Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Doing Stuff Non-Race Report

So... ski racing down, rock climbing up, time to blog... down. Sometimes that's just what needs to happen. Time to rectify!

After Craftsbury, I figured the best way to deal with clearly terrible ski fitness would be to bounce outta town the next weekend and go skiing in Colorado. And I don't mean nordic skiing. Thus 36 hours after being at sea level, I was at 11,000 feet at Monarch trying to stuff as much oxygen into my maw as possible while tree skiing. It made me feel like this:

As is required with sports I do, a GoPro was attached to something. I used their industrial-grade adhesive mount to put it on my ski tip. It was totally sweet until it wasn't:

Ski Tip Cam Failure from colin reuter on Vimeo.

The next day I bumped it up another 1500 feet to Loveland where I "shredded the gnar" with my internet friend Nicole for the morning. There was a foot of new snow overnight and no pesky trees requiring me to actually control where I turned, so it was SICK:

Then I put the GoPro on my ski pole and it worked a lot better, except that everyone on the chair could see what a huge narcissistic tool I was:

Loveland Pole Cam from colin reuter on Vimeo.

And that was the Colorado weekend. Do I spend a lot of time on looking for cheap tickets out west now? Yes.

The following weekend was Steve's crazy World Cup biathlon trip. The IBU World Cup only comes to North America every few years, Steven was excited, and I haven't been to the county in years. With Cary at the wheel we did the drive in a "mere" 7.5 hours to get a few hours of biathlon superfanning in, and a few more hours skiing.

I don't own regular cameras, but I did take a picture with my GoPro:

The whole event was an impressive production, it was really cool to see the whole town of 4000 people step up to support the event (that was watched by millions of people in Europe!). The production was flawless, there were school buses moving everyone everywhere, tickets were only $5, the snow was great, the temps were reasonable (for Northern Maine in February)! I was so stoked I bought a vuvuzela, the universal instrument of stupid-stokedness.

...and was super disappointed to find out that I STUNK at playing it. With extensive coaching from Steven, I was finally able to be mildly annoying with it:
Owly Images
Another quality non-racing weekend in the books!

I have been making feeble efforts to put some Birkie training in, so I did make it out to the Weston Tuesday night world champs last night. In fact, I've been going every week, but getting blown out of the front group each time isn't really the kinda thing that I want to set aside time to blog about. Ya know.

But this week! Oh man. Arbitrarily short race (16 minutes), super hard icy base, decent edging... oh man it was a super duper ski crit. I slotted into the front group at a comfortable 15+ mph and realized it was going to be NO PROBLEM to sit in this week. I felt so good that when everyone sat up and looked at each other, I went to the front just so I could lead over the "jump" after the flats. I may have gone for something like this over the jump while leading the group, because I don't make great decisions when I'm racing. I was justifiably yelled at for being sketchy/awesome, and then I went to the back of the group to hide from the wind for a while.

With 3 minutes left to go, I got all bike-racer on it and started "burning matches" in strategic places to move up from 7th/last wheel. Slingshot here, jump skate there, and I hit the last turn in second. Dear god skiing on ice misrepresents my true abilities! I love it. Out of the last turn, I got one last slingshot off Frank's draft on the downhill and came around him to win the "field sprint" for second.

In summary, if I did better at stuff I would blog more often. As soon as my go-to move at the rock gym isn't "fall off a 5.9 because your hand strength sucks," I might start writing about that.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Craftsbury Marathon Race Report

I've done a lot of classic marathons over the years. Well, like five. 250k of skiing, I'll call it a lot.

Our good buddy New England winter *usually* makes these a klister-binder affair, because there's some nice transformed ice mixed in with the powder and with hundreds of skiers going through each track, the ice has a way of overcoming the powder.


But I still can't explain why I thought it would be a good idea to use a klister binder. It was Thursday night, I was tired and in a hurry. The tube of KR20 was right there. So I just...did it. And then only brought one pair of (klistered) skis to the race. Because I am not very good at taking ski racing seriously, anymore.

When I woke up to see fresh snow, I realized I might have a problem. When the snow squalls started during the race, I knew I had a problem.

Since I registered day-of (online reg closed 7 days before the race... sneaky) I ended up in wave 2, which had exactly zero fast people in it. And I had slow skis with amazing kick.

...and that's why I was 2nd place in wave 2 after 22k. If you have good kick you gotta use it, right? So I was crushing the uphills, and getting eaten up on the downhills. But I was feeling good enough (because it was the first 90 minutes) to stay ahead of all but one guy. Nice day, good kick, great conditions -- feels great, man!

Until it doesn't. The problem with the whole "use good kick to make up for slow skis" thing is that "using good kick" still requires working HARD. I was climbing 10% faster but using 8% more effort; meanwhile everyone who was catching me gliding was using 0% more effort to do it...AND I'm a cross racer who does 60 minute efforts all fall. I knew what was going to happen, but I couldn't stop, the skiing was just too nice. Abby Weissman was at the 22k feed station, and I said to her "Abby I'm scrooooooooooooed." She was unimpressed at my fortitude.

I was right, though. This was my 3rd time classic skiing all year (!) so when we hit the 25k mark, it became LACTIC ACID BATHTIME. I got my rubber ducky out and prepared for a nice 25k soak in the pain...tub. All in the name of Birkie training?

The collection of older gentlemen that I had been holding off went skiing away from me and I tried really hard to convince myself that I was having fun. My muscles became progressively less useful, to the point where I really wasn't even breathing very hard. My heart could move all kinds of blood, but it didn't matter, when it got to my legs, they were just like... NO. Take that oxygen back.

Obviously my day ended with a bunch of college girls whom I had dropped at 2k in, passing me while talking to each other -- and then disappearing completely on a climb, even though I still had awesome kick, and thus no excuses.

NO EXCUSES! So I better just stop blogging, then.

The silliest thing about it all is that even though I spent two hours in a hot tub of my own lactic acid at the end, and my skis were endlessly frustrating, about ten minutes after finishing I was like, "eh, that was kinda fun."

Lap one, skiing with a bunch of guys who are twice my age and about to put five minutes on me on lap two. [ Dobie ]

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