Sunday, February 8, 2015

Vermont Winter: A Clif Shot for the Soul

The Specialized Fat Boy in all its glory
Now this is what I'm talking about!  It's been an amazing two weeks in Vermont so far with winter in full swing.  It just keeps snowing.  It makes me so happy.  My friend, Michela, gave me her used back country skis and boots, and now I am completely set up to go AT.  Last year, I didn't really get an opportunity at all to play in the snow, barring the two times that Jojo pulled me around in a sled (once to watch my sister's nordic race and the other time for fun around the park) because I was recovering from hip surgery.  This year, I am making up for some lost time and really loving every moment out there on skis and on fat tires.  

It's been brutally cold, yes, but it just means that it keeps snowing.  This is what winter is supposed to be like.  I don't mind braving the cold temperatures, but, I do have to admit that I was a bit scared of the single digits when I first came returned back from Kauai.  I am a chronic over dresser, but this fear really sent me into overdrive.  The first time my sister, Sabe, and I went backcountry skiing on Mt. Mansfield, I wore about five layers on top and three layers on the bottom.  This set up was topped off with a down coat and heavy pants.  I underestimated the fact that backcountry skiing includes a weighted hike to the top with skis on.  I was a walking sauna.  Literally, it was disgusting.  I've been slowly dialing in the layer set up for the last week, and today I finally nailed it.  I wasn't steaming out of my coat on the way up.

Despite the unexpected overheating, the skiing has been amazing.  I've had to shut off this part of my brain for about four years.  After the recovery from the first and second surgery, skiing wasn't really part of the plan.  I grew up downhill ski racing, and it's one of my favorite activities in the world.  The fact that I get to ski mixed with fresh powder has really reignited my passion for skiing.  A flood gate of love for skiing has broke loose.  After Sabe and I went once, I was so excited to go skiing the next day, I couldn't sleep that night.  This is real.  I can get in a great workout earning my turns and then float in fresh powder on the way down.  It really doesn't get any better than this.

I've been loving mixing back country skiing with strength training, nordic skiing, and fat biking.  This weekend, I not only cheered on Sabe in her Super Tour ski race at Craftsbury, but I jumped in the 10 km skate race myself.  Nordic ski racing is one of the hardest sports out there.  This amount of suffering really prepares me for the deepest of pain caves in the summer.  This is exactly why I signed up for the Gattineau Loppet, a 50 KM skate marathon race in Ottawa, Canada, the night before this ten kilometer race just in case the suffering was too overwhelming.  Jojo has returned back to Vermont from Kauai and now officially takes the title of tannest human in Vermont.  She tried split boarding today, and we went for an amazingly fun back country ski.  Specialized also sent me the Fat Boy, and it's been phenomenal to have a fat bike to ride around in the snow.  My instagram feed has been filled with pro cyclists putting in the base miles in very warm locations.  That's great.  It's amazing to observe how differently all of my competitors prepare for the upcoming season.  I know, for me, this kind of fun, love, and snow is enough to fuel me for awhile.  It's like a double caffeinated Clif Shot for the soul, and that is really good preparation.

Think snow!


 The Sun Sets on a Cold Trapp Family Lodge
 Skiing Selfie!
 Backcountry with my Sister!
 This is my happy place

 I won a bet with Ed Dombroski about Cyclocross Worlds and he made me an apple pie
Ed also makes a mean breakfast.  Perfect fuel for a good day of training