Monday, January 2, 2012

Christmas [training] in New England

It's snowing pretty hard outside right now in Morgantown, and it actually seems pretty nice (gasp!).  I like snow for a few months of the year, and I like being able to play in it.  This probably stems from my roots as a Yankee, not the New York kind, but the Northeast kind.  My winters as a child were always spent outside, sledding, snowmobiling, skiing, and building snow forts.  I really like it, and it makes me think of home.

I spent last week in a "winter wonderland" in North West Vermont.  I always head that way for Christmas with my family and (now) my wife's family.  It's so beautiful this time of year (..err...all year!!!).  I really like christmas, and I enjoy spending time with my family.

It's also a time to hit the roads of my home town, and enjoy some of my favorite run and ride routes.  My sister is training for her first 1/2 marathon next weekend and I agreed to do it with her.  Her longest run was last Saturday (12/24) and I said I'd do it with her.  Unfortunately the weather is not ideal this time of year for running...especially for my sister who now lives in NC, and hasn't run in temperatures less than 40 degrees yet this year.

When we stepped out the door, it was TEN degrees.  1-0 degrees.  At 1pm in the afternoon!!!  Needless to say, having to run for 2 hours...we were pretty bundled up.  This is a video of my sister Jeanine, ready to go.

The run went well, but I was ready for it to be over.  I've only run 5-6 runs in the last 4 months that were over 80 minutes, and the farthest was 95 minutes.  I was sure glad to have had plenty of food...including some Honey Stinger gels and chews...not only do they work but they taste great, makes me motivated to eat them.  Had 1 Raw-Revolution bar too, left over from CX season.  Ate it all!  I needed it.

The roads are all dirt where my parents live, and this leads to lots of little slips every step you take.  This means your speed is drastically cut- we only got about 11 miles in 2hrs.  I stopped my Garmin for a bit in the middle, otherwise I'd have more information.  Here's a video about a mile from my house, that's Buck Mountain in the background.

Besides that run, I only ran one other time with my Mom (Cheri) for a 1/2 hour.  That was enough.  I didn't run again until this weekend, where I had a great 30 minute run in Salem, NY where my grandfather lives.  I love running there.

Anyways, enough with the boring running, onto the more exciting sport this time of year!

With snow, brings Nordic skiing.  Now, I know this is a cycling team, and I've only written about running so far, but bear with me.  Eventually, everyone has to take some time "off" and this is my time.  "Time off" is to be used loosely, because I really take most of December "off" and then January is more a time for just building some base fitness and having fun with my wife, Carly.  Skiing fits the bill perfectly.  It completely crushes me, and there is no other sport that just completely annihilates me like nordic does.
Craftsbury Ski Area, Craftsbury, VT
There's two types of nordic skiing, skate and classical, and I like them both.  But, I'm probably a bit better at classic (last year I was the Pennsylvania State Champion in the 6k classical race).  I really like skating though, and am steadily getting better at it (I've only been seriously skating for 4 years, I've been classical skiing for 13).  It (skating) really works on my weaknesses and I like that- the glutes and lower core muscles just get torched!!!  It's also very fast and much more exciting than my experience with downhill- big, wide trails with sharp metal edges and wide skis are just not as fun to me as zipping down a (very) narrow trail at 25mph on skis where your heels aren't even attached!

This is part of the non-groomed portion at Craftsbury.
Carly (my wife) and I have been just absolutely aching to ski!  There's been a couple of times where we thought it might happen here in Morgantown, but alas, no dice.  However, while at my parents for a few days in Fairfax, VT last week, I had multiple opportunities to get out and get some kick and glide. 

First, we got in a great little Christmas day ski in my parents field.  They have a 7 acre field with a small pond in the middle, and there was about 4" of snow.  After many years of me pushing a lawn mower through the 3ft of brush, and now my dad keeping it up with a tractor, they have some really great little loops to ski, run or even ride the CX bike (why didn't I discover CX earlier in my life!!!).  Each loop takes about 10 minutes, so Carly and I did about 30min of just fooling around with our dog Gus.

Carly and Gus

I love to ski!
On Monday of last week we went to craftsbury, where I skied about 15k.  I gave my wife some lessons as this was her first time out on her new "race skis"- those that have to be waxed to get grip to propel you forward.  Thanks to Pathfinder for mounting the bindings!  It was good where they had  grooming done...and not so good where they didn't.  It's been tough so far up there, and they only had a really good 2.5k loop opened up.  But, I skied that probably 3-4x and then did the other non-tracked loop (they put down tracks for you to follow in classical technique, little grooves that your skis stay in).

Then, on Thursday of last week, my mother and I got out and got another 45min of skiing in the field again.  This time, in about a foot of snow.  We were supposed to only get about 1-2" at most, but it just kept snowing!  That's Fairfax for you though- it seems the lake effect snows off of Lake Champlain back up against the Green Mountains and my parents are always getting more than they predict!
1" of snow forecasted; 12" received!
So, while I didn't get to ski 100k like I have in years past, I did get a little skiing in.  I will be posting at least once more about this, as I will be racing in the 6k classic and 6k skate Pennsylvania Nordic State Championship again this year.

There was also lots of socializing, time with friends, some consumption of spirits, eating out, shopping, TONS of driving, and an amazing wedding over the week I was in Vermont.  It was a great trip, and while relieved to some extent to be home, I miss being there already!

Oh yeah!  Who am I???  I'm one of the new members of The Team, Gerald (Jerry) Audet.  I have lived in Morgantown now for nearly 3.5 years, and have become fairly active in the local cylcing scene, joining in on the local racin' and ridin'.  It's a great community around here, and this team is really great.  While I'm a Tri-Dork (triathlete) I also love to road cycle, and look forward to my new cycling Category- should be tough this year, but that's what it's all about.  I am excited to continue to grow and improve with Dynamic Physical Therapy powered by Pathfinder cycling team- thank you for the opportunity to share!