Prospect Mountain Tuneup

I can think of better ways to finish pre-race training than the way this weekend went.

After the thaw that tormented the northeast last week, a cold snap left Prospect Mountain’s trails hard and fast. There was minimal debris: pine needles and small twigs in a few places. Once you got away from the lodge, there were bomber classic tracks. In the morning, Steve made several passes with the groomer, tilling the skate lane. Still, there was a hard surface that kept you on your toes.

For classic skiers, blue klister over a binder was the order of the day. If only I could consistently hit kick wax for races as I do when I set up my wife’s and daughter’s skis.

For myself, I figured it would be the last ski prior to the Boreal Loppet. Ordinarily, Saturdays are interval days, with Sundays reserved for overdistance workouts. But family day trips don’t lend themselves to o.d. So I reversed the order of the workouts, planning an o.d. run Saturday and intending to work intervals into my ski day. I’ve done this successfully a few times in the last few years, but yesterday wasn’t one of the good days.

With the thaw destroying my local ski trails, yet leaving them too icy to run on, my weekend o.d. was a Saturday morning dawn patrol three-hour pavement run. A three hour run isn’t a big deal. But I included several repeats of a steep 1 kilometer hill whose descents left my legs wrecked. I was still sore when I clipped into my skis on Sunday. Ellen and I skied together while Laurel skied with her friend Mei. When we came back into the lodge, Lars was rolling in with his family, and local skier Jeff White showed up too. Hammerfest, here we come.

Lars, Jeff and I set out easy to the coat rack and down Troll Road. Skating was fast and it was challenging to maintain balance on the hard surface. Gradually we upped the pace, trading off the lead every few minutes. When the big hills came up, we hit them hard. The previous day’s o.d. showed itself though, as I was gassed cresting every hill.

Lars, former pro mogul skier that he is, showed his downhill chops and dropped me going down Chickadee and later Steffen; I had to hurt myself to reel him in on the flats.

While I would have preferred a little more hard work, my body was telling me otherwise. One and a half laps with the boys was enough. I peeled off and dragged my sorry backside back to the lodge. I used to be able to get away with o.d. day followed by an interval or pace day, but twice this year it hasn’t worked out. As I look outside at the snow coming down, which I have to shovel on what should be a rest day, I’m hoping I haven’t blown myself out for the Boreal Loppet.