Tag Archives: Skiing

03172019 – Winter Triathlon

Officially 6k ski, 18k bike, and 5k run in 2:18:22. USAT Winter Triathlon National Championship

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!

Ready to Go!

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.

Finish Chute

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.

See the extra thick long icicle?

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!

03092019 – Ski

I had been planning to bike, but the temps were right around 30 so I felt like it might be too warm to ride and not tear up the treadway. So I opted to ski instead. It was a nice morning to be out and there weren’t too many people yet. I did the regular loop, but when I got to the bottom of the North Finger Trail, they had the Judy Loop open. I’d never skiied it before and it wasn’t freshly groomed yet. It was an Advanced trail and I could see why. I ended up falling 3 times on it! They were all on tight turns at the bottom or in the middle of a hill! Despite falling it was a fun addition to the normal loop with some tough uphill sections too. Two of the times I fell my watch got turned off. I realized it quickly on the one, but not until it started going into autosave mode (so for several minutes) so I missed a good junk of the ski which you can tell when you compare the maps.

My watch said that I got 4.3 miles in 44 minutes. The official distance of the trails is just over 8k and I was closer to 55 minutes.

02282019 – Ski

A little post work ski with the little guy! It was a nice afternoon, sunny and low 20’s. We started at the Wirth Beach and did the little loop over the lake. I was skate ski and he of course was classic.

The loops have been reversed since the last time I was on them. Trails weren’t super fast but in decent shape. 

1.8 miles. 

02102019 – Run and Ski

To round out the trifecta of the winter tri, I did a run this morning before the snow hit! I grabbed my Yaktrax and headed out. This was my first outdoor run of winter and I almost headed into the park to try the non-ski trails but instead headed North on the streets and cut over after awhile to the Wirth Paved Trails. It was quite the mix of clear sidewalks, icy sidewalks, and completely untouched sidewalks. When I crossed Golden Valley Road I headed onto the trails and it was slow going as the snow hadn’t been packed down on them very much yet. It was a nice 4 miler in 41 minutes. The mile on the paved trail was 9:27 and the mile slugging through the unpacked snow was 11:05! After snowing all day and getting another 3-5 inches of snow, the ski trails weren’t in ideal shape. I ended up playing ski games with the kids during lessons and we got about 2k of skiing. I wore the classic skis as I figured they would be easier to use on the fresh powder.

01272019 – Ski and Bike

The kids were at a birthday party during ski lessons today, so I took the opportunity to ski solo. The trails were a little crowded with all the kids, but that was the time I had to get away. I did the full loop skate skiing again and it felt worse, but my time was actually better so that’s a good thing! My glasses got fogged up so I put them on top of my head and as I flew down Devil’s Drop they flew off. So as I went back up I made a slight detour to pick them up! One of the older kid groups was practicing climbing up the same hill and they were better than me! Most of them have been skate skiing longer than me and it wasn’t like it was super easy for them either!

It was about 7 above with a below zero windchill. The sun was out, but not really warming things up too much!

6.5K in 55:12.

A few weeks ago the Loppet Foundation announced that they were opening the man made snow trails to fat bikers on the evenings during the weekend. I think fairly low usage time for skiiers, but the bike trails have been icy so long that it is a generous gift to the bike community. I had hoped to go out on Friday evening, but that didn’t work but I really wanted to get out and try it. So I went, in the middle of a snowstorm!

The conditions weren’t ideal at all! The wind and snow was driving and there was more than an inch of fresh powder on the trails. This made it hard to see where the trail was and the powder made it slow going. I had to walk on some of the steeper hills and once my glasses fogged up they froze and it was hard to see through them. But that was better than getting pelted by snow in the eyeballs!

This wasn’t a problem until I was on the North side of the Haplutter loop. I had managed to get down the hill okay, but when I got back on the trail at the top, I struggled with staying there. I could see two poles and decided to ride between them. Makes sense right? Well after a few feet I came up to a rope stretching across the “trail”. I took my glasses off and somehow I had ended up on one of the greens. Oops. So I made it back to the trail and kept going. Then whomp, I fell off the packed snow into fresh deeper snow. I took my glasses off and I indeed had fallen off the trail and was pointed down the upside of the LaSquandra Loop. Oops! After that everything went fine but as you can see in the picture I had really no visibility.

I wasn’t the only crazy one out there riding either. When I rode up a few people were finishing and as I entered the Hap Lutter Loop a few people were just finishing the loop. So I might have been the last crazy one, but not the only crazy one!

5 above with windchill around -15. 5 miles in 56 minutes.