Ah yes, back from a week in the Northwoods of Wisconsin. The snow was pretty good for skiing and the temperatures were nowhere near the normal single digit freeze fests that normally accompany outdoor endeavors this time of year.
Like most of the United States, Wisconsin has had a mild winter that has made it rather tough on seasonal outdoor tourism and if you’re a purveyor or an outfitter that caters to those tourists, you’ve had a tough year. Guides and lodges for ice fishing are fighting to make a nickel and snow fall that brings in the snowmobiles has been hit and miss (mostly miss.) I was frequently asked how the weather had been in the south and I joked with a colleague that I had used my ice scraper on my car twice so far this winter, and that the second time had been that morning. Skiing is the only other sport that I’ve found that I can say I deeply love to do. It may be 30 below and sleeting but a day on skis will make it magical.
I once had the pleasure of being stuck on the Peak 10 lift at Breckenridge for about 20 minutes. The weather was absolutely brutal and we figured that the wind gusts probably kept tripping the safety’s on the lift controls as there were times when the gust would actually stop the life from moving. There were 4 of us on the chair and we had nothing better to do than bitch about the weather, that was until the one older man that had remained rather quiet said, ” It sure as hell beats a day at work though.” Truer words were never spoken and the times that I find myself doing something I love in less than ideal situations, I always thing of that one simple sentence.
Might need to look into making one of these. Get out and ride!
I normally spend a good part of the winter skiing but this year with it being so warm basically everywhere, I spent most of the winter on the bike. I arrived in Wausau, Wisconsin in Monday and have skied everyday since, trying to make the best use of my week sabbatical. Lucky for me, Ullr brought us 8″ of freshies over night and the skiing has never been better.
Like marathon mountain bike races? Gravel grinders? Ultra-endurance? Like the pain and satisfaction that all of these provide? Then have a look at XXC Magazine. It’s available in print as well as a digital download and will provide you with more content and insight than your know-it-all uncle.
A frosty (29 degrees) ride at Lake Sylvia.
Work proved to be elusive on Monday and with temps still stuck in the mid-50’s, I decided to head south to Hot Springs and ride at Cedar Glades.
Cedar Glades will be hosting the first marathon race of the year, the Spa City 6-HR on March 10th. Basically you have 6 hours to log as many laps as possible on a ten mile course, with the winner logging the most laps and if more than one person log the same number of lap then fastest time is entered for the tie breaker. This will be my first time to do this race but I’ve raced many XC events on the same course. Monday gave me the opportunity to do a little pre-ride and to see how the winter has effected the course. Conditions were pretty good, with a little bit of water in the creeks and some standing water in some of the low spots. We’ve had some intermittent rain over the past few weeks and one of the big draws of the ‘Glades is that it drains really well and quickly to boot (it’s a former landfill.)
I was alone for my first lap and only saw a couple of other people and they were enjoying the day at the adjacent frisbee golf course. I stopped at the jeep after the first lap for a quick true on the rear wheel and to fill up the camel bak. On laps two and three, I had the pleasure of two different gravity checks. One muddy corner had my front tire slide out and throw me into the tree’s. No damage was done and all I could do was laugh at myself for a rookie mistake. Slam dance number two had my rear wheel slide down the length of an exposed root and had me high-side onto my left hip. That one left a mark or two but I laughed it off and continued on my way. I ended up with 33 miles in a bit over 3 hours. Record setting by no means but a beautiful day to get in some saddle time for a recon of an upcoming race.
Today had me finishing work earlier than usual and being that the weather was rather dreary, high 40’s and some misty rain, I drove down to Big Dam and rode across to hit up Pfieffer Loop. Pfieffer Loop is an easy, 1.8 mile cut of single track that is virtually dead flat. It’s twisty and windy and a nice close, loop to ride a little recovery on. Do to the weather, no one was there. I saw a few runners out on the bridge but no one on a bike. I did a quick ten miles and called it a day since the rain had picked up. I didn’t want to push it much after Monday and I’ll have a rather strenuous trainer work out on Wednesday, so this little ride gave me the time to stretch my legs and let my mind wander for a bit. So far a great week of training and I’m getting psyched for the upcoming season!
The rain subsided and the fog lifted, allowing me to get out and put in a few miles on the road bike. With temps in the upper 50’s and NOAA saying that it would be 63 soon, I headed west…directly into the head wind. All-in-all the route heads west and then north, allowing some relief when the direction changed from west. Knowing that I’d get to have the tail wind on the way back was motivation enough and realizing that it was just the beginning of February and the legs are coming along nicely made it all the better.
Here’s the ride and some stats and since I can’t figure out the iframe thing on wordpress, I’ll just leave it as a link for now. A decent amount of climbing and a nice 3 hours in the saddle yielded a good training day.
I also had the chance to swing by a trail side pavilion and look at a workstation that was recently donated by my cycling team. Check this thing out.
There’s even a bike pump built into the leg on the lower right. Now as long as the vandals leave it alone, it should provide many years of frustration free riders on the River Trail.
Trail map here.
With 2012’s races all semi-finalized, I took advantage of my past two sick days and put together a snap shot of my season with a template spreadsheet that I got from Velonews. I took their basic design and added some detail to personalize it for myself, but I’m grateful to whomever did all the excel work that went into the original.
I saved the file to my computer and went ahead and printed one out to work from. This way I can have a hard copy to draw, erase, and finalize without having to cut/paste and delete from the computer. I like this approach as it gives me a nice snap shot of how my year is going to look as well as giving me a linear timeline of the training time leading up to any event. A quick update to my Google calendar allows me to sync all the dates to my Iphone and allows me to know all the events at a moments notice. No more questioning and wondering if I’m racing that weekend. I can just grab the phone and check it out. This calendar also has a place for me to log my weekly training hours and areas to list my top races as well as my personal goals for the year.