Friday, December 18, 2009

First Skijoring of the Season

Snow is here, but there's not quite enough of the white stuff. Como Park was groomed last weekend but I did not trust what I saw when I jogged by. Later, during James' hockey practice, I hiked out onto the track laid out on the Highland nine-hole golf course to check conditions. Out in the open, there's enough snow, but close to or under trees, the ground is showing. We do need more snow, it's wearing thin. Too bad that the snow they were announcing earlier this week has not materialized.

Not enough snow means more time to wax those skis! On Monday, I had taken advantage of the Finn Sisu weekly waxing clinic to brush up on my skills. I had a day of classes and practice on waxing skis when I took the course to become initiateur de ski de fond in Belgium in the early 1980s. Either I have become more patient since then or waxing has become easier. The guy at Finn Sisu made it look easy, and it was easy. While I was working on my good pairs I thought that I should just do my old Landsem touring/telemark skis as well.

I did, and I took Mellie for a spin at the Highland 9-hole. No way to stay in the classic track, there was lawn showing every 100 m or so. We mostly stayed on the skating lane, and were thus able to avoid most rough spots. But those touring skis are heavy to skate (almost 4kg for the pair, with boots, as opposed to 3.5kg for my classic outfit and barely 3kg for the skate skis). A good workout for my quads. As I said before, my dog's obsessed by the devil in cold weather, she turns around, grabs the leash, feigns attacks, etc. Not such a great combination for skijoring. The first 400-500 m are great, she's got so much kinetic energy built up that she just goes, goes, goes. But then, she gets just a little out of breath, and the first hill comes and she gets bored. There are so many interesting scents, and occasionally one has to piddle. But she is a good sport and listens to me, at least keeping the tow out from under my skis. We did have a couple of falls, one, where I just lost control on a down hill and sat down, the other, also on a downhill, she decided in mid run that she had to investigate a scent off the trail. I got pretty tangled up that second time. We also let one skate skier pass who caught up to us due to our antics.

I did not have any great expectations for the first time out, on questionable snow and with beat-up equipment. When I looked at my Garmin I was amazed to see that we were doing a 4:38 pace. This is our best time on this course yet. Was it the wider touring skis, the fresh wax or Mellie turning into an adult dog? I do not know.

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