Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Janksgiving in West Yellowstone

After a smooth drive to West Yellowstone on Tuesday night we were ready to roll early Wednesday with a few laps on the well-groomed Rendezvous trails.  Jonathan, Dru, Bill, Laurie and I all skied like kids who hadn't seen snow for awhile (because we hadn't) and won't for awhile (because this winter is off to a rotty start).  There were workouts followed by Huckleberry Martini parties, a Janksgiving Pie and even a SuperTour race for me in the short five days.

Bill took Jonathan and me for a ski on our classics on Wednesday, setting us up well for learning that discipline.  It's a beautiful technique to watch when it's done right, so don't watch us yet for sure.  However, it is certainly the root of the sport and I feel compelled to learn it. I also feel like I need to own up to my nice hand-selected pair of classic skis from Salomon and actually ski them right.

Thanksgiving meant the TUNA potluck for some, while some of us elected to sit around and eat from many delicious pies.  Jonathan crafted a chicken pot pie topped with cranberry stuffing all in one package.  It was a portable potluck and Jonathan dubbed it Janksgiving.

SuperTour 10km Freestyle Start
Friday's race was my season opener, and with a field of mostly national team members and NCAA athletes, I was hoping not to finish last.   They sent us off in 30 second intervals and I was the second to last skier to leave since I have no points.

I battled a wicked headwind at the start, having to keep from going all out for the long grind ahead. Dru, Jonathan, Bill, Laurie and the little TUNA Juniors were all out on the course yelling for (at) me, and I did notice! Two laps and 10 km later (the Garmin said 9.5km) I was hacking up a lung, happy to be done and 62nd out of the 70 skiers. Better, though, was my third place finish of those older than 30. For that I got to go to the awards ceremony, stand on a podium and get a medal.  After all those years of bike racing I am much more appreciative of those ceremonies, even when they are for very small things.  Especially at 38 and with one year of ski racing under my belt.  I'll take it.

Masters Podium for 10km Free
Dru, Jonathan and I enjoyed a great speed workout on Saturday down Cabin Hill.  If you've never skied the Rendezvous trails, Cabin Hill is notorious for taking out beginners (me two years ago) and even novices (me last year).  This year we were intentionally making huge pushes to get going at the top to hit the transitions at speed.  My what a difference a year makes!

When Sunday threatened to end our glorious time in the snow, Dru, Jonathan and I were determined to get that long ski in that we had planned.  Although it was MINUS NINE, we wanted to get an early start so that we wouldn't have to battle traffic back to Salt Lake.

We got up at 8 for dawn patrol on the full loop.  It was absolutely beautiful and serene, albeit cold and very slow.  It was an extremely hard-fought 24.7km.  Dru visited the special place for a moment and we had to bring him back with an emergency Clif bar, but other than that it was a glorious day.

Dawn on the Rendezvous

I will admit to (and bust Jonathan for) a trip to the Golden Arches for a Big Mac - something that is becoming somewhat of a tradition for us in West.  Then it was back to reality - work, schedules and a serious snow drought that had better knock it off!