New Years Resolution

I didn't make one. Regardless, there is something to starting the year off right. On New Years Day I was up at 5:30 headed to Wolverine Village via the MSP airport where I was to drop the Loris' sister off around 8. We got out of the door so early due to the high winds and freezing rain of the night before and that extra time was needed. Despite only minor disruptions including, but not limited to her cat pissing in the back of the car and having to get gas, I was free and clear and headed north at 75 mph by 8:20 or so.

I arrived around 12:30 and immediately hit the ski trails. Conditions were pretty solid and my new, actually first xc stuff since about age 6, was great. I should thank Henry Wisnewski and Bob Alleva for helping me out on this point. For those who care I am on 191 2011 Atomic Red Cheetahs and the world cup boots. Might seem like massive overkill for someone who has only been skating for a few days, but I had the opportunity to pick it up and plan to make proper use of it. I can certainly say that the skis are incredibly stable compared to the older atomic race skis I used last year which, at least according to Henry, does not come at any cost to how fast they are either.

I forgot to put on my knee brace and didn't even notice until I had been out for over 2 hours! This, I believe, is attributable to the time I've spent away from running and the extra strength I've built up around it this year. On that topic- I am currently trying to lose weight from a high of 192 or 193 around the time of the Dirt Bag but do think that gaining that weight and deliberately training to build leg muscle had paid off in the stability of my knee and in reducing those issues. I'm grateful to be seeing some positive results with the knee thing! 8 weeks of cyclocross and now skate skiing pain free is a huge step from where I was just last year. The trick now is to lose the "extra" parts of that mass without losing that strength. At this point I am somewhere around 178 most mornings with intermediate goals of 175 at Triple D and 170 at CIRREM. I know that IF I can drop 25 or 30 lbs without losing strength and explosiveness that it will serve me well throughout next year. I also know that I've gone "fast" while relatively heavy and that it will be a balancing act. I suppose I also need to keep in mind how many of my races are either long endurance races where the extra weight almost seems to help or end in sprints where any loss of strength would be quickly noticed. All that aside, knee doing better=great news!

It snowed hard over night and I woke up to this (well, it also helped that I rallyed the Mini Cooper pretty hard to get to the hill first)!

Sadly, powder days in the Midwest are for chumps and I relearned that lesson once again... There simply isn't enough sustained vertical, even at our better ski areas, for any real approximation of what it "should be". I can't even imagine trying to snowboard out there as you truly never would have gotten going faster than 8 or 10 mph other than the final steep pitch that is about 10 seconds long. I wound up switching off the GS skis and hitting a couple of the more narrow/gladed runs on slalom skis in an attempt to actually avoid the deepest powder and the wind (which was coming straight up the hill and adding to how slow everything was). For what it's worth I'm skiing on 12 year old Nordica Dobermans and 2006? Atomic world cup slaloms in 165 and Giant Slaloms in 190? (or close to that). They are hand me downs from my brother as my last year racing was one year prior to these skis. I'm not entirely sure why these are the ones I have now but they suit my needs well. I don't think there will ever be a time when my preference wouldn't be for giant slalom race skis for virtually any condition on a real mountain and for slalom skis on our midwestern "hills". Don't get me started on all the new equipment "innovations"...

Back on topic- Wolverine Village was awesome as always! I'm grateful for all the time I get to spend up there. After a couple hours of skating and a quick snowshoe after the sun decided to pop out I had to head back to Rochester. I wasn't sure how a one night trip that far away would work out, but it was definitely worth it given how little snow we continue to have down here.

This week is a planned rest week for me, but the way I see it I started resting Saturday and I will turn it back up late this week and the early part of next week prior to resting up for whatever it is that Triple D will turn out to be. I plan to pre-ride the "Untitled" Almanzo ride course and sort of finalize/check that after which I will post some more information on Almanzo.com, really hope to see you there (here?)!

Here are random teaser pics for that ride

and a shot of my new toebooties (the zippers broke and I had another "full" pair anyways. Paired with these 1/2 size too big Sidis and smartwool socks I'm good for road riding down to about 20 degrees as shown).

Hope you had a good Holiday

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