Monday, March 26, 2012

Another Last Minute 24-Hr Ski...

Was torn with the choices to ski on the fresh snow at Strathcona Wilderness Centre, head out to Hinton for some road rides in the mountains... or take a 2nd run at the 24-hour x-c ski in Canmore. After I re-read last year's post on the 24-hr x-c ski, saying I'd try it again... I quickly packed up last minute.

Did the 4 hour drive Sat morning in time to lay out my gear for the 11 a.m. start. Same size crowd with half the same people, felt like a mini-reunion of endurance crazies! This year the snow seemed faster. Cyd Fraser seemed faster. Leighton Poidevin was blazing and lapping us every 3rd lap.

The quick cornered descent was just as much fun as I remembered with the short steep climb on the latter half just as tough. The organizers did another amazing job. After helping out with the children's race, Crazy Larry jumped in impromptu to announce. He commanded the mic day and night and kept me smiling with his crazy comments.

I had bevies prepped with mostly high energizing powder concoctions. Was trying out a bee pollen/chlorella/Vega mix. Energy was good throughout. Only weird gear issue was an annoyance high in both shins which felt like my ski boots were digging in. I checked and nothing was visibly digging at my shins. Then began a slow dull ache in my left shoulder. To compensate, the muscles around the area totally seized up. I skied thru the pain thinking it'd go away (or wishing).

Stopped for a break and a physio worked hard to get my muscles to release. I went back out with the first lap ok, then the shoulder ache was back to excruciating levels for the next couple laps. Darn. Chose to stop after 9 1/2 hours of x-c skiing. Bummer as my energy levels were great.

Did get to ski 159 km! Crazy how quickly the distance builds.

I chilled out, napped, hung out. Cyd and Leighton were still on target for a world record pace. Then in the wee hours, both slowly were building time on each loop and were off pace. It's an interesting strategy of juggling energy levels with body fatigue and cooler temperatures.

Once daylight came, everyone seemed to zip up to pace again... though it was too late for records to fall. It definitely seems harder than it looks on paper.

Glad I came a 2nd time. Hope to have all quirks worked out before trying it again. I definitely encourage skiers to come out on relay teams. It is a great venue for a last ski event of the season.