Friday, January 30, 2009

More on Winter and the prospect of it ending.... sometime.

In the previous post, I wondered why more people don't XC ski. Well, apparently there is more rant left in that pen.
A few more observations about winter:
- weather forecasters on the local TV affiliates are complete idiots. They feign apology for "more snow on the way", as if A. they have anything to do with it (they WISH they had such powers), and B. everyone in their viewing audience is disappointed to hear that winter will stick around a few more days. The nerve of winter staying... through all of January.... in Michigan.
There is so much to do in the winter, but they totally focus on the negative.
Drives me crazy.
- I have two weird feelings about the approaching end of winter:
1. I'm never ready for the intensity of bike racing season. It's the same feeling most people get on the last Sunday night of vacation when they know they have a hard work week ahead of them. Ugh. But in this case, it's worse because I know - or at least assume - that everyone else has been hitting the gym/rollers much harder than I. At least that's what they've been saying on their facebook status: "Bob McCooty is getting ready for 6 hours on the trainer." to which someone replies: "You're an animal, Bob!"
I lasted 10 minutes on my trainer last night. I'd rather drink pig urine.
2. The same melancholy feeling that comes when the first chilly winds blow in September and October comes to me in February when the ski trails are like velvet and I'm skiing in a t-shirt. "This ain't gonna last much longer." So you stay out there until the last light is gone from the sky, and you go home and try to remember where you stored your summer clothes.
So while everyone tries to find a new way to voice their hatred of winter, I'm on the other side of the street not ready to put the skis away for the next 10 months.
And oddly - talk about conflicted - I can't wait to get to California.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Why Don't More People XC Ski?

Hello from mid-Michigan where I'm spent the past weekend at or above my anaerobic threshhold. It's called skate skiing, and I drove 210 miles to find a trail.
It's the best kept secret, this sport. I had the trails and Hanson Hills to myself. I think I saw 5 other skiers in 4 hours of skiing.
We have highlights...

I ski for about 4 hours at about 1000 calories per hour, and then I eat for about 4 hours. What's not to love?
What I don't understand is why this sport isn't more popular in Michigan. Especially this year when we've had tons of snow. I know of only a few people who own skis, and only one person who actually uses them.
When i got home from Grayling, i had heard that a local metro-park has started grooming for XC skiing. I naturally assumed that they would know about skating. They are, after all, professionals in the field of recreation. So I called the park to ask if they groom trails for skating (it requires an 8' wide groomed trail). The park attendant had no idea what I was talking about. No clue whatsoever. I tried to explain what skate skiing is. She thought i was making it up. She tried to explain how cross country skiing works. I told her that skating has been around for a long time. It's an Olympic sport. I swear, I'm not making it up.
Oh well, so I'll continue to have 50k of trails to myself even if i have to drive 3 hours to get to them. And I guess, if nothing else, it makes me realize how mainstream cycling is in comparison.

Thursday, January 1, 2009


The joys of winter: riding on icy trails in 20-degree weather.
Can't beat it.
Made possible by studded MTB tires.
I won't provide the manufacturer's name until they provide us with sponsorship.
But I will say that it's like riding on a sweater with barbed wire tires.
Here's the clip of the day: John and I riding on the Paint Creek Trail.
It was deep snow with deep foot prints, then it melted, then it froze solid.
It's like riding on the surface of the moon (pure speculation).
It's like riding the cobbles of Arenburg Forest (pure comparison).

The easy way out would be to move somewhere warm and ride on clear and dry roads every day.