I didn't have a way to post this in fu-man's thread, so I put it here. Eric and I went to Whitestone a couple of years ago to watch some of the Pro's practice and the Masters compete the day before.
Here's Lucky running 39.5off.
Standing next to me was Karrina (I think) - though I had no idea who she was at the time - and Parrish cheering for Lucky.
My video skills weren't quite as good back then, so it's not as clear as it could be.
Missed quite a bit of skiing the before, during and after the Memorial Day holiday. Been trying to make up for it this week.
Skied Monday, Tuesday and Thursday so far. Not sure if I'm going to ski today.
Picked up a 1.5 buoys last night - ran 5.5 at 34mph. Basically, rounded 5 and caught a bunch of sun glare in the late evening. In panic I overpulled to 6 since I couldn't see it - and didn't know if I was early or late. Ended up overshooting the ball big time and had more slack than I wanted to hold through the end gates.
Seth Stisher comes in tonight for a two day clinic over the weekend. It's going to be a blast.
Of the 3 ski lakes in Netwon Falls - Glassy Waters (formerly Ski Utopia), Ski I-80 and Bellalago - I've never skied on I-80. All that changed last night as I caught a quick set after work with Dave and Todd.
I-80 is literally right next to Glassy. You can see it on Google Maps (41.198742, -80.943489). Bellalago is just a short distance away (41.252839,-80.941064). I-80 has a really interesting set up at 1 ball when coming back from the island - there is a huge rock that has the appearance of being right behind 1 ball even though there is more than enough distance for safety. Screwed with my gate multiple times coming that way.
I skied OK, not great. Ran a couple of 32's which I was satisfied with since I was on a different lake. Also found out how spoiled I am with the SN200 wake - I noticed a "bump" behind the 196. The 196 is SO QUIET compared to the 200 as well. CC needs to do something to fix this.
I'll ski again tonight (Wed), tomorrow afternoon (Thu) then hit the road for after my son's soccer practice for Pine Mountain, GA to watch the Masters.
I'm not too thrilled to miss the entire weekend of skiing - especially since it's going to be 90* here at home - but I've really wanted to go see an entire pro tournament for a long time now and this is as good as time as any to go.
Week of 5/14
I usually don't ski on Monday's, my son had a make-up soccer game on Tuesday so I didn't get to ski that day.
On Wednesday I drove to the local MC dealer and picked up the replacement fuel filters for my boat. It was cloudy, windy and a little rainy so it was the perfect day in my mind to fix the boat and not worry about skiing.
Eric came out and he and Dave replaced the FCC filter while I "supervised" and said things like, "I read about this on the internet..."
It was pretty straightforward and only took about 1/2 hour. We added some Stab-bil and dropped the boat in and started skiing Eric's family.
On the 18th pass, it cut out again while Eric was skiing. We pulled a couple more kids without incident and thought the issue might have resolved itself.
I thought about skiing, but it was windy and cool and just didn't look like fun - I bailed.
On Friday I decided to play hooky and ski. 75* air, 70* water and pure sunshine was just too tempting. Too bad I skied really bad. Didn't even run 32.
I think fatigue caught up to me as I worked out pretty hard during the week and that morning. It could also just be that some days you don't ski as well as others.
We ran the boat for another 12 passes (w/o a skier) to see if it would act up again, and sure enough around the 18th pass, it cut out again. So we brought the boat back to the boathouse called Silver Spray for some troubleshooting - specifically the location of the inline fuel filter.
We got our information, took another 1/2 hour to replace the 2nd filter and haven't had a problem since.
As for my poor outing, I can recall from 2 years ago when I was slamming P90x hard. It was difficult to work out hard all week, then ski well on the weekend. I think that's what happened here.
The thing is, I'm fat and out of shape (I call things as they are), so I HAVE to work out to get in better condition so I can ski better. The trick is finding the right balance - I'll keep you posted.
Saturday was super fun. After morning soccer games with the kids, I took the family out to my old lake Glassy Waters (formerly Ski Utopia) to hang with Jason (NineGoodToes) and Larry (TheLegend).
This time the air was in the mid-80's and more glorious sunshine. Joining the fun were Dave (Neo) and his wife Joan (ThePrincess), Ken (Cannonball) and his wife Liz. Our kids were playing at the beach and we were skiing, hanging out and having a blast.
Too bad I skied like crap again. This time I just blame it on myself. Glassy has a funky setup - a dogleg turn going into the 55's on the way down, and a very short setup on the way back - but no excuse.
In any case, I got to ski behind Jason and Larry's new-to-them SN200 (2010) and it was awesome. We all had fun in the sun and made great memories.
Larry has been getting some consistent coaching from Jodi Fisher and really likes his style - and his skiing has improved tremendously.
[Yes, this is the boat they drove 7 states away and paid more money for than for pretty much the exact same boat I had for sale last fall. And be sure to ask them about the lift they bought - and whose lift their boat is currently on now.]
Today I was back at Bellalago with Dave after church. I did get a couple of texts from Jason while I'm sitting in the worship service..., (While praying), "Jesus, can Jason put his boat on my lift?" Wait. What!?
Another glorious day - 85* air, 75* water and more sunshine. I skied "naked" for the first time this year and I felt like my old self.
First set - 3@34 up the line, then came back for 4 on the next pass.
Second set - skipped my 28mph opener, then had a binding malfunction on my first 32mph, then took 6 shots at 34mph.
I'm "this close" to running 34mph. I think I'm pulling too long into 2ball as I always seem to be turning into a slack line. I need to get some video of this to have you guys analyze. Seriously, I meant to take it out today, but I just forgot.
Of the 6 attempts at 34, there were 2 where I really thought I was going to run it. The first, I just didn't let the ski finish at 4 and pulled up narrow to 5. The second, I had an amazing 2 ball, only to misgrab the handle out of 3. Ugh.
Until next time...
Hmmm...my boat seems to have a mechanical issue.
Dave and Eric were skiing yesterday and the motor started to sputter / lose power in random moments only to come back up to speed.
It happened once last week and I didn't think much of it b/c it didn't happen again after a lot of skiing.
A quick call into Silver Spray Sports and Jeff Smith (the owner) tells me it likely to be a fuel filter issue. He recommends changing them annually now b/c of the ethanal in the fuel at regular gas stations.
After doing some research on Planetnautique - it seems like a good place to start. I'll probably drop in some Marine Sta-bil while I'm at it.
(BTW - where did name "M3Fan" originate anyway?)
You can find an interesting read here from While Lake Marine (a prominent Correct Craft dealer in North Carolina) about the problems with boats and ethanol gasoline.
I do have a couple of compounding issues...
1 - Even though my dad is a mechanic, I didn't get that gene and my knowledge doesn't go much beyond a typical Handy Manny episode.
2 - I don't have a local Correct Craft dealer around. We do have a great Mastercraft dealer (Boathouse Marine at Tri Lakes), and they do have the filter for the Fuel Control Cell (FCC), but I don't think they have the inline filter in stock.
Wish me luck.
Ran 4 at 34mph on Sunday - a new PB for the season.
32 is starting to feel easy and automatic - I ran my best of the year on my 3rd pass. Even though I was feeling really confident, I followed it up with another 32 before bumping to 34mph.
I'm a big believer in consistency and reinforcing good habits when things are going well - rather than trying to force the issue when on days when it's not clicking.
I really have 3 keys I'm working on
1 - Allow the ski to finish the turn.
This phrase has become the next "hips up" - i.e. overused to point of losing it's meaning. However, I think it's my number 1 problem. Watch how Seth free skis, and watch any video of any 15off skier and observe the radius of the skis turn. I do this by trying to properly counter-rotate, and when I do, everything else just works. My hips are up, I'm balanced on the ski, I have good angle out of the buoy, etc.
2 - Consciously feel my inside elbow touching my vest off the 2nd wake.
My theory is that you can run 15off with 2 hands on the handle through the whole course. If you feel the need to have a long extended reach, you are only losing speed and direction. I try to "ride the handle all the way to buoy" by keeping my inside elbow tucked against my body. This gives me a tight line, better direction and a smooth easy turn.
3 - Don't pull to long when bumping the speed up. It's a challenge to not increase the intensity so much that I swing too wide of 2 and 4. I should probably rephrase this into a positive.
I made another adjustment to my Strada bindings - I've started dipping them in the water before putting them on.
Previously I would put them on dry, but I found that the liner would expand after getting wet and I would have to adjust on my 2nd and 3rd passes. I think it's working so far.
The ankle continues to hold up well. I've found that 2 days of exercise with one day rest is a good formula.
My PT is on hold until I meet with the doctor again at the end of the month. I'm doing some light jogging and lifting at the gym (leg presses, squats, calf raises) to strengthen my leg and ankle which is atrophied pretty good.
One thing I forgot to mention earlier is that I've made an adjustment to my binding - I've moved the rear binding forward one hole.
Previously, I've had my rear binding as far back as it could go. I think that helps with stability on the ski, but no so much in getting more of my weight on the sweet spot of the ski (forward). I think this has contributed to me having too much weight on my back foot (as others have observed).
I've taken 2 sets so far without much issue. I may bump it up one hole further to the first.
Physical therapy on the ankle this morning. I'm gaining range of motion and strength everyday. I can now hop on my right foot, which was impossible as recently as 10 days ago.
I'm trying to take short jogs from one driveway to the next in my neighborhood to help build up strength. mobilitywod.com continues to be a source of inspiration. Here is today's video (link).
Took a set this afternoon with Dave. Water temperature has dropped a few degrees since last time out - it has to be low 60's. Just brought my wetsuit, I would have preferred my drysuit.
It's that time of year in the midwest when you have to be real opportunistic because they weather changes day-to-day and week-to-week.
I skied 28, 30, 32 (2), 32, 32 (2), 32.
2 out of 4 at 32mph is not bad right now. I'll probably keep this pattern until I can run 28, 30, 32, 32 - then start hitting 34.
Eric, Jason and Larry showed up later, but I had to scoot and pick up my kids from gymnastics.
(Above: Arnie's parking lot is always full)
You don't mess with Arnie's West Branch Steakhouse. I love steak at the high end places just as much as anyone, but nothing beats a steak dinner at a local joint after a hard day of skiing and Arnie's is an American classic.
West Branch is a popular Ohio State State Park in the Tri-Lakes region (West Branch, Milton, Berlin) where most of us learned to ski "back in the day". Like most public water today, it's too crowded to ski unless you are out there at 6 a.m. or some non-descript weekday. It's official name is the 'Michael J. Kirwan Resovoir & Dam' as the Army Corp of Engineers dammed up the west branch of the Mahoning River in 1965.
I have no idea who Michael J. Kirwan is, and probably wouldn't care even if I found out - but this is the place of my best childhood memories.
Since Arnie's sits north I-76 on Rt. 14, it's tucked away and hidden from the weekend wally traffic. But the locals know it and love it, and this year the Bellalago Boys - me, Eric, Dave and Jason - are putting their skiing skills and endurance on the line for the chance to be Arnie's Slalom Endurance Champion.
During the winter doldrums I thought up a new format for the four of us to compete against each other, even though we all ski at different levels. The idea was to create an all-day backyard skiing event with a fun format that would get our competitive juices going and a prize at the end worth chasing 180 buoys.
So here's the plan...
- A 1 day, 3 round tournament.
- There are 3 private ski lakes within 5 miles of each other - Bellalago, Glassy Waters (formerly Ski Utopia), and Ski I-80. Glassy Waters and Ski I-80 are literally side-by-side. Each round will be held at a different lake.
- Each round we will ski behind a different boat - we have 2 SN200's, a SN196 and a Centurion CP to rotate.
- Rounds 1 & 2 will be held at Glassy and I-80 in the morning, we will break for lunch on the deck and then have round 3 at Bellalago in the afternoon.
- Each round will consist of 10 passes - no more, no less.
- A skier who starts at their current starting tournament speed and/or line length (their "opener"), gets 1 point for a completed pass. Their second tournament pass is worth 2 points, the third is worth 3 points, etc.
- So, for example, if I run my normal opener 28mph, then 30, then 32 - I would get 1 plus 2 plus 3 points.
- I can ski any pass any number of times that I want (up to a total of 10 passes). I can move up or down any time I want.
- If I miss any pass, I will have a 1/2 point deducted from my score.
- If I make all 10 passes, I will get 1 bonus point at the end.
Points will be accumulated and then all four of us (8 I guess since our wives will come) will head to Arnie's for a steak with the losers picking up the tab for the winner.
Ok - not sure how to title these Ski Journals. I could come up with a catchy title, but that seems like too much work. I could just let the software use the first few characters, but that seems too lazy. I could look up the stardate, but that would be too trekkie. I'm not going to be able (or desire) to log every set continously, so a numbering system may give a false idea of how much (or little) I'm skiing.
Eh, whatever, I'll tweak it as I go.
Like johnseed, I had back-to-back days of skiing Thursday and Friday. Not bad for April, not bad for my ankle. I'm happy, life is good.
Conditions were pretty windy when I arrived at the lake at 3:00. A stiff wind coming out of the west, southwest as a cold front was approaching. Dave, Eric and Joan had already skied, which was perfect b/c then I can just jump in as soon as I'm ready.
We found that the wind presents a little challenge when backing the boat out of the boat house. The boat already wants to pull left, and since the wind primarily comes from the southwest it wants to push the boat left even further. Of course, it's too shallow to allow for that sharp of turn out of the boathouse, so we have to be cautious to not ding the prop.
This was actually my 7th set since surgery - 5 at Seth's plus the two at home Thursday and Friday. Each set has been a bit of an experiment with my ankle, making sure to build off the last time out, but not getting too confident too soon.
I took a total of 8 passes - 28x2, 30x2, 32x4.
I managed to get 4 at 32mph on my second attempt - which means I'm only about 3.5 buoys off my pre-surgery high of this season.
As I've mentioned in other write-ups, I'm taking a pretty disciplined approach to the number of passes I take in any one set. 8 will pretty much be my limit all year - no need to risk injury again.
(thought this rule will be broken in a special tournament we are hosting this year - more on that later)
The wind was strong enough (not sure of its speed) to really change the conditions, affect my skiing and my physical conditioning.
I was pretty winded after just my third pass from having to pull harder/longer, and it was difficult to keep a tight line with the tailwind.
In all, it was a fairly typical spring set and the ankle held up well.
I ski, therefore I am.
Last year (as previously documented), I went on a mission to move away from my Wiley bindings to something lighter and a bit more modern in design. The short version is that I spent the better part of April, May and June forcing my new binding setup to work without ever acheiving success.
On the first weekend in June (2011), after much frustratation of not being able to complete -15/34 I ran 13 consecutive passes trying to get it right. On the 14th pass, I took a nasty OTF, gave myself a nice concussion and severely sprained my ankle.
Even though I tried to ski afterwards, my season was basically over. Combined with my ankle injury and my obstinance in continuing with my new binding setup, I couldn't ski at all.
I would struggle to run 32mph, flame out in tournaments and be at a complete loss as to why I couldn't make passes that were once routine.
Towards the end of the season (as previously documented), I started experiementing with other binding alternatives and after much reading, research, trial and error and a lot of money later I've come to a couple of conclusions...
1 - There are a lot of great binding choices out there today (compared to just a few years ago), but they are not cheap and it's hard to get it righ on the first try.
2 - Binding placement is huge. The reason why I wasn't skiing well last spring was b/c I had been measuring my new bidning setup wrong. I found it very difficult to get a definitive answer on how to correctly measure the Radar Vector bindings, but once I did, my skiing improved instanstly. In hindsight, I should have been more aggressive with this earlier and probably could have saved myself a lot of grief, but I was going with the theory, "it's me, not the equipment".
3 - I prefer a closed toe binding setup, so I switched to the Radar Strada. I tried the first generation of the these bindings (RS-1) and they were uncomfortable on my achilles, but they seem to have corrected that issue. In both generations of these bindings, I don't seem to come out (I don't overtighten either).
4 - I think the RTP is a superior setup, but I'm not about to make another change with my binding setup. I tried 2 - 4 sets with this arrangement last fall. It takes a bit to get used to your back foot not being locked in, but you do seem to have more freedom with your hips.
4 - My left foot must be slightly bigger than my right. I fit into a size 10 Strada on my right (rear) foot no problem. Size 10 on the left - problems. I must have tried 10 different combinations of new/old liners and size 10/11 shells. What works best is a size 10 shell, with a size 11 liner (old style - the new ones are way too thick) and a size 10 footpad. This may seem overly complex (certainly) not off the shelf, but compared to some other setups I've seen (e.g. Kris LaPoint), it's pretty tame.
So to start the 2012 season I've now skied for 3 days at Okaheelee in West Palm, FL and 6 days in Ski Paradise in Acapulco, Mexico. I'm back on my old ski (CustomX), skiing well (32mph is almost automatic) and no issues with my binding.
Well, I made it out on Monday - against the forces of nature (tropical depression Lee) - and lived to tell about it.
Some (random) notes...
- I couldn't get up on my first two starts! Maybe the layoff, fear, new binding setup...whatever, I eventually got on top of the water.
- Conditions were pretty windy and cool (the heatwave was gone by then), so I actually had to don a heater top.
- The front Strada binding felt great! Amazing how much of a difference it feels compared to the old RS-1 (which painfully cut into my achilles).
- Plus, having it in the right hole position (all the way forward 29.5" [factory] in my case) made the ski turn effortlessly. Stinks so much of my frustration all summer has been attributable to something so simple.
- The lesson here is to not trust the holes - trust the measurement from where your heel actually is inside the binding.
- The RTP on the other hand...whoa. I didn't think it was going to feel as drastic of a difference as it did. Took me about 6 passes just to get comfortable.
- I think I could "relearn" and get comfortable on an RTP, but I'm not sure. I'll probably give it a couple more sets before deciding one way or another.
- No full passes, conditions just a bit too tough to try and grit one out. No crashes though so I consider it a successful trip.
- The ankle / foot felt great. No pain issues so I think I'm good for some more skiing the rest of the fall.
- The only pain I seem to get is when I run. I'm in a bit of a pickle here as I've already signed up and paid for 4 different 1/2 marathons this fall and I have to start training ASAP. I think I'm going to miss the first one on the 24th.
- As I project out on the calendar, finding time to ski is going to be a challenge. Work is getting really busy - which is good as the company keeps growing, football season is here (I've hardly watched any), and hunting season is just a couple weeks away. The days of cutting out of work at 2:30 to ski in the afternoon are dwindling rapidly.
Well after about 6 week of being off the water...4 weeks of PT...I went back to the orthopedic today (worst experience of my life - but's that another story) and got the OK to get back on the water.
Sort of a "take it day-by-day" approach. So I'm going skiing this weekend for sure.
Since I'm effectively starting over at the end of the season, I've decided to throw caution to the wind and experiment with a few of binding setups.
- Double Stradas (figured out that these run small for me)
- Strada front w/ RTP
- Double Vectors (I had been running this all season, but in the wrong hole position)
- Vector front w/ RTP
- Double Wiley (this is what I ran all last year)
- Wiley front w/ RTP
You might ask why I moved away from the Wiley when they were obviously working for me last year? Well, my front was cracking badly so I was at least in need of a replacement and I thought this would be a good time to try something new. I thought it would be good to get something lighter and more modern in construction.
I'm not against going back to the Wiley's, but I would like to see if I could make something else work.
I'm concerned about the Radar measurements (if you've seen my posts on other boards). No matter what I do, it just doesn't come out to 29.5" even if I run the plate all the way forward. I really believe this was a big part of my issues this season, my bindings were as much as .75" too far back and consequently the ski just never turned the way it did last year.
I'm curious to see how I might do with a RTP. Why? Well, for starters that's how I learned to ski. I only switched to double boots b/c that's what everyone else was using. I have quite of bit of heel lift in my rear binding and so I question the need to restrict it.
I've come to find out others have the same experience with heel life in a double boot setup, so maybe it not as big of an issue as I think. However, my rear Vector runs so loose after a couple of passes that it seems almost useless.
This has not been the year I wanted. I took a bad crash about a month ago - front foot came out, rear stayed in. Thought I had a sprain and was just trying to fight my way through it, now I find out that I've got 2 fractures. I go see the orthopedic tomorrow...I'm hoping to get back on the water by Labor Day.