Monday, December 27, 2010


There seems to be a recurring theme to my riding and skiing in Michigan. It is flow. Hans Rey is promoting a concept in the mountain biking world called Flow Country. The trails here have flow designed into them. I suspect it is much easier to build flowy trails here than in the northeast. Midwest terrain is gently rolling and sandy for the most part. There are no roots, rocks, ledges and such to disrupt flow or force trails to take abrupt routes to avoid such.

Today I skied VASA.  The 25km perimeter loop is the flowiest ski trail I've been on. Rarely do I need to scrub speed on the descents. There are some ball-buster climbs though, several peaking over 20% grade and one at 30%. The perimeter loop covers serious ground. It circumnavigates a big enough chunk of Pere Marquette State Forest to fit the city of Traverse City within the loop.

The claimed mid-winter conditions proved true. The trail volunteers didn't groom for Monday morning, so the high traffic area near the trail head was a bit hard. But further out, the 25k loop was about as good as skate skiing gets.

My bump-up in running distance yesterday left my legs a bit tweaked this morning. I wasn't planning on skiing 50km, but a 25km lap went by so effortlessly I just had to do one more. After wolfing down a few calories at the car, I went back out for a "slow down and smell the pine trees" lap.

I was quite concerned about my left ankle, having to pull the plug after 80 minutes skiing at Weston last Tuesday on hard packed conditions. I tried an experiment. I cut up a Dr Scholl's insert to put a crescent shaped layer of padding below the inner ankle bump protrusion of my left ankle. My thinking was the boot was placing too much pressure on the enormous knob left after the fracture callused with screws still in there. Some padding below it might reduce the hot spot. I placed nothing over the ankle bump itself, as it already sticks out twice as far as my right ankle. After three hours of skiing, I was relieved to find my right ankle aching more than my left. Not sure what a permanent solution is here yet. Taping all this stuff up around my ankle each time I ski will be a pain.

I left fully satiated after skiing 50km in 3:16hrs with 3000+ feet of climbing, a comfortable pace. Looks like warm weather and heavy rain is headed this way Thur/Fri, which will end skiing until I get back home. May have to head up to Crystal Mountain on Wednesday. Finishing out the week on rollerskis will suck.

1 comment:

Jonny Bold said...

Just caught up on your posts Doug. Don't come to the Cape anytime soon to ride. The trails are screwed and unridable at the moment. Supposed to warm up later in the week.

We had 6" on the ground, then the storm dumped another 4 or 5". Then it turned to rain for hours and hours. The snow absorbed all that rain and then we got a flash freeze. It's a mess!