Training, racing, gear, facial hair styles and thoughts from my push to become an elite cyclist.

Monday, January 23, 2012

A Breakthrough, a Letdown and Power Tools

Since New Year's I've been able to get out and ski a few times, and now I'm starting to feel like I'm getting my ski legs back.

In previous posts I've mentioned how I've been ramping up my midweek activity, and believe it or not it's been easier for me to do that than to reliably get in solid workouts on the weekends.  That effort feels like it's starting to pay off, and even though I feel like I have to fight harder to keep up with my master's group I think it's worth the trade-off.

Saturday I got out for a couple hours with Spinney.  It had been below zero overnight, and after some debate I managed to get my skis waxed and out the door.  He wasn't doing much better and couldn't find his iron, then needed a scraper, etc.  It was like two old women getting ready to drive to bridge club.

Once we got to Trapp's we hit some of the usual trails and made our way down through the race course to Skater's Waltz and across to Aither for the first time this year.  That's not a flat route, and Spinney was hell bent on skiing to the cabin so after chasing him around for an hour and twenty minutes we made our way up.  I didn't set the world on fire, but I skied steady and felt like I was making solid time.  I'm not sure how much faster he was, but I stayed in contact for a good section of the climb and didn't stop at all on the trip up. 

More remarkable than that was a completely smooth descent back to the lodge- and the first time ever I made it down without falling.  It was then that I realized that this was a breakthrough day for me.  I'd never made it to the cabin so early in the season, and certainly not chasing somebody with solid fitness.  When we got back to the car it was hard to believe, and although I'd gotten seriously chilled from the long, fast downhill I was pscyched.

We piled our gear back into the car and headed home.  At that time I was still thinking that I was going to ride the rollers so I didn't actively work on my recovery plan, which was a big mistake.  When I got home I was starving, and after not eating enough immediately after my workout I was starting to get the cold shakes from getting chilled and low blood sugar.

Of course to combat that I had to eat almost everything in the house, which pretty much completely canceled out the caloric debt of my skiing effort.  This is all after Spinney was telling me to be careful about refueling if I was going to try to ski again on Sunday.  In retrospect I wasn't aware of how deep I'd dug, so I wasn't being proactive in refueling. 

After I'd crashed, rebounded, showered and gotten dressed Carrie and I picked up our replacement dishwasher and went out to dinner.  It was clear that having an enormous box in the living room wasn't going to be feasible for more than a day or two and that I had to get this thing installed soon.

Sunday morning it was hovering around zero when I got up, so knowing that it would warm up about 15-20 degrees later in the day I figured I'd take advantage of the situation and start working on the dishwasher. 

Having installed and removed one defective dishwasher already I was pretty familiar with the basics of the install- in a nutshell it's connect the water, the drain and the electric and test it for leaks.  Of course it's never quite that simple for me, but with directions in hand I got out the tools and went to work.    

Among my tools are a large number of hand-me-downs from both sides of the family.  Over the summer my Dad cleaned out his father's wood shop, and these pliers were among the twelve pairs that I inherited.  I've never seen anything else like them with the 90 degree head, but I've already used them three times this week on the upstairs electric outlet replacement, the dishwasher and the tC trunk handle.  

Also among my tools is this- a Craftsman Impact Drill my brother gave me for Christmas.  If you've never used and impact drill you're missing out- these things are awesome and not just because they make a ridiculously loud SNAP SNAP SNAP as they switch from standard drill to impact mode.  Using this to secure the two dishwasher mounting screws was the highlight of the install.

After that I decided to tackle replacing the trunk lid on the tC.  After three years of regular use, the old handle had snapped off and was only hanging onto the rest of the car by one retaining clip and the wire for the release button.  It wasn't that I wanted to keep procrastinating, but I don't have many options to get things like this done in the daylight so I decided to get it done.

The trunk handle is a story in itself, and after an extensive search I opted for a carbon one because it was more cost effective than buying one unpainted and trying to paint it myself.  After some searching on the Scion forums I found some semi-coherent instructions on how to replace it.  Turns out this is a common problem for the tC and dealers charge up to $400 to install a new one, which makes my $65 eBay special look that much more appealing.   

Overall it went fairly smoothly and my hands didn't get too cold although it was only about 18 degrees and I was buoyed by the idea of being able to use the trunk lid again.  As you might imagine it's a real pain in the ass to carry skis, boots, poles, spare clothes and water and have to put it down in the snow to open the trunk because you need to use both hands to lift the tailgate.

When I finished the handle install it was 3 PM and I was nowhere near being ready to ski.  After a protracted period of bumbling, fumbling and swearing I finally got to Trapp's and had my skis on at 4.  So much for seizing the day on the skiing front.

As soon as I set out I could tell the conditions were great- and for the second day in a row my skis felt awesome.  These Fischer RCS with Graham's base grind have quickly become my favorites.   

Although the skis were running well I wasn't- with yesterday's breakthrough/bonk combination and my extended project time earlier in the day I felt sluggish and slightly off-balance.

I did throw some Pro-35 stickers on the skis- it had to be done.

I'm a terrible classic skier, but the tracks were so fast and crisp that I found myself jumping in double poling on the flats and downhills. 

An hour later it was getting dark and went home.  It was a beatiful night, and I wished I could have taken advantage of it more than I did.  

Live and learn I guess- there's always next weekend. 

No comments:

Post a Comment