Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Catamount

I spent Monday and Tuesday at a training workshop in Burlington, VT. This partially bummed me out because it meant I would miss my weekly "fix" at Weston. The stuff I went to Burlington for was pretty cool though, and the road trip did offer an opportunity to ski somewhere I haven't been yet. The Catamount outdoor center was just five minutes away. Night skiing on a lighted loop is offered on Tuesday nights. That would have to suffice for my midweek fix.


The darker, more repeated figure-eight in lower right was lighted

I got out a little later than expected. Line up a full day of guys talking about work they are passionate about, yeah, you can expect things to run over. I would have liked to catch the last bit of daylight to explore a couple of the fringe trails. The temperature was in single digits and plummeting. I bought a trail pass and changed out of business attire. It had snowed a couple inches during the day, and the steps out of the old farm house, converted to Nordic center, were slick. This was no problem going in with street shoes, but the traction for ski boots was nil. In my haste exiting, my feet went out the door about 1000x faster than the rest of me. My right elbow was first thing to come down on the door jamb lip. No shortage of choice words were used. First thought was I broke my elbow. Then maybe my shoulder was dislocated. None of these happened, but I had one very unhappy elbow. I cut it wide open through three layers of clothing.

So now with last bit of dusk disappearing, I'm stripping down upper layers to assess the damage. The guy working there hauled out the first aid kit. I needed a pretty big bandage to wrap around the point of my elbow. I am so lucky I did not chip or break it. I decided to ski despite the pain and before any swelling had a chance to set in.

I put my skis on and no poles. WTF!  I had no idea why they were not in my bag. They are always in my bag. Did somebody unzip my bag and steal just my poles while I was getting bandaged up? Right. I didn't wax my skis since skiing Windblown, so that meant only one thing. The poles failed to make it in the bag at Windblown. So now after freaking the kid out that works there by wiping out in the doorway, I have to go back in and beg for poles. He had a skate set my length and wasn't going to charge me. Maybe I will get to ski sometime before midnight.

I started on the lighted loop. I quickly realized this ain't no Waterville. I suspect snowmobile grooming. Even though there was huge snow cover, many of the trails still undulated like crazy. Off-camber, rolling, bumpy, giant waterbars, deep ditches, you name it. Then throw in they haven't groomed in a day or two with classic skiers cutting tracks where ever they wanted, it made for one tricky skate session at night. The lighted loop for the most part was well lit. These were real lights, not kerosene lamps that mark the way like at Great Brook.

I did bring my LED headlamp with me. I wanted to climb Indian Lookout, but it looked to narrow and sketchy to do alone at night in 0F temps. I stuck to the lower, wider unlit trails. Kinda fun, but the new, cold snow had as much glide as a Lake Michigan sand dune. Huge kilojoules were expended for pittance of speed. Not very high on the fun factor scale. I struggled to find the ambition to hit any kind of intensities I would have hit at Weston.  More of a tempo workout, I'd say. About 23km were covered in 1.75hrs.

I must say night skiing in the deep woods rocks. This was nothing like night skiing at Weston. Catamount was far enough away from Burlington that in the open area, you could see hundreds of thousands of stars. I don't see that at my house in Pelham either. Way too much light pollution on the east coast. In the woods, your world reduces to a blue-white spot defined by your head lamp. Very dark, and totally quite. Reminds me of when I used to regularly night ride by myself in the woods.

Hope the elbow comes around enough to ski again on Saturday. My elbow rebels against any kind of twisting force right now. Riding today went ok, hill intervals, on road this time. One benefit of regularly skiing in single digits is this. When you go out for a road ride when it is 21F and windy like today, it feels downright balmy!

4 comments:

Mookie said...

Well, at least we'll have matching elbow scars. I'm convinced I cracked my ulna in my crash; It's taken nearly 4 months to get back to normal.

rick is! said...

ugh. I can handle hearing you talk about hill intervals on skis right now but on your road bike? I'm not ready to think about that yet.

Hill Junkie said...

Gotta get that interval business done one way or another during the winter months. We're not talking about peaking for race season here. We're talking about not sucking so bad at that first race in April. Spending only 2-4hrs per week on the bike this time of year, I think a little intensity is needed to keep the cycling specific neuro-muscular connections intact. Hill intervals on the road at 21F are far more pleasant and productive than at 95F.

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