Thursday, February 25, 2010

Another Slow Night

Thursday night and the weather has lined up again to make it another slow ski day. It seems like winter has finally arrived in Barrie as we are getting more fresh snow. Pulling into the parking lot at Hardwood and it is snowing with at least three inches on the ground already.

Since I got here while it was still light it was nice to get out on some of the trails not usually open to night skiing (all the ones with bigger, steeper hills).

At least the previous snow was packed in now as compared to last time. The fresh pow sitting on top sure is slow though. I still haven't rewaxed since the loppet so maybe that is a factor explaining why I couldn't even glide down a hill let alone up. To quote my former VP with the best ski advice ever; "Why the hell would I wax, I'm just out for a workout anyway".

Anyway I set out to test myself on the Fischer Loppet course which is already laid out to see whether I should aim for the 20 or the 40 km distance. The first lap of 20ish km went pretty slow and I still sort of felt like I could feel the last weekend's ski in my shoulders and legs. But then as I started into a second lap it almost felt like the wax started working better. This could either be due to the dropping temperature or the onset of a hallucinatory state in my tired brain.

Either way, while I don't think I was going any faster,I definitely felt better so I think it can only be the 40km. I didn't finish the second lap through to the end but I think that in a week and a half I will be feeling good to take a run at the longer distance race without completely embarassing myself.

Below is a picture of my beardsicles after I finished. This is definitely the most extensive mass of stalagmites and frost I have ever accumulated so that is a little exciting. My mouth was sort of frozen in the position it would take due to heavy breathing. I couldn't deviate much from this as everything was frozen in place and to try to smile or close my mouth hurt alot as it pulled on all the hair. It is weird to write about this so there must be something wrong with me.

It occurs to me that I have alot of pictures of myself on this thing which is sort of bothering me and probably appalling anyone actually reading it so I will try to get some pictures of something else for the next while.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Mashed Potatoes and Peanut Butter

Well, here I am again. Now that I seem to be a regular commuter on this here world wide information superhighway, I guess my mom will feel like she is getting enough news of the daily goings on of her eldest son.

I got out for a ski tonight in some less than ideal skating conditions. I'm not sure how much of the problem was a lack of compaction during grooming and how much was snow that fell after grooming. In any case the snow had a consistency of dry mashed potatoes where by any push off led to my ski sinking into the snow anywhere up to 3 inches. This transitioned into a nonexistent glide due to the fresh inch of snow which had fallen in the last 2 hours.

I don't think that the situation could have been helped with anything less than a double turbo roto-corker with a fresh block of jetstream blue accelerator dust.

Even the track set felt as though it had been levelled off with a nice layer of natural peanut butter leading to ever decreasing glide speeds regardless of the steepness of the trail. In fact the soft snow on the trail would have been lovely to snowboard on if it could have been mounted on some apparatus which would tilt the whole thing up by about 35 to 40 degrees.

Despite this I managed to slog through about 14 km with muscles still protesting from the last ski at the Gatineau Loppet. Below is a picture of me at Hardwood Hills in my typical ski attire. Daylight skiing is a luxury I rarely indulge in. The flip side is that I was the only car in the lot which is nice for a recluse like me. All things considered I am super fortunate that Hardwood now has night skiing or else I doubt I would be doing it at all.

The decreasing after glow of the big race last weekend is being displaced by a building desire to get at least one more ski race in this season. I have the bug. It looks most likely to be satisfied by the Fischer Loppet at Hardwood on Mar. 6 as long as Grandpa and Nanna Charles can look after the small fries on that morning. The only question is whether to do the 20 km and really try to race it or do the 40 km length for an extra dose of good old suffering. Probably the 40 km since those skinny boards aren't called misery sticks for nothin'.

I'll leave you with a quote from John Muir, someone I really identify with in regards to his attitude towards the outdoors and wild places.

"Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul."

Go outside and do something fun.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Hello Fans!

If you find yourself reading this blog then you are probably a member of my immediate family or else I must say that I am terribly sorry you have nothing better to do with your time.

This is something of an effort to remedy the fact that I am terrible at responding to emails and picking up the phone. Inexplicably some people still seem to be interested in what I do with myself.

I will keep this short in case I don't get it sorted out and feel like I blew half an hour which I will never recover. In the event it works I will make efforts at semi-regular updates most likely pertaining largely to my extracurricular pursuits.

Below I have an up to date photo of yours truly with my loppet beard freshly shaved to a racing beard.

It is a bit of a Ewan Macgregor sort of set up from 'Long Way Round' and has come into being since Christmas break. It took its final shape on Saturday night in an effort to increase the aerodynamics for Sunday's activities which consisted of the Gatineau Loppet. This was an awesome weekend mission with my brother Cam who had flown in from Seattle on Thursday.

The final course layout came in at 49.9 km apparently which I managed to complete in a few seconds over 3 hrs 30 mins in the skating technique. I was quite pleased with this as it was my first ski race and my preparations had been relatively poor. This was due to a number of conspiring factors including being sick the weekend before and not eating much of anything for 3 to 4 days in the early part of the week. For a full report, I imagine that brother Cam will have a comprehensive write up on his blog 'The Adventures of Cameron Charles' at

Anyway, if you read this far, I'm rather surprised but I will try to post something else soon.