Wednesday, March 2, 2011

This season won't end soon enough

Work has been stressful. I'm faced with seemingly impossible challenges. Somebody can walk in my office, talk 10 minutes, and just like that I have 10 new emails all wanting something from me. Today I had a 90 minute window between meetings to get in my one and only weekday ride that I get these days. It was sunny and mild out. No booties or beanie needed.

The wind was tough heading north. 15 minutes into the ride, the skies turned dark. The wind started gusting to 40+ mph. The temperature dropped 10 degrees. It was just like a summer thunderstorm moving in, except there was no thunder. It snowed mightily. The massive wet flakes packed up on my light layers and cheeks. I suffered perpetual ice cream headache. Then my shoes filled with water and I couldn't feel anything from my ankles down. It wasn't enough that storm drains were plugged, forcing me to ride in deep water with submerged potholes. I had to ride in a heavy snow squall with inadequate protection. As I finished my 66 minute ride, the sun came out again. How unlucky can you get?

That was one of those rides where you take two showers afterwards. First you take a shower with all your clothes on to blast away the layers of mud (I don't ride full fenders), then you take a regular shower after that. I don't recommend doing this at home.

This ride pretty much sums up how my whole winter season has gone for me. First I struggle with ankle issues, buying over-sized skate boots to placate my titanium enhanced left ankle. I didn't need new boots, I just bought new boots last season. I mostly figured out how to ski without too much ankle trouble, only to crash in my first major ski race and break a ski. So then I buy new race skis, when I didn't need new skis, only to find them really slow. Maybe they'll speed up in a few more waxings, but I'm pessimistic at this point.

I have one more race for the season, Rangeley on Saturday. We'll see if I can even complete one race this season. It could rain on Saturday. At this point, I view Rangeley as something to just get behind me and start focusing on riding. Since the holidays, I've averaged less than two ski sessions per week. That is hardly a marathon training schedule.

To be sure, I've had some great ski workouts this year. I've logged a couple 50k sessions, one in less than three hours. I've done several perimeter skis at Waterville Valley. Rarely is there enough snow that affords such opportunities. I count that as a blessing.  I've had a few good workouts at Weston too. Tuesday Night Sprints are always good for an adrenaline booster on an endorphin buzz. It is really hard to say where my cycling fitness is right now. I've only been riding twice a week, and only after hard ski workouts. Aerobically, I think I'm in fine shape. The legs, not so sure.

Running hasn't sucked that much. Not as much as I thought it would. In fact, I'm running long enough now that it can provide a fine endorphin fix. The gym bag is a lot lighter on days I run. I keep inching the pace and distance up, now running five miles at sub 7.5min pace. Running hasn't been without minor issues, which will have to wait for another post.

In another week, I bail out of here with Alex Combes to Tucson for a week of "training" in the desert. The mountain bikes are on their way. I hear they are getting 80's this week. Hope to see some of that. At least the recent snow on Mt Lemmon should be gone by the time Alex and I get there. Like any trip I go on, the planned rides are longer and the climbs higher than the body will likely handle. It's good to ride in places that have no shortage of terrain.


Anonymous said...

LOL, great post. Don't beat yourself up too much. You're still way ahead of most when it comes to fitness this year. Lots of guys getting a late start.

Anonymous said...

you need to get those skis ground. send them to BNS, there are tons of grind options but you can narrow it down easy. A Z40XL grind has been proven to be a good grind for the east and would be a good bet if you only have 1 pair of skis. I doubt your skis are the issue, its most likely the factory grind. Stonegrinding is the way to go, it might cost a bit of money, but not as much as bike equipment does!

Scott said...

Are you riding my Redington Pass/Mt Lemmon ride? I'm itching for someone to try that out. Webb Rd has been paved (rgh), but jeep roads before you get to San Manuel can bypass Webb Rd and take you from Redington Rd to Mt Lemmon Control Rd (as you previously noted though, you might be riding through a ton of sand/rocks without the Webb Rd connector). Google Maps suggests "3C Ranch Rd" might be a viable option (instead of Webb Rd), which is apparently off of Black Hills Mine Rd, itself off of Redington Rd. I'm not living there anymore, so unfortunately I can't do detailed recon for you. I've seen a sign for "3C Ranch Rd" on my trips up Mt Lemmon, but I don't know if it's easily followed starting from Redington Rd.

Hill Junkie said...

Scott - it's under consideration. Depends partly on whether the summit and upper parts of the control road are clear of ice and snow. I have a knack for travelling thousands of mile to get away from winter, only to be right back in it. I've gotten snowed out of a climb in Hawaii once! Imagine that. So don't know yet. Have to see what Alex is interested in. Interesting you ask, as I just got an email from a local rider letting me know the summit access road was repaved last spring.

Jonny Bold said...


A group of us will be riding TOT on Sunday at 9 AM. We'd love to have you, let me know if you're interested.