Sunday, March 16, 2008

Embrace the Snow

Bretton Woods Skate Ski
40.7km, 817m vert, 2.9hrs
0 to +3C, CH8 wax

Ok, so this is primarily another ski report. I should be 100% cycling by now, but this winter refuses to give up. Saturday morning I awoke to a fresh covering of snow, dashing any thoughts of riding out to the Wapack Range to do some serious hill work on the bike. I had to stay at low altitude on main roads that were clear of snow. My goal was to ride 4hrs with hill intervals. I got my 4hrs, but mostly a steady, hard tempo pace ride with rolling hill bursts. Of course, the trucks were out again dumping salt and sand on the roads to make sure my ride was messy. I have two bikes with trashed drivetrains now. No Power Tap or other metrics, but this had to have been a high TSS (total stress score) ride.

From top of Mountain Road climb, looking down to where we started 1000ft below.

More snow was in the forecast for Sunday morning, but I had planned earlier to hit the White Mountains on skis, the kind that go uphill better than downhill. Arvid and I went to Bretton Woods. A race was going on in the morning, so we opted to go across Rt 302 and ski up the groomed Mountain Road trail to near the summit of the alpine area. Neither of us had done this trail before. This was a real shock to the system. I was hurting from Saturday's ride, and we "warmed-up" by going right into a 1000ft net gain climb.

Zoomed in to Mt Washington Resort, cog railroad in upper left. Just below cloud deck at this elevation.

Mountain Road takes giant switchbacks working its way up to the top of Bretton Woods downhill ski area. Only a few places were really steep, so it was easy to get in a groove and keep the burn going. After a long time, you start crossing alpine runs and you know the end is near. Of course, the view is great, but it would have been a lot better had it not been such an overcast day. I think I have a new favorite New England ski trail, and Mountain Road is it. It gains 200ft more vertical than Tripoli Road at Waterville and is a riot to descend. I summited several minutes before Arvid did, but Arvid slalom races and smoked me on the steepest, most technical part of the descent.

Crawford Notch.

The race across the highway was wrapping up after our descent, so we had free range of the rest of the trail system. The problem was, an inch or two of soggy snow fell in the morning and was nasty sticky. Not sandpaper snow like when it's cold, but glue snow like suction cups grabbing your skis. Descents were very tricky alternating between soggy and crispy snow sections. This was not as much of a problem at the higher elevations. 40km in three hours was a fantastic workout, and it was thoroughly satisfying. That makes about 7hrs of fairly intense cardio work this weekend. I hope some of this ski cardio work gives me something on the bike, as my first race is only a month away.

View from resort, Mt Washington obscured by clouds on left, Crawford Notch on right.

I head to Arizona 1st of April for 7 days of riding nirvana. This leaves two more weekends to ski, as I do not plan to ski after I get back from the desert. We might not get another winter like this for many years. It's best to embrace the snow while we have it.

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