Sunday, January 13, 2008

Best of Both Worlds

Waterville Valley Skate Ski
48.1km, 750-950m vert, 2:32hrs
25-32F, Swix CH8, Loose Granular

Once in a while you get those precious ski days where you have fast conditions AND good control. Today was one of those days. On scale of 1-10, speed was about 9, and control about 8. Normally, good control is soft new snow that hasn't set up or granularized yet. Similarly, fast conditions are often associated with icy or hard surfaces with lack of control and poor power transfer. The warmth and rain earlier this week left sufficient base for Waterville's Piston Bully to work on. After two days of grooming, a firm, slightly crispy, but very edgeable surface was the result. Factor in mild temps right around the freezing mark and sunny skies, it just doesn't get any better.

I headed up with Dave. The south end was pretty much shut down due to water damage, so we picked up trail passes and drove to north end parking lot to begin skiing. Ryan (Team Bike Alley) was just heading out from the parking lot with his wife.

Starting out, I was suffering from yesterday's 4.7hr hillfest ride. It seemed to take forever to warm up, to get past that stage where the motor just ain't putting out. After catching Ryan and his wife on Moose Run, we set up a game plan for meeting back up later. Ryan and I were going to hit some hills. Dave wanted to focus on technique. Tripoli was first, and it hurt bad. Heartrate was very stubborn in coming up. I think the Freeman brothers (2006 National Team) were there training. They came down at about 40mph. Dave, Ryan and I were all back together again for the descent, and the Freemans were coming up faster than we were going down. It took me about 17 minutes to climb Tripoli, probably a PR, but I didn't time it precisely. It was definitely an anaerobic effort for me. I would love to know what the Freemans can do. I see Justin is signed up for the Ski to the Clouds race up Mt Washington in March, so I hope to get a baseline comparison there.

Repeats on Livermore were next. Ryan led on these climbs, and pace was more in line with upper tempo range for me. The second time up was about 17 minutes, also in PR range. Ryan was about out of time after this, so we split ways heading to Osceola. I did Upper Osceola, coming back down for a couple more laps around Mouse Run with Dave before calling it a day.

I was really surprised to see the GPS logged 48km in just over 2.5hrs. I could have skied all day in those conditions had I not done such a big ride the day before. But I was cooked. Dave did about 42km, so it was a good day for both of us. I thought last Saturday was the best ski day of the season, but today was at least a tie.

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