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.

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.