Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Bike? What bike?

I haven't been on a bike four days in a row now, I bet a record long bikeless streak this year. Bike miles have been replaced with ski kilometers. Conditions have been all over the spectrum.  Sunday in Michigan, the snow was deep but glide silky smooth. Then Monday rain mixed in with more new snow and became as sticky as peanut butter. Tuesday was a travel/rest day. Then it was back to Waterville Valley on Wednesday. Some snow fell there after the big thaw. Then the temperature plummeted in a big way.

Last night when I got home, I checked out the weather. The wind was blowing my tiny xD all over the road from Buffalo to Pelham. I couldn't pump gas fast enough on the New York Thruway to avoid losing all feeling in my hand holding the pump handle. Silly below zero windchills. I pulled up the Mt Washington Observatory website to get a glimpse just how crazy cold it can get in Cow Hampshire. The image below says it all. The wind chill was holding steady more than 70F below zero with wind gusting to over 100mph.

It wasn't that cold at Waterville this morning, but dang cold none the less. We skier types can handle this. It's the snow that sucks. New snow that hasn't had a chance to get worked over when it is that cold is about a much fun to skate ski on as Hampton Beech in July. A lot of work pays miniscule dividends.

DaveP and I hit the north end, starting on Livermore Rd. Cascade Brook trail is now open to Junction 29. This means both 800ft climbs are open for business. Coming back down, we passed the Freeman brothers heading up. I grabbed my water at the bottom, then went back for a repeat. Kris and Justin came by at about 40mph on Cascade Brook as Dave and I climbed. Hitting Cascade twice pretty near killed Dave and I.

You know how kids, when they get a new toy at Christmas, they can't stop playing with it? I'm kind of like that with V2 technique right now. It took me several seasons to figure it out. Last season I got it sorted out, and this season I'm refining it. I V2 everywhere I can, even sometimes when it is not the appropriate technique. V2ing all the way up Livermore on sandpaper snow sent my triceps into a tizzy today. I'm continuously testing the limits of newly acquired balance skills. I haven't crashed myself yet this season by overcommitting to a ski, but close. The coolest thing I'm discovering this season is a sweet spot with V2 technique that feels very efficient, where kilojoule expenditure is minimized for a given speed. I have not noticed this before, and no doubt if I can expand this sweet spot to other techniques and greater variety of terrain, I will do much better in ski marathons. This season I aspire to suck less.

We next crossed over to do Tripoli Rd next, the other 800ft climb. The snow was even more abrasive there. I waxed with Swix green, and Dave didn't rewax since last skiing here with blue. I think I had a glide advantage starting out, but abrasive snow like this quickly turns the ski base white. Tripoli was brutal. Kris and Justin were heading down while we climbed. We caught up to their dad, Donovan, up top. He commented the boys were doing their final tune-up ski before Nationals in Anchorage starting this weekend.

I got the biggest ice cream headache ever coming down Tripoli. The temp was surely in the single digits up top, and my eyebrows were exposed and soaking wet with sweat. At speeds of 20-30mph on the steeper parts, any exposed skin stings. Once we hit the bottom, Dave and I decided to do a cool-down lap around Moose Run/Wicked Easy and call it a day. 40km in 2.8hrs with 2800ft of climbing. A slow day indeed, but a cardio workout you could never achieve on a bike, trainer or rollers this time of year.


Luke S said...

Skiing in the Midwest has been fantastic this week, that same silky smooth glide on fresh snow, and the cold temps made the groomed trails squeaky cold. Logged 10 hrs of skiing in 3 days.

DaveP said...

Kris won the 15K event in Alaska. Pretty cool.