Hurricane Ridge Road Bike (Olympic National Park): August-2019

I filmed this classic climb and descent in September of 2015. However, with the newer iteration of GoPro (Hero 7 Black), the quality is so much better that I have retired that first video and replaced it with this. The Hero 7 has such good internal software stabilization that I was able to author this video in 2.7K, the same format I used for recording. I have also embraced the wider view versus the 960 video I have used in the past for biking. But enough about these technical tidbits, let’s consider this climb/descent, arguably one of the finest in Washington State. For my jaunt the start/stop point was a hotel in Port Angeles, WA, making for a 40 mile ride with 5,400’ of climb/descent. This road is in excellent shape and my early start enabled me to leave the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center (Olympic National Park, 5242’ elev) at 9:30 AM. Downhill traffic was light but lots of cars and other cyclists were noted on their ascent. My stats showed consistent speeds of 30 to 38 MPH on the descent. Of note, the steepest grade is actually the first 5 miles of the road until reaching the entry kiosk to the park. The road is slightly over 17 miles long.

Seattle to Portland (STP) 2019: 40th Anniversary

On the 2019 STP with buddy Craig

On the 2019 STP with buddy Craig

The video at the end of this article includes snippets from the 2019 40th running of Seattle To Portland (STP), 206 miles. In line with complaints from last year, this year the Cascade Bicycle Club limited the entries to 8,000 (from 10,000); it did in fact seem a bit less crowded. Although the route went through the Ft. Lewis part of JBLM (Joint Base Lewis McChord), we really liked the rest stop a few years ago at McChord, absent again this year. This ride entails modest elevation gains (4,700') so some would consider this a fairly easy ride. This year we saw a unicyclist and a father/son skate pair. The ride has a fun air to it and everyone seems to enjoy themselves. You’ll see plenty of bike videos on williswall.com, as I still find biking an excellent complement to an overall fitness program. Plus, it’s just plain fun. Last year I did STP on my gravel bike (Salsa Cutthroat Rival) but dusted off the vintage Trek 5500 for 2019. If you would like a comparison to the 2014 STP, you can access the video here.

Skiing the Blackcomb Glacier, Whistler B.C.

Superb weather trumped so so snow conditions on a January 29th, 2019 at Whistler. From past experience I knew that we’d have the sun at our backs, casting long shadows across the snow in the downhill direction. An added bonus was a stop to view the ice cave that resides at the terminus of the Blackcomb Glacier. I personally am not inclined to enter these caves, but many do. I was also testing the GoPro Hero 7 Black (chest mounted), which was a Christmas gift. I am quite impressed with the video quality and stabilization of this newer generation, especially compared to past models I have owned: Hero 2, Hero 3 Black and the Hero 5 Black. The improvements are quite noticeable, with no necessity to add software stabilization in post production. These sequences were filmed in 2.7K at 60 FPS with a flat profile, so I did employ basic color correction. The audio is also greatly improved….the “scritching” you can hear in this raw audio is due to my jacket zipper around the camera, as I had the camera harness on an inside layer.


Enlightened Equipment Copperfield Wind Shirt Review

Warmth for a chilly start to the Seattle Half Marathon in November.

Warmth for a chilly start to the Seattle Half Marathon in November.

Wind shirts; love them, hate them, think they’re an essential, or a total waste….search the various blogs out there and you’ll find someone supporting any of these positions. I guess it’s my turn to weigh in to add to the confusion, but I waited all season to come to a verdict and actually used the damn thing(s) in varying conditions.

Enlightened Equipment offers the Copperfield in three denier iterations; 20D (@1 CFM), 10D (15 CFM) and 7D (35 CFM). I’m not going to pretend to explain the science of CFM, METS and so on, there are plenty of experts out there that can do a better job than I. I can tell you this: CFM=short for cubic feet per minute (cu ft/min). It is a measurement of the velocity at which air flows into or out of a space. METS=Metabolic Equivalents, where 1 MET is the resting metabolic rate….the higher the exertion, the higher the MET. So in the EE universe, the 20D will provide the most wind protection and the 7D is the most breathable.

After scouring the web in researching and formulating a basic understanding appropriate for a music major, I determined that I would get the most use out of the 7D fabric. I’m a fairly heavy sweater, and the 35 CFM of the 7D would (theorhetically) carry me through a wide range of conditions, breathing during exertion (high METS) and providing just enough barrier in colder or windy conditions to form a layer for heat retention. Let’s look at some situations where I’ve donned this gossamer piece:

Biking: Lots of wind when you are cruising downhill at 35 MPH, and still some wind on the uphills when you are cranking. I’m not gonna stop at every hill bottom and top to don and doff a jacket. In April of 2018, I biked over 350 miles around the Olympic Peninsula, thankfully during a favorable weather window (no rain). During those times when it was too chilly for a single layer, but too warm for my biking jacket, I pulled out the miniscule EE Copperfield; not only does it weigh in at 1.91 ozs for size L, but I could cram it in small spaces on the limited real estate on my bike for easy access. And yes indeed, it provided just enough warmth in the morning and evening to keep my body temperature comfortable negotiating both uphills and downhills.

Taking a break from blustery weather in Jerusalem.

Taking a break from blustery weather in Jerusalem.

Tourism: During a trip to Tel Aviv, two of us opted for a tour of Jerusalem and Betheleham; however, the weather forecast was somewhat iffy, with rain showers and low temperatures. I wore the Copperfield most of the day. My buddy opted to buy an umbrella, but this jacket served me well for both warmth and rain protection. Now, at 35 CFM, this jacket is far from waterproof, but the showers encountered were brief, and I had just enough protection to stay dry. Any moisture on the jacket was soon dried by body heat and plain old air. My buddy wanted one.

Racing: Running the Seattle Half Marathon at the end of November is always a gamble….will the weather be terrible or just bad? My daughter and I lucked out with sunny skies for this race, but temps were rather low, especially in the morning before the race started. I wore the Copperfield pre race and during the race until about mile 4, where I stripped it off and easily stuffed it into the small waist sling where I carried my phone and keys. Perfect.

Nearing the end of a 118 mile day on the Olympic Peninsula orbit.

Nearing the end of a 118 mile day on the Olympic Peninsula orbit.

Hiking: The Copperfield proved itself again and again for those conditions that didn’t warrant a jacket but were just a bit cold for a single layer. Just today I wore it on a morning trainer, 7 miles and over 2,000’ of climb and descent, some parts quite steep. My buddy stripped off his second layer, but I was good on the uphill, never reaching the point where I needed to vent despite the uphill effort…..more METS.

Copperfield Wind Pants: Yes, I bought a pair, despite rarely needing to use them. However, I contacted the folks at Enlightened Equipment and asked them to do a custom fabric choice….I put 20D on the front half and 7D on the back. I wanted wind and moisture protection forward, mostly for moisture laden brush, but the breathability and venting of the 7D behind. Again, they are light enough and small enough to pack with little consideration for weight or space penalty. I have used them for transiting snow for sun protection and I packed them for a fastpacking trip on the Wonderland where I was moving for all but 3 hours….I didn’t use them during the day, but sure appreciated them trying to retain warmth in a minimal bivy for a few hours of sleep.

Training hike, Tiger Mountain, WA: 48 degrees

Training hike, Tiger Mountain, WA: 48 degrees

Considerations: Before purchasing these products you must determine why you need them….what conditions do you anticipate, do you favor wind protection over breathability, do you run hot or cold? Humidity, temperature, elevation gain etc? I certainly wouldn’t don this jacket for ‘schwacking through brush, it wouldn’t take much to tear this flimsy fabric. I bought these with a wary eye, not sure how the jacket would perform with my use, but I have been pleasantly surprised with its versatility. I also deem EE products to be fairly priced, and these pieces provide a lot of bang for the buck….for me. I would caution to do your due diligence for fabric choice because there is a huge difference between this jacket in 20D and 7D. I’m usually a high output person in my endeavors, and the 7D performed admirably across a fairly wide range of output and conditions before I deemed it necessary to add or subtract a layer. When you look at this usefulness for the small package and extremely light weight, count me in as an advocate for wind shirts. Lastly, also consider that these products are made in the US, a bonus for sure.

Custom Copperfield wind pants: 20D front, 7D rear.

Custom Copperfield wind pants: 20D front, 7D rear.