Thursday, December 1, 2016

XC Supercamp

If I'm not mistaken, I remember Bryan and I sitting on the coach a couple days after the Ironman 70.3 World Championships, in Australia, entertaining the idea of snow. At the time, I struggled with post race doldrums and considered signing up for one of the full races in Cabo and Cozumel when I learned the Foundation slots for Arizona had disappeared. In the end, however, Bryan and I determined it probably suited us better financially if I squelched my cravings to race an Ironman with a late season marathon instead. That way, we could then commit ourselves to learning and exploring a different offseason endeavor: nordic skiing.

More specifically, Bryan and I wanted to better understand the techniques associated with improved skate skiing, as we had both found ourselves in seasons past floundering a bit on the immaculately groomed trails on Mt. Spokane. Bryan claims he felt better than that, yet I always came away saturated in sweat, feeling as though I'd just finished fighting with the snow rather than gliding over it. As a child, my father, brother, and I skied classic nearly every weekend. We always thought to ourselves, and out loud, how smooth and so much faster they moved compared to us. Therefore, I knew when I finally attempted to skate, that what I demonstrated contrasted to, rather than resembled, what legitimate skate skiing should look like.

Back to Australia in August, a fellow triathlete, nearly professional skier, and good friend of ours, Jay McEntire, suggested we sign up for XC Supercamp held up in Vernon, BC at SilverStar Mountain Resort. Fast forward to today, and Bryan and I can say we survived our three-day stint of lessons on skis. What's more? Today marks the end of our extended XC Supercamp for seriously SuperSquirts, where we've made the trek up to nearby Sovereign Lake Nordic Center for even more trails and opportunities to practice our skills and transitions through the different gears of skating.

Silver Star Mountain Resort
In addition to practing the sport itself, Jay took it upon himself to educate us on all the tips related to waxing. Hey now, I meant waxing our SKIS. What I knew from my younger years skiing with my dad, of applying a bit of something oily to the base of our classic skis in the parking lot and promptly heading out to the trails, hardly compares to the rigors of preparing skate skis for a day out on the snow. I watched, intrigued, by the steps of ironing in the wax, scraping off the excess, and then buffing them with roto brushes made of nylon and horsehair. Afterward, I reveled at how quickly the price tag escalated when Bryan and I added one item after another to our shopping cart, the necessities for a proper wax job. Six hundred dollars later, I dare say our skis will look and feel more prepared for snow than their skiers do.

At the end of the day, though, I remind myself that like any sport or hobby, there exists a significant cost at the beginning just to get started. In the long run, I tell myself that once again, I'm investing in my health. My goal for this winter of skate skiing primarily revolves around developing bigger lungs and stronger legs in my efforts to stave off my tendency to develop injuries as a result of muscle imbalances. I also hope that as this season progresses, I can better enjoy winter when generally, I loathe the cold and the way it chases me indoors. Finally, I look forward to time spent with Bryan, relishing the accomplishment of finishing XC Supercamp together in our efforts to exemplify what SuperGooders look like. Feel free to holler at us on the trails of Mt. Spokane. We will likely appreciate your tips and insights, and most definitely, we will need those quick quips to remind us how much fun we're having.

We made it to Alder Point Lookout and felt much more satisfied
by the view here than what we observed at the After me After you Lookout.  
After a good week of skiing, we found ourselves especially
vulnerable the last two days. Someone knew what they were thinking
by putting a liquor store at the base of the mountain.
We found a good red blend pairs quite well with sore ass.

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