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.
Plenty of snow on top of Aspen
Colorado had been experiencing a nice Indian Summer until midday on Friday when we got about a foot of fresh powder. The trails are no longer dry to run or ride on, the road is a little too wet for road riding and the nordic trails are no where near ready yet. The only thing I came up with for some fresh air and exercise was some skinning and skiing.
Saturday morning I made the drive to Aspen with Penn Newhard hoping the rumors were true that Ajax had received 6 – 8″ in an hour on Friday evening. As we drove into town knowing the bottom third of the ski area had been grass two days before, things looked a little grim. We decided we would carry our skis and hike for awhile but were nicely surprised with the skin track from the base of the gondola. As we gained elevation, the snow got deeper and deeper while the sun worked hard to push the clouds away. Despite one small face plant, we enjoyed some great powder turns and an awesome first day of the season.
I’m not normally one that needs to ski everyday but it was so nice to get out on Saturday that I made Ian and Juniper join me on another skin today. Unsure if Juniper would tolerate being in the backpack for the entire trip up Ajax, we decided to skin up Sunlight in Glenwood Springs. I recruited a few more folks and we all appreciated the exercise, sun and powder. It has been fun to get out with the family and I’m looking forward to more ski days with Juniper this year both with her in the backpack and on her skis.
I’ve been missing in action for awhile because of a nasty intestinal virus that has laid up the entire family, even one of the dogs. Juniper and I are starting to feel better but unfortunately Ian is still pretty sick.
I have taken a forced week off from training which may or may not be a good thing. I’ll have to see this weekend at the first ski mountaineering race of the season, the COSMIC Heathen Challenge at Sunlight Resort. I haven’t been practicing my transitions on snow as much as I would like so I’ll be practicing in the comfort of my living room. The COSMIC site has some great videos to help you through the transition process but for now I need to remember: boot, heel piece, skin. When I reach the top of a leg and am transitioning from skinning to skiing, I first put my boot into ski mode, then flip my Dynafit Vertical Ti Race binding into ski mode while I’m leaning down and then rip my skin as I stand up. My boot locks into the binding as I step back down after ripping the skin off and then I move onto the next ski. When it goes well, it happens in one fluid step but when it goes poorly, it can be very bad.
Folding skins at last year's Sunlight race
This process takes alot of practice. Luckily, the transition at the bottom from skiing to skinning allows me to take my skis off in order to get my skins back on. As I come into transition I try to get my boots out of ski mode so that as soon as I stop, I can pull my ski off, flip the binding back into climbing mode and get the first skin on. Hopefully I have folded my skin well at the previous transition and kept it close to my body so that it will stick to my skis again. As soon as I get my first boot stepped back into the binding, which I have made easier by making small lines on my boots to line up to the Dynafit holes, then I start on the next ski and get my butt moving back up hill.
The downhill skiing hurts more than the uphill in these races.
I hope it all goes smoothly this weekend but I’m sure there will be at least a few mistakes and some time lost in the transitions. Hopefully my stomach feels okay and my body can keep up with my mind after spending so much time on the couch.