After a fitful and oxygen-deprived night I awoke around 6:00. I fed Mellie around 7:00 and took her for a walk trying to reconnoiter access to the nearest lift. It turned out to be very close, only about 5 minutes' walk. I returned and had little trouble to rouse the bys, much less than during a school day. Breakfast, sandwiches for lunch, gear up and off they went. It turned out that there was no informal area to dump one's gear and tokens for the pure-sized lockers were $2 a pop. I bought a few but in the meantime the boys had made an executive decision and brought their stuff back to the condo. Now they were ready to go. They took off in the Quicksilver Super6 chair and vanished into the distance.
My program included dropping off Mellie at the Dog House kennel (unfortunately our condo did not allow dogs nor did it have functioning internet). I thought of combining the drop-off with a slow jog, also to get acclimated. After a thorough consultation of the map, I decided to drive to the Nordic Ski Center to get information on xc-skiing and then jog to the Dog House from there.
We took off by van and the friendly staff at the Nordic Ski Center gave me lots of good info. When I returned to the car, Mellie was eager to go. The first 500 m or so were a steep downhill and I was not looking forward to the return trip. We made our way through downtown and hit the bike trail along the Blue River. Unfortunately, the underpass was closed at ___ Road, I had to do a dog leg across a busy intersection near the shopping center. I was disappointed when the trail became ice and snow covered only a little further. I turned west to Airport Road, which I had planned for my return trip. The road seemed neverending and there was quite a bit of traffic. Dust was being kicked up by tires. We ran along various housing developments and a trailer park. Eventually, the surroundings turned light industrial and the curves became dirt. Mellie was very thirsty, I had trouble preventing her from drinking from puddles. I was not at my best, the thin air wreaking havok with my stamina. A short uphill left me gulping for air and my jog became a slow interval, 2 minutes running, 1 minute walking. I did not notice any lack of stamina in Mellie, besides being thirsty she was eager, as usual. At last we were there unfortunately for me, it was only halftime.
I did make it back, almost 14 km. Pretty sore, too, maybe a combination of the long drive and pounding the pavement.