Work had me at the Balsams on Thursday and Friday, and who am I to complain? While I was there, I was able to get in the most ridiculous ski ever and a treadmill torture.
I drove up on Thursday morning and arrived shortly before lunch. Just enough time to check emails, return calls, etc. Meeting began at 1:00, and I was pleased to be out my 3:30. Plenty of time to ski! That being said, I was overly thrilled with the prospect of skiing because it was cold and windy...like 15 and strong gusts. But, to go to the Balsams and not ski is fairly blasphemous, so off I went. Unfortunately, I did get sucked in my emails and...you know...actual work following the meeting, so I didn't get to the Cross Country Center until after 4:00. And, apparently, when they say they close at 4:00, they mean it. Not a big deal because my gear was in the car, I've often applied kick wax in a parking lot. The real problem was that I also needed to scrape the glide wax off my skis. So, there I was in a cold, windy parking lot, sending wax shavings all over the place. Sorry, nature. Of course, you can barely do an adequate job scraping your skis in a cold, windy parking lot with no ski form, so it wasn't pretty. Luckily, I wasn't worried about fast skis. Next, was the kick wax, which I surmised would be a hard wax situation based on the veneer of new snow that surrounded the hotel. VR 50 applied, and off I went to climb the ice floe of certain death to the trailhead. As always, it was treacherous, and I barely survived. As soon as I got to the groomed surface, I knew that VR 50 was a bad choice. When the veneer of new snow met grooming machine, it disappeared into the crushed ice surface below. I would have been better off with some Zarex and a paper cup. No matter, it wasn't like I would have put klister on in the parking lot, so there absolutely no way I was going to change now. Plus, I didn't have a blow torch on me to heat it up...since it was damn cold...so, where's the fun in that? Anywho, off I went. When wasn't hitting myself in the back of my head with the tail of my ski, I had surprisingly moderately decent kick. But, when I did slip, I was certain my groin was going to tear in 3 pieces. At one point, along trail #4, a major snowmobile trail cross the trail, and, man, did it look sweet for running. Is it bad to be longing for your screw shoes in the middle of a ski. Eventually, I reached the top of the climbing on trail #4 and took the Canal Trail to Mud Pond. Or, rather, I double-poled the entire Canal Trail to Mud Pond...GRRRRRRR. The snow was firm, firm, firm. I was hoping to head back on some fun blue trails, but they were not groomed. I would have been nervous on the ungroomed trails with crampons and an ice axe. So....sketchy. I opted for a green trail back to the hotel, and I was glad I skipped the blues. The downhills were plenty fast enough. Luckily, it's mostly downhill to flat back to the hotel because all my kick wax was gone. Scraped clean away. The snow was so abrasive that it just obliterated it, and the glide wax, too. My skis actually look like I did a good of scraping them. Remember that it was cold, so, yeah, my fingers were completely numb by the time I reached the bottom of trail #0. (Yup, they have a #0 trail.) Of course, #0 is the main route back to the hotel, but it doesn't bring you right back to the hotel. I had two choices: ski up and over a decent hill with no kick wax and then walk down the ice floe of certain death or walk back on the paved road a .5 mile to the hotel. Needless to say, I chose the latter, and my thumbs were gone from carrying the skis. Not including the walk, I was out for about 50 minutes, and really glad I got to ski at the Balsams this year.
This morning, I got up quasi-early-ish and hit the treadmill. No way I was skiing again, since the thermometer read "0". (I'm soft.) Running on the treadmill is dumb. I had my iPod, but there was no place to rest it on the treadmill. I tried it inside the back of my shorts, but the second time it slid down my butt, I figured that wasn't a good idea. I ended up stuffing it in the key pocket of my shorts and waiting to electrocute myself. Luckily, I remained shock free. I pushed through 5 miles, only so I could say I got 30 miles for the week (4 days of running). It wasn't easy. Oh, and does anyone else unintentionally sling sweat everywhere when they're on the treadmill? I looked like Willy Water Bug.