Thursday, December 27, 2007

Snowshoe Workout

Got out for a snowshoe workout the other day. Environment Canada says that we have approximately 78cm of snow on the ground now. It felt like it - man it's deep in the woods!

South March Higlands showed signs of snow shoers, but no one had hiked it recently. I parked at the Huntmar side along side of the road, where all the new road improvements took place. Not a lot of room to park, and unfortunately they did not put a parking lot in.

I got onto Ridge, hiked to Gateway and then onto Outback. I didn't make it as far as I thought I would - traveling in the deep snow is slow going. Got as far as the first long bridge over the end of the pond, then turned around.

Coach wants me to use the snowshoes to work on power. My guess is that the snow shoeing is working on explosive power (explosive power!). After a good warm up (about 15-20 minutes of steady walking) I did one minute sprints, followed by a one minute rest - five times. By the end of it I was spent and my legs were screaming at me. The rest of the workout was a steady hike that kept my heart rate elevated into zone two for most of the time. All said and done, I was out for just over two hours. Next workout, I will do another set and add on each time, steadily improving duration and sets.

You could just make out some snow shoe trails from before the last big dump last weekend. The deer were making use of them, helping them get around and find food. Saw a couple out. This little one was feeding while it snowed heavily. They've got bushy coats this time of year.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas!

Just wishing everyone a Merry Christmas!

Hope you and yours' the best.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Ergon Sponsorship

Ever since Ergon grips hit the North American market I've been intrigued by them. I finally picked up a pair in May and have loved them from day one. See my "Naked Ergon Grip Review".

This past month or so I had been in contact with Jeff Kerkove, Ergon's front man in the States, about a possible sponsorship for the 2008 race season. Just found out today that I've been chosen to represent Ergon as a sponsored rider! Whoot!

Thank you very much Jeff and Ergon. Looking forward to representing in '08.
*Ergon team line-up

Sunday, December 16, 2007

I'm buying a snowblower

Holy cow! What a dumping of snow we are getting. I was hoping to get over to the park for either a long snowshoe or xc ski today in the backcountry. Instead I spent most of the day shoveling snow.

When all is said and done we are supposed to have 40cm on the ground. Whoot! I've been out shoveling the drive and walkway three times today already, and it shows no signs of letting up.

Running out of room to pile the snow.

Just finished this section of the path, I turn around and it looks like it needs to be shoveled again. It was two hours between the last time I shoveled and when I just went out. It's drifting with all the wind.

Jackie Boy was loving it. He was especially having fun submarining under the snow when I threw his soccer ball for him.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Wax-on, Wax-off

Mr Miyagi says, "Wax on. Wax off."

Spent this morning waxing skis. This is my third year waxing my own skis. There is a real science and art to it. I do a basic waxing job - no super, racey, expensive waxes for me. Still . . . . it takes a bit of practice to do a good job.

Ski gets locked into the waxing bench and I brush out the ski - removing any dirt from the base and opening the structure up to receive wax.

Next, I melt wax with the waxing iron. Here I'm using Swix CH7 (purple). It's a soft wax and I'm using it to saturate the ski as much as possible. The more wax your ski has absorbed, the faster it will become.

Iron out the wax.

While the wax is still a little warm I remove the wax from the centre groove . . . .

. . . . and the edges. Then I let them cool for at least 20 minutes for the wax to set and absorb.

Ski goes back on the bench and I scrape from tip to tail. Soft wax comes off easy, harder wax (for colder temperatures) is tougher to scrape off.

After scraping, I brush out the base of the ski with a coarse brush to remove wax from the structure. If there is wax in the structure of the ski, it'll slow the ski. Here I am using a bronze brush (this was a colder wax that I used in this picture, hence a more coarse brush). On a warm wax, I'd use a plastic bristle brush to brush out the base.

This is what the ski looks like after brushing it out. I just wipe away the powdery residue. After, I polish the ski with a polishing cloth to get it shinny and fast!

Swix CH4 (green) is a very hard wax, good for snow in the temperature range of -10 to -32 degrees. You really lose your glide on cold, cold snow no matter how well you wax.

Here is a bronze (left) and nylon brush.

Waxing is all about layering the wax and doing multiple applications. Today I did five applications of wax just on my skate skis. Here's the order: CH 7 (purple -2to-6 C), CH6 (blue -6 to -12 C), CH4(green), CH6 again, and finished off with CH4.

The snow is cold today, so that's why I finished with a harder wax.

Straight Chain Love

Received and early Christmas present from Roman - some "Straight Chain Love" stickers. Thanks Roman!
Who wants one? Need to save a few to drop off at the Moose.

Straight Chain is a clothing company specifically for cyclists. They make some very nice stuff at a reasonable price.

You can check out Roman's blog HERE. (clicky clicky)

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Naked Scale Review

Product: Zenith home scale
Purchased: Zellers
Price: aprox. $25.00

I optimistically purchased this product a couple months ago. I saw results right away after developing enthusiastic plans for getting the best results from my new purchase. I initially felt encouraged by how good the scale worked.

It measures 11.25" x 11.25", has a sturdy platform to stand on, is a nice shade of black and it's digital numbers are large and easy to read.

The surface is dimpled, like a golf ball, which made it comfortable to stand on. It was easy to step on to and easy to step off (though I always didn't feel very good after stepping off after it's reading). The pocked surface provided good grip, and the reviewer didn't note any slipping while standing on it.

However, the more I used the scale, and the less enthusiastic I felt towards my plan to use to advantageously and the more I became dismayed at the products reliability and accuracy. Over time, the 'modulation' and scale feedback left me doubting it. I tried to bring it back to the store where I bought it, explaining to a sales associate it's flaws. He assured me it was "user error" and wouldn't refund my money.

I really wanted to like this product, but found it wouldn't give me the feedback that I wanted to see. It really let me down. Here's the readout from today:

(that's pounds - lbs)

no need for rectangles

I am hoping that after a break-in period the scale will begin to show the results that I hoped for, and saw, when I first bought it.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

First death ski

I nearly died today. Stole this photo from Peter's post over on the TEAM BLOG.

First skate of the year. Fortune climb hurt me. Worked out the bugs towards the end of the ski - thank God it was mostly downhill on the way back. Poling and stride started to come back and it became easier to find a flat ski. Legs began moving like a pendulum.

It was, like, Peter's seventh time skate skiing ever! He did awesome! By the end of the ski you could see a huge improvement in his technique.

Again on Thursday. Who's in?

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Glue ski

Got out this morning for only my second ski of the season. I could have skied the past three or four weekends. Oddly enough, being able to ski this early in December in recent years would have been considered early, however, we are 'into it' now!

Still congested, stuffed up and feeling crappy. I felt I had enough energy to ski. Started out rough, but got better as the day went on . Was bringing up all sorts of 'glue' from my sinuses and lungs. Tough going through the backcountry trails we were on, track baskets kept breaking though the side of the trail and spent a lot of energy with my upper body trying to compensate for my poor forum. Once in the track set, things got easier and I was able to work on my technique some.

At one point I was following too close to Tanya as we were climbing a hill, when she slipped out in mid kick and the back of her ski almost took out my two front teeth (just in time for Christmas!). "all I want for Christmas are my two front teeth . . . . ."

Glide wax: Six purple Grip wax: Swix purple (started with Swix blue extra but switched due to warm snow temps)

They've been doing a tonne of grooming and work on the trails the past couple of weeks. Trails will only get better and better as the season goes on, with the solid base that's been established.

Trails from Kingsmere (P7).

On top of Penguin.

Tomorrow I'll be skating with Peter. First skate ski of the season . . . . should be fugly from a conditioning perspective, but even fuglier from the technique standpoint.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Down and out

I've been sick for about three weeks now. Started off bad, got better, then got bad again Sunday. Can't seem to shake it. I'm eating well, lots of rest, lots of fluids . . . . just not getting any better.

I took today off work to stay at home and sleep as much as possible. I am SOOOOO tempted to go for a skate ski this morning. It's a clear day with not a cloud in site - beautiful blue sky, and it's only going to be -6 degrees (celsius, 21.2 faren.) with a wind chill of about -16. We've got dumped on this past week, 40 cms of powder. Trails in the Gats are pristine for skiing.

There's about 190 km of xc ski trail that is maintained. That doesn't include the back country skiing that can be had too. Environment Canada predict a cold, long winter.

Coach and I have been e-mailing about my training program this winter. I've been in the gym throwing around weights for the past two months. I'm bulking up a bit and would rather be outside. So Coach wants me to take advantage of the snow and get out there on the snowshoes to work on power - short, sustained efforts in deep snow, trodding along. With combination of using poles, I'll be working my core as well. Alternate days I'll be skate skiing or classic skiing, and spinning on the trainer to work on my endurance base and pedaling technique.

Just have to start feeling better . . . . .


Sunday, December 2, 2007

First XC Ski

Got my first xc ski of the season in this morning with Mark.

Since I've lived in Ottawa, this is the earliest in the season, that I recall, in which there was enough snow down to ski on.

I wasn't on skis, last year, until January - snow was an issue, but also a mending broken arm kept me off the planks as well.

Two years ago I was skiing on December 20 after a big dump of snow - everyone was stoked about getting so much snow, so early.

This year is unbelievable! I could have skied the last two weekends actually. However, a lingering flu/cold wore me out.

I was very happy to get out today. It got my fat arse out of the house and my mind out of the gloomy, unmotivated pit that it's been hiding in.

Sorry. No photos today. I took the camera with me, but the batteries died.

Happy 7th Birthday Jackie Boy!

Jacks turned 7 years old yesterday! Still acting like a puppy.
Presents, treats and a special birthday breakfast & supper were in order.