Thursday, November 20, 2008

Anticipating Snow

With the return of frigid weather, snow guns are cranking up all over New England. Multiple alpine ski areas plan to open this weekend. This includes Crotched Mountain in southern New Hampshire. I'm tempted to break out the skate skis and sneak in some hill repeats. Not sure I want to fight a barrage of belligerent boarders coming at me though.

I also heard a rumor that the Trapp XC touring center might open too, on machine made snow of course. Could a minuscule sub-kilometer loop possibly be worth hours of round trip driving? Maybe. I would make a day out of it and bring a bike along. I don't get to ride Smugglers Notch too often.

Work sucks lately. Lots of year end madness going on. Our company's fiscal year matches the calender year. I work on research projects, and funding for these gets shut down in December. It becomes a race of use it or lose it. Happens every year. 10-12hr days plus weekends become the norm. I still get out though, but at random times throughout the week. Group rides have ceased as a result. Key riding mates on the injured list or finding themselves "in between jobs" in this f'd up economic situation doesn't help the lunch ride scene either.

I did get in a respectable trail ride with my new Racer X yesterday. While some folks are complaining about the dip in temps, I barely even noticed. Any soft or muddy spots were frozen solid. Perfect. I hit a whole bunch of stuff I can't disclose here before wandering into Wasserman Park in Merrimack to bomb down the bony half mile plummet to the lake. Nearly soiled my chamois a couple times. All I can say is the Racer X suspension is pretty near dialed. I covered 18 miles on my lunch break, mostly on singletrack. This is what lunch breaks ought to be.

I managed to squeeze in three rollerski workouts last week too. Averaging two hours per week for the last couple months ain't much though. I'm hoping all the technique work pays dividends this winter. I'm banking on the hope that I do not need any cardio work on the skis, as I already bring a fairly elite level of fitness to the discipline from cycling. So far I've accumulated 430km on my Pursuit rollerskis this fall. That would be a good week on the bike.

Tuesday I rollerskied with Arvid. He started later than I did on a loop near work. When I came around the bend on my 5th lap, he was kneeled down on the road with his forehead to the pavement. I wondered if he discovered Islam. As I got closer, I saw he was peering into a storm sewer grate. It seems a car cut him off and he caught a pole in the grate. The grate ripped the pole from his hand and ate the pole hook, line and sinker. At first, there was no sign of the pole. We nearly gave up. It appeared to be buried in the depths of liquid murkiness. But I just caught a glimpse of the grip protruding from the surface many feet down. The grate surprisingly was not that heavy. We lifted it off. Using my poles like chopsticks, I was barely able to snag the strap of Arvid's pole. But wouldn't you know it, after all that, the pole was cracked in half. Arvid got a fine workout in without poles that day.

Next planned cycling event is the FOMBA Turkey Burner. Nearly 300 riders show up for this the day after Thanksgiving most years. It's always a riot. Miles and miles of singletrack. Marked course, fun ride event, but always a few that like to hammer off the front of the masses. I've done this ride in every condition imaginable, from shorts to 35F pouring rain to 5" new snow on the ground to bare ground frozen hard at 20F.


Colin R said...

Hey man, if you're gonna get in the car, might as well go all out and go to Salmon Hills NY, which already has feet of lake effect snow...

Anonymous said...

Hey, plenty of snow on Smuggler's Notch road. Ski up the Stowe side over to Smugg's until you hit pavement then back up and over, repeat for effect!

Luke S said...

Or you could be me, and drive to Quebec where theres no more snow than in Stowe. Granted, the drive time is about equal from where I am.

Over the summer I had to lower my coach into a storm drain by his legs to recover a lost pole. That was quite interesting.

Anonymous said...

Hopefully your pole wasn't cracked. Quite a coach willing to do that for a pole.
So is it bad to use my snow poles that are part carbon on the streets, if I change the tips out?

Hill Junkie said...

I wouldn't use real expensive race poles on pavement since more $hit seems to happen (storm grates, pine cones, traffic, etc). Composite poles may actually be easier on you then alloy poles. I notice I get blisters easily rollerskiing on pavement. With alloy poles, the plants transmit a lot of shock to the hands. Composite poles should absorb some of this shock. Buy good tips (like the Jenex heavy duty style) and your composite poles should do well on pavement. Having only one set of poles where you keep swapping the tips out is not a good ideal though. They can be very stubborn to remove.