After a lot of warm weather, for which I'm thankful for in this deep freeze, the snow conditions in the mountains have not been ideal for xcountry skiing. (The only bummer part about warm weather!) I'd planned to go to the mountains with a friend of Trudy's, Candace, so we could meet up with Trudy and go for a ski.
Originally we were going to do the Goat Creek Trail, but Trudy checked it out on Friday and it wasn't in good shape. Ice is sooo not good. So we decided we'd stick to the Nordic Centre up there.
As luck would have it Canmore got snow on Friday night! Not a lot, but just enough that the Nordic Centre would be in even better shape than it had been.
There were five of us heading out that day - Trudy was great in getting a small group together. So there was Trudy, Candace, Wade and Young Jordan. We were of varying backgrounds and experience, yet we were a good group together.
I, of course, ended up in the back for the most part, but I'm cool with that. I wanted to work on my technique a bit more. Jordan had only been out on skis three times, but already he was zipping along quickly. I'll chalk that one up to youth, haha. Wade's skis, and the skis he lent to Jordan were the super old school style. The ones with the 3 pegs that you put your shoes in. What was funny was he totally rocked them! Although he did comment that the bindings were wider than the tracks because the tracks were for the new fandangled skis. Candace was on skate skis, which I was hoping to try out later on in the day.
We headed out along Bow Trail, which would meet up with Meadowview Trail. The route was about 13 km. After having done the 29 km Cascade Valley Trail with Trudy I figured this would be relatively easy...
The day was stunning - clear blue skies, sunshine, fresh snow and mountain views. Can it get any better??? Well, perhaps clear blue skies, sunshine and an ocean view...but that will be a story for another time.
The first half of the route wasn't too technical. A bit of rolling hills, but other than that it wasn't bad. I didn't seem to be getting much glide going on with my skis. It can be tricky in warmer weather getting the right wax though. In my typical style I just kept plodding along trying to get a groove on.
I was really working my back and shoulders today. My left should has been bugging me, even in swimming, so I was hoping that by doing this I would start working on getting some more strength happening.
Heading back along Meadowview was another story. Can you say 'Climb Every Mountain'?? Trudy did mention something about a big climb.... This was the never ending climb! Trudy was keeping watch behind me now so I asked her what's the best way to climb in xcountry skis. She said I could keep walking up like I was, or do a little hop slide. As I didn't feel I was getting enough workout with the walk, I did the hop slide. I don't regret doing the hop slide, but holy hannah I'm feeling it now!
Hop. Slide. Pole. Pole. Hop. Slide. Pole. Pole. Every muscle in my body was getting a workout. In addition, my heart was pounding out of my chest and my lungs were starting to wheeze. I went as long as I could then did a bit of a walk slide till I could recover a bit, then kept going with the hop slide. I was happy that I was finally keeping up with the rest of the gang.
I have to say, I was totally impressed with Candace. She was on skate skis doing this. Let's put it this way, she was skating up a friggin mountain! Skating on flat is hard enough, but a friggin mountain!! She was a total rock star.
The reward for getting to the top of this climb was well worth the effort. Unfortunately I didn't have my camera, so don't have any pictures. But if you use your imagination a bit you can picture a snow covered mountain range with a back drop of blue sky. The Rocky Mountains are truly magestic!
There was still another climb after this little view, then it was windy path down to the lodge. All in all it took us about 1:50 hours. I'm pretty sure I spent about 3/4 of that time with a heart rate over 150 bpm. During the climbs it held at almost 170 bpm.
After a wee bite to eat it was time to try out the skate skis. It was at this point that I gained an appreciation for Candaces ability to go uphill in them! Within about 2 minutes of having them on and skating, I could feel my butt and abductor muscles working. If I could figure how to go uphill in these things it would be a killer workout!
I was fine on the flats as I zipped past the biathlon athletes practicing their target shooting. I tried the wee hill that was there, but alas could not get the skate action to work going up. So back on the flats I went again. Everything was hunky dory until I tried to use the poles in conjunction with the skis. Why are the poles so long for skate skis??? I swear, they were taller than me! I was using Trudy's gear too and we are the same height.
Finally I got the poles going too. Skate, skate, pole. Skate, skate, pole. That's when Candace said I had to try the hill. I got there in good enough time, then did skate, skate, WHOA! and nearly fell over. Urgh. Then there was a bit of clomping with the skis, sticking the poles in to try and push me up, then a forced effort to ski. I sort of got it, but it will take more practice I'm sure.
I was thoroughly exhausted by the end of the day. A good exhausted though. I can't wait to get back out there to try skate skiing again, not to mention to better my xcountry ski skills.
What a great way to spend a Saturday!
Peace out my friends.