Friday, March 9, 2012

Icy Trailhead

Pausing for a quick equipment adjustment - the Siberians
are primed & ready to go!
It was supposed to be a short, fast outing in Indiana Creek today.

It started just that way as we went cruising out & up the trail at a pretty nice clip. It is uphill the whole "out direction" and we covered the 3.25 miles and 800 feet of elevation gain in a fast 35 minutes. I did note to myself, "the trails are pretty hard packed and icy, should be an interesting trip down..." Understatement of the year...

It continued as a fast outing as we came back down. The upper sections of the trail are not as heavily used as the lower sections; so, although the trail was hard packed, we were able to keep under control and cruise the first 2.25 miles at a pretty fast pace.

Then it all came to a halt... The last mile back to the trailhead is a heavy used cross country ski trail - extremely hard packed snow. In addition, we have had been in a heat wave the last 3-4 days with high temperatures around 40. This means the top layer of the packed trail starts to thaw each day and then re-freezes into a sheet of pure ice overnight. As we approached this last mile of pure ice going downhill, I realized "stopping" was an issue - getting propelled by two Siberians on pure ice means you cannot stop! Well, needless to say, I am not going to launch myself down an icy hill with my sprint partners with no ability to stop! So, we instead progressed very slowly this last mile: begin to skijor until you feel the ability to stop slipping away from you and then immediately cut left or right into a stop - then repeat... This is when our fast outing did a 180 and we took probably 15-20 minutes to traverse this short mile of ice.... Oh well, at least the first 5.5 miles was a sprinting blast.

Vital Stats: 6.5 miles; 80m total time; 70m skijoring time; 18 MPH top speed; 800 feet of elevation climbed.

A look back at our tracks far back in Indiana Creek - we have out-skied all
existing cross country tracks and are having a ball laying fresh tracks
across the untouched terrain.
"Yep, untouched terrain - having a ball - digging for rodents!" demonstrate
Max & Zorro.

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