Saturday, December 8, 2007

Bike-Ski Weekend

Urban(ish)Road Ride
Saturday, Dec 8
62.6mi, 4400ft vert, 3:37hrs

Temps moderated today, breaking +40F. After waiting for the dusting of snow we got late yesterday to burn off, I headed out. I hadn't done a long weekend road ride in about a month since the trail riding had been so good. Now with a deep crusty layer of snow, the trails are in that in between state of rideability. More snow would bring the snowmobiles out, which packs certain routes down nicely for studded MTB tires.

Planned to do LSD ride (Long Slow Distance), but due to wind, heavy Camelbak, and bulky clothing layers, I was demoralized by the slow speed I was averaging and ended up pushing the effort a bit harder. Ride turned out to be more like 3.6hrs of tempo pace.
Profile of Uncanoonuc/Chestnut Loop
From home in Pelham, I rode through Nashua, interacting with hundreds of Christmas shopping motorists. I was prepared for overt hostility, but never once encountered any. I made my way to the Uncanoonuc's in Goffstown and climbed to the summit of south mountain, greater than 1000ft net gain. The new pavement plows nicely, and despite all the recent snow and cold temps, it was quite safe to bomb back down. Next up was Chestnut Hill, which gains 600ft from the "front" side we normally do on lunch breaks at work, but much less than this coming from Alpe d'Unc. No 50mph descent today though, too risky. It was a great day for a ride, and I encountered a few other solo riders taking advantage of the opportunity. Forgot the camera, so a profile of the ride will have to do.

Waterville Valley Skate Ski
Sunday, Dec 9
35.6km, 850m (2790ft) vert, 2:37hrs
After a thorough workout Saturday, I wasn't sure if I wanted to ski. There is no free-wheeling in XC skiing. It is all work, except perhaps for the descents that seem all too brief. I had a busy work schedule coming up with no mid-week chance to ski, so I decided to hit Waterville.

They had gotten a little more snow since Thursday when I was last there, and the grooming had vastly improved. That isn't to say conditions were perfect. Far from it. Cover was still very thin in many places. It was about +15F to start, and winds were perfectly calm. Snow felt very slow. I waxed with CH6, not sure if I should have gone colder or warmer.

I skied from Nordic Center again on Swan's Way. I crashed here on Thursday. This time I managed to clip a rock even sooner, catching myself without a 20mph face plant. I went right into the Tripoli climb while my already sore legs were the freshest. Tripoli, a paved auto road in the summertime, was groomed to perfection. No hazards whatsoever. Slow snow meant no blistering pace to Thornton Gap summit, but I didn't have to kill myself just to muddle along like on Thursday.

Beginning the descent from Thornton Gap on Tripoli Rd.  This is screaming fast descent despite photo appearance.
Upper Osceola was the next climb I hit. I had doubts about this one, and I suffered through both the climb and descent. Tons of leaves and dirt were groomed up to the surface. I did a couple laps around Moose Run/Wicked Easy next, before returning to Tripoli Rd for more hillclimbing bliss. I was starting to suffer a "soft" bonk by the time I reached the top. This was nearly two hours into the ski.

Bombing down Tripoli at the half way point, a skater coming up hollered my name. Sounded like teammate Rich Brown, but wasn't sure. I screeched to a stop and gave chase. Now I was climbing hard, going into deep glycogen debt. It was Rich and we chatted a bit at the top. He came up alone too and was just starting out. I was past done.Profile of Waterville GPS track. Track truncation results in slightly reduced mileage than GPS odometer.

So that wrapped up a 6.2hr weekend with 7200ft of climbing. I think double points should be awarded for skate vertical. It is so much harder.

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