Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Stottlemeyer Sunshine

Last weekend I raced in my first endurance mountain bike race, on the Stottlemeyer trail system in Port Gamble.  The race distance was 30 miles (two 15 mile laps), significantly longer than any of the West Side MTB races. 
We arrived on Friday night and camped in the back of our pickup, which was actually a great way to go. The vibe from the event staff was incredible, right from the get go- I was handed a Rainier tall boy and given permission to set up camp and let our dogs out to run around.  The NW Epic series people really know how to put on a good race! With the aid of the tall boy, I headed to bed on the early side and slept well, waking up to a bright, crisp morning.  I had a leisurely breakfast and warm-up before my 10:10 am line up. 

About that line up- it was intimidating.  Local CX pros Kari Studley and Jenni Gartner were there, as well as a crew of super fast CX Cat 2/3's.  There were also some road powerhouses in the mix.  As far as I could tell, I was one of just a few cat 4 racers in the crowd.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

A Tale of Two Swarms

Last week I took advantage of a nice sunny evening to wander over to the bees and check up on them post split.  I saw this in one of the trees:

Apologies for the image quality.  My camera is being repaired!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Hive Split Attempt, Part II (with more of Venessa's amazing pics!)

To recap, Venessa and attempted a hive split two weeks ago, but had very little information to evaluate whether we did it correctly. In order to devise a strategy to get both of our hives queenright (having healthy, laying queens), we needed some more information.  We needed to make sure that the queenless hive had either open brood or a queen cell, and that both hives had plenty of honey to eat.

We waited for the sun to come out, which fortunately it did on Saturday.  The first inspection was on hive 1, which we suspected would be queenless. The bees had been riled up in the first week after the split, and the hive had emitted a distinct hum. Also, in the previous two weeks I had seen bees hanging out on the front of the hive, looking aimless and lazy.  All of these are signs of queenlessness.

However, when we opened the hive, we were surprised to find a very full, calm, purposeful, hive of bees who had drawn a lot of comb in the last two weeks.

That is a full hive, especially after a recent split! Photo by  Venessa G.