Thursday, September 26, 2013

REVIEW: La Sportiva Solutions

Do these come in pink?
Yesterday, I popped into Mountain Equipment Co-op in search of new climbing shoes.  I've been wearing the 5.10 Anasazis for years, so usually I go in, ask for my size and give them a perfunctory try-on.  Alas, this time, my size was out of stock.  

So I decided to try something new.  Normally, I have a hard time finding climbing shoes because most shoes hit too high on my lateral malleolus.  I've only ever had success with three shoes in the past: 5.10 Anasazis, 5.10 Spires, and Evolv Rockstars.

The Solutions hit a bit high on my lateral malleolus, but they're tolerable.  And that tiny amount of discomfort is well worth feeling like I couldn't fall off a foothold if I tried.  It took some time to get used to the toe, as initially it didn't seem like I had as much sensitivity as with the Anasazis but that passed quickly.  I've always felt like my heel shifted around in the Anasazis when heel hooking, but this shoe holds my foot securely.  Also, I like the rubber patch on the toe for toe hooking.

Only downsides: the price, which at $150 is quite steep.  I've read that the Solutions are not great for slab or crack climbing.  Also, the shoe is not comfortable enough to wear all day, although I did manage to last 2 hours in the gym without taking them off.  Lastly, the single tab closure was kind of finnicky... I'd prefer two separate straps.

Bottom line: if you want a shoe that makes bouldering feel suddenly magically easier, this might be it.


Thursday, September 19, 2013

Winter is coming

The next season of Game of Thrones, however, won't start until early 2014.

We just finished a week of hot weather.  I know many people are eager to start wearing fall fashions, but I`m going to cling to summer for as long as I possibly can.

Ten photos later, and this is the only photo I was able to get of Oscar facing the camera. Kind of.
I originally bought this dress because I loved the racerback.

Then, I discovered that this dress has pockets! I love pockets.

Outfit details:
Dress: Banana Republic, old
Shoes: Puma
 

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Life in the mountains

This past weekend, I was making dinner when I heard a bear banger go off in the woods behind the house. I didn't think much of it until later that night when I had to let the dog out.

Our yard is not fenced in, so I have to take Oscar out on a leash. The second we stepped out the door, Oscar started growling. The fur along his back stood up in a ridge and he was obviously staring at something in the yard.

My heart started pounding. I was a bit scared that there was a coyote, a bear or a cougar in the yard. It was dark at first, and it took some time for my eyes to adjust.

Oscar was growling at a lawn chair that I'd left out earlier in the day.

Living in a mountain town has its disadvantages sometimes. I can't plant berries or have a bird feeder in the yard, for example. We can't leave our garbage outside, and this spring, two dogs who were off leash were attacked by a cougar.

Small trade off for a day like this:


Winter is coming...

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

First Tour of Alberta

This past Sunday marked the end of the first Tour of Alberta, a 6-day cycling race that started in Edmonton and ended in Calgary.
 
I am not a road biker (and would barely consider myself a mountain biker), but the racers passed within 2 blocks of my house and I couldn't pass up the chance to see Ryder Hesjedal and other famous cyclists in real life.
 
Actually, I still can't really say that I saw Ryder Hesjedal in real life.  I had plopped myself down on the median with a few other bystanders and was taking some test photos when I heard cheering.  I looked up from my screen to see the first cyclists zooming down the road.  I  barely had time to snap a quick photo.  Then I just held the trigger down on burst and hoped that I got some good shots as the peloton sped by.   
 

Awesome to see so many cyclists on what's normally a busy road.  Reminds me of
the critical mass events in Vancouver... except no naked people, and no road rage.

More cyclists.


The same road, photo taken just over two months ago at roughly the same location.
Photo credit: Calgary Herald
If you're confused about the last photo, at the end of June 2013, Calgary and other parts of southern Alberta suffered one of the worst floods in over a hundred years.  We made the front page on CNN (actual headline: 3 dead in Canada flooding.  They do know that Canada is a really big place, right...).  After suffering a lot of heartache over the past few months, it was nice to have a reason to celebrate.  My heart goes out to those who are still cleaning up and facing uncertainty.   


Saturday, September 7, 2013

Summer white

This week, my husband and I had a mid-week date at Osteria de Medici.  It's an Italian restaurant within walking distance of our house but it has a reputation for high prices and snobby service, fueled in part by a news story which broke 3 years ago when the Edmonton Oilers wined and dined there on New Year's Eve and refused to pay their $17,000 bill.

Fortunately, we were pleasantly surprised by our experience.  I had a tomato bocconcini salad, angel hair pasta in cream sauce, and salmon with potatoes and vegetables.  The food was tasty and we spent a very enjoyable evening sitting on the patio and chatting.      
Last chance for summer dresses?

Oscar is all smiles.  Little did he know that he'd be spending
the evening alone in his crate.
Outfit details:
Dress: Ya Los Angeles
Belt: Banana Republic
Sandals: Nine West


Thursday, September 5, 2013

Labour Day weekend

I didn't have to work this past weekend, so the only labour that I did was a lot of hiking and climbing.

We started out at Acephale, 20 minutes east of Canmore.
 
This climb is challenging if you don't have opposable thumbs.
So how do you get the rope up there?
I haven't climbed much at Acephale in the past, mainly because there aren't a lot of moderate climbs there.  It's highly recommended if you climb 5.12 or harder.

On Sunday, we went to Cathedral Boulders.  Yes, you read that right.  We live in one of the best climbing areas in Canada, and we drove to the next province in order to climb on some boulders.  It's been a few years since we've been to Cathedral, and in the interim, it seems like there has not been a lot of traffic.  Many of the boulders and paths are overgrown and to be honest, the berry-picking was better than the bouldering.  Apart from the wild raspberries, the highlight of the day was seeing the train passing through the Spiral Tunnels.  These were built so that trains headed down to Field wouldn't derail (prior to the Spiral Tunnels, trains had a 1/3 chance of crashing.  I can't find anything online to back this statistic up, but I heard it at a Parks' Canada presentation so it must be true). 


Behold, the marvels of modern engineering.  Props to S.O. for the photo.
On Monday, we went back to Acephale so I could finish off one of my projects from Saturday, an awkward climb called "Neoconstructionist".  Luckily, I got it on my first try that day.
Because you can't see my face in this photo, I can pretend that I was completely in control and not terrified.