Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Skijoring Review 2008 to Now

Have been at this for a little more than a year now and it has been a lot of fun. Last year I mostly used the classic technique. I switched to skating at the beginning of this season. What a difference, not only the switch in techniques, but also the work into improving my skating.

The quality of snow and track plays a role, too and there is the ever fickle mind of a labrador retriever. I chatted with a skier at Snowflake Nordic Ski Center,  who had just completed a lap with a sled dog type breed. Mentioned that I skijor with a lab and she said "oh yeah, labs are either on or they are off."

All my skijoring outings were at the St.Paul Highland Park "Executive" (i.e. 9 hole) golf course. A good way to get metrics. The variables were daylight or darkness, snow conditions, temperature and the canine factor (potty breaks, deer pursuits and other forms of criminal mischief) I measured my progress using a Garmin Forerunner 305 and uploaded the results to Garmin Connect (GC) and Garmin Training Center (GTC). I manually extricated the data from GC (after almost two years of development, GC is still very much a work in progress. still no way to easily export to something as basic as  .csv). I used Google docs (don't you just love cloud computing?) to create the charts below.

Snow quality is definitely a factor. The ups and downs on last year's chart (classic striding) illustrate this. Note how much faster I became once I began skating. My two initial outings were on a pair of 20-year old beat-up heavy-as-hell back-country skis. Still, much faster than last year's diagonal stride. The real improvement kicked in when I began my skate skiing lessons in early January. Of course, dog and man are becoming a better team, too.

View Skijoring Highland in a larger map

Unless Mellie (the dog) becomes more cooperative, I have reached the maximum speed skijoring, at 27 minutes for two laps totaling 7 km, in the dark. I have not done the course without canine, but I venture to guess that now, I would be faster without her.

From Christian's Running Blog

From Christian's Running Blog

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