Tag Archives: skateski

How I suffered last Sunday

16 Feb

Transjurassienne. Minus 15 and strong headwind. Mercifully shortened from 76km to 70.


Winters first ski on snow

5 Dec

Went on this season’s first ski trip this past weekend. Two days on man-made snow in the Natrudstilen area of Sjusjøen, above Lillehammer. Happily a fresh dusting of snow in the trees made place look properly winter-like.

Since I got some video footage of myself, I’m now wondering (or worrying) who I look the most like from Sindre Wiig Nordby’s great parodies here:

And here:

I vote Emil Jönssson from the second one.

Grefsenkollen trail prep

14 May

Yesterday I really didn’t mind 45% of my revenue going to taxes. It seemed like the city of Oslo was working just for me. I discovered that the city’s spring street cleaning program had targetted the whole length of my favorite rollerski route. All the leaves and gravel were suddenly gone from the car-free connector route that links Maridalsveien to Grefsenkollen. That was especially nice given that I had fallen on slippery wet leave mush while climbing the first little hill there the day before.

And, continuing onward, up Grefsenkollen’s hulking massif, I ran into the big street-sweeper truck in the very act of sucking up all the rollerski crash inducing debris.

I smiled and waved to the driver and then probably logged my best time ever to the top using slow wheels:

My ski season in numbers

30 Apr
  • Longest trip : 68km, 15 January, Kjelsås to Sørkedalen skole
  • Fastest average pace on snow : 18,9km/h, 31 March, 8,65km on my local
  • Max speed : 66,1 km/h, 23 January, coming back down from Søndre Hegglivann
  • Most elevation gained : 1,013m, 12 March, Birkenprøven from Rena to Lillehammer
  • Fastest average pace on slow rubber wheels : 18,3 km/h, 19 April, Maridalsveien/Gamle Maridalsveien
  • Fastest up Grefsenkollen from Skeidbanen (fast wheels) : 17:04, 10 October 2010
  • Kilometers training since May 2010 (a little lower than actual) : 4 890
  • Calories burned training since May 2010 : 344 555

Just when I thought this was the last goodbye

31 Mar

The trail prep man headed out late yesterday evening. Only a couple skate skiers got to it while the track was still soft and happily didn’t do too much damage. Still, this brave new GPS world where every obsessive ski troll can stalk the prep machine does has its disadvantages.

But no moaning today. Skiing was lovely. I went my normal route twice before work this morning. I wanted to to sponge up the last bit of gravy left near my house from this ski season. Or so I thought it was the last.

But in reality it hasn’t stopped snowing since about 8.30 this morning. Sure it’s wet snow, but vastly better than the forecast rain. Just hope it doesn’t turn into that overnight.

Yay winter!

27 Mar

The tide has turned and the good side has started taking territory again. No, I’m not talking about Libya. It’s winter that has recaptured some far flung outposts.

Here in Oslo the carnage of spring has slowed. The snow depth readings on my snow dashboard has shown the rate of loss way down over the past three days:

Moreover, doping off on the Interwebs, I saw advances in far-flung spots. The most improbable of those was Rim Nordic in the mountains behind Los Angeles. After closing for the season because of warm rains March 7th, they got snow again Thursday and Friday and were able to open for one last weekend. I’ve been there a couple times while away from Norway. The resort is run by friendly and enthusiastic people and has nicely groomed trails. I highly recommend it!

I also saw that Craftsbury Nordic Center in the US state of Vermont has a whopping 73cm base. The picture I linked to above shows lovely trail conditions on March 24.

Here around the house I skied today on both sides of the valley. On the East side I again broke my all-time speed record without really trying.The first km was nasty cement-like stuff with crap blown down from the trees and peoples’ footprints all over it. But the rest was firm, fast, extra-virgin corduroy. Moreover the ice patch I slipped and fell on walking home had shrunk, so I didn’t need to break another pole.

I went in fact on mismatched poles, one carbon and one super-sexy carbon titanium. While perhaps very fragile, I now see in comparison that the top model is crazy light and incredibly alive. But since I broke the right hand one, going on a mixed pair I had the super good pole on my weaker side. The effect was interesting, and not at all bad. Power on the right versus left was perhaps a little more balanced.

Whatever the case, I flew through the forest with every nerve tingling joyfully. I looked forward to the climbs for the sheer thrill of projecting my body up and over them. That fun was compounded by the feeling of progress I’ve made with my paddling gear. I now pull my “hang arm” all the way through and then also ride out the glide better on the off leg. That new recipe keeps my speed up on even the steepest climbs.

Tomorrow I’m debating whether I’ll cross the valley before work or just stick to this side. Since the goal is to lap up all the gravy on winter’s plate I skied there too on my way back home. It was bumpier and had suffered from all the trail-trudgers and “custard” skaters. But if the prep man goes out late (or early) enough, I think the damage can be sufficiently reversed to let me unfurl my wings.

Speaking of birds, le coq à la crête noire now has a rival on the East side of the valley. A grouse has decided it owns the East-side trail-head and has been squawking its head off every time I come over to ski. My dear little cantankerous fellow, I understand your feelings. Please give the dog walkers, joggers and similar ski trail vermin a good beak-lashing for me too!

Where were you when I broke the pole?

26 Mar

One of the defining moments in Norwegian sport history happened in 1982 when Oddvar Brå broke a pole heading for the win in the men’s relay in Holmenkollen. That gave rise to the epoch defining question “Where were you when Brå broke the pole?” / “Hvor var du da Brå brakk staven?”.

My pole break at 9:15 this morning was less significant. And far more ridiculous. I slipped and fell on a sheet of ice walking back home from my morning ski. Moreover, it was was one of those super-light, super-sexy and expensive carbon titanium jobbies.

But I was so happy with my ski tour I think only my dignity took a hit. I was in fact daydreaming about what I’d write here and not minding my feet when it happened. My intended title for this post was ski-o-therapy. It was that good.

But it didn’t start out very well. I went first to my home trail on the East side of the valley. Didn’t hit any speed records there because of the frilly lip shaped tracks left by skate skiers going right after the machine late last night. There’s something disturbingly anatomical about such traces. They had frozen into glide-eating, life-threatening obstacles. I call them “custard” tracks, after a mishmash of two perfectly fitting but unmentionable worlds. So in springtime please don’t be a “custard” and skate right after the machine at night. Wait for the morning when the trail prepper’s work has had time to firm up. It will be better for both you and me, I assure you.

But, as promised, the point of this post is not bitch bitch moan moan. Fearing all the while I’d get the more of the same, or maybe even a loathsome jogger who followed right behind the trail prepper, I crossed the valley to try the trails on the other side. But there it was perfectly virgin. And so firm I could barely see my own tracks on the return trip. Moreover it was rocket fast. Pure joy. I broke my  speed record without even trying.

I didn’t even think about going fast. I just enjoyed it. With no lips of death to trip me I could throw my weight onto the front of my skis and glide like mad. The thing that’s been working for me with skate skiing lately is to imagine I only have a front half of each ski. That trick keeps my butt up and lets me ride out the glide as long as I want to. Today it felt like flying. And at mostly over 20km/h, it was.

In comparison the ice patch incident was minor. I’ve already run to the sport shop to pick up a new pair. They were out of carbon titanium in my size, so had to settle for carbon only. The new ones are slightly heavier than the featherweight pair I broke, so hopefully tougher too.