Saturday, January 19, 2008

50km on Sandpaper Snow

Waterville Valley Skate Ski
50.3km, 1135m vert, 3:31hrs
Temps -12C to -4C, Swix CH6

Had big ski day planned. Do 2+ hours intensity work in the morning, then do the 90 minute Justin Freeman race clinic in the afternoon. Things went awry however. The intensity factor was excellent. Today's workout was my hardest this season, and I believe 50.3km is the longest training ski I've done. The temp was in single Fahrenheit digits when we arrived. The new snow, while firmly set up, was very dry and abrasive. On scale of 1-10, it was about a 2 or 3 for glide speed. This made climbing extremely challenging. Skate skis tend to stall out on steep grades with high friction snow. It was like skiing on sandpaper.

Brett summiting Tripoli RdBrett and I first did a major climbing loop on the south end, hitting Jennings Peak, Drakes, and Upper Fletchers before bombing back down through the infamous Hairpin. I have been skiing a lot this season, Brett has had less opportunity. I knew something was up when he capitulated and let me take the lead up Drakes from bottom of Jennings. That doesn't happen very often, as his technique is much better than mine and I have to throw brute force into my effort to stay with him most of the time. Next up was the long gradual climb to the north end via Swan's Way. Tripoli Rd, which gains 800ft from the very bottom, was next. Apparently, the Drakes climb whacked Brett pretty good and he didn't want to hammer Tripoli. I did, so he let me go again. I got to the top 2-3 minutes before he did, holding my highest average HR so far this season up it.

Beginning Beanbender plummit, Thornton Gap where Tripoli Rd summits in backgroundWhen I skied up Tripoli with Ryan last week, I did it in 16:35. It was not all out hammering. My average HR was 160bpm. Today, I went about as hard as I could go. It took 19:59, almost 3.5 minutes longer and at at 164bpm HR. That goes to show how big of a variable snow conditions can be. Even though we had perfect corduroy firmly set up today, it was just wicked dry abrasive snow. Last week was sugar granular that had been through a thaw cycle.

We hit Livermore and Cascade Brook next, another 800ft climb, but at reduced intensity. We finished the morning by climbing Upper Snows and rocketing down Beanbender/Swazeytown.

After briefly stopping at the Nordic Center to put on dry uppers and eat, we drove to north end for the race clinic. We ran a few minutes late. Brett headed up to meeting point at the yurt while I took a 60 second nature break. When I got to the yurt, nobody was there, not even Brett. I ask Bert in the yurt where the clinic went, he said probably Mouse Run. I headed out, did full loop, and nothing. Now I was pissed, as I really wanted to get some profession feedback on my Mt Tripyramid (I think)technique, and Brett didn't even wait for me to tell me where they went. I ended up going back down to Livemore area, skiing loop there, and nothing. Back up to Mouse Run, a loop, and nothing. By this time I skied another 15km and clinic was about over anyway. I went back down to car and Brett yells out to me from behind.

The yurt has a one way "driveway" that loops off main trail. The upper side is entrance, lower side exit. To be quick, I went in the exit to the yurt. At the same time, Brett went out the entrance after learning the clinic was on Tripoli. He thought he'd catch me still coming up to yurt, but we missed each other by 100m and 30 seconds going in/out separate ways to yurt. Had only one of us gone the wrong way, we would have crossed paths. But we both went wrong ways and missed. Two wrongs does not make a right in this case. Neither would have two rights made a right. I wasn't so mad after we figured out how we missed each other. We both had good intentions. Overall, it was a tremendous aerobic and anaerobic workout. Hope I have something left for riding on Sunday.

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