Saturday, July 17, 2010

Maybe I Need a Day Off

I couldn't find a single coherent thought after Thursday's Ballgame and Forced March. I wrote and posted two entries about not very much anyway.

It turns out that the second blog-ette was my 250th post here. So I wasted a milestone for what...whining about my feet? Stay classy, TruckeeDave!

I know how the Tour de France racers feel this week...kinda like a poached egg when it lands on the toast. It's been wicked hot here in the Inland Valley, over 90F every day this week.

I've been doing some ladder work over at the SturgeUrge Compound all week too. And doing some chores in the Diggins.

The Delta Winds did kick in this afternoon, so there's relief blowin' in the wind.

I'm gonna cool my heels this weekend (if you don't count chores, errands, and the Farmer's Market) This weekend the Giants are playing the Dodgers in LA, the IndyCars race in Toronto, the MotoGP bikes race in Germany, and the Tour de France enters the big mountains of the Pyrénées starting Sunday. Lots of daring-do and drama, plus baseball. I feel restoration is nigh.

Properly rejuvenated, SturgeUrge and I will hunt halibut on San Francisco Bay Monday.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Friday On My Mind

As I expected, my alarm roused me only to get reset for another hour. I finally started paying attention around 0730.

I tuned in the Tour and mostly used it as background until the bitter end when the announcers' voices sounded frantic...then I paid attention!

I took inventory...legs stiff, feet sore...I didn't dream last night's Death March!

I checked the internets for Tour Commentary, and was saddened to learn of Tyler Farrar's withdrawal from the Tour. His wrist wasn't healing while racing, causing much pain. He couldn't go on with 50km to go in Stage 12 Friday. Brave man, that Tyler.

Tyler's American team, Garmin/Transitions lost another rider to injury before the start of Thursday's Stage 11. Robbie Hunter, the only South African in the Tour didn't start because he broke his elbow.

Tough men the bicycle racers.

I'd better get to work!

Bedtime After the Game

SturgeUrge hosted us at Thursday night's SF Giants game.

We watched Tim Lincecum pitch a six hit shutout, to beat the NY Mets 2-0

Lincecum got a single too, struck out five batters, and issued two walks.

We took the BART subway and Muni Metro to the game, but made a Bataan Death March the mile plus back down the Embarcadero to the BART Station, in lieu of waiting for two or three Muni Metro trains...that platform was packed.

A beautiful, warm evening Bayside, though we did see some fog down Candlestick-way.

It was my first Death March in some years...I'll be going to bed now...if my alarm wakes me, I'll scratch out something while I watch Stage 12.

Good night...don't think I can drink enough water before bed, but I'll give it a shot!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Gagging On Jargon

Every endeavor has it's own lexicon. It seems the more scientific the pursuit, the more jargon it generates. Meteorology is loaded with big words and arcane acronyms. Government bureaucracies seem tireless in their penchant for pumping out reams and reams of jargon. They've raised acronym creation to a Dark Artform that usually makes my head spin when I hear any of it.

AFD, ENSO, PDO, El Niño, La Niña, La La Land...let me up!

I'm an old SnoCat jockey who geeks out on all things weather, and I'm a first class offender, jargon-wise...each of those Government-Speak acronyms come out of my mouth from time to time...(well not La La Land)

Meteorologists and climatologists have all these wonderful new computer models and data sets that all get new names at an ever-increasing rate. I have a good memory that catalogs and stores all kinds of fun facts, so I forget sometimes, that not everyone else in my world is conversant with all the same stuff that fills my days and daydreams.

Therefore, as a Public Service...I will start a Glossary of these densely arcane bits of meteo-jargon. I'll stack it over in the Sidebar with the Toolboxes and Labels.

After my late night of pseudo-toil building the Jargon Glossary, I set the alarm for the last hour of the LIVE Tour de France broadcast, and went off to dreamland.

I woke up a couple of hours before the alarm chimed in, so I watched most of the Tour's Stage 10.

After yesterday's total Grinder, the peloton looked like they were loafing! The contenders and their teams didn't try to reel in the morning's breakaway...I think recovery was Job One today...because it's still very hot in France. Yet another early crash! Two of Team CorduroyPlanet racers hit the deck...road rash...nothing orthopedic reported!

Unfortunately, my Fantasy Teams took the day off too...of the 16 riders I have left on my two teams, exactly one rider scored points today. Team CorduroyPlanet scored 35 big points today. A perfect score is 645 points! You need to score all of the top 9 places in the stage, and have the GC Leader, the Sprint Points Leader, and the King of the Mountains Leader.

Team CorduroyPlanet will bounce back Thursday. The Tour leaves the Alps, and races over fairly flat roads that favor a bunch sprint at the finish line. Four of Team CorduroyPlanet's remaining seven riders are sprinters! I have the Green Jersey (Sprint Points Leader) too (5 of today's 35 points)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Ski Season Ends California...and I'm wondering what is going one with our weather?

Here it is mid-July. I'm enjoying the Tour de France, and Motor Racing from around the Globe. Then I watched the local news from Sacramento and saw a groomer grooming some passes at Boreal, atop Donner Summit.

Boreal ran their Castle Peak Quad Chairlift on Saturday and Sunday July 11th and 12th! The talking head on the KCRA3 Newscast said Boreal sold 250 tickets Saturday! I didn't hear a peep about their Sunday results.

Mammoth Mountain was open daily until July 5th, and Kirkwood got into the Independence Day Holiday spirit when they re-opened for July 2-4!

Our cool, lingering Spring, along with the coolish Summer so far, have allowed these resorts to hang on or re-open thanks to the bountiful snowfall of our El Niño-enhanced Winter.

Weather Records were set across Southern California Friday, some going back 84 years! Records for low temperatures...that is record low High Temps.

The Eastern Pacific is rapidly cooling, and has been rapidly cooling since late February. The double whammy of the PDO turning Negative (to the cold side of the cycle), and the end of the moderate El Niño and the development of a new La Niña.

It's been nice and cool here in the Inland Valley for the past two days, and the local weathermen say we'll warm up for the weekend.

I didn't give this weather much thought until Monday night when I watched the Tour de France Rest Day Wrap-Up Show.

This year's tour has been dramatic to say the least. The peloton has been nervous all week, and the Big Story is the unusually high number of crashes and injuries. Behind the Big Story of the race is the heat.

It's really been hot in Europe this Summer. Heat is murder on a three week bicycle race. Add the natural nerves of the opening week of the tour and the Devil's Arithmetic equals crashes. The thunderstorms in the mountains of the Tour have really turned up the Crash-O-Meter as well.

I haven't seen an accounting anywhere in the Cycling Press, but I'd wager that every rider still in this year's Tour has already been on the pavement at least once...with two weeks still to race. Lance Armstrong was on the ground three times again Sunday...all the Contenders have been down, and several have been knocked out of the race. After Tuesday's Stage 9, it was revealed thet the Race Leader was racing with a fractured elbow sustained in Sunday's stage...Aussie World Road Race Champion, Cadel Evans lost the Leader's Yellow Jersey after finishing 8:09 behind the Stage 9 Winner.

I traded away two injured American Contenders when setting up my TdF Fantasy Race Teams, and today two more of Team CorduroyPlanet's riders were forced to abandon by injuries.

Monday, as I daydreamed between commentaries by the Race Analysts, I got to thinking about the heat over Europe and the cooler than usual Spring and Summer we're having out West...La Niña usually goes hand in hand with increased Atlantic hurricane activity.

I checked out the Atlantic Tropical Weather Discussion at the National Hurricane Center's Website, and knocked around the Tropical Weather Observations and Outlooks. I looked at the Weekly ENSO Evolution, Status, and Prediction Presentation , and La Niña is here now. Aside from a cool anomaly in the Eastern Atlantic, there's plenty of oceanic heat in the Atlantic/Carribean Region to supercharge Hurricane Season.

My stereophonic compadre, Jeweler has been doing plenty of High Sierra trout fishing...and posting his success to his Facebook Page. I've been seeing lots of thunderstorms in Jeweler's reports, so I checked out Reno's AFD and there were even Fire Weather considerations therein.

Here again, our wetter, cooler year is helping keep a lid on any real Fire Danger. The NWS Forecasters are just "going by the book", and the book says: "issue Red Flag Warnings when temps are above X degreesF, and winds are forecast to be above Y MPH" Lightning and winds are up, but Fuel Moisture is still way down.

All week the Sierra Sun has been posting the "Lightning Strike Count" for the Truckee Region. There have been no lightning-caused fires that have been named...all were controlled.

I was making conversation over the Monthly Church Luncheon today when I heard myself say: "I think we're gonna have a long, cool Summer"! I may have a problem here...I wonder is there a 12 Step program for weather prognosticators?

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Sunday Extra: Not So Hot

Yes, I'm enjoying a fine, lazy Sunday morning watching some of the most interesting sporting events in the wide world.

In France I watched most of my fantasy team riders fall off the back one by one as Contador's Team Astana set a blistering tempo over the final climb in the French Alps. Team CorduroyPlanet riders did finish in 5th, 7th, and 11th places today.

Lance Armstrong had his worst day in Le Tour since he retired from the 1996 Tour just before his cancer diagnosis. Armstrong was in crashes three times today!

In the first few kilometers, a crash near the front of the peloton involved Armstrong, World Champion Cadel Evans and others right in front of eventual Stage Winner, Andy Schleck.

All rejoined and Armstrong was with the peloton when his pedal hit the curb on a roundabout at the bottom of the day's final climb, leaving Lance tumbling down the road at 65KPH and breaking off Armstrong's saddle...Ouch!

After changing to a new bike, Lance and his lieutenants were chasing back when another rider got his lunch sack tangled in his front wheel, sending the rider directly in front of Armstrong to the pavement. Lance didn't fall off, but came to a halt as his bike became entangled with the heap of machines in the road.

Lance won seven Tours de France with hardly any bad luck. This week, Lance trying to win number 8, had enough bad luck to last a lifetime. Lance lost around 12 minutes to the leaders, an insurmountable deficit. Lance said he'd continue to "work for the Team", meaning new leader Levi Leipheimer.

Even though VersusTV's coverage has been understandably Lance-Centric, they didn't miss the crucial bit of drama at the front. Andy Schleck road away from Alberto Contador at the top of the final climb to the win, and Contador didn't appear able to answer. Schleck took 10 seconds out of the Two Time Winner. Early crash survivor, Cadel Evans donned the Yellow Jersey at the end of the day.

High drama made her appearance in the English Midlands as well.

Spirits were high at the start of the Formula One Race. The Red Bull Racing teammates have been having quite the scrum over the last month. Passions are in a roiling boil, so when the field roared off the start at Silverstone, 2nd place Red Bull racer, Mark Webber forced his teammate and pole-sitter Sebastain Vettle off the track in turn one, causing Vettle to suffer a punctured right rear tire...sending Vettle to last place. From 1st to last in the first turn! Ouch!

Passions boiled for the second race in a row for Ferrari pilot, Fernando Alonso who fell afoul of the stewards once again...and once again incurred a penalty that stung badly.

While Webber set fastest lap after fastest lap on his way to victory, there was lots of impassioned parry and thrust throughout the rest of the field. While there was more "tradin' paint" than I like to see in Open Wheel Racing, it was a very enjoyable race.

After the race, I ran down to the Farmers Market for this weeks supply of vine ripe heirloom tomatoes. It's decidedly cooler in the Inland Valley today. The marine layer was still overhead when I retrieved the Sunday Paper at 0730 this morning. The LA Times reported record cold temps Friday

I spent the hottest hours of Saturday in the tree-shaded backyard at the SturgeUrge Compound, installing the replacement siding over the Beehive Hole. While I was getting my tools rolled out, Urge's Dad, SteveO rolled up on his way from Stockton to Reno. We spent a half an hour swilling ice water and catching up. He finally got a chance to tell me about his pilgrimage to the Indy 500 that he made last year. He allowed that while it was a great spectacle, it's much better to watch it on TV...and much less hassle too... I told SteveO the Cliff Notes version of the Beehive Saga, and wished him a safe trip up the hill.

Now enjoying a lazy Sunday Afternoon, I see the temps at Boreal are a few degrees cooler than Saturday...could it be a trend? I spent a little time looking for some Boreal video, and I found some courtesy of Sacramento's ABC Afilliate, KXTV

Look for snow Thursday...SturgeUrge invited me to the Mets/Giant's game at AT&T Park! My first night game at AT&T...not as cold as Candlestick Park. The coldest I've ever been was in Candlestick Park, at the 1984 NFL Playoff Game vs the New York Giants. I wore more clothes than ever before or since, and still froze in the fog!

Back in the baseball world,the Giants' bats have not cooled today! Young phenom, Buster Posey is batting .500 on this Road Trip. Giants win today at the Washington DC Nationals, 6-2 Baseball season is now half over.

Time for the All Star Break.

In Soccer News...we've heard the last of the vuvuzelas...thank God for small miracles! Spain took Holland into overtime to break a zero-zero tie 1-1...

Why is soccer popular again? I don't get it. Good riddance to those goofy vuvuzela horns! May peace and quiet reign!

Skiing in July

Today Boreal turned their Castle Peak Quad chair Saturday, ferrying skiers and snowboarders to the top of a ribbon of bulldozed snow that snaked down the hill from top to bottom. Boreal ran the lift from 10AM 'till 2PM for the first day of their weekend Shred Fest.

I saw the story tweeted by Watts Up With That linking a Sacramento Bee story published Friday. From the photo evidence, it looks like three or four passes wide max, with some terrain features down on the flats. I missed the story on KCRA3's 6PM News, but I think they said Boreal sold 250 tickets at $20 per.

The remote data reveals 72F at 10AM rising to 75F by 2PM...what wax would you use? What SPF for your sunscreen? A/C on full blast? Ouch!

Boreal flexed their marketing muscles, TV caught some interesting video, and the patrons got a random fun fact for their personal histories.

It was hot in France Saturday too. The Tour entered the Alps in humid, hot conditions that surely taxed the riders who were trying to stay out of trouble while hoping to conserve their energy for Sunday's Stage 8, the first serious Alpine Stage. Frenchman Sylvain Chavanel recaptured the lead after three flat tires on the pavé of Stage 3 caused him to lose the leader's Yellow Jersey. There could be some fireworks Sunday on the big passes, though analysts say the real drama will be Tuesday after the first Rest Day.

Tuesday's Stage 9 will be a grinder with two 1st Category Climbs and an Hors Categorie (Above Category, or in American English, Off the Charts!) These are the Legendary Alpine Passes... the Col de la Columbiere and Col des Saises come early in the stage, with the giant HC Col de la Madeleine only 30Km from the finish. The last climb doesn't suit Contador's explosive climbing style, so his weapons may be somewhat dulled...perhaps benefiting his rivals. All will be tested.

We'll know Tuesday who the real contenders for the overall win are...there's nowhere to hide on the Col de la Madeleine!

In Great Britain, Formula One Qualifying for Sunday's British Grand Prix was hot, hot, hot! Silverstone is a very fast, flowing track that suits the Red Bull Racing stable. RBR didn't disappoint, grabbing pole and 2nd place to lock out the front row again. Ferrari may have been sandbagging Friday, as 2-Time World Champion Fernando Alonso starts 3rd in the Ferrari, alongside British fave, Lewis Hamilton in the first McClaren. The fabled track hosted 80 thousand fans for Qualifying Saturday, and expects Sunday's Race Day crowd to reach 160 thousand! That's one hot ticket!

Last hot news...I promise. The San Francisco Giants' bats have turned hot on their current Road they came from behind 5-4 in the 6th Inning, to win 10-5 on the strength of three Giants' homers.

It's gonna be hot in the Inland Valley Sunday...I'll be coolin' my heels in front of the TV watching Le Tour, the British GP, and my Giants...good ball!