What I awoke to Friday morning was no April Fool's joke. Six inches of wet, heavy snow on the deck picnic table. I planned my week around a long, hard ride on Friday, but the forecast did not look promising. I've gotten about all of one long, hard ride in since the beginning of the year, something that would be considered hilly road race training. I detest training indoors, but I also detest slogging in slush for 3-4 hours. So I went in to work on my off-Friday, which are increasingly being used to catch up on work.
If I couldn't get distance, I figured I'd at least get a few morsels of intensity in, as I'm so lacking in accumulated VOmax work so far this year. I put the keyboard aside in the afternoon and kitted up for an hour of power. Muddy Greens Pond Rd repeats would have to do.
I used my winter beater with studded tires. It sat for a while. I didn't realize the disk brake calipers are already binding up from salt corrosion. My front break was binding so badly that it was work to pedal at 12mph on flat pavement. Oooo, muddy 10% climbs ought to feel sweeeeet!
Greens Pond Rd was half slush and have mud. It took me 30% longer to climb this first portion of the climb. Then it is paved Naticook Rd to Cummings Rd to the top. On a good day, repeats are less than six minutes. My first climb was over seven minutes. Maybe I only need to do 2-3 of these, I thought. I almost had to pedal downhill because of my brakes.
Second time up went a little better. The legs opened some and lingering phlegm from my chest infection was expelled. I tried even harder the third time up, breaking 6.5 minutes. I nearly hurled. I figured I had one more in me and went up a different way to Wasserman Hts. That was nearly 30 minutes of VOmax work in a one hour ride. Of course, I did as little work as possible between intervals to recover. Battenkill might require 8-10 of these efforts, some in quick succession, spread out over 2-3hr duration. Very different.
With snow still on the ground Saturday, a few of us agreed the day would be better spent skiing. Dry roads would be a better probability Sunday. So Skogs, Brett and I hit Waterville one final time this season. Thirty minutes of bike work and a couple hours of skiing should make good final preparation for Battenkill, right?
Skogs coming up Drakes
I waxed with Fastwax that had a range that went below freezing since the night before, the forecast showed a low in the 20's. But it was 40 friggin degrees pulling off the highway and rising! They had gotten a lot of new snow. It was that super-saturated kind that sticks like glue to skis. To my skis anyway. The Nordic Center let me borrow their riller. I don't think it made any difference. Brett had some warm pure fluoro on from his last race and Skogs waxed warmer. I was nearly face planting on every descent.
Brett heading down Livermore. This is April?
Brett and myself coming up Drakes. Photo by Skogs.
We first did a loop around Jennings, U. Fletchers and Drakes. Coming down Drakes sucked for me. The other two were gone. I had to WORK HARD the whole way down. The skis made loud fart ripping sounds as water tried to suck them to a halt. I can never get this waxing/structure/ski selection thing right. Dialing a bike for specific applications, yeah, piece of cake. Skiing, it's still a black art to me. That made two days in a row of brakes on all the time.
Towards the end, descents were no faster than climbs.
We scooted up Swans. Brett was setting a pace that hurt me and left Skogs searching for our tracks. We decided to take different routes, Brett and I to top of Snows and then Cascade on the return. At the speed we were moving, that would be more than enough for Brett and I. The temp was rising and impossibly sticky snow was getting even slower. Brett and I finished with only 29km in 2:21hr moving time and 2300ft climbing. I believe that was my slowest ski in a few years, but a superb cardio workout. Now it is time to put the skis up.