Saturday, February 11, 2012

Elevated Day

Max & Zorro smiling at the video camera as
we fly by (see the full video below).
Today's skijoring outing was all about extreme elevations (up and down)...

Our route covered about 1600 feet of elevation gain (& loss) over 8.1 miles - not too steep by averages. But, the trail was highlighted by 2 extreme sections: (1) scaling straight up about 800 feet over a 0.7 mile section [a 22% uphill grade]; and (2) shooting straight down about 1000 feet over a 0.8 mile section [a 24% downhill grade].

The extreme uphill section is nothing to be worried about, it just takes a lot of Siberian strength and ski pole driving by the human to make good progress - very aerobic, but fun.

The extreme downhill, though... Well, we were deep in the backcountry, so the trail was only about 4 feet wide between the trees - so you could not introduce switchbacks to counter the steepness like you would on a wide, groomed ski run. Nope, it was straight down this steep grade. The Siberians, you wonder: well they think this extreme downhill is a reason to SPRINT! The human, you fear: well no way can you go the Siberian preferred speed on this narrow & steep terrain. So, it was 0.8 miles of grinding one ski into the snow to keep speeds under control - literally putting both hands on one thigh to grind that ski down for control, then switching to the other thigh when the current one starts to burn (and keep rotating). 0.8 miles may not sound like very far; but try it someday under steep Siberian extremes. We made it the whole way down without stopping but my legs were burning. Whew, what a Siberian workout!

The Route: (1) Start at the Pennsylvania Creek winter trailhead and skijor up to the high point between Pennsylvania & Indiana creeks [the last 0.7 miles with extreme uphill]; (2) Skijor down to the Indiana Creek basin [the first 0.8 miles with extreme downhill]; (3) Hang a right as we approach the actual creek and skijor out & up to Zorro's favorite abandoned mining cabin; (4) Take a quick break and then sprint back down to the Indiana Creek winter trailhead.

Vital Stats: 8.1 miles; 110m total time; 95m skijoring time; 21 MPH top speed, 1600 feet of elevation climbed.

Fast final approach to the Indiana Creek trailhead. Clearly
the extreme up & downs of today's outing put more wear
on the human than the (still sprinting) Siberians!
video

Cruising up a modest incline near our start from the Pennsylvania Creek
winter trailhead. 
Taking a quick break before heading down to the Indiana Creek winter
trailhead. Apparently I put my ski poles in the most interesting patch of
snow around us - the Siberians dig for hidden treasures...
A look at our fresh tracks. As you can see, it was a day of "fresh tracks" in 3-5
inches of fresh powder.

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