We got 5ish inches of snow overnight. We were expecting more so that’s a little disappointing. Knowing the snow wouldn’t quite be ready for skiing or fat tire biking. I decided to be helpful and snowshoe on the bike trails.
It was a lot slower than running or biking! I was the first one on the Conundrum trail. Someone had run parts of 45 North and maybe someone had skied part of it too. I didn’t see any one out there the whole time though. Except for the PistonBully grooming the ski trails.
I did some extra exploring too and got up to just over a 5k. I found a cool area between the road and train tracks that I’ll try to remember to check out in the warmer weather!
I got there early so that I could get all checked in and setup. I was expecting that they would close transition at some point, but it didn’t happen. So I got there early and got a good spot and had plenty of time to relax until the race briefing!
I had really struggled with making decisions about what to wear/bring and how to plan for nutrition etc. I also felt pretty nervous about the whole thing as I hadn’t trained as much as I wanted/needed to and just lacked confidence in my skiing abilities! I hadn’t actually biked that far yet either this year. The weather was pretty much perfect. It was in mid to high 20’s at the start of the race and the course was in pretty decent shape considering all the rain and melt we’ve experienced this week. I ended up making two last minute changes for my biking gear and that was a good decision! I was never really cold, but I would have been if I’d worn my running shoes and the gloves I wore for skiing.
I wore 3/4 length tights over a pair of tri shorts and Cirq knee length socks. Up top I wore a light Icebreakerz long sleeve under a Twin Six thermal bike jersey with the Loppet bib over top! I switched out my gloves and hat for each discipline so that I wouldn’t get too cold. For skiing I wore a pair of SealSkinz mid-weight gloves and my Loopet Loppet buff. For the bike I wore a nice pair of Dakine mittens and a ear band from the Twin Cities Marathon. For the run I just wore my Saucony Utili-mitt gloves – no hat!
This was not only my first winter triathlon, but also my first ski race ever! Fortunately we were able to self-seed, so I pretty much started in the back. We had to double pole for the first 100m or so and by the time I got there the pack was getting spread out pretty quickly. I know the trails fairly well so I knew where I would struggle and what was coming! The Meadow loop went pretty much as I expected. The nice corduroy trail was pretty much gone by the time I went by, but the sugary snow wasn’t too bad for most of it. I fell three different times which was annoying as they were all places I haven’t fallen before! Two of them were in turns and the third was downhill. The first time was on the way down the Northern Finger. I just had trouble shifting weight and making the turn at the speed I was going and got too far off into the edge and I think a ski just caught. I didn’t realize it but my watch got paused, so I missed about 10 minutes of the ski. I felt pretty good going back up the Finger hill and flew down and around the LaSquandra loop. The uphill back to the Upper Stadium wasn’t too bad today! The second time I fell was on the big downhill right before Coach’s Corner and I haven’t fall there since early in the year. I think that I had trouble with the speed and the looser snow and my ski got caught in a little bit of a rut and caught an edge. That was pretty bad, I think I rolled! I checked and re-started my watch this time! A few more hills and I was moving! I fell right in from of my family! Same thing, taking a turn a little tight going a little too fast and I lost my balance. Ugh. Checked the watch and off I went into the transition area! The results said my ski was 29:46 which is definitely the fastest I’ve ever skied the full loop!
Transitioned to the bike. As I was leaving transition the leader came flying by after finishing his first bike loop. The bike was three loops of the bike course. Lots of hills. I think I had a good setting for PSI in the tires about 5-6lbs. I’m still trying to figure that out, but I flew by a guy who was running a lot lower PSI and he was struggling. That really makes a big difference. I didn’t fall at all! I decided based on the weather to switch my tires for studded tires. I probably didn’t need them after all but it was at least one less thing to be nervous about! The trail was almost all loose snow by that point on the main part of the trail. I didn’t need to walk up any of the hills for the first two laps and only one hill on the third lap. I was a little worried about burning out my quads early, but that didn’t seem to matter too much. The looser snow made it a little bit harder in a few places. Since the bike was 3 loops it was hard to know what lap the people passing you were on, but I just kept pedaling away! There wasn’t a lot of people on the course, but there were a few volunteers and medical team members cheering us on as we went through. The one hill I ended up walking up was on the last lap on the Twin Lakes Trail and it was a quick downhill into an uphill. I couldn’t shift gears down fast enough and there was someone behind me so I couldn’t zigzag at all in the loose snow. Oh well. I’ve not ridden this far yet this season on the snow with my new bike so I was quite happy with it and it was almost twice as fast as when I’d been riding. Official bike time was 1:16:24 averaging 8.8mph.
I had hoped to not get passed again by the leader, as he was in transition when I started on a bike loop. Evidently that didn’t happen! I didn’t see him go by so it must have been while I was enjoying the two loops that were cut off the run loop! I high-fived the family as I set out on the run. I had one thick beard-cicle that kind of flopped around while I ran! This was the only time that it felt lonely out on the course. There were two guys in front of me and one behind me but after seeing them in the Meadow I never really saw them again until the finger. The course was deceiving because it would look like you were catching people while you were going downhill, but they’d be gone when you started on the uphill and slowed way down! After passing the run cutoff 4x’s it felt great to finally get to take it! And to cut out the hardest hill and a couple of short steep ones! I didn’t fall on the run at all!! The pictures definitely show me heel striking something I’ve been trying to work on. Honestly, though I haven’t been running much. I knew that the run would be ok though. My quads burned and climbing the hills wasn’t easy, but the hardest part was finding firm snow to run on. So much of it was loose that sometimes it felt more like running on sand! I saw someone on Jim’s hill that I might have been able to catch, but it wasn’t going to happen so I just finished my race! The run split was 27:35 8:55 pace.
My overall time was 2:18:22 which was good for 42/53 overall, 34/39 in the males and 5/5 in the 35-39 age group. The winner of course was in my age group! My ski and bike were both good enough for 41 overall, but my run was 33rd!! Obviously my strength!
My watch showed that I skied 2.58 miles in 22:25 (plus 10 minutes for and about a 1 mile when it was accidentally off, this also included transition). Biked 11.12 miles in 1:18 and ran 2.85 miles in 28 minutes.
This was a fun race!! I think as I continue to improve in my skiing it would get easier! The winner skied the loop in almost half my time!
I can’t actually remember the last time I ran on a treadmill. I hate them so much, but I needed to run. I went to the Minneapolis Bouldering Project and did a several routes as a warm-up and then did a 5k on the treadmill. My Garmin has a treadmill function that ended up being about .1 off from what the actual treadmill said. There were a handful of other people at the gym either climbing or lifting, but only 1 other person used any of the cardio equipment while I was there. Pretty unexciting stuff – I listened to my podcasts (they don’t have TV’s) and used a towel to cover up the treadmill screen.
After the run I did a little pull-up complex and then some lunges to round out my morning before heading back out into the cold!
I was excited to take my new fat tire bike out for its inaugural spin. We haven’t had hardly any snow lately so the tread of the mountain bike trails are pretty much straight ice. I don’t have studded tires but I thought I would ride out and see how bad the trails were. So I rode down the Luce Line and rode fine over some rougher patches of ice. Right before the ski trails cross the Luce Line (right by the mountain bike entrance) I hit a patch of smoother ice and I felt my rear tire sliding. It all happened in slow motion, but I put my foot down and it slid too and as my right side slammed into the ice I saw my bike keep sliding a few more feet. It was a lot of pain, but no real damage to me or the bike – my right hip and knee took the worst of it and I got a good sized goose egg on my left shin.
After shaking myself off I got back on the bike and proceeded on the snowy edge of the trail to take a look at the mountain bike trails. Yup, the tread was icy on everything I could see. Had I not totally just biffed it, I might have been dumb enough to try it! So I turned around and stayed on the paved trail. I rode down to the Cedar Lake trail and then to the river and back home on Plymouth getting about 9 miles in. The paved trail was pretty much ice free except for a few shady spots and I could have ridden a different bike. I think it was still good to get the new bike out and see what adjustments I would need to make to it.
9.4 miles in 56:33
Later in the afternoon we had the kid’s ski lessons. We decided to move them both into Level 2 and we spent most of the time actually skiing and getting some of the hills in. It is funny to see how their different personalities respond to the different challenges of going up or down. And how one wants to really focus on just skiing and felt that the games were a waste of time! I ended up with about 2.4K of skiing during the class.
After class was over I went out for a quick loop with my classic skis. I did the Hidden Lakes trail sections and then up towards the upper stadium. I was still dressed for ski lessons which meant I was way over dressed for skiing at a more aggressive pace. So I was sweating way more than I needed to be. I decided to use the ski as a way to get the car instead of walking back from the Trailhead to the Chalet parking lot so I went down the Drevil’s Drop which I’ve never successfully made all the way down. I made it onto the flat section before falling, I think my ski edge caught one of the tracks. Guess what, I fell really hard on my right side again! Yea, the same spots hurt a lot! This quick ski was about 3.3K in 23:20 on my classic skis.
We got a little bit of snow the last couple of days and we’ve had highs below freezing so the Loppet Foundation is starting to make snow. I’m excited for ski season and got out to enjoy the beautiful weather. It was about 10f with no wind. As the man made snow area expands I won’t be able to run here any more so I enjoyed the scenery. There is ice forming on some of the smaller ponds already too. Some of the downhills were a little slippery and I slid down the hill by the staircase.