Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Spring is in the air

Although they're forecasting some snow for later in the week, there is most certainly a whiff of spring in the air. It's getting a little warmer, and the days are getting a little longer. Before too long we should be able to ride outdoors on a regular basis. That will be such a nice change of pace compared to doing intervals on the trainer in front of the tv. Back down to three on the Tuesday Night Ski, but the conditions were excellent. Matty N. has been out a couple of weeks in a row now and is showing quite a bit of promise for the upcoming bike season. He's looking fit, and you can definately tell he's feeling good. Look out for him on the trail this summer. I can't wait for the first official Wednesday Night Ride. Until then, keep your eyes on the prize. A goal without a plan is just a wish.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

The Sea Was Angry That Day

Sarah and I had a wonderful time last night dining at the Melling/Simon estate just down the road. We went down a little early so that Sarah could have her first ice cave experience. Hugh and Denise have a long set of stairs down to their beach, and I had a feeling the caves would be really good right about now. I was correct. Sarah was nervous at first, but the awesome beauty of mother nature at work won out and we ventured a good ways out onto the frozen lake to snap a few photos. We then hiked back up the bluff for an amazing gourmet dinner in an amazing gourmet home. The wine, food, and company were excellent. A freindly reminder: 6:30 tuesday night skiing at the end of Chestnut. Don't forget your headlamp.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Year round biking in northern Michigan

I can now say that I'm a year round cyclist in nortern Michigan. I have ridden a bike (outdoors) in every month of the year. On my way home from work on wednesday the bright sunny skies and 40 degree temperature led to an impulsive decision. My plan had been to ride the trainer before yoga, but instead I ran around the house like a chicken with it's head caught off gathering the appropriate gear and bike for a ride in town. After half an hour of hustle I was ready to go. I parked at yoga and set out on the singlespeed for an hour and a half cruise in and around Harbor Springs. I was far from the only person out enjoying the unusually warm weather. Hugh was heading north from town on his bike when I was driving in. I also saw quite a few people out walking and running. When I rode down through Wequetonsing I saw four or five ice shanties and at least half a dozen ice boats. The nice weather was shortlived however. Yesterday the temps. were back down in the twenties with gale force winds. I only lasted an hour skiing at Chestnut, partly due to the weather and partly due to subpar grooming of the track. The wind has died down today, and Chris and I are planning on a little backcountry expedition to explore new terrain for a mountain bike trail to be constructed in the spring. Take care and be good.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

TNS (tuesday night ski)

We changed up the venue for the tuesday night ski outing, and so far it looks like a fine decision. We had four, yes four, skiers last night thus eclipsing the old record of three. Matt joined Chris, Amber, and I out at the dead end past Chestnut Valley to sample some groomed track by the light of our headlamps. There is a short and fairly flat loop on top of the superpipe that is great for doing multiple laps and really working on technique. We were not the only ones with this brilliant idea however. A group of four ladies were departing the parking lot with lamps lit just as we were finishing up at 7:30. Everyone had a great time, and we decided that is where we will be skiing on tuesday's until the snow melts and we can start riding. Perhaps next week we will have five skiers, but I'm not holding my breath. I've been lazy on the inspirational quotes, so here's one for today: The road to success is always under construction.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Weekend Ski Report

After taking most of the week off to nurse a sore ankle, I got back out on the skis both Saturday and Sunday. I think I'm at about 90% now on the ankle issue, and let me tell you it was an odd injury. It turns out that I cannot recall having ever injured an ankle before. I've hurt my ribs, back, knee, shoulder....but never the ankle. I'd say that the injury was almost as confusing as it was painfull. At any rate, Saturday I went up to Stuts and Kathryn's for a afternoon mardi gras ski party. Basically, it was a social tour in the woods with probablly 20 or so of us. We then headed back to the house for Hurricaine Punch and Jumbalaya. Sunday took us down south a little to Wildwood Trails over by Wolverine. It was my first trip down there this season, and the grooming was excellent. Hugh, Chris, Matt, and I got down to there around noon, and Doug met us in the parking lot. The skies were once again blue, and it was a balmy 17 degrees. I wish the forecast for the rest of the week was just as good, but there has been chatter in the air about some wintry mix heading our way with temps in the low thirties. It's okay though. I'm supposed to be starting my interval training on the bike now anyway. This afternoon: On Bike Strength Intervals 3min @ 50 rpm. Doesn't that sound like fun? Take care out there, and don't forget about the Tuesday Night Ski.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

The cold spell continues

The weather has been cold, but that didn't stop the Tuesday Night Ski group (we're still hovering at three by the way). Chris and I went out skiing for a bit, and Amber ventured out on her snowshoes. The temp. hovered right around the zero degree mark; but as I always like to point out, it's not that bad as long as you keep moving. I've changed up the format of the blog a little just for the heck of it, so let me know what you think. There are also a couple of new links to check out. I've just started up on the bike again after a little break to concentrate on the ski racing, but I'm hoping to get on the bike at least twice a week now to get ready for the season. As good as the workout is cross country skiing, it's not quite the same as spinning the pedals around. Be good, and don't forget to get out and exercise.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Well, my first cross country ski race of the season has come and gone. Woke up at 5:00 am on Saturday for the drive down to Traverse City and the North American VASA race. Keri joined me for the racing, and Sarah tagged along to supply logistical support. By the time Keri and I signed in, picked up our race packets, and put kick wax on our skis we had about five minutes to get the start line. On the bright side, this doesn't allow you any time to get nervous. At the same time, it doesn't allow you any time to warm up. Oh well, we'll just have to leave a little earlier next year. Despite the rushing around, things went better than expected and I achieved my best racing result ever (biking or skiing). I was second in my age group (30-39) for the 27k classic race. However, I did pay a large toll as my body felt like complete crap for the whole rest of the day and evening. Sunday morning I woke up feeling suprisingly good, and so Sarah and I met up with the Middle Village Ski Club in the afternoon for a little tour. I've got two weeks off of racing now to train, recover, and work on my technique. Then it's three weekends of racing in a row. I'm really hoping that this all pays off when I start up on the bike again, and I have every reason to believe that it will. I'm feeling fit and really looking to make some big strides on the bike this year, so watch out. Today's inspirational thought: Body mind and spirit. Go hard when you feel good Go easy when you are fatigued

Monday, February 05, 2007

Arctic Training

Had a good weekend out cross country skiing despite the frigid temps. Saturday, Keri and I drove over to Black Mountain just outside of Onaway. We had to break trail through three or four inches of fresh snow most of the time, but it was still a gorgeous day to be out in the woods. Sunday was the 23rd annual Outfitter/Crow's Nest Loppet. For those not in the know, it's a 15 mile ski tour from the corner of Hughston and Lacount Rd. to the Crow's Nest. It was the first time for Sarah, Keri, and I. I'll start off by saying that it would have been much more enjoyable all the way around the horn if it hadn't been zero degrees out when we started at 10:00 a.m. When I picked my car up at the start around 3:00 p.m., it was still zero out. It was cold, so cold in fact that I broke one of my poles about 1.4 miles into the day. I didn't fall on it or anything. I was merely cruising along a flat section near the tower at Stutsmanville Rd. when I heard a cracking noise (see attached photos). I let it dangle there for another mile or two untill the basket started slapping me in the leg. Then I just ripped it all the way off and carried it to the next aid station where I threw it in the trash. So, if anyone is interested in what it's like to cross country ski 13.5 miles in zero degree temps. and only one pole let me know, and I'll give you a full report complete with tips and advice. In the meantime, take care and ski well. Today's fitness tip is: Spit and burp on an exhale.
Do not waste a breath just for this purpose.

Friday, February 02, 2007

The power of technique.

I had my first hour long session with a professional nordic ski instructor from Walloon Lake (Nick B.) yesterday, and it was a real eye opener to say the least. Apparently, I've been cross country skiing the wrong way for years now. It's just a good thing that Nick was able to catch it when he did. If I'd gone on any longer that way, my bad habits may have become irreversible. Perhaps I'm overexaggerating, but I definately learned a ton in a very short period of time. I know it sounds obvious, but it really is a lot easier to learrn something from a trained professional than it is to figure it out on your own. It also motivates you to practice more when you know you're going to spend another hour with your teacher the following week. In other news, we are finally getting a ton of snow, and that makes me ever so happy. Scott says he's coming out to ski on tuesday night, and he wants the sauna fired up. So bring your skis and a towel. The trail should be in great shape. Take care and ski well.