XC Skiing

BC LewisporteI've had my new skis for 5 days, and been out on them twice for a total of about 2.5 hours. They are Karhu Pioneer touring with Salomon SNS Profil auto bindings. My boots are Salomon Escape B5, and the poles are Swix ST061. It seems like a nice package, and I got it for a reasonable price from a good store.

My first hour was spent on familiar ground - the woods and bogs south of the pond at the end of my street. No groomed trails here, only the multiple tracks left by many snowmobiles. Not only did this make for a rough surface to travel over, but the machines were zipping by every few minutes and had to be avoided. I had maybe 3 minor falls on the way out, and none returning. A successful first time on skis.

Today I was a bit more ambitious. I travelled a trail I was unfamiliar with, heading west of the same pond, so I would have to practice my navigation. I also added the weight of my backpack and enough supplies to keep me alive for a day or two in an emergency. Included were a first aid kit, some power bars, map, water, cellular phone, GPSr, waterproof matches, compass, flashlight, multitool, extra clothes, flare, and a few other items. I also brought along the camera.

The terrain was similar, but fewer snowmobiles appear to travel this way, so I only had to get out of their way 3 or 4 times. I had hoped to find my way back to the route I had used the last time so that I would have a nice 5 or 6km loop to practice on. This path, however, seemed to want to keep going generally west, so I decided to turn around an go back the way I came in. The machines had mostly erased my tracks, but I didn't need a trail of bread crumbs to find my way.

I have read that beginners should get really good on the groomed trails, and take a couple lessons before considering going where I have gone, but too late now. This is how I learned everything from computers to kayaking. Besides, in about 6 weeks I could be in much worse while participating in the Raid Avalon.


Training Time

There are about 6 weeks until the next Raid Avalon. This one, being a winter event, will use different equipment than the last race. I've done a little bit of snowshoeing on my father's old wood and leather pair, but yet to do any cross-country skiing. I spent some time reading up on the available gear, and getting to know a little bit about the sport. Some decisions were made on what to get and I should have the complete package by the weekend.

For the past couple months I've been doing push-ups and stretching. Recently I added sit-ups back into the mix. I want to be able to easily do 50 of each at a time by the race. Walking/running around the pond was getting a little boring, so today I went for a 90 minute hike in the woods and over the bogs. I loaded up my backpack and attached the snowshoes to it. That extra weight really makes a difference. I'm going to train with it overloaded.

I don't know for sure if I'll be able to compete in the race, but preparing for it is a good excuse to get outside and get some exercise. I don't think I have stopped eating since Thanksgiving, and have been afraid to step on the scale. If I take to the X-C skiing, and the weather cooperates, I'll be looking forward to seeing what my weight has fallen to. :)
Karhu Pioneer X-C Ski


The Changing of the Kayaks

Mike and the kayaksMy lovely, nearly new WS Tempest 170 sea kayak is gone. Mike showed up at 7 this morning to make the exchange. The movers were packing his stuff up today for the move to BC, so he had to get it back in time to be put on the truck.

What I have now is his WS Cape Horn 15. It is a good kayak, but a big step down - in my opinion. I lose the skeg, which I really liked, and now have a rudder. It is also 1.5 feet shorter (as you can see in the picture of both taken Sept. 2003). There were a couple times out in the Tempest where I would have traded some of its high secondary stability for a bit more primary stability, and the Cape Horn has plenty of that, so it is not all bad. I might also appreciate the extra room in the cockpit.