Awesome day at Tahoe XC with rain in the forecast :(

Today was a superb day of training with the Incline Highlanders at Tahoe XC. The trails are thinner than last week due to some high temperatures but everything is still skiable. We are skating this week. Today we did some no-pole skiing, an almost daily exercise, and some double pole initiation exercises emphasizing explosive power at the start of a poling cycle.

If you picture a skier about to plant poles there is a lot of core and shoulder aligned to apply force. As the handles move down and the skiers moves forward, there is much less leverage available to the skier. Follow-through is still good, if there is time, but there is not all that much force applied in the follow through. It’s not an energy-intensive exercise either. Think of it as a way to train the mind rather than the body. Even when skiing slow and easy I think it’s important to emphasize efficient technique. Good habits applied to every training day make for good habits in speed/interval workouts and in races too.

On a bummer note, there is rain forecasted for the next three days. Our base is thin in some places already. With a snow level around 7000 feet, Donner Summit trails at Royal Gorge and Auburn Ski Club, there should still be skiable snow. Lower elevations are going to get melted badly. As a resident on the north shore I am fairly bummed out. Let’s hope this storm misses!

Training with Incline Highlanders

After an incredible week of training and racing in West Yellowstone, I am back to the “grind” on the North shore of Lake Tahoe. It’s not as bad as it sounds though. Now more than ever I appreciate why I moved here: the sun, the lake, and the awesome skiing community, which brings me to the next bit . . .

Today I trained with Incline High School’s nordic team at Tahoe XC. We did some exercises focusing on forward body position (without poles) and another balance exercise focusing on extending glide and transferring weight. We followed this with an easy 40 minute ski.

After about one week of on-snow training, they look pretty good! The athletes are fit from running in the fall, but the transition to skiing can be tricky. They are balanced and coordinated. I look forward to helping  out head coach Kathy Vomund with training and racing in whatever way I can this winter.

Snowing and Blowing in West Yellowstone

After a long drive on Saturday, we had a really pleasant day of skiing Sunday. On Monday and Tuesday we had the benefit of fresh snow everywhere all the time, overnight and throughout the day. Things were on the windy side. The trails are mostly well-sheltered. Double training sessions each and every day.

Wednesday we had one really gnarly day of cold weather with a high of -1°F. Then temperature dropped by about 10 degrees around lunchtime. Ouch. That doesn’t happen in California. That was our first day that we skied once instead of twice.

I signed up for the classic sprint race (1.5km Thursday) and the skate distance race (15km Friday). I picked these races reasoning that I need to improve at classic skiing and sprinting and that I would probably have my best shot at scoring good points in the skate race. I placed 71st in the classic race, which confirms that I need (a lot) more work in this area. I made a strong effort though and I can’t wait to skate it up tomorrow. Critically, my lungs feel good after racing in the cold weather today. See results for today’s classic sprint and skate sprint.

Sugar Bowl Academy’s Jeff Schloss noted that many of the other athletes suffered more frostbite in today’s race than Far West athletes, which is remarkable because we come from the warmest skiing region in the country. And everyone is healthy after 5 days of high-volume training and racing!

Coming up are the 10/15km skate race Friday and the 10/5km classic race Saturday. Results will be at Summit Timing.

Turkey Trot

With ski season coming soon (next week in West Yellowstone to be precise) I really need to kick my running habit. For a last hurrah I raced in the Auburn Ski Club’s Turkey Trot today. It’s a 7 mile roadrace around Donner Lake with just a few short hills in the first half of the race. I had fun with the race, and I was grateful to Jesse Regnier who pushed me for the entire race to run 39:14, a 5:36 mile pace. This compares favorably to a 10k Los Angeles roadrace I ran in August, where I ran a 5:37 pace. I ran a slightly longer race at a much higher altitide and came out faster than 3 months ago. Racing head-to head probably helped.

For the record, I finished second after Jesse, who put 30 seconds on me in about the last half mile. Oy vey.

Check out the event photos and results.

Skiing on snow already?

First, I am thrilled to be representing Far West Nordic this winter. I look forward to delivering some great results this winter.

Second, the junior training schedule has classic skiing on snow for today’s workout. This would be awesome if it happens. There is only way to find out.

I can’t wait for a snowy and bloggy winter.