Sunday, February 14, 2010

Only Perimeters

Despite snow on the Cape and a dearth of snow in the mountains, it was a great bike and ski weekend. I opted out of the Pineland Farms 10km race Saturday. I figured even if they did shovel enough snow to put a course together, how much fun would it be to ski a zillion laps after the race to get a thorough workout in? I've heard nothing but rave reviews on Bretton Woods these last few weeks, so DaveP, Brett and I headed up Saturday. Conditions were nothing short of spectacular. Moderate temps, flawless grooming and generous base greeted us. We did two perimeter laps plus a Coronary Hill climb up the middle. That entails a fair amount of punchy, short climbs and tight turns at the bottom of descents. This kind of terrain has been largely absent in my skiing this winter. No surprise I struggled at Lake Placid. Waterville, where we hold season passes, has been unable to open their technical south end trails. We've been stuck with Livermore and Tripoli Rd climbs, wide open, no need to scrub speed for turns. Skiing Bretton Woods was refreshing. We skied 41km in 2.6hrs.

Bretton Woods perimeter plus an inner Coronary/Sebosis loop

Sunday I hooked up with the SNH NEMBA gang at Bear Brook State Park for another dose of ice biking. DaveP and SteveG were late, so a few of us did a short Bear Brook/Little Bear loop back to the parking lot. Lots of clear ice on skinny benchcut ledge above Bear Brook. We saw set of stud skid marks in ice go right into a tree down a steep pitch. I bet that rider didn't have a good day. A few years ago riding with the Exeter Cycles crew, I took a header into the brook in January. Glad I was running new Nokian Extremes today. They were hooking up superbly.

We knew Dave was running late, and we figured if Steve arrived before we made it back to the parking lot, Dave would tell him we'll be right back. But Steve arrived one minute after we rolled out and he rolled out a minute before Dave got there, thinking maybe we were gone already and he'd hurry to catch us. That sucked. Guess he forgot how to get there. He didn't see the note I scribed in my dirty back window saying we'll be right back either. Steve would catch up with others later on the trail.

Dave and I get antsy in big group rides, as there tends to be wide range in rider abilities and mishaps. We found ourselves kinda out front and we just kinda kept going. Yeah, we're not the most sociable dirt riders. I have a reputation among the NEMBA clan. When I showed up, PeterD told me my boyfriend was running late.

Dave on Linx Trail

Some of the fringe singletrack was pretty chewy stuff. Popular trails were hiked down firm and were fun. Others were like riding non-stop baby head rocks. Not much fun. Dave went hardcore, riding a rigid fixie. How he managed some of those dicy descents is beyond me.  We opted to stick mostly to trails that had some motorized traffic on them, whether snowmobile or ATV. They rode smoother with much nicer flow. I showed Dave some stuff I hadn't ridden in a long time, out on the western and southern perimeters of the park. This stuff can be very rutted and muddy in summer months, but now it was primo riding. Plenty of long climbs too. There was one lengthy section of blue ice up a steep grade. I barely made it, delicately pushing a modest gear ratio. Too bad I missed Dave finessing his fixie up it. Tire slipped, foot went down, Dave and bike returned to bottom.

We went up and over Hall Mountain, a 600ft climb. It was much easier to climb and descend on ice than during the summer. We tried to ride singletrack around the lake to the campground, but it was not sufficiently packed. Instead, we road across the shinny lake ice. Dave needed to get back and we split up. I climbed back up to the top of Podunk Rd and added a couple more choppy trails to my ride and finished with 26.5mi in 2.9hrs. Combined with skiing, I climbed nearly a vertical mile for the weekend.

Bear Brook with southern perimeter sweep

The body has been soaking up these long-ish MTB rides nicely. Probably because I have a 12 year "masters base" for this activity. Hard ski workouts tend to be much more disruptive. 4hrs per week skiing a few months out of the year is no way to build or maintain a base. I'm feeling pretty good about my overall fitness though. Weight is right were it was all of last summer. Sitting in a meeting this past week, I tuned in to my heart rate. Bah-Bump................. Bah-Bump.................. Bah-Bump. Oh, that seems pretty low. I put thumb to wrist and looked up at the clock in front of me. 34bpm! And that was just after coming up stairs and two mugs of Starbucks.  Granted, heartrates come down as you age, but the recent lowest I measured was 36bpm. And this new low was hardly a "resting" heartrate either.


Luke S said...

You missed out on a fantastic day at Pineland Farms. They managed to put together PERFECT skiing, with only minimal scrapy spots, and a fun rolling course. Plus it was a beautiful warm day, and fun to put a bib on. With a warm up, race, and 2 lap cooldown, I did close to 30km of skiing.

Hill Junkie said...

Luke - I saw your result. Nice job. Looks like you had a good race. I didn't see many CSU masters in the results. When I saw the last minute note from Pineland Farms on course work, I wondered if I was missing out. Have no regrets skiing at BW though. The terrain was more like what I'll see at Rangeley in a few weeks. Still hoping for a sub-3hrs.

Steve G. said...

Funny I didn’t miss riding with you impatient bums. Climbing the single track trails up Catamount and Carr ridge from the north on hard packed snow was great. I got a great feeling of peaceful solitude after reaching the tops. Is that a hill climbing thing?

Hill Junkie said...

Steve - You've seen the light! We'll make a hillclimber out of you yet.