Wateville Valley Skate Ski
42.1km, 1171m vert, 2:41hrs
Fastwax Blue, temp ~0C
A few weeks ago I skied with cycling acquaintance Brad Ek when he suggested we try "one of everything." It was a great workout - you see everything just once and you get all the climbing in you could hope for. Today I did a variant of this loop with cyclocross racer Ryan Laroque, who just happened to get there the same time I did. The cool thing about skate skiing at Waterville is that you always run into other cyclists. It seems cyclist have similar traits on skis. They don't have the upper body most dedicated skiers have and rely more heavily on leg strength, they come into winter with great fitness, and they look to skate skiing as a way to maintain fitness over winter. The cycling lot may dabble in a couple ski races, but for the most part are competent skiers that fill the gap between elites and avid recreational skiers.
Ryan is a much better skier than I, so I chased him around most of the day. It's always great to ski with better skiers and learn from their form. But ground I lost on the descents or flats was made up on the steep climbs. I place high value on maintaining aerobic fitness over winter, as I like to start the cycling season strong. Ryan's season comes much later in the year and he has all summer to build up to it.
So we hit all the usual suspects, like Jennings Peak, Upper Fletchers, Criterion, Tripoli, Upper Osceola, Cascade, and Upper Snows. I got in two focused intervals, one on Tripoli, the other heading up Osceola. The other climbs were sub-threshold.
My knee problems are history, so I can stop whining about it now. I had no issues with my first training ski in two weeks. It is clear to me now that the tidbits of running I did put me over the edge. Prospects look good for doing a race next weekend. Candidates are the Nordic 300 at Great Glen, the 10k at Prospect Mtn, or what I'm leaning towards now is the 9.5k Cross-Trainer's Challenge at Waterville Valley.