Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Beanbender for Breakfast

Work has been maddening lately. Major deadlines are coming up the next two weeks, one of them having me in DC for a couple days. So how does one deal with all this stress? Head to the mountains and ski! Yep, I went up to Waterville early this morning, hoping my absence to go unnoticed. I'll be working more than enough hours this week to make up the few I missed anyway.

The valley has gotten something like 30" of new snow in the last several days. I feared that since it took until today to finish grooming, I might encounter soft conditions. On top of that, it was wicked cold, in the single digits when I got there. This is the end of February folks. We supposed to be skiing on sugar granular in T-shirts by now. No such luck this morning. Conditions were painfully slow. The grooming was perfect, but poles would punch through in many places due to softness underneath a top layer that set up.

I had limited time. I planned to ski no more than two hours, so I could go out quite a bit harder than usual. I opted to head directly to the north end via the golf course and hit Beanbender first. Who needs a warm-up! The snow was noisy. It squealed under my skis like a kid peeling out in a '68 Camaro. I had to endure this racket the whole time I skied. Very demoralizing. I barely survived climbing Beanbender, slowing to less than 3mph on the steepest part. The descent down Snows was only slightly faster. The redeeming quality skiing this stuff this morning was zero wind, cobalt blue skies, and no people. It was still good to be out.

I try to ski a different route each time at WV. After cresting Snows, I descended all the way to the bottom of Snows, turned around, then climbed back up Snows to summit of Cascade Brook Trail. The descent down Cascade was quite sweet actually, with such slow snow there was no need to scrub off speed.

For my third and final hillclimb interval, I went over to Tripoli. Now this bugger must have been groomed just once since the last snow dump, and it was wicked easy to punch skis through the surface. It was mushier than a fresh cow pie. The harder I worked at it, the slower I actually went. I pretty much had to soft pedal this baby all the way up. I wrapped up by taking Swans back. So that was 600, 700 and 800 footers for the major climbs, the last one taking about 26 minutes. Three climbs perfectly sized for intervals. The workout was good for 31.2km, 2650ft in 2:19hrs.

I had thought about hitting Weston Tuesday night instead of this morning's ski, but after hearing the reports I'm glad I didn't go. A few good skiers crashed out of the race, getting banged up in the process. I would have hopelessly flailed away in those conditions and not gotten the workout I sought. I was pretty trashed after this morning's workout. Trashed in a good way.

I haven't talked much about riding lately. Perhaps the only thing more boring than talking about ski workouts is talking about routine lunch training rides. I've been on the road bike going on three weeks now. After averaging just over 4hrs per week riding for the first 8 weeks of the year, I worried that I could lose too much cycling specific fitness. I'm not as worried anymore after some stellar 30+ mile solo efforts. The desire to suffer is still there. Still though, it seems Battenkill is coming up awfully quick. I'll be doing Battenkill right after spending 12 days in Hawaii this year, so I'm not expecting much. I typically need a week to ten days to recover from my vacations.

This weekend is setting up to be another Waterville/Otis double header. Plan is to ski Saturday, ride Sunday, best of both worlds! Anybody up for a three hour romp at Otis?

1 comment:

Luke S said...

It takes some work to figure out how to ski in that fresh soft snow, but once you get it down it can actually be manageable, if a lot more tiring. Its much worse when its been groomed than when its just falling snow over a base though, gets so mashed up so fast.