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!
I’ve been whining about being out for a few seasons but Pablo Robledo puts it all into perspective. I don’t believe I have raced against Pablo in an adventure race, however I like the looks of the Tetra race in Patagonia that is featured in this video. Do they have something against using skins for going uphill? May just be time for a trip to South America to find out for myself.
My friend Rob Mueller passed this motivational video on to me. Check out his website for more abilities discovered.
I got the green light to skin and mountain bike a few weeks ago and I’ve been enjoying it to the fullest. Although I haven’t skied since mid-April Mt. Sopris is calling my name, especially since my new Sportiva Spitfire boots arrived this week. They fit great right out of the box and feel fine on my foot. Maybe this year I can motivate some friends to ride bikes with me from the house and then ski from snowline. None of this wimpy car stuff. I think round trip we’d still be around five hours…if all went smoothly. Any takers?
In the meantime, I’m enjoying every ride on my new Scott Scale 29er. Even with burly, heavy tires the bike is super responsive, so much so, that Ian has his eyes on it for a few races. But I’m not sure I’m willing to share.
With physical therapy a few times a week, I’m slowly gaining mobility back in my ankle and foot. I’m still no where near running but thankfully I feel great on the bike and in the pool. My strength is coming back the more I ride and with three gym sessions a week. Someday in the next few years I’m hoping my left calf will regain the size of my right one.
Time away from competing has given me a chance to reflect quite a bit. One thing I’ve always wanted to do is coach, train and mentor women especially. I’ve started taking courses to get my personal trainer certifications. Although I haven’t talked about my intentions much, I already have a few clients lined up and I’m looking forward to building a program for them.
As I spend more time on the bike, the temptation to jump into a mountain bike race is building. I’m feel pretty fit but I don’t have the ankle mobility to get off my bike and run up something or around someone. Am I capable of racing for fun knowing I may need to hold back a little? Honestly, I have no idea…