Archive - Sports Article
September 16th, 2011
â€śThe Cribâ€ť is about to close up shop for the season.
It has been home to runners, cyclists, biathletes and sports media for four months. Now, Tourism Director John Urdi said it is up to them to spread the word about one of the most innovative high-altitude training facilities anywhere.
Technically it has no name, but every since its inception last winter, Urdi has called it the â€śHigh Altitude Training Crib.â€ť
Now itâ€™s merely â€śThe Crib,â€ť a two-bedroom (with loft) townhouse at Snowcreek that can handle six (or more if some want to choose a spot on the floor).
If there is a more perfect motorcycle route in California than the Sonora Pass Road, Arlie Ray Blacksheer and Sarah Kazmark canâ€™t think of many, if any at all.
â€śWe come up here for the views all the time,â€ť said Blacksheer, a sales consultant at California BMW in Mountain View (Bay Area).
As he spoke, he held a pair of high-powered binoculars to his eyes, inspecting a rock face near the summit on the western side of the pass.
â€śThe water is seeping right through the rocks!â€ť
The face of audacity at the Mammoth Mountain Bike Park looks exactly like Dave Geirman.
He looks like the kind of guy who will let nothing stop him, and nothing does. His face is tanned and leathery, suggesting a man who has lived a career in the outdoors, at altitude. He doesn't brag on himself. When questions get a little too close, he deflects them.
He's tough. Rugged.
Geirman is in charge of lift operations at Mammoth Mountain Ski Area during the winter. After last winter, Geirman might have thought he was going to relax a bit in the summer.
Thereâ€™s nothing quite like an afternoon of Chihuahua races at the Village.
The crowd begins to pulse about an hour before the heats begin. Big men, such as Alpine Garageâ€™s Mike Fiebigger, hold their tiny dogs close. His wife, Karen, was alongside. In the Fiebigersâ€™ case, this was an unusual hairless Chihuahua, named Klein.
â€śHeâ€™s like a Billy Idol,â€ť said Fiebiger. (There are three more Chihuahuas in the Fiebiger clan, named Juicy, Dolce and Lelo, but thatâ€™s beside the point.)
Tom Shepard, holding the appropriately named Smidgen, strolled by, showing off.
On Saturday, June 18, as Mammoth Monster Motocross got under way, Ryan Hughes #4 (Temecula, Calif.) won the first moto in the Vet Pro 30+, but Jeremy Mcgrath (#2) (Encinitas, Calif.) Â went on to win the finals. Sunday, it all belonged to Hughes.
For more than three decades, the â€śMotocross Momâ€ť had a dual love affair.
It is now broken in half. Gale Webb, whom Mammoth Motocross organizer Laurey Carlson characterized as â€śthe face of the Motocross,â€ť lost her beloved husband Jim just three weeks ago.
But Webb is here for this yearâ€™s event because her love affair with Mammoth still goes on.
â€śSomeday I will join Jim and we will be up here together.
As for high-altitude training in Mammoth, Dave McCoy had it down years ago.
Intensely interested in the interplay between high-altitude Mammoth (8,000-11,000 feet) and lower altitude Bishop (4,000 feet), McCoy had asked for a report on the subject from MMSAâ€™s John Armstrong.
He got it two years ago, and in the whatever-goes-around-comes-around department, Armstrong presented the report at Wednesdayâ€™s final topic-related RecStrats workshop at the Community Center.
The workshop had to do with establishing Mammoth as a high-altitude training Mecca.
This has been a bearcat of a spring for Dennis Rottner.
Things are all busted up all over town. Broken water pipes in the parks. Wrecked fences, debris from the hard winter all over the place. Snow in all the wrong places, high wind on all the wrong days.
And yet â€¦
The townâ€™s longtime superintendent of parks somehow, impossibly, got the Whitmore ball field ready for high school baseball and the Whitmore pool ready for the swim team.
This weekend, in spite of Mammothâ€™s tough winter and cold spring, the tennis courts at Community Center Park are to open.
BUT STILL, KEEP YOUR DOG CLOSE,
SAYS STEVE SEARLES
Everyone already knows to be careful of bears and mountain lions around Mammoth, but coyotes?
News that a coyote recently killed a very large dog right in front of its ownerâ€™s eyes recently in Colorado prompted the Times to talk to Mammothâ€™s wildlife expert, Steve Searles.
Searles was once employed by the Town of Mammoth Lakes as an animal control specialist when the townâ€™s coyote population was several times what it is today.
â€śIâ€™ve never heard of a coyote attacking a grown adult, but dogs, yes,â€ť he said.
Deena started it all.
A decade ago, the then-Deena Drossin came charging out of the University of Arkansas and scooted up to Mammoth to train.
Overnight, given her dazzling performances around the world, Mammoth in the summer wasnâ€™t just about fishing and camping.
Itâ€™s hard to imagine what might have happened around here had Deena chosen a different path. She won in London and Chicago.
No one here will ever forget watching her bronze-medal finish at the Athens Olympics in 2004, tears streaming down her face as she crossed the finish line.
Itâ€™s been a long winter up here in the northern Eastern Sierra; eight months of snow, a cold, cold April, flowers frozen on the bud in May.
Even the most ski-crazy winter fanatic is beginning to feel cheated, as May gives way to June with more snow predicted for next week.
But there is hope.
Itâ€™s called a car. Yes, cars are gas-guzzling, carbon-spewing monsters that we should feel guilty for driving. But they are also the essence of freedom and adventure and in this case, escape.
As it turns out, weâ€™re too high for our own good up here.
Not really, but when it comes to World Cup biathlon, Mammoth is way over the limit in terms of elevation regulations, according to Mammoth Winter Biathlon Director Mike Karch.
That does not take Mammoth out of the winter biathlon universe, by any stretch, he said.
But it might make it difficult if Mammoth has any designs on conducting a World Cup event.
There are times when a hike is just not a hike. Itâ€™s something else, maybe many things else; an adventure, a discovery, a meditation, a love song.
So it is with the hike up Hilton Creek in early May after the biggest winter on record; a winter when the Long Valley area received 195 percent of its normal snowfall.
The fact that most people donâ€™t even know there is a Hilton Creek hereabouts only adds to this hike being a bit more of a mystery.
On April 2, Toby Qualls, a sophomore at Mammoth High School, traveled to Lancaster, Calif., to run in the very competitive, Michele Perry Invitational. Many California high schools travel to this invitational, because of the high level of competition.
Qualls began competition in the varsity 1600 meter event. Because of his previous fast times in the 1600, he was then bumped up automatically into the elite championship race.
Ryan Hall, one of Mammothâ€™s great distance runners, on Monday set a new American record for the Boston Marathon.
Hall, formerly a member of the Mammoth Track Club but who still trains here, ran the 26 miles in 2:04:55.
It is not a formally recognized record because the Boston Marathon is a kind of an odd duck in marathon circles, not quite conforming to world or national standards.
He led for much of the race before being overtaken near the end.
More to come as details roll in.