cruz Nomad dusty in Moab.  Tough choices!
  • at some point when the snow starts flying the Pugsley will get the call to tackle some urban assault winter biking action.
  • starting around the middle of Dec I should be headed to Baja for 3-4 weeks of kiteboarding and Pugsley beach/mtn bike action.  I’m really excited for a chance to explore a whole new side of Baja.

And that’s it!  Wow the year sure went by fast…2010 here I come…=-)

Capital Budget Freeze!

26 08 2009
No more new toys for a while...=-(

No more new toys for a while...=-(

I spend a lot of the money I make on bikes/boards and travel.  The three main reasons I can afford to do so are:

  • no debt
  • no family to support
  • bikes/boards & travel pretty much sums up all my interests!

I don’t have a mortgage.  I don’t have a car payment.  So I pretty much pay my rent, cellphone bill and internet service each month and the rest of my income is disposable.  I have no complaints.  I’d much rather be bike touring or kiteboarding in Baja for a month in Dec than own a big house or a big screen TV.  Ultimately money is the freedom to make choices and I’m happy with mine.  I do get teased by people [incl. my GF!] about my lack of furniture, my fleet of bikes and how much time I spend traveling to do sports. That’s cool…I know it’s a bit weird in our society to not own a TV or a sofa or have a family – yet be surrounded by thousands of $$ in sports equipment.

Well my plan for financial freedom took a small detour this week when I decided it was time to replace my 1997 Mazda pick up truck.  I’ve enjoyed many years of trouble free service from my little truck and many years of low cost operation as I paid it off a long time ago.  However, its age is showing and while I have a well paying job I figured I should get a new vehicle and pay it off as fast as possible.  So I’ll be the proud owner of a new Ford F-150 in a couple months [they are building the truck to my specs].

The downside is that I need to focus my disposable income on the task of paying off the truck as fast as possible.  I’ve committed to doing so in 36 months, but ideally I’d like to be done in 24 months.  That means no new bikes or boards and definitely no chance of taking up any new sports.  I still intend on traveling as I think that’s vital for my mental and physical health, but I’ll just have to make sure I do so as economically as possible.

I must say I am excited to drive a new truck that doesn’t rattle and shake as it rolls down the highway – not to mention being able to go uphill at speeds faster than 80kph will be cool!

Synchro Biking – who knew?

25 08 2009

from Byran Beretta’s Facebook page…=-)

Top 3 Reasons to Kiteboard

25 08 2009
Reason #1

Reason #1

Reason #2

Reason #2

Reason #3

Reason #3

Squamish Spit – Aug ’09

24 08 2009
Riding away from the Squamish spit....

Riding away from the Squamish spit....

I’ve had a great time here in Squamish BC.  The kiteboarding launch on the spit is very challenging for a newbie as it’s crowded and has loads of obstacles immediately downwind like the shipping terminal and ship you see in the photo above.  I had my butt handed to me a couple times which was a bummer, but at the same time I’ve learned a lot from those moments.  On the plus side I’ve learned how to do a slide transition which is awesome!…=-)  That opens the door to a bunch of cool moves like carving turns.

A quiet day on the Spit...

A quiet day on the Spit...

Off the water I’ve met a great bunch of kiters – many of whom will be down in Baja this winter when I head south at Christmas.  It will be cool to show up in Baja and be able to camp with a bunch of friendly faces!…=-)  I have to say the social aspect of this sport is a real plus.  It’s not that bikers are less friendly, but kiteboarding from a single launch means everyone is hanging out in one place all day which naturally makes for way more social interactions.

The scenery here is amazing...

The scenery here is amazing...

Well I’m off for a last session before I catch a plane home to Calgary….

Learning to Kiteboard

19 08 2009
Flying as low as you can go....

Flying as low as you can go....

I’m headed out to Squamish BC for 5 days of kiteboarding starting tomorrow.  This is a work-cation where I work on my laptop in the AM, kiteboard in the afternoon and work again in the PM.  A reasonable compromise between all work or all play!  I thought I would just jot down some of my thoughts about learning to kiteboard so anyone interested in starting from scratch had the benefit of my experience.

Learning to kiteboard:

  • get a trainer kite and fly it as often as you can this will pay off for you when you get your first real lesson
  • get a instructional DVD and watch it a few times.  There is a lot to learn and by watching the video you’ll save time during your lessons by already understanding the basics.
  • get some lessons from a certified instructor.  Kiteboarding is a challenging sport that can be very dangerous if you don’t do it properly.
  • set aside as much time as you can to learn.  A week or two of dedicated time learning is much more effective than 20 weekends spread over 2 years.
  • pick a good spot to learn.  I tried 3 spots and they were very different from each other.  If I had to rank them in order of ease of learning they would be:  Lake Nitinat BC, Squamish BC and Hood River OR.
  • use the kite school kites during your lessons.  Even if you have a kite use the school’s gear.  The first 6hrs of kiteboarding you’ll crash the kite a lot and since lessons are expensive you might as well take advantage of their beat up kites rather than trashing your own.  To be clear I’m not suggesting you don’t treat their gear respectfully.  It’s just that as a newbie you’ll be out of control the first couple days no matter how gently you want to treat the kite it will get pummeled.
  • schedule lessons around your fitness level.  If you are tired stop the lesson and pick it up the next day.  Learning to kiteboard is physically demanding and as a newbie you’ll do everything the hard way so you’ll get pooped fast.  When you are tired you won’t learn effectively, you’ll erode your confidence by flailing at the end of your lesson and you increase your risk of an injury.  Don’t hesitate to take a rest day off while you are learning.  You can always hang out and just watch other folks kite.
  • watch the good guys.  When you aren’t getting lessons just sit and watch the good kiteboarders.  You’ll learn a lot from them just through observation.  As you learn more you can also identify the folks that are doing things unsafely or using poor technique.  You’ll learn from both ends of the spectrum.
  • try and learn with a friend.  You can help each other during the lesson and give each other feedback from a beginner’s perspective at the end of each lesson.  You’ll also be able to work as a team and take turns practicing when you’ve progressed enough to be independent from the instructor.
  • stick with it!  There is a lot to learn and it can seem overwhelming.  Frankly there were a few times I thought I just wasn’t cut out for the sport, but I kept taking lessons and then one day – *whoa! I’m up and riding*…=-)  You might get it in two days, but I’d give yourself a week of lessons in a row until you are competent to kiteboard without supervision.
  • kiteboarding is an individual sport, but it only works if everyone in the windsports community works together.  It only takes a few irresponsible individuals to get a kiteboarding spot closed.  It takes a lot of effort to keep kiteboarding spots healthy so every time you go out for a lesson or to ride make sure you do something positive to support your community.  Help someone launch or land [when you know how], pick up litter, behave respectfully when around non-kiters/non-windsurfers, etc…
  • windsurfers are not part of some different group from kiteboarders.  They just use different gear to harness the power of the wind.  Treat them like the comrades they are.  We are all in this together and division hurts everyone’s interests.
  • Have fun!  Playing with a kite and a board out on the water is a blast.  Be safe and pay attention to what’s around you, but don’t get so wrapped up “how to” aspect of the sport that you don’t feel like a 10 year old on summer vacation…=-)