Sunday, February 23, 2014

ROAM Skimo - skins skins skins!

My second Coldsmoke Powderfest weekend! Tried out a clinic Friday. Expected at least as great as it was last year though had a guy that did not instruct, nor knew the ski hill. Took it as time to dial in the skis.

Cold at the start before the sun came out.
Marg on right with yellow backpack - photo Phil Best

Saturday, race day. 5250' elevation gain and 8.5 km, most of the course in the backcountry of the resort.

Right off the start weirdly enough the front end of my skin flew off! Maybe got flicked off with the stampede of racers off the start.

Ha, I am nowhere to be seen as I am back out of the pic!
 - photo Phil Best

Once I got my skin back on and sprinted off to pass the recreational skiers, I was able to catch back up close to Katarina and Michelle. Took extra energy though. It was interesting to see how the lead group slowed up so much after a quick start.

The route followed a groomed track for half of the first ascent. Once off track, the pitch was steep in fresh snow. Attempted a hard effort to transition.

Scraped my way down the sketched out powder run of Ymir Bowl, then made my way down Sluice Box. Next skin section was in the trees next to Motherlode run.

Bootpack 100m up White Lightning Chute- photo Phil Best

Following the pace of Gavin, he turned when I saw Katarina straight ahead. A couple other guys also had missed the turn and were now backtracking. I hollered at Katarina. I was then surprised to see Michelle who had also missed the turn.

As I headed up the bootpack, I caught a glance of the red & yellow of Michelle's awesome Canada skinsuit. I told her to let me know if she needed to pass.

The bits of fresh snow eventually created havoc for the skins adhering to the skis well as I skinned along the ridge.

Steep descent funneled into groomed run Morning Glory. It was super hard to follow the little red flags sparsely placed intermittently on the left. All of a sudden the flags were on the far right. A little confusing where to go down the mogully Copper Corner run back to the left.

Glad the marshalls waved me over as I was about to head lower. Began a really tough skinning section. After the short bootpack on-route, my skins were flailing.

One skin of my two sets was lost as I could not find it tucked under my jacket. I wondered if I dropped it. At this time I most needed it, I found it was buried under my undershirt layer! Nice and warm and ready to stick firmly onto the ski.

It was beautiful on the ridge, with blue skies, warm sun, no wind, and snow covered trees. Yet, I wanted to be done!

I hate using the phrase "death march" though the last skin section felt so. There were no racers in sight as I followed the yellow taping on the trees alone.

Finally, I reached the last transition. Just as I left Katarina showed up. I thought somehow she got ahead, and Kat thought I was behind her!

It was much more fun with company to descend as Kat roared by on the groomed run. It was dicey with resort skiers and snowboarders coming from all directions.

At the base, there was a last loop to skateski into the finish with a slight incline. Kat scrubbed speed around the corner. With speed, it helped me skateski by for 3rd. I'd consider that a tie finish!

Michelle finished a strong 2nd with her fair share of extra efforts in the race. Melanie Bernier was way out of league coming off a great World Cup series of races in Europe.

I questioned why I was so tired after this race. All the extra effort to jab the poles into the soft snow to stop from sliding back eventually took its toll. Definitely needed wall-to-wall skins with tails today! Good real backcountry kind of course!

Expo at Coldsmoke - photo Phil Best

Sunday, I ripped it up with the Keen Rippin' Chix clinic at the Coldsmoke Powderfest. Bonus was getting to demo the DPS Nina 99 skis (168cm). Had to rent downhill boots. I was a little skittish on the skis at first moving them like I would my 150cm AT skis. After a couple runs, I let them do their thing and it was like being on a huge DH bike! Total fun! The instructor from the KRC had us flying off jumps, and got us moving backwards. Total fun group of gals to ski with!

Saturday, February 01, 2014

Lonely Herringbone Loppet

Similar temps and conditions to the last couple times I've done this event. A little sun, a little wind, -10C start temp. Despite the warm temp, I learned to wear mitts for this event and to dress warmer with the balaclava on.
Marg (in navy) and Joy (in red tiger suit) heading down to the riverside start - photo Vermilion paper

The course is mostly shaded and along the riverbank so stays cool. I could feel the windchill and was happy wearing the gear.

Waxing was easy. The tracks were a little abrasive though snowy not icy. I had on a super thin klister base binder covered with many layers of VR45 to VR55. Anything works here as it is mostly double pole or HERRINGBONE - lots of it!

Joy Mekechuk, Wieske Eikelenboom, Marg

This year, the hillclimb was included at the finish of each 10 km loop. The trail at the top then reconnected to the course with a nice descending merge. After the first loop,  the skiers I was with peeled off at the finish line as they were only racing 1 loop 10 km.

Loop 2 was super lonely with me wondering where everyone was.

Loop 3, I started passing slower skiers. With 2 km to go to the finish, a young guy from the Vikings came roaring by with a strong double pole.
fun photo with Miles sneaking in
After I finished the last climb, Wietske and Joy came in soon after. I could not even tell anyone was behind me. Time 1:58:41 a smidgeon quicker than last year, though 6 min off the Helge/Jeff year!

Fun trails and moments of tucking and enjoying. Only two scary step turn corners. The herringbone climbs got tougher each loop!