It is hard to believe that the ski season is nearing its halfway point. As March approaches the brain switches to spring touring missions and the draw of the road bike picks up steam.
Having put in almost 50 days between the resort and touring thus far it was time to take a little break before work really starts to get in the way of my recreation.
This season has been good by coastal standards but by no means great. The storms have been present but not in the volume we have been used to in the past few years. Do I dare to say that spring is in the air? Or are we due for a March like 2010 where the Olympics craved the coastal snowpack, only to have two months worth of snow and provided a March for the ages.
For the first time ever I actually was convinced to do a warm sunny vacation in the middle of a ski season. The fear of missing out was there, but the draw of a solid jersey tan and some quality time with my new toy was too much to resist. It was off to Arizona for seven solid days under the sun with great desert bike riding.
With nothing but sun rays and 70 degree temps the base miles were laid down for the early season road races. It can be hard managing two sports and I have always felt that one sport must suffer in order to accomplish your goals. Ski touring seems to keep the base fitness intact and after knocking off almost 450km of riding in a week I am starting to rethink some of my early season training for bike racing.
Though it is important to put in the base miles the long rides can be supplemented with some ski touring which should provide some additional core and upper body strength. This is one of the beauties with power meters – you can quantitatively track your progress in terms of fitness. So this spring will be the test to see how ski touring can be effectively integrated into a cycling program. I am sure there will be some trial and error involved. If anything at all, I hope it can prevent over training, that may be its best benefit.
Mixed into the riding week was some touristing and a visit to the Grand Canyon. I think I might be jaded when a hole in the ground didn’t impress me that much. I guess it does make for good pictures.
There is a lot of thinking to be done when you are sitting on a bike for four hours a day. The whole week my routine didn’t change and the hopes of snow for the weekend. It wasn’t five minutes after crossing the border that I made the calls to see if anyone wanted to ski. Those who are committed are often rewarded. A coworker asked me how I end of skiing so much and seem to find good conditions. It is a function of volume if you ski 50 times you are bound to get a bunch of good days the law of averages exists for powder hunting.
The legs weren’t super strong after a big week on the bike but we still managed to bang out 1000m in a little over 5 hours. The supportive dust on crust conditions made for fun fast skiing.
Another week and another new area explored. Half of the fun is the ability to find good skiing in a new area. What will the back half of this ski season bring?