Jeremy Rietmann (l) & Greg Strokes (r) transitioning for the second climb. Jeremy passed Greg on the catwalk at the end of the last descent to take the win.
Starting a race at 6:30 a.m. in the dead of winter is never easy, but this one was totally worth it. Wednesday morning marked the first citizen’s race of the 2013-14 season at Sunlight above Glenwood Springs. Randy Young and Doug Stenclik of Cripple Creek Backcountry organized the race with the help of Brian Edmiston. Approximately twenty of us were greeted with warm temps and a beautiful, nearly full moon for the crack of dawn start.
It took me the entire first climb to get my legs going, but then I felt pretty good for the second ascent. Other than a hard crash in some heavy snow on the final descent, the race was a great way to start the day. I recently came across this quote, “The best way to get in race shape, is to race.” So far, this is definitely working for me.
The next Citizen’s Race is January 22. Come check it out!
Results from memory:
Unfortunately I missed the remaining finishers in order to get to work.
Forty miles for me on skis and 40 years for Ian. It was a big day for Ian on Saturday and we made the most of it with some family ski time in the morning at Buttermilk, followed by a quick Bowl Lap in the afternoon while my dad watched the kids. We wrapped up the day with dinner at Cache Cache in Aspen, which was pretty decadent.
Ian and his parents 40 years ago
I also managed to get in 40 miles of skimo training last week. My legs are starting to come around, and my fitness is getting better, which I’m noticing especially on the ascents. I need to spend a little more time skiing Highlands Bowl on my RSR race skis to get my descending legs more up to speed.
So far, I’m psyched with my early season training and fitness. Hopefully I will continue to get stronger and I’m really looking forward the rest of the race season.
December 7th is D-Day. While officially it’s the “Day of Infamy,” for me it was a day to celebrate. Not only was it my dad’s birthday, but it marked my return to racing.
To say I was anxious for my first race back would definitely be an understatement. I was concerned about my ankle being ready to race, if I remembered how to transition quickly, if I had any fitness and if I would just completely implode. Thankfully, catching up with so many of my SkiMo friends before the race helped calm my nerves and get me into the right head space at the start line.
Despite a very short warm-up, I worked hard from the gun to get on the skin track as far up as possible and as close to Stevie Kremer as I could. Stevie quickly started to open a gap (as I fully expected) so I pushed myself to keep the separation small while still trying to race my own race. There were a few moments in the first ascent when I thought I might hurl, but I managed to push past it without leaving any surprises for the racers behind me.
Keeping Stevie in my sights, I completed the the first two ascents and descents. By the third and final climb, I started to feel better and closed the gap slightly (of course, this may have been because Stevie slowed since she knew I couldn’t catch her, but I’ll just pretend it was all from my effort). The final descent reinforced how much I need to get out and train on the downhills but I was really happy to be finishing in second place, just three minutes behind.
In the end, it was a great day of racing at Irwin Lodge. Bryan Wickenhauser, Dave Ochs and the rest of the crew at Elk Mountain Events put on a spectacular race along with La Sportiva and Irwin Lodge. A special thanks go out to JD and Everett of Sportiva for their support!
Full results can be found here. Congrats to John Gaston who won the men’s race, and then sprinted back to Aspen where he won the Aspen Uphill that night–impressive! Next race is January 4-5 in Jackson!
As I’ve added strength training in with my aerobic training, I’ve become very interested in maximizing the potential gains strength training can provide. A week after surgery last December, I started lifting and doing whatever I could in the gym about five days a week. There was not much else I could do to keep sane, so strength training became my outlet. Once I was able to get back on the bike in the spring, I was pleasantly surprised with my fitness level from just gym sessions. I came back as strong as I had been each spring after a winter of skimo racing.
One of the few aerobic training sessions last winter
I came across Gym Jones a month or so ago from an article in Outside magazine. It’s not a new story but either I had missed it in 2008 or didn’t read it as I hadn’t yet learned the value of strength.
Too bad Salt Lake City is close but not quite close enough to train there on a regular basis. At some point, I hope to make it to SLC for a Gym Jones session. In the meantime, I hope my current strength sessions will help me to get back in race shape for skimo this winter.
I’m back on skis, and damn it feels great. These photos pretty much say it all…
Successfully wore the dog out on Wednesday,
But he was happily back for more at Highlands today.
Here’s a quick update.
The screw came out of my heel about a month ago and although I’m not 100 percent recovered yet, I’m feeling better and better. I’m even looking forward to the first SkiMo race of the season at Irwin. I’m once again working with Lindsay Hyman at Carmichael Training Systems, focusing on intervals and intensity to build my top end race capacity. Thankfully, I rode my mountain bike enough this summer to maintain my overall fitness and endurance. Race pace is a different story, and that’s where Lindsay is really helping.
I got out on my skis three times this week. Once up at Buttermilk for two quick laps (first three photos), one day on Vail up to Eagle’s Nest after a PT appointment at Steadman Hawkins, and today up to Highlands, where Skid the Dog and I climbed to the top of the Bowl. My Sportiva Stratos boots still fit great, even now that my left foot has been entirely rebuilt. I was tentative the first day, but by my second run I was skiing with a huge smile and arcing some awesome turns in the soft snow.
After sitting out pretty much all of last ski season, I’m really looking forward to not only SkiMo racing but skiing with my family as well. Both Axel and Juniper will have ski school on Saturdays this winter so Ian and will have lots of days to make turns together, which we’re really excited about. I’m also going to be volunteering with the Nordic Wolves program up at Spring Gulch, helping Juniper and the other kids learn to Nordic ski.
The Irwin Lodge SkiMo race is on December 7th. That gives me a month to get going. Here’s to being healthy and happy again, on and off the snow!