Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Training Diary


I’ve decided to bend to Nature and ski. The decision has been one of the best in my life. I’m so happy to be off the bike. However, my new regimen is killing me. Instead of spending hours riding, I’m back-country and skate skiing. Instead of aimlessly riding our local flat loop, I’m skinning up to 12,000 feet. I think I’ve found my ticket to cycling success and it isn’t on the bike.

Today, I skinned (climbing skins made for skis give a skier the ability to go up hill) up to Bear Creek Ridge in Silverton, Colorado. The climb up was full of switch backs and lasted for two and a half hours. At roughly 11,700 feet we decided to head back down. Our descent was on the North side of a gulley, which had been carved out by previous avalanches. It was not a comforting thought to be skiing down such a dangerous path. The way down was very difficult. The snow was rotted out and we sunk into the snow several times. I felt like I was doing squats every time I turned my skis. When we finally got to the bottom we skate skied on our telemark skis to the car. It was as if we were trying to kill ourselves, aerobically.

The amazing thing about back country skiing is how similar it is to mountain biking. It is like going on an epic ride (3 – 8 hours). One climbs to a very lofty height, usually a peak or ridge, and then descends back to the trailhead. The climb up is very difficult and full of high altitude air. The descent is fast and furious. The whole experience is about suffering. This type of training, I think, will be key to unlocking the next level.

2 comments:

JM said...

I agree completely about the correlation to Mt. Biking...

Only difference is that coming down on telemark skis is like riding an old hard tail and coming down on downhill skis is like 6" of travel :)

walkert said...

I think I know who this is making this post. He is trying to bait me into a telemark vs. rondonne arguement.

JM,

You may be right. In the thick stuff, telemarks can be tough (especially starting out), but the extra training you get from it is awesome! That's about the only arguement I can come up with. Is that wrong...?