As I rode past Sams club this morning I saw their gas prices were at $2/gallon, which made me ponder my decision to ditch my gas guzzling truck. As stated in an earlier blog, gas hitting $4/gallon was the tipping point for me to begin commuting via bike. Seeing gas at half the cost makes me think I may have made the wrong decision. As S&G's mom can attest to, I have spent hundreds of dollars in the past few months acquiring bike gear to keep me alive and make my commute more confortable in the winter months. The savings I planned to reap from not filling up my truck have easily been offest by my gear purchases and have probably exceeded what I would have spent at the pump when gas was $4 let alone $2 a gallon.
All three of the people reading this are probably thinking; your're right Matt, your decision to begin biking was poorly timed and pretty lame. I would have to disagree if you began to think something of the sort and would also like to point out the problem with this thinking. With gas essentially half price, the normal reaction is to begin driving more, ditching any fuel savings measures taken when gas was double the cost it is today. Many people may even be so short sighted as to go out and purchase a new fuel sucking truck.
So what the hell is my point here? Everyone must change this thought process and realize that gas will go back up in cost soon enough and supply will eventually run out. We all seem to forget the past so quickly causing us great hardship and troubling times in the future. I don't care to get into the politics of our current/near future energy crisis but we should have discovered renewable energy sources for our motor vehicles long ago. Let's hope we can all keep $4/ gallon gas on the top of our minds and continue using less oil while pursuing fuel alternatives. As for me, I plan to keep pedaling away and can only hope gas returns to $4/gallon or more to validate my decision to ride.
On a lighter note, a picture of my co-worker and good friend Derek looking stylish as any middle aged- married man I know. All I can say is..............Gangsta.
Over the weekend, we took our visitors (Kristin and Mat) to our local ice skating arena to introduce Sean (and Mat) to the fun sport of ice skating. Sean is a huge fan of our local hockey team and has become good at skating around the house in his socks so we felt it was time for the real thing. Sean was so excited to get his skates on and get on the ice, when he quickly realized that the ice is slippery and tough to balance on. Though somewhat scared, Sean was so happy to be pulled around the rink by Mat and I for almost an hour. By the time the public skating session was over, Sarah had Sean enrolled in skating lessons which begin tonight. I know Sean is extremely excited for his first lesson as am I since I plan to take my skates and get some ice time with him.
Sean learning to skate is important to me since I have fond memories of my Grandad taking my brother and I to our ice rink in Tulsa to skate when we were young. Grandad was a good skater and taught us the basics, graduating from holding on to the boards to hockey skates in a few visits. The days of skating til I was too tired to stand on uncomfortable skates followed by a bowl of bubblegum ice cream seem like they occured yesterday. The rink in Tulsa has since been taken out and replaced with offices but the great memories of skating with my Grandad will stick with me forever.
I really hope that Sean is able to overcome his fear and learn the balance of skating so that we can share the activity as a family without my back killing me from pulling him around. Luckily for us, we currenlty have bubblegum ice cream in the freezer waiting for our arrival from his lesson.
As for Sarah and Gracie, lets hope they aren't at home eating all the bubblegum ice cream while we are gone skating.
Now that the garden is dead minus some lettuce, I will shift the focus of this blog to detail my winter pursuits. I have been a snow skier since I can remember and have really refined my skills the past five seasons here in Utah. The last three seasons, I found myself hiking within resort boundaries finding untracked snow and solace in getting away from the crowded runs found at so many resorts. I often wondered what lie beyond those out of bounds signs and was eager to explore but the scare of avalanches kept me behind the rope. I decided it was time to take the leap into alpine touring, aka backcountry skiing.
After looking at the cost of obtaining alpine touring gear during my inital pursuit of the sport, I quickly decided that resort skiing would be best. I spoke with a few people experienced in alpine touring who suggested alternatives for obtaining the necessary gear without taking a 401k loan. Alternatives included combing avalanche debris for lost/unclaimed gear, the grab and go at the ski shop, and the best option of buying rental gear/used gear in the offseason. I was able to obtain the proper set-up over the course of a year at less than half the cost of buying new. Now that I had all the gear, I was commited to my new adventure but still lacked the skills and experience to travel into the backcountry.
Last year I completed a three day avalanche awareness course at Alta taught by seasoned backcountry skiers and boarders. The class was a great experience with half the class taught in a classroom setting and the other half learning in the backcountry. The course taught the fundamentals of avalanche safety with the premise being avoidance of getting caught. Now that I have some of the basics down, I am excited to learn more through actual experience while enjoying the quiet, untracked backcountry. Last year was a flop since I only managed to ski out of bounds once though I hope to turn that around this year.
Though I do have big plans for the backcountry, also know that I will continue to ski the resorts, with a focus on skiing with my son. As I venture into the untracked, I plan to detail my trips here on my blog so that all can see just how wonderful the Utah backcountry is.
And of course I will continue posting pictures of our cute kids.