Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Day I pulled a Dubay and Other Breaches of Conduct

The disqualification of Joe Dubay a college skier from Minnesota who borrowed his teammate's bib at the American Birkebeiner 54K classic race this year has created quite a stir on I even chimed in, and know several of the commentors from years past in the Lower 48. His teammate had signed up for the race back in November (it fills early) but qualified for Junior Nationals and said, hey just use my bib at the Birkie. The 21 year old Dubay, probably figured what the heck, and no doubt did not expect to be in the lead group, but he was and he outsprinted the legendary Olympic and World Champion Vegard Ulvang and David Chamberlain. Awesome! But the organizers figured out the bib issue and so he was DQ'd, AFTER standing up on the podium. Now that had to suck. Well, in my somewhat misspent youth of running I did something similar once. It was in Cedar Rapids, Iowa just a week after my final college track meet. I drove to Cedar Rapids and jumped into a 10K along the Cedar River. I got there just a few minutes before the start and neglected to sign up, ahh just a workout I figured and I was banking on at best a 4th or 5th and I'd just drop out before the chute. Half way through, running about 5:20 pace which felt easy I took the lead and pulled away easily. Came to the chute and stepped away, but the Race Director, a past training partner, ushered me through. I told him that I hadn't signed up, but he said no problem. So they awarded me 1st place and a trophy. But the 2nd place guy--he had his entire family there, girlfriend, ma, pa, grandma--complained and so I was asked to give the trophy back and faced a lot of scolding and finger wagging from the family. Oops. I didn't do this often, but a couple years later in Eugene, OR, I was just visting "Mecca" for a couple weeks--I ran a 10K a fundraiser for "Dr. Zultan's Track Club" along the Willamette River. This time I was nowhere near the top (they were sub 31), maybe 5th but as I approached the chute, I veered off and those few dozen in attendance were laughing. Turns out 1,2,3,4 were also bandits. I think it was 7th place about a minute later who was the first legitimate finisher. Oh to be young and stupid in the early 1980s! I stopped the nonsense after that. Yes you need to pay, or sign up. And yes switching bibs is in poor form. Nevertheless, some of the comments want Dubay's head, and additional sanctioning. It's over. He paid his dues. Makes for some fun discussion and memories, though.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

How Do You Taper When You Had A Weak Build-Up?

Sort of in a taper-cutback mode which seems weird right now. Even though I'm more or less feeling great/wonderful thinking mmm maybe I didn't get in enough hours during January to be ready to sustain a good 50K. I didn't exactly taper for the 30K last week--but didn't work through it either. And this week was about recovery. I still got in about 8 hr each week, but seems kind of paltry for a skier. I know that a lot of athletes my age put in more hours. Today's workout was okay-so-so. Did 27.5K in 1:50. Pushed the last 12K but still didn't get my HR up all that much, peaking in the 150s. Finally, saw that APU's Holly Brooks won the Birkie, the USA's premier ski race. I think she's beaten me twice at the Tour; I'd like to keep ahead this time (we get a 2 min head start), but if she's leading that girl train on the Coastal Trail, I'm latching on and do not plan to let go.

New format?

Not sure if I'm liking the new behind the scenes posting format here. Blogger is starting to look a little more like WordPress on the inside. Inputting. It does have more bells and whistles but it's not as simple and definitely doesn't seem to like paragraphs or indents! Maybe I'm missing something but my latest post is all one big paragraph even though I'm a compulsive paragraph splitter--I prefer the six line rule! I tried to indent and even those don't show up.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Wrong Way Roger

Staying on course for the Wednesday Night Series has not proven to be so easy for me this year. That makes two out of three for skiing off course. Once again, my fault but perhaps this time with a little bit of caveat: it was dark. Wednesday was my birthday and I wasn't all too psyched about passing on a night at Silver Gulch Brewery for a celebration dinner--putting that off until later but I lined up feeling not too bad. Did a mid-day run for half of my warm up, and then skied about half the course once I got there. Once again, perfect temps, 15 with an inch or two of fresh, light snow on the trails. The course seemed pretty straight forward, stadium hill, bypass, White Bear to Sonot cutoff, back, then first part of Warm-up and then take the cutoff at the bottom of the hill up the hill and back into the stadium. Piece of cake, right? Several of the usual suspects (Tyson, Kramer, Edic, Baker) weren't there but I'd have my hands full with Arvey, Lokken, and Kaufman in the mix, plus several others who are always right in there, like Holton, and newcomer Dash H. We started off in a mad dash up the hill, with Ben a little J3 scampering into 2nd place. Dash, the early leader took the first wrong turn, down East Ramp and all we could do was signal, no bypass! So it was me and Dave heading down the hill into White Bear, but I could feel the pack of 5 or 6 right on the tails of my skis. Don't look back. Down the long descent toward the 3.2 km Sonot cutoff, it was down to just 3 of us. My skis felt fast so I took the lead--half way in and I'm Leading? My 54th birthday?! I led most of the way up to the Moilainen turn, and relinquished to Max, who usually has faster skis. Mine were running great! (hadn't re-waxed since Sunday's race). I tucked tight into the hollow by the biathlon range and held my own. At the hump, before the climb out of White Bear, Max let up a bit and I figured okay what the heck let's go. Hammered fairly hard up the hill--trying to pace and keep breathing in check a little--when not one but two guys came stomping past, they were flying! What the heck?! Oh, couple guys from Estle's training group doing some uphill intervals. Settled back in on the switchbacks and tried to catch a breath for the sprint home. Had a gap too, into the stadium and down the hill. Then the lights went out. I had only an instant to react to the trail split, straight and left or straight. Both in the dark. We've had 3 or 4 races this year with that hard left, and none with the straight, so I went on autopilot and took the hard left. Took a sec to realize my error as I ran into the tape across the trail--presumably orange but looked black! Whipped around and hopped onto the other dark trail just time to have Max slip by. I about gave up but tucked in behind him and Dave as we went up the hill. Dave moved first, about 3/4 of the way up. I moved but it was too little and he pulled away to win by a couple of seconds, 17:40s or 50s for 5.5K? Something like that. Gahh. We went over the course but the only way I'd have figured it out would be to have had lights or to have skied it beforehand. The good news is that I feel great heading into March, best in years. And it's all in fun anyway.

Monday, February 20, 2012

A Lttle Bit (30K) of Vindication

We weren't even supposed to be in town for the final Distance Series race this weekend, and I had planned to go to the Sven Johannsen 30K in Anchorage. But plans for a mini-coup, seven of us flying down in a chartered plane, fell through a the end of the week, so here I was. The bonus was that I got to see my kids race in their final high school race of the season on Saturday.

Anyway, 30K is a good honest distance and we haven't had opportunity to have a decent freestyle 30K since I had moved here. Until last year the Raven Romp (or whatever name derivation) has always been classic or pursuit (15 classic/15 freestyle). Last year deserves a ** because it was -5 and started dumping snow like mad--ended up with 2 feet--and it was just a death march even though I placed decently. Just slow and miserable.

In 2008 and 2009, when we had US Senior Nationals here, I had hoped for a distance freestyle race but that wasn't to be: 30K pursuit and 50K classic both years. In 2008 I tried the pursuit--just 6 days after a hard effort at the Sonot--and fell on my face literally and figuratively. It was a disaster.

Finally--at the middle of last week--they decided to open up this race to both classic and freestyle. Some incentive to stay home--save some pennies for those classic skis--and the weather has been amazing lately.

At the start 17F, clear skies, with hardpack groomed to perfection. Can't get better than that. Wasn't thrilled about the 4X 7.5 (7.4X) km loop, however. And no one I talked to thought that was a great idea. Spectator interest. Hmmm, yah. We get 8 spectators instead of 7, hey that's almost 15% increase!

Lap 1: The start as was mild as the weather, and for about 3 or 4K I was tucked in with the lead group of 6 or 7 skaters. Tyson was skiing classic and he immediately took the lead, and barely looked back. Great day for Tyson. On the Tower Direct portion, Cody took charge and gapped the field a bit, and I dropped back to no man's land in 8th place. Stayed there throughout, and was surprised to see a split of 21:12 and to be feeling 95% to 99% in control.

Lap 2: The skate leaders were 20 sec or so up, and had reeled in Cody. So I set out to catch Max. Did so on Tower and we skied together I think for most of the 2nd lap. It was then that Lex, UAF skier and last year USA ski team for U23 world championships, and doing classic came barreling through at the bottom of White Bear. And so it would be. Ended lap 2 in about 43:30, feeling pretty good.

Lap 3: The leaders were a good minute ahead, but Dave had fallen off so went after him. We skied together through the entire lap and pulled ahead of Lex only to have him catch us at the bottom of the hill. He had very fast skis! At the end of Lap 3 (approx 1:06:00) I decided to push and keep pushing until I couldn't no more.

I didn't really gain on the leaders, still sort of in sight on the switch backs, but dropped Lex finally. Or so I thought when he caught me again--for the 4th time--at the bottom of White Bear. It was great to ski along with him, he knows how to get the most out of the trails with snappy transitions and cutting the tangents. Power and grace. Was right with him at the top of Warm Up, and gave it everything to keep in contact but couldn't hold on. So he was 8 or 9 sec ahead.

Buried anonymously in 5th place skating, 7th overall. But this was my best 30K and perhaps one of my best races since moving here. Just haven't had the opportunity for distance freestyle other than the Sonot under good weather. I felt like a fool in 2008 after that pursuit at Nationals. I still may be something of an overaged two bit hack but this was 30K of sweet vindication.

Final Note: Skiers chose freestyle by a ratio of 3:1, plus a few more did go down to Anchorage. Hint. Maybe keep this as annual race as skier's option: those who want to skate can do so, those who prefer classic, have at it!

Freedom of choice what a concept.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Nordic Centers II: Minnesota, NoDak, a little Manitoba

True Fact: Part of the film Fargo was filmed in Grand Forks, ND when we were there, ca. 1994 or 1995. The money was hidden on the highway, just outside of town. I think the woodchipping was done in Minnesota. So much for "Minnesota Nice" eh?

We lived in the upper Midwest from 1992-97. Five and a half long years, a lot of good times--the kids were born there--but I wouldn't want to go back other than maybe a brief visit.

Bemidji, MN (1995-97): Bemidji had a great trail system for a small town. The county and state there create and maintain trails and these are essentially free to use; all you need is a State Park pass to park in the access lots. There were about 50K of trails within a 15 minute drive of down.

We had a 2K lighted loop in town at Montebello trails. It was just a flat loop. They had a Wednesday night series, hotly contested fun races under the lights, and we'd also have interval sessions there fairly frequently.

The best skiing was usually at Buena Vista and Movil Maze. Buena Vista is the host site of the long-running Minnesota Finlandia ski marathon, which was a feature sport event of the year in Bemidji. The event seemed to lose some luster from the mid-late 80s heyday of the Great American Ski Chase, but still some big name skiers came out and were challenged by the 25 km of rolling/twisting trails, designed by Olympic medalist Bill Koch.

Movil Maze had no infrastructure other than a parking lot, and only 11 or 12 km of tracks, but these were fun and fairly challenging, a little bit like a circuit that would include White Bear Access, Moilanen's Meadow, and Warm Up Loop. Put in a lot of Ks there.

Lake Bemidji State Park offered about 10 or 12K of classic trails and a fun 10K race every February. It was rolling, with a couple of moderate climbs. About like UAF, but right along a lake.

Club system: No formal club that I recall. Just a dozen or two racing enthusiasts and the more casual racing/touring set. The high school had a team, but there was no development program.

Racing: I kind of complain about the racing scene here sometimes, wishing for some diversity of venues and opportunities. But we have it very good compared to there.

The Wed Night races were more workout than race; The Minn-Finn was the big one of course. Other than that just had a 16K at Buena Vista and the 10K classic. For more you had to drive a couple hours for a low key, often very cold, opportunity to race. I think one year we did the 16K freestyle and it was something like -28F. That was the coldest race I ever did and vowed never to try such a thing again!

I'd ski almost as much as here, five or six days a week from late October until mid-April, but only get in three or four races a year.

Grand Forks, ND (1992-95): Grand Forks is a hockey town and hardly anyone skied at the time. There were literally a handful of people who were interested in racing. But with four or five months of winter and some pretty bitter temperatures and winds (not unlike Delta Junction's weather), we had plenty of time to ski. I think things have gotten better since then.

We had a 2.5 or 3K loop at Lincoln Park, just across the street from where we lived for two winters, which connected to the Red River. Flat park setting, not much of interest. But you could get a workout. The biggest downside was the dog walkers insisting that they had every right to walk down the middle of the ski track. Parks and Rec just shrugged their shoulders and refused to enforce any kind of trail etiquette. It was maddening.

Things are probably a little better now, with set tracks along the Red River on the new flood control greenway belt.

Turtle River State Park, about 20 miles away, offered about 10 or 12K of groomed classic tracks through some interesting oak woodland. Usually fun for a weekend outing.

Club system: Not even close, just the four or five local racers, and then on weekends you'd see some people on touring skis.

Racing: I think one year we had one race, a Run Ski Run (5K each) event that was sort of fun. That was it. Still, I'd put in 70-80 training days a year and travel to Minnesota and Manitoba for races.

Manitoba: I didn't get to spend much time there, but did an exciting race weekend in Winnipeg ca. 1995, that included 150 meter sprints on Saturday (for money) right in downtown Winnipeg and 30K freestyle on Sunday (along with several members from Canadian National ski team) at a park along the Red River. And also the Manitoba championships out in the sticks somewhere in 1995. Good memories. One year I did the Prairie Rose Winter Games at some very remote park in south central MB--I mean it was out there maybe 3 hr out of Winnipeg. We (4 or 5 skiers) met in a parking lot. You took off whenever you felt like it and they recorded your time, gave you a brat and hot chocolate and sent you back across the border.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

A Trip to Nordic Centers Past: Colorado/Wyoming

I've been thinking about this for a while, listing out some former Nordic ski haunts from my past. It's almost hard to imagine that I've been here just under 8 years now, but this week in 2004 I had no clue that I'd be moving from Colorado. Let's start there.

1998 - 2004 (and 1981 - 1987; 1960s too but only did downhill then): We mostly lived in Fort Collins, my original home town. I had kind of retired from skiing from 1997 to through 2001, just getting out maybe a few times a year and racing about once every other year, but in early 2002 I started traveling to Alaska for work and that as much as anything re-ignited my interest in skiing again.

My last couple years there I had a season pass at Eldora Mountain Resort near Nederland (19 miles west of Boulder). It was kind of a hassle to get to, 1 hour to Boulder and another 35 to 45 minutes up Boulder Canyon (nanoo nanoo, remember Mork and Mindy?). Eldora was like a mini, albeit very high-elevation Birch Hill with the base elevation at about 9,400 feet.
I'd go up one weekend and one evening per week. And often that was about as much skiing I'd get. At that elevation hill climbing is a chore and you'll wear out, go into oxygen debt pretty quickly if that's all you do, so I'd ski a 3K figure 8 loop, Phoebe Snow and Meadows Loop over and over, with forays onto the other loops to break things up every 35 to 45 minutes. Windy as all get out, stepping out of the car into 30 to 50 mph gusts was not uncommon and not at all pleasant, but once into the trees (bristlecone pine and blue spruce) it was not a problem.

Trails and Snow-- Usually good snow conditions, but like Fairbanks at sub zero, slow. They claim 40K of trails, but the black loops are were touring/backcountry so it was more like 18 or 20. Fees were pricey ($15 or $20 a day, but you could get an earlybird season pass for about $200).

Races--Back in the day (early mid 1980s) they had a lot of races, a Wednesday night series (7 to 10K usually), and a few open citizen races. But upon our return, a few very very low key Wed Night races mostly on the downhill trails so not even on xc trail system, and I don't think they had a single weekend ski race in our six years there. :(

Happy Jack
The other standby was Happy Jack trails outside of Laramie, WY. You'd drive 70 miles from Fort Collins to Laramie and another 5 on Interestate 80 to Happy Jack--a lonely pull out/former rest stop, and hardly see a stitch of snow. Just sagebrush, bunchgrass, and a lot of wind. But a short hike into the cover of some pines and into a sort of valley and whoa, you had 20K of nicely groomed trails, and a lot of solitude. I loved it.

Trails and Snow--Snow conditions similar to Eldora, but maybe more sun and a little faster. These were at about 8,500 to 8,700 feet. Nothing technically taxing--similar to White Bear (without quite such a long climb) and Tower Loops at Birch Hill. And at that altitude you can breathe a little easier.

Racing--Opposite to Eldora, back in the 80s I don't recall any races there, but jumped into some very competitive races put on by the University of Wyoming ski team. Their team is not NCAA like UAF and UAA, but NSCA--club system. Nevertheless it's a quality team, they are about the best collegiate club team in the US.

Snow Mountain Ranch
Snow Mountain Ranch, part of YMCA of the Rockies is one of the premier nordic centers in the US (yes there are many better ones, but it's big and it's good). On the west side of the Continental Divide snow is reliable and the weather (usually a bit colder) more moderate than on the east.

The downside for us was the drive. 2.5 to 3 hours there, and returning was a nightmare on weekends as I-70 west of Denver would clog up from downhill skier traffic, so that could take 3.5 to 6 hours.

When the kids were small (like ages 4 to 7) they had a free nordic program for kids about every other week through the winter. So we'd get up early, drive and drop off the kids for 2 hr and get some skiing in. As far as I could tell, everyone had fun.

Trails and Snow--They claim 100 km of trails, but like Eldora I think they're double dipping or considering ungroomed touring routes into the equation. Mostly gently rolling but there are some demanding long hill climbs, which are killer at 8,500 to 9,600 feet. The race trails were relatively tough, but with breaks, about like White Bear at Birch Hill

Racing--They have races/events about every other week through the winter. The Nordic racing crowd in Colorado is small but select, with some very good cross over athletes from other sports showing up, whenever (Davis Phinney, Jacqueline Gareau, etc.).

Back in the older days we skied a lot at other sites like Frisco Nordic Center, Breckenridge Nordic Center, Devil's Thumb Ranch, and Steamboat Springs Nordic Center. While I finished my masters we stayed in Frisco for a winter. It was great to have some three centers (Frisco, Breck, and Keystone) within 15 minutes drive. It was the year I really went for it as a racer, and if I were to do it again I'd have gone to Steamboat, because Frisco at 9,200 feet was too high in elevation and I could never recover from training.

Steamboat is primo ski habitat for a lower 48 Nordic racer. They now have several choices for trail systems, and their center (at about 7,000 feet--that's low for Colorado!) near town offers races and all sorts of development programs from youth to masters. In terms of Nordic community west/Rockies Steamboat and probably Sun Valley are the most like Fairbanks, smallish towns with lots of enthusiastic support and tradition.

So the opportunities in Colorado/Wyoming were fairly wide open and accessible if you are willing to drive and you can tolerate high altitude.

Next up: Minnesota/ND/Manitoba

Monday, February 06, 2012

Breaking Out

I think I blew the wax on Sunday at Besh Cup 6 but had a good race anyway. Go figure.

Don't get me wrong, loving this warmer weather, but for waxing I hate it when temps fluctuate wildly, as the they have in the past week: -50 to +30 in three days? Then down to -15 at Birch Hill on Friday, climbing to 10 above on Saturday, and Sunday morning it was in the high 20s and climbing?

So Sunday morning I changed my wax from the standby Swix (low flouro) LF4 to LF6--with some LF7 mixed in. I went outside in the dark squeezed some snow--it felt fairly dry still but a lot different from Saturday. I knew that the snow would warm slowly, but underestmated the timing on that. Got to Birch Hill (sans wax iron and back up waxes) an hour before the race and even though the thermometer said 28, the snow there looked and felt much colder than the 18 to 20 I was predicting.

Turns out the wax of the day was HF4. So LF4 would have been fine, but maybe not perfect. If I could have done it again, maybe I'd have mixed LF4 with HF6. But it was too late, nothing to do but line up and take some lumps.

Had decent seed this time, due to the good race at Homer, although they have gone from a 20 person line to 10. It wasn't so bad, and I think we were actually less bunched going up the stadium ramp.

Going down relay alley the first time I could tell that my skis weren't running fast but with the bomber cold grind that I have any resistance felt minimal, i.e., wasn't getting left in the dust.

I've done three previous Besh Cup 10K skate races over the past six years and this was the first on the new course, following FIS homologation this past summer. The old course with South Tower, Black Funk, and Tower Direct--three really tough climbs on an already hilly course was always killer and this one looked as hard (with even a bit more vertical I think).

Birch Hill's new 10K mass start course (click on image to for larger view)

On Sunday it was Relay/South Tower (climb); down Tower; Rollercoasters; Sprint Hill and around the hairpin spruce trees (a cruel little joke); down White Bear to Surprise Cutoff and back up (oft my favorite place to ski); back side of Stadium and down a piece of Warm Up and then do it all over again.

10,020 meters, with 370 meters vertical. The new design makes South Tower a little longer, but a little less steep with the switchbacks, was the only part that felt taxing.

I just stuck with my plan and held steady--doing my best to avoid oxygen debt--and draft baby draft.

I was probably 35th or so at the top of South Tower; maybe dropped a place or two on the way down, but kept right up with those guys. By the time we got to Rollercoasters we had a nice little train of four, with a big group about 30 sec ahead and another five or six skiers maybe 10-15 sec back. And that was pretty much it the rest of the way. On the second lap I felt good--not at all in oxygen debt, just a notch harder than threshold--and was able drop those three guys, Liam, Owen and a younger skier, and set to work on Bobby--my son's HS teammate--and another youngster about 20 sec up.

Lo! with a K to go, coming out of White Bear I was right on them. Puttin' the fear into Bobby who I knew did not want and old man--I think a few years older than his dad--taken' him down.

I could shoulda just jumped ahead to get him flustered, and then try to hold them off in a sprint, but I chose to draft hoping for a break on the final 30-40 sec climb out of Warm Up. Turns didn't have much left in the tank with 150 m to go an they pulled away on the homestretch.

31:28, 31st place OA (7 up from my seed).

Won the masters division and "points wise" (base on percent back) think had my best Besh Cup 10K ever (will have to go back to the Archives from 2006, 2009, 2011 to verify).

Liked the new course, which will be used for years to come at championship, maybe World Cup-level races. And the 28 or so temps, wow what a difference. No hacking up gunk, no wheezing, just good clean borderline hypoxic fun.

And to think just the other day I was saying skiing was an afterthought at this point. Now ready to enjoy the season. That's what 30 to 50 degrees of added warmth will do for you.

Friday, February 03, 2012

The Year's Plan Is Shaping Up

I'll stick it out through the ski season, but even though the weather is getting better and we haven't gotten to the best part, ski racing for the remainder of this winter is like an afterthought.

My main goals are running. But here's a bit of a contradiction. I was orignially toying with the idea of jumping into the Eugene Marathon in April, but would rather save my spare few dollars for a pair of factory picked Fischer RCS classic skis for next year. The rationale behind that, I'm tired of getting waxed and smashed in classic races, so I'm going to get the best skis possible and see how it all shakes out next year.

Anyway, I turn 54 this month, last year in the 50-54 age group and still have some time goals. I've been frustratingly close to sub 5 for the mile (5:00.8 in 2008 and 2009), sub 17 in the 5K (17:01 in 2009), and sub 6:00 pace for half marathon (did 1:18:52 in 2009, 6:00.9/mile). One last chance to bring those down a notch. Been feeling good, recovering well from indoor track and treadmill workouts, and this is the last chance.
Everything else would be just for kicks.

And of course the biggest goal this year is to help those West Valley boys along to an AK State XC championship!

Fall marathon...maybe, but a fast half on "the Outside" would be great.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Alaska Hoary Marmot Day

We don't have groundhogs here, but their cousins the hoary marmot are native. If one decided to crawl outside its burrow at noon it would see brilliant blue skies, snow plastered to the tree branches, and it would feel the relative glow of -7 F temperatures. That temperature, while far from warm, actually feels refreshing.

Ahhh, winter how it's supposed to be! Six more weeks if you believe in the legend. Besides it's always winter here through March, so make it eight.

I love February and March here, but this year I'm stumbling into the best of winter (from about President's day to the end of March) sort of bleary yet restive. Almost as if the freeze has already beat me down. (i.e., already looking forward to running).

January 2012, be gone and never return. Final weather tally, average temp of -26.8 F, 16 days with lows at or colder than -40, six weeks of sub zero, no inversion. Just the winter pits imo.

Yesterday was like an awakening. The day started as same old same old, -35 in town and -20s at Birch Hill. But things warmed up incredibly quick. I left work in the afternoon and it was -18 in town, and by the time I got ready at Birch it was -5 up there. Skiing without freezing your face, hands and feet! The glide wasn't good yet but at least we weren't fighting against that draggy sandpaper feel. By the end of the ski we were enjoying +5 temperatures!

Nevertheless, I felt sluggish and out of it, this the first day on the snow in over a week and second ski in Fairbanks in two weeks. I did 90 minutes classic but was just going through the motions. Hopefully with longer days (up to 7 hr of daylight, gaining 7 min a day) and reasonable temperatures (anything above about -10 is fine for skiing although 0 to 30 above is preferred) we can enjoy the final two months.

This has wreaked havoc on marathon training. Oh well. Tour of Anchorage will be my tune up for the Sonot. Meanwhile, looking forward to Besh Cup 6, 10K freestyle this weekend and the return of the Wednesday Night Series next week.