Sunday, August 31, 2008

Hoppet week

The 2008 Kanagroo Hoppet start

Tim and me clowning around for the camera at Washbed Creek on the way out to Wallace's

Got back today from my last week of fantastic skiing at Falls Creek. Another perfect week with heaps of snow and the best weather you could ask for. It was real spring weather with plenty of sun and next to no wind.
I started the week off with a pedal with the lads on Tuesday before heading to Falls. Did the usual Yarra trails and was happy to stretch the legs. Next stop was Falls Creek.
We stayed in Bright which I wont do next year as the drive each day got on my nerves with crossing the Gap each day. Next year it will be Mt Beauty or Falls itself. I cant complain about the accommodation as it was all good.
Had a decent ski with Tam on Wednesday with a push out and up part of the Paralyser which opened up the lungs. This is a climb of around 2.5 -3 kms I think and is used in the race. We only went half way up as we had been in the car all day and had to get back down the hill to our accommodation.
Thursday saw me hook up with a old friend from cycling and head out for a decent 20km ski in the morning. Tim was recovering from a nasty fall from the bike a few weeks ago and said he wasn't in any shape to race on Saturday. I beg to differ as he was hurting me a little on the hills. Excellent day with zero wind and clear skies. With us laughing a lot and catching up on the news of the last 12 months.
Friday was a light classic ski to loosen up the body and the rest of the time was spent chillin at the bakery in Mt Beauty and waxing the skis for the race. Friday night I ended up with a dose of the shits and cant for the life of me trace it back to anything I ate.
So after spending a night up to the toilet and with broken sleep I awoke feeling a little under the weather. I had to force myself to eat and get some fluids happening. After a sluggish drive up to the race start (managed to get one of the last car parks) we were greeted to a furious wind and the cloud starting to roll in. Wind was going to be a issue up the top of the course as it is open with little cover.
It was amazing to see 1000+ people milling around to race in the various distances of 42, 21, or 7 km's. People travel from all corners of the world to race the Australian section of the World Loppet races. Many countries were represented from different parts of Europe, US/ Canada, Japan, and NZ. The hoppet went first and then it was my turn to line up in the Birkebeiner. Starting in the second grid I was happy with my start but as usual there are all the nutters who have a massive hit out and then fade in the first 5km. Plenty of falls and a couple of broken poles but I got through with out any real issues (just the usual spray of abuse and a bit of physical jostling). It took the first 5 km's to shake out the group, but I purposely took it easy for the start cause my stomach was having a few issues with physical activity. However once I got to the climb of the paralyser (about 10 km in) I settled in to a nice rhythm and stopped once as I though I was going to vomit. The rest of the race was perfect (proof that the training and all the time spent driving to Lake to train had paid off!) just that I was under the weather and the wind was howling on the top sections of the course. The descent back down of the high plain on Blade runner was awesome and I had a ball rocketing past people on the descent. I was glad to cross the line in 52nd position as I was hoping for a top 50 finish this year and despite being crook I managed to finish only 15 secs out of the top 50.
There is always next year!

Perfect trail coming back from Washbed creek

Tam and Mum after the race

The boss and me all smiles after our finishes

Racers getting ready for the start dumping the gear on the trail side

Monday, August 25, 2008

how sweet it is

Wallace's Hut...... spectacular spot amongst the snow gums overlooking the range

Travelled up to Falls for a week and of skiing. We were greeted by a clear sky little or no wind for 2 days of breathtaking skiing. The snow on Saturday was so dry and fresh and the grooming was impeccable. The national ski champs were on over the 2 days and we watch some of the racing which was amazing. We headed out both days to the lake loop and had fantastic skiing of around 20 - 25km's each day. The lake loop is only groomed for the hoppet when there is sufficient snow and 2008 has given us some to enjoy. The best thing about skiing at falls is that you can get some decent endurance km's in as there is plenty of rolling trails to ski and frankly you don't really have to ski the same thing twice which mentally helps you.
Still haven't made up the mind about which race to do next week as the hoppet course is great and in fantastic condition but I am still unsure. Will make the mind up by Thursday.
I will let the photos do the talking!

The boss braking out the drinks on sun valley

That's me! Happier than a pig in shit with the conditions

Looking back at the sun valley downhill area - those jumps are massive even from the bottom of the valley

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

the positives

Anna Meares is one of the few shining lights out of Australia's performance at the track this Olympics. Clearly she was out classed by her opponent but still she did a sterling job to get through to the final. Apart from Cam Meyer's performance in the points race earlier in the week Anna's racing was a step up to the plate performance. Given that only a few short months ago she was potentially going to end up in a wheel chair.
As for the rest of the track team some need to be replaced and I am not going to name names but it is about time to cut some of the dead wood and open the doors for emerging talent cause some have been at the top too long. We have paid the consequence's of being complacent and relying on expectations from results of 4 years ago. Time to suck it up and come back to squash our enemies!
Time to look to our dirt track cousins on the BMX starting today and I cant wait to catch some of it and then we will have to wait for the MTB miracles to occur!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Happy Monday

its a cruel sport

On Saturday I arrived at Lake with the best intentions to perform well in the 8km race that they had on there. I arrived to poor weather with constant snowfall and at times a gusty wind. Had a good warm up and the TC decided that she too would race. Lining up on the start line there was a smattering of different levels of skiers including some national level skiers. I had a poor start to say the least with someone cutting me off and getting my pole stuck under some one's ski.
We raced along my favourite trail in reverse (Jubilee) which I had forgotten was bloody hard in reverse. I started in the red zone and could never come out of it. Every climb was killing me not to mention getting stuck behind a few skiers on some of the steeper pinches. I never really got into the grove and suffered greatly.
I managed to also get caught up in a fall as someone went over in front of me. So all in all it was a bit of a fizzer and shows that I need to race more next season.
I did managed to get out on the 29er yesterday to try and recover a bit ( or so I thought) and rode some of the nice flat Yarra Trails out my end which despite the recent rain were in good condition. I was invited to join the latest Felt Epix ride but declined as I hadn't ridden for a month and given there abilities didn't want to hold em back given my lack of fitness (way to fast those lads). I had also toyed with the idea of the last Chase the Sun but knowing that the trails were going to be sodden, no team and lack of recent riding I also gave it a miss.
This week sees me try and recover some more with only one light ski which was supposed to be today but I was too fucked to get up and go. Then a road trip to the north east to Falls to scope out the course and my abilities for the Birkie. I am having a crazy idea that the full marathon distance might be the go as the snow is spot on and the weather cold. But time will tell!
Happy tracks or trails which ever you are on!

Please note the happy smiles on the dials before the race.... they were not there at the end!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Danger Will Robinson

Not often do I think about what I am doing when doing it and the related risks. Yesterday however I did whilst on my morning ski. Now with the bonanza of recent snow fall at Lake I have been taking as much time to ski as I can. The weather has remained cool and with little wind with regular top ups. Yesterday I was astounded at the amount of snow still in the trees and was admiring the ability of the gum trees to flex with the weight of the snow.
That was until I was skiing down the trail and heard the familiar sound of snow falling and then a god all mighty cracking of timber. The said falling piece of timber landed about 5 metres in front of me. Now not too close however, I did weigh up that if I got c*%ted by this tree it might be a bit of a wait to be discovered and retrieved. Not to disturbed at this stage I continued my training session and when doing a second loop of a trail I found the top of a tree blocking the trail. This started to concern me as I had already been along this trail only 15 mins before.
As I headed out on a lap of another trail I witnessed a large piece of timber falling to the ground and let me tell you that the sound of timber shattering near you when you are underneath the tree canopy takes a year off your life and adds more grey hairs to your head.
I decided that in the interest of my own personal safety that I head back to the car. Three times a charm.
When I arrived back at the car park, the ski patrol had roped off a large area of the trail head as there was a rather large branch hanging from a tree ready to crush any unsuspecting skier.
Whilst getting changed another tree branch dropped and just missed some school kids. Lucky!
Racing tomorrow so I will have to see what the tank has to offer!

Monday, August 11, 2008

gone skiing

It has been puking snow the last 24 hrs so the hills are calling.....later!

Sunday, August 10, 2008


Been another hectic week with only 2 skis and a lot of work. No time for a hit out on the bike and plans for either have been dashed today with freezing weather at home with a good 10 mm of rain and continuing to piss down. On the web cam of Lake Mtn it looks stormy and the drive there today with snow predicted to 600 metres would not be fun with all the weekend heroes trying to get up there. Yesterday was a awesome ski on 10 Cm's of fresh set tracks, with no wind and clear blue skies. Felt great with the body coming together finally so the last weekend of August is looking good for the Birkie.
Got in a bit of TV action with the men's road race which looked like no fun at all but the last 10 km's was something else. Rogers was there and had a chance and given the last 10 months out with illness he almost gave us the goods!
Shame that the media likes to put a commercial break on during some of the most important parts of the race not to mention the news. I love watching the heat of rowing when I could be watch a gold medal chance live! The media only jump on the band wagon when there is a hope and when it doesn't play out they cut it off at the knees. However we are destined to see every bloody last bit of swimming heats and all. I hope that the track cycling and even the BMX get a fair showing.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

first tracks

Headed back out to Lake yesterday for a quick session of classic skiing before work. Managed to drag myself out of bed early to get up to the trail head first. I was hoping for a decent ski in fresh snow.... which I got but we had a bit of a pinapple express yesterday morning which was wetting the surface with rain. It is the wettest I have been in a long time but a great ski was still had. It was fantastic to be the first out and setting the first tracks of the day. It is great to be out there in the quietness of a snow covered Aussie bush setting.... great way to start the day.
Made for a long day with work into the night but hey you have ski the snow when it is here.
Plan to head back tomorrow and get in another session. Might even get out on the bike this arvo if the sun manages to stay out.
News to hand is that Jason from Felt Epix has put his single speed together so I will post a photo when I snap one. Nice looking bike! (told him he would love it).
Gav has finally accepted delivery of his Unit 29 which he is wrapped with. Will post a pic once I have seen it!

Friday, August 1, 2008

smashed and still cracking the whip

Two big days on the snow for some endurance training has smashed me. I skied some of my favourite trails and did so at a cracking pace yesterday that has left me empty and tired today. I decided not to ski today and to have a sleep in. I might head back tomorrow, but I can say all is slowly coming together for the end of August. I have a post Tour hangover and am trying to catch a little sleep that I missed out on in the last 3 weeks. Bikes have been missing from the exercise of late due to the heavy ski workload but I will get out maybe on the weekend if time and weather allows. Anyway enough for now!
Happy trails or tracks!

Ps thought the picture was appropiate