Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Epic Roller Ski

Regular readers will recall Tony's plan for us to ski up Cypress Mountain.  Roller ski that is...  Our first ascent (last week) was rescheduled due to wet conditions.  We tackled the mountain for the first time last night.

I had been looking forward to the climb all day...  there is something quite spectacular about climbing a mountain.  Whether by foot, by bike or by roller ski - if you climb from the base to the top you have something to be proud of....  that's what's cool about mountains.

Given the magnitude of this training session compared to others (on the track in burnaby) I should have prepared A LOT better.

I arrived right on time - which for me is 15 minutes too late...  I had to do a few leg adjustments with wrenches and vice grips, switch out some bolts, tighten it all up again, get water in my water bottle, find my reflective vest, grab a gel etc. etc.  all while others were waiting.  So, of course I rushed it....  Couldn't find the little wedge that puts my leg at the right angle for skiing (skip it - no time to search more), rushed the tightening of the bolts and didn't have the best tools for it anyway (would have killed for a deep socket set...)

Anyway, eventually I joined the group and we started out from the Works Yard at the 2km mark.  I felt pretty good right off the bat - the roller skis feel solid going against a slight incline - control is easy and the resistance is manageable when the slope is tame.

As the incline steepened the work got harder (obviously), but I found I was really able to tweak my technique a lot because of the long duration.  The climb up to the viewpoint went really well.  I was treating it kind of like intervals, going at a good clip for 150 metres, then resting, then going again, then resting....  it worked perfectly with the pace of some of the other skiers.

At the viewpoint I had to stop and take off my leg to release a lot of sweat....  it was warm out and the heavy leg work had caused a lot of sweat in my liner.  After the viewpoint I continued up the mountain but began to have some issues.  All of a sudden balance was difficult.  I felt extra wobbly....

Eventually I figured out that the two bolts in my leg (pictured in this post) had come loose...  I had no tools to fix it and there was really nothing I could do about it.  I tried to continue a few times but the loose-ness was irritating (and wipeout inducing on two occasions)....  I was beyond frustrated.

Let me take this moment to explain...  I work really hard to 'overcome' my amputation.  I NEVER have "poor me" moments.... ever.  I truly don't.  But I can tell you I get WAY frustrated and quite overly pissed when my prosthetic lets me down.  That was how I felt at that moment.  Luckily my little "frustration-spazz" occurred in a solitary moment on the winding road... 

Looking back shortly afterward I realised my reaction was a bit over the top...    I only had myself to blame - I rushed the awkward bolt-tightening process at the bottom of the mountain.  I didn't have the perfect tools for the job and it showed in the result.

Lesson learned.  Ultimately, I made it to about the 11 km mark (I still had 2km to go)...  I felt that the session was awesome - so good for technique and also for mental strength.  I will never need to climb a hill like this while racing - all hills will look a bit smaller from now on because of that.  

The technique and mental strength are key BUT by far the biggest lesson learnt was - BE PREPARED.  Take the time to be dialed-in perfectly.  Don't rush.  Have the perfect tools.  If your tools are second rate (whether they are skis or wrenches) your performance is likely to follow suit.  If your preparation is second rate you haven't a hope in hell.

In the end this is why you train - to figure these things out.  I will take care of it....  

Andrea - (a guide for visually impaired skiers)

Our group - Courtney, Tony, Andrea and Cathy

I woke up this morning with VERY tired shoulders from the long ski, and mildly achy legs.  Miraculously I managed to summon the effort required to get myself to Masters.  Mischa had a great swim workout on the agenda and I felt awesome afterward.

This afternoon I went out for a quick 90 minute blast on the bike with James.  We rode pretty hard at times, but the purpose of the ride was mostly to enjoy the sun and put 90 minutes down - (ass-climatisation I call it.)  I feel the main challenge I face at STP is the comfort of 7,8,9,10 hours or so in the saddle....  so every minute counts!

OF NOTE:  We were not alone on the mountain - there were cyclists, mountain bikers, limousines, tourists and about 50 skateboarders. Not the normal skateboarders you might see "shredding" on a curb or handrail downtown.... these guys (and girls) looked like fighter pilots and that's probably because they go almost as fast!  Maybe reaching speeds of about 80km/h (that's a guess...). Check out some pictures I found of these skateboard speed racers!

Tweet this!

No comments: