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The Mechanics Of Success
From who is successful in later rounds of the National Spelling Bee to who makes it through West Point's infamous Beast Barracks, there is one very short test that is an excellent predictor of success in these areas. Created by math teacher turned psychologist, the Twelve Item Grit Scale, has made great strides in our understanding of how self control and grit-the relentless work ethic of sustaining your commitments toward a long-term goal impact success. According to Angela Duckworth, achieving success has two necessary conditions: motivation and volition. Both are necessary but neither is sufficient on its own. Someone can be motivated to skin 328,000 vertical feet in a month (see Greg Hill) but not possess the willpower or self control to put in the work or make the sacrifices to see it through. Makes sense right?
Grit can be found just about anywhere: schools, hospitals, mansions and homeless shelters, vast wildernesses and small libraries. I am willing to go out on a limb and say that this character quality is probably much more abundant on our team than the general population. Probably one of the big reasons I enjoy hanging out with you jokers. Take the online test here, note your score and be ready to brag about it tomorrow night.
Come for the food but stay for the spectacular and breath-taking display of direct democracy as we elect certain selected executive positions!
Canucks Without Snowshoes
I thought Canucks always travelled with snowshoes, a healthy supply of jelly doughnuts and back bacon. Apparently I'm wrong because on Thursday, April 17th a father daughter duo set off on the PCT from Sugar Bowl Academy without any of these requisite items. They had intended to hike to Squaw Valley and apparently made it to Tinker’s Knob/Billy's Peak area when they realized they were lost. Their cell phone battery was getting very low and eventually died but not before they were able to acquire their coordinates on the phone's GPS and text their location back to wife/mom in Canuckistan, who then contacted search and rescue. Eleven searchers showed up at Squaw Valley at 8 pm. Two skiers got a snowmobile ride to Granite Chief to search north on the PCT. Three hikers started up Shirley Canyon and four skiers drove up Pole Creek Road to access the Bradley Hut and Billy's Peak. The snowcat hauler also started up Pole Creek Road with the snowcat. A team of three carried out duties at the Team Truck and Comm Van.
All teams were in the field when H24, the CHP helicopter, got in the air and began searching. The CHP heli soon spotted the hikers near Billy's Peak and were able to land. They were found to be in good condition and extracted by helicopter. The Pole Creek skiers had gotten to within a mile of the location and two other teams were well into their search areas. All members were out of the field at 1AM.
More PCT'ers Gone Wild
At approximately 9pm on Saturday, April 19th, PCSO asked for the team’s help in retrieving two missing skiers who found their way to Shirley Lake while making the trip from Sugar Bowl to Squaw on the PCT. Four snowmobilers made their way to the top of Shirley Lake run at Squaw and immediately made contact via flashlights and mobile phones with the two missing skiers. The snow conditions where bullet proof Ice making it unsafe to ride down to retrieve the MP's. Two team members hiked down to the MP's while the others coordinated assistance from PCSO and Squaw Security for their snowcat to assist with a ride out. Everyone was safely out of the field by 1:30AM.
It's not as bad as it sounds, trust me. The Placer County Sheriff’s Office is requiring all new volunteers to have a live scan prior to volunteering or within six months if you are a current volunteer. Live scan is the modern finger printing process without ink and paper. Live scan is free to all volunteers. Appointments are available at the Placer County Sheriff’s Office in Tahoe City during business hours.
Please schedule your appointment as soon as possible as we have a large volume of volunteers to get through the process. Allow 30 minutes for your appointment; although the process may only take 15 minutes. You must bring one government issued photo identification card with you, such as state driver’s license or passport. Current volunteers must have completed their live scan or scheduled their appointment prior to October 1st 2014. An appointment is required; make your appointment by calling the Placer County Sheriff’s Office, Tahoe City, Records Division at (530) 581-6301.
Annual Garage Clean Up
Set aside a few hours this Sunday for the Annual Garage Clean Up. This is a great way to wrap up the season, hang with your friends on the team and help the team by getting the garage in tip top shape for the summer. The time is 10AM-Noon this Sunday. Call Dirk if you have any questions.
Billy Dutton Uphill Recap by Troy Corliss
A bright and balmy Sunday greeted participants of this year’s Billy Dutton Uphill race. A little more than one hundred people turned out to stretch their lungs and their legs in the annual mad dash from the Squaw Valley village (near the base of KT-22) to the top of the East Broadway chair, then rounding the final ridge descent into High Camp. This once perverse athletic pastime, practiced by (you know who) has now grown into a greatly revered tradition marking the end of the Nordic race calendar. In fact Far West Nordic has now adopted this event as a fundraiser for the Junior Nordic team and has continued to produce a zany event in the spirit of Billy’s motto, “run what you brung”. As a result, participants are asked to compete in one of two categories, “run” or “ski” and the starting lineup hosts all manner of ski, running and snowshoeing apparel. Probably no where else on the planet will you find as diverse a selection of snow driven footwear, from all manner of modified Nordic and all terrain skis, to snow shoes of every size, to a wide range of pull on spikey things for the bottoms of feet. The last couple of years, we have even been treated to a tandem team of skate skiers (and although they are not pressing the podium, they are logging in a finish time that anyone could be proud of).
At 7:50am, the ten minute warning settles down the young Nordic hotshots dressed in tee-shirts and lycra who have been gazelling back and forth on the Deli beach in their warm up routines and signals the slow migration for the rest of us to the starting line. I began the day excited because I was about to reveal a new super rad technique for the race, which I was sure would produce exemplary results. The uphill portion of the course is generally a runner’s race, then those skiers who hang on typically gain lots of places in the final ¼ mile to the finish. Snow conditions dictate the final outcome, so about 2/3 of the time a skier wins the race and then every couple years a runner will take it. My plan was rather simple, really, I would run the uphill portion carrying a light pair of skate skis, then glide down the final descent to the finish.
Bernie and I stepped up to the start together and upon noticing that I had not clicked into my skis, I decided to let him in on my plan. He then confided in me, “I used to come to these events thinking that I could win and then once I turned fifty, I realized that winning just doesn’t matter that much and now I enjoy the event so much more..” I quipped that I haven’t yet reached fifty so I can still entertain thoughts of winning. But what I was really thinking was “your generation may be deluded by promises of peace & love, but I’m part of the Pepsi generation, I am prepared to WIN”. Or at least put the hurt on my TNSAR comrades.
The starting gun fired and in the first few steps on the first hill, I knew that I had made a mistake. With every step, my stiff skating boots slid back down the frozen groomed crust ¾ of a stride. It was going to be a LONG uphill to be sure. I should have turned around and changed into my sneakers, but decided to trudge on employing a sort of French style mountaineering shuffle. Skis became my poles and I managed to cobble together a pace that I thought I could sustain without barfing. Soon enough Bernie passed me, but was encouraging the whole time. After the first couple hills, Dirk came striding by at a steady pace on foot. He had the traction that I was longing for and I thought that if I could maintain contact, I would easily blow by him on the final descent. I soon lost him. At around the Headwall chair, Paul H. came skating past. “Hey, I though skis were for skiing” he yelled seeing my “through hiker” style of shuffle. I was too tired to respond at that point, but thought, “just wait till the steeps..”. Sure enough I passed again and we yoyo’d one another for the middle section of the course. Having trained for a strong Nordic season, Paul finally pulled ahead. Doug R. was not far behind. He employs the most sane approach of us all, steady to be sure, but at some point, you KNOW he WILL pass.
At last my sustained composure through the final uphill paid off and the time came to click into the skis. How sweet it was. Though my time (and my ego) had already suffered a big dent, I enjoyed the final tuck and skate to the finish. We were all rewarded by a great party on the deck, over looking the pool at High Camp. This year certainly did not disappoint in fun filled festivities, though I believe I’ll be going back to the drawing board for strategy for next year’s race.
Results can be found here.
CalTopo On The Interweb
Hats off to Mr. Matt Jacobs whose online mapping software, CalTopo, received mention on Buzz Burrell's blog. The former course record holder on both the John Muir Trail and Colorado Trail, Buzz is known as much for his adventurous spirit as for his endurance and grit. He prides himself on running trails (or off) that no one else has run before and his adventures have taken him to such places as Peru, Bolivia and Tibet.
So on one of his more recent trip reports (120+/- miles in 3 days in the Bryce Canyon area) he outlined his process for trip planning using his iPhone and noted that, "1. Plot the entire route using free online software (CalTopo is best)". This is a fantastic trip report for a lot of reasons. Read it!
Troy's Art Installation In Capitola
Troy completed and installed his public space art installation in Capitola a few weeks ago. Rumor has it he and Anne stayed in Capitola after the installation and have been living in a modest beach shack surviving on nothing but Seabright beer, shellfish scavenged from the beach and their cunning and wit. Here is a link to pictures of Troy's completed piece.
Writing Off Into The Sunset
So this is my last newsletter folks. I am passing off the Royal typewriter to Troy Corliss as it is his turn to wax eloquent on all things TNSAR. It's been my pleasure and special thanks to Bob Wright, Randall and Mark Johnson for their help when I got started two years ago. It was 2012 and I believe Bob was leaving for his bike around the world trip and at the March meeting he told me the job was mine. Mind you I had not expressed any interest in writing the newsletter, Bob just approached me and said the job was mine. I suggested splitting the job with someone and tried other evasive maneuvers but Bob just shook his head and said it was my baby. At the April meeting Kim Vail showed up with a beautiful vintage Royal typewriter and said it went along with my new responsibilities, explained how it had been her mom's and how she had used it in college. So the typewriter goes to Troy for now. Troy and I started TNSAR at the same time and he's become a close friend over the years and I have no doubt he will do a excellent job with the newsletter. He's much more mechanically inclined too and might just be able to get that typewriter working again.
“Nothing in the world is more common than unsuccessful people with talent, leave the house before you find something worth staying in for. ”