Preparation

first, why do they capitalize all of the letters in the title of these posts? I DUNNO HOW I FEEL ABOUT IT:)

Anyway,

I did the Alpenglow 20k skate race on Sunday, and I believe that the consensus was that everybody had less than optimal skis. Slow skis stinks, but you gotta give it your all no matter what! There were some great stories about what people had to struggle through in that long skate race, and probably none more heroic than Elias and his broken ski (which I will let him tell himself in his own blog post this week if he so chooses). But the moral of the story is: you do your best to be prepared, and deal with the rest as it comes.

As for myself and preparation, I brought back a tradition from my childhood to help me do my best in the 20k. I made a Raceman the night before. I give credit to Wilson Dippo (a skier I grew up with in Utah, and current member of the Bowdoin College Nordic Team) for introducing me to Raceman. Admittedly, I’ve been laying out clothes for school the night before since before I started skiing, but Raceman is not the fancy of a nervous schoolchild who wants to look good for the first day. He is a tactically layed out system of dressing which prepares a race warrior for battle. I hope you will notice that Raceman has been engineered to facilitate a simple and orderly algorithm of dressing. He has the outer layers on bottom and the inner layers on top, in the order of which one should begin the dressing routine (i.e. socks and underwear go first so they are on top).

Cheers,

and for music, I am slowly succumbing to the Dubstep phenomena sweeping the nation. There are dubstep remixes of about anything you could be interested in, but I found this one yesterday while facebook chatting with a buddy.

Ellie Goulding – Your song

here is a link to the original which is also good!

here is a link to the original original.

Tahoe Rim Tour

The Tahoe Rim Tour on Sunday was a blast. Classic skiing is not usually my strong point. On the other hand, skiing 6.5km uphill with virtually no technique transitions is a great opportunity for me. (Downhills, technical turns, and frequent double-poling/striding transitions cost me lots of time in most other races.) After starting at North Tahoe High School, more than 100 classic skiers climbed a steep trail (Tahoe XC’s Gold), descended the “fiberboard freeway” for about 1.6km, and then climbed 800+ feet to Starratt Pass. I smiled at the feed station-or tried anyway-and held on tight for the descent to Northstar XC. In most races, the downhill tuck is a position of rest, but it gets pretty tough for such a long descent. I will confess that I had to stand slightly every now and then. It cost me time though. I need to do more tuck-jump exercises to hang in for that long. If you watch the linked video, spend a 1-2-3 count in the low tuck before jumping.

From what I hear the 4th annual Tour had the best weather seen yet for that weekend. Thanks to the director Don Heapes and all of his volunteers for an incredible event. I will be there next year, no matter what the conditions.

Back In College… Kind Of

The RMISA races in Soldier Hollow, Utah this weekend provided some great reminiscing about skiing for The Buffaloes. The weather was great and the racing was fun, it was a good weekend.

Fortunately, my skis for the 20km classic mass start on Saturday were a double whammy: very slick when I tried to kick and very slow when I tried to glide. The operative word in those sentences is TRIED. Although this was very demoralizing during the race, as I watched my competitors easily kick and glide their way around the Olympic caliber course, I learned (or relearned rather) a valuable lesson: Hang in there!

While I was forced to double pole up four out of the six major climbs and was repeatedly dropped on descents, I just hung in there and put myself in the “survival mode” mindset. By skiing smart in tactical spots on the course, taking advantage of drafting, and a little down-home determination, I was able to hang on to the leading group and still have a decent result.

In a mass start, “hanging on” to the group, regardless of the situation, is a valuable ability. Keeping that mindset on a tough day will serve you very well.

MG

Tahoe XC

Tahoe XC is a lot of fun. I skied up there for the first time this year, and it will certainly not be my last. I’ve been there before for The Great Race, but this was the first time I’d been there for training purposes and got to see a lot more of the trail system. I can’t wait for The Rim Tour tomorrow. Let’s hope for easy waxing

now for the best part: Music. I’ve been a huge fan of Take Away Shows from LaBlogotheque since I was in high school. This song was recently played on a car commercial and has gotten some radio exposure in the last couple years: 1901

If you’ve got time to waste on live performances from hipster-indie bands, go ahead and spend it on http://www.blogotheque.net/

Also, I’m super excited that the new The Decemberists’ album “The King Is Dead” is finally out. I’m listening to it as I blog!

-Gus

Sierra Skogsloppet

Racing shortly after a long travel might not sound like a good idea for many of us. I was a little skeptical at first as well, after coming back from Europe last Saturday. I felt tired and waking up in the middle of the night due to Jetlag isn’t always fun. But I decided to jump into Monday’s race at Tahoe Donner and it was the time I recovered the fastest from a long travel! It was tough to adjust to the altitude again, but after all I felt good. Given that I get enough sleep and feel healthy, this might be a way to adjust quicker in the future.

I want to use this opportunity to say thanks to the organizer of the Sierra Skogsloppet. They did a great a job and it was a lot of fun up there!

There just isn’t any skiing like Tahoe skiing!

See you on the tracks!

I’m Back in the Sierras

My first workout back in the Sierras since going home to Utah for the holidays was a great one! I ended up doing 10×1 minute intervals up Tumbleweed at TDXC. I had to teach my body how to hurt again, and I think it was a good wake-up call. I don’t think there is anything like some good short hard efforts to teach yourself what it is like to ski hard again.

The next day both Elias and I got some good technique advice from former US Ski Team member and several time Olympian Marcus Nash with the Auburn Ski Club juniors at Royal Gorge. We also had an opportunity to meet some skiers visiting the Tahoe area from Australia, which was neat.

To cap off the weekend, I participated in the Skogloppet up at TDXC on a beautiful sunny, albeit extremely warm, day. I guess this is what California skiing is all about. I just need to remember the sun screen next time.

In other news, I start school tomorrow. Wish me luck!

-Gus

P.S. I think I will make it a tradition to post something I’m listening to in each of my blog posts. Today it is Coeur de Pirate

Back in the Groove

IHS Freshman Evan Vomund skies through the lap halfway through the Royal Gorge 5km High School open race

I haven’t raced much since the Snowshoe Thompson race following Christmas. I was planning to fly East to visit with grandparents but switched to a roadtrip to Los Angeles when NYC got buried in snow. (About 7,000 flights were canceled in just a few days.) I did the first Tahoe Donner night cup race, a 5km classic race. Somehow I managed to blow up in a 5km! My lungs started burning after 1 or 1.5km and the oxygen debt took me further and further downhill (not in the good way). I guess I need I need to wear a balaclava or buff even when the temperature seems OK. I feel like a rookie.

I have been training as hard as ever though. Monday I am racing the Sierra Skogsloppet, the second Junior National Qualifier and another notch in the Sierra Ski Chase. That will launch me into the Tahoe Rim Tour (26km classic division) six days later and the Alpenglow 20km skate race at Tahoe XC the following weekend. I am going to have a lot more race kms than I did in the earlier part of this season. Last year Alpenglow was my first race since I only got on snow Jan. 2nd after my move to Truckee.

Finally, Incline Nordic enjoyed some great weather at yesterday’s skate race at Royal Gorge. The loop was short and fast with few hills. After some nasty weather at the Kirkwood opener and the Snowshoe Thompson, the California rays are back. I’m sure alpiners are bummed by the shortage of fresh pow, but as an XC skier, I couldn’t care when or how we get our spring base.