Saturday, December 19, 2009


Say you hate shopping, and you need to head out with your better half for a bunch of things, be it groceries, Christmas shopping, whatever. How do you deaden the senses enough to endure hours of agony? Or maybe you have a family get-together on her side, and you can't stand half of them. Is there a way to soften the hours of suffering without resorting to chemical substances? You betcha! A couple hours of intense cardio work before hand is one of nature's best anesthesias. If you pummel yourself into the ground, you can endure almost anything later in the day. You'd never do this though, right? You'd want to be in your best form for Aunt Wilma or while looking at jewery in the mall with screaming brats running into you.

It seems half of the New England cycling community was up at Waterville Valley this morning. This in spite of scary below zero temperatures to start the day off. It was -3F pulling off I-93, and probably 5 degrees colder than that at the Valley.  The good thing, there was no wind. The bad thing, there was no glide. Teammates Brett and Jody met Dave and I up there.  Rich Brown and Keith Button just happened to show up at the same time. We spotted several other roadies and mountain bikers while skiing. You wonder where "roadie power" comes from? It starts on the snow. Now.

A hard tempo shot up Livermore got the feeling back in our hands. Livermore was a bit thin in places and not groomed this morning. It was pretty hard and less than ideal for control. We then went over to the other side to hit Tripoli. I hit it harder than Wednesday, but was slower than my fourth time up it Wednesday. It wasn't quite as slow as trying to glide up a sand dune, but close in places. We hit Osceola and a lap around Moose Run before coming back to Tripoli for an encore. I had forgotten my Camelbak and was becoming dehydrated. The earlier hard efforts were starting to catch up to me too. Dave was nipping at my heels the whole way up, and it was his first time on any kind of skis this season.

After grabbing water from the car, Dave, Rich and I went back up Livermore. Dave set pace this time, and just like on the bike, proves he is indefatigable on skis too. I might have a 20 minute power advantage, but he dominates the multi-hour power efforts. I wondered why he hit that harder than when we first started out. Guess he didn't want to leave anything in the tank. Some Christmas parties to go to tonight. We skied 42km, 3000ft of climbing, in about 2.7hrs. A solid workout.

So I go to the mall this evening to pick up new lenses for my glasses (prescription changed a bit). I try to avoid the mall this time of year. What a cluster. I had lenses replaced in my everyday glasses and my sport glasses. Well, LensCrafters managed to break my sport frames and the new lenses in my primary glasses don't fit tight. At one point, I thought they were going to charge me for new frames. Had I not fully anesthetized myself this morning, I would have gone ballistic. To make matters worse, we leave for Michigan in a few days, and they told me it could be 10 days to get new frames. I need those glasses on snow. Macular degeneration runs in my family, so I need to take as many precautions as possible.  Then they told me they can't even get replacement frames at all, I would have to pick out new ones and they would have to cut new lenses for them. So now I have to go back to the retail circus again tomorrow.

I found this interesting set of brief reports on winter sports science put together by NBC and the NSF. I haven't watched all of them yet, but I learned a few things I did not know. The one embedded here discusses the cardio demands of XC skiing.

Looks like the Cape and much of southern New England is going to get pounded. Really bums me out about the Cape. I had hoped to bike there on Sunday. If they do get 20", ToT and Otis could be taken off-line for much of this winter. I might be doing more skiing than originally planned. Weston should be on-line when I get back from Michigan.


Luke S said...

Don't understand how you could possibly ski with a Camelbak.

Also, I'll be in Michigan for a few days too. Ironwood for some skiing.

Hill Junkie said...

Years ago, I showed up for a hillfest training road ride with a Camelbak. Guys snickered at me, before they got schooled on every hill by a Fred sporting a Camelbak. Camelbaks are even uncool in the upper ranks of mountain biking these days. For a sport that tried to set itself apart from shaved legs and spandex, mountain biking looks a whole lot like road racing. I still use a Camelbak for most road training rides. I won't be schooling anybody soon on skis though. Perhaps some day I'll pick up a water bottle belt for skiing. A full Camelbak does restrict the upper body a bit.

Ironwood is way the heck up there. I'll be in Holland, where currently there is no local skiing. I'll have to drive 3hrs north to Traverse City to ski my favorite Michigan place, site of the North American VASA.

Alex said...

Camelbacks are great in theory, but the tubes have always frozen on me in any weather below freezing. Although bottles freeze eventually too, at least they're easier to replace mid-race.

Hill Junkie said...

I rarely have Camelbak tube freezing problems, whether riding or skiing in single digits. The trick is, after taking a drink, elevate the bite valve, pinch it and let 100% of the fluid drop back down into reservoir. You have to remember that if you bend down or crash, fluid will likely flow back into the tube, so you have to re-drain it. Else you'll be SOL. When I do have a tube freeze, it is because I forget to drain it after bending down after one of the road crossing at WV.