I had high hopes of another Waterville/Otis double header weekend. The weather could have cooperated if I had a crystal ball. We planned earlier in the week to ski on Saturday, ride on Sunday. It poured mightily in New Hampshire Friday night. Then the temp plummeted. So what does this mean for ski conditions? General suckiness.
Saturday turned out to be a gorgeous day for any activity, especially a Cape trail ride since it was a bit windy. But we committed to skiing. Waterville had started to groom their trails in the morning. Very little was groomed when we got there. The snow was still saturated with water even though the temperature dropped below 20F overnight. I waxed with CH8 but should have used an HF. Trails that were groomed earlier in the morning were set up rock hard. Brett commented it was just like Weston last Tuesday. It didn't seem that fast to me though. Maybe standing water in some of the trails had something to do with that.
50k race pace first 80 minutes
Brett, Dave and I skied out Swans Way to the north end since that is where grooming was taking place. The flat Moose Run/Wicked Easy loop actually skied quite nicely. After one lap around we hit the Upper Osceola climb. The descent was near fear of death. We opted for another lap around Moose Run/Wicked Easy before hitting the biggest climb, Tripoli Rd. The parts that refroze after grooming were hard and fast. The parts that were still saturated with water were soggy and slow. Either way, it took less than 19 minutes to climb without killing ourselves, a respectible pace. Brett led, saying he was going strict tempo pace. On fresh legs I can drop Brett on this one, but he was putting the screws to me pretty good this time. At the top he asked how the pace was. I said that was the easiest tempo pace I ever did. He told me to f-off. I knew it. He hammered it. Coming back down was actually slower than when conditions are slow, as control was quite marginal. I crashed hard coming down this a couple years ago and never want to revisit those kinds of injuries. It was back to Moose Run/Wicked Easy again, cruising at an aggressive pace. Coming back, I got Brett and Dave to aggree to one more Tripoli climb. This time we did go more of a tempo pace.
Dave and Brett were ready to call it good and headed back. I felt like we were skiing near 50k race pace thus far. I was hoping to get closer to three hours in, so I crossed over to Livermore Rd and climbed it to beyond the Cascade Brook trailhead. I promptly imploaded. Just like two hours into the Lake Placid Loppet, I bonked hard two hours into this training ski. I ate similar amount (less than 200 calories plus Gatorade) both times. What is it they say about doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result? I will have to work on this for the Sugarloaf Marathon.
I limped back to the Nordic Center on fumes in the tank. I finished with 48.3km, just about 1000m of climbing, in 3:05 hours. This is about same distance and time as I recorded for the Lake Placid Loppet, but less climbing. A high value training ski for sure.
When I awoke Sunday, it was even colder, and the Cape webcams showed the ground was already white there from the precursor to the big storm that is supposed to hit Sunday night. Scratch the planned Otis ride. Turns out this snow fell only in coastal Mass, not up-state NH at all. The Waterville trails had drained and were fully groomed to sugar granular. Dang. Should have rode sunny Saturday and skied shivery Sunday. So what to do. It was windy and 19F. A road ride seemed very unattractive. I prepped the winter beater MTB. The rear tire was flat, as salt corroded the valve stem to tube interface (happens a lot if you ride salty roads a lot). I rode from my house, hitting a small loop through the woods along the Merrimack river in Hudson before hitting the "Hudson Powerlines."
There were patches of frozen ground, crusty snow, but mostly lots of icy ruts left by the ATVs. Tricky business on studded tires that are way past due in being replaced. I managed to stay upright though, mostly because I was uber trashed from the marathon ski effort the day before. I was too tired to go fast. I hit Merrill Hill, Bush Hill and Seavey Hill, all 300-400ft climbs. Pretty much everything was rideable. I finished the loop with 21.1 miles, 1908ft of climbing in 2:25hrs. I actually skied longer with more climbing at a faster pace than riding. That makes 51 miles, >5000ft vert in 5.5hrs, almost all off-road, for the weekend. Monday will be a complete rest day.
For the first two months of the year, my training hours are pretty nearly split 50/50 between biking and skiing. I'm averaging over 10hrs per week. In April, this will switch to 12hrs per week, all riding, unless I try to squeeze in rollerski sessions on my recovery days. I think that would really suck though, after such a fantastic winter.
I figured it was time to update my simplistic blog layout. A three column format will let me put more info I wish to highlight at the top of the page without it disappearing off the bottom of one screen. You may notice a 100x100^2 logo there. I will add a link with explanation at later date. The hillclimber types may get what it means. The 100 is 100 miles, the 100^2 is 10,000ft of climbing. So a 100x100^2 ride goes at least 100 miles and entails at least 10,000ft of climbing. 6-Gaps is the biggest in the series with 132 miles and 14,000ft of climbing. I hope to nail down dates for some of the other rides as the summer schedule solidifies. I'll extend open invites to some of these rides.