RACERS READY!!??   AND……….

Start of the Wasatch Citizen Series 20k, 2/25/12

BANG!!!(HEY NEWBIE, THAT MEANS GO!)

Alright aspiring newbie Nordic racer, you’ve done a few intervals. You annoyed some faster skiers by jumping on their heels and trying to hang as they passed by at Round Valley or White Pine Touring. You’re feeling good about your fitness level and now have some idea of what kind of pain you can endure. You’ve got a little over two weeks to go until the Round Valley 40 and 20k’s on March tenth and you’re ready for the next step towards actually getting in a race.
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This is when thinking about some of the finer points of racing such as waxing come into play. Getting the right wax for the snow conditions on race day will greatly enhance the experience of racing, especially the first time out. You don’t want to have really slow skis for your first race. Slow skis are nothing but a big drag! But Nordic waxing can be fairly intimidating to a newcomer.

Nordic racers in their natural habitat: Paul Clark and Fabian Beaufils.

There are a lot of factors to consider such as the temperature of the track, the water content in the snow, and whether or not the snow is warming or cooling. Now you are thinking “what the……have I got myself into?” let alone the thought of buying waxing irons, scrapers, and fibrelene. Wait, you don’t even know what that is yet! For the above reasons, I cant stress enough the value of attending a waxing clinic put on by a local shop in your area and starting off with an all inclusive waxing kit. Actually seeing a Nordic wax tech do a hot wax and scrape will greatly speed your learning curve. The all inclusive kits come with an iron and several temperature ranges of wax which are ideal to start out with but not technically overwhelming.  White Pine Touring here in Park City is a great resource for clinics. Another incredible resource for waxing is youtube. The tutorials available pretty much cover all angles of Nordic waxing and are produced by accomplished professionals with in the industry.

one benefit of racing:everyone has fun! Sit skier killing it on course.

So maybe even after a clinic and some youtube vids, you are still a little to intimidated to race wax your own skis but you still want to go fast? This is again where the professionals come in. A place like White Pine Touring or your local Nordic center will take care of that for you and this is actually the option I recommend for a first time racer. Take the stress out of it and just drop those sticks off for buffing. This way a first timer gets the feel of a fast ski without the stress of doing the prep work and this experience can go a long ways towards helping decide if this sport is for you.

Definitely race waxed!

With just under two weeks to go until race day, a lot of ground has been covered. The newbie is feeling good about fitness, waxing options, and now it is time to get organized! In part three of this series I will cover how to get yourself organized on race day so you have maximum time to warm up and be ready for the gun. So get out and get in some K’s as Round Valley is coming!

Keep Skatin! PPPC.

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More blizzard racing video! Not sure when the shift occurred but racing in Utah usually means blue skies, perfect temps, and great courses. This season is all about blizzards, only on race day of course!

There is a lot of racing that goes on around Park City, Utah. Mountain bike racing, Nordic Ski racing, Cyclo-cross racing, alpine ski racing, paddle board racing: it just depends on the time of year. Since it is currently winter (or winter lite this season!), Nordic racing is in full swing. The Wasatch Citizens series 20k, which is the last of that series, is next Saturday, and the Round Valley 40k and 20k, are coming up quick on 3/10. A friend of mine who started Nordic skiing a few seasons back and has progressed quickly, recently signed up for the Round valley 20k. Like most citizen athletes in this area, he has developed a solid fitness base from doing a variety of mountain sports such as mountain biking, hiking, alpine skiing and ski touring along with skate skiing on a year round basis. With just three weeks left before the Round Valley races, he asked me for some advice on how to get ready for his first skate race.(WHAT!!?? I HAVE TO WEAR ONE OF THOSE!!??)

How to prepare for a race is a pretty big and personal question that some have based entire careers upon but there are a few basic things that a Nordic newbie can do to get ready for their first event.

First of all get ready for some PAIN!! The major difference between just skiing and racing is that in racing you don’t get to ski at your own pace unless you are at the front setting the pace and newbie that wont be you! So how do you get ready for the pain? The answer is intervals. Now I am not talking about doing a massive quantity of these with only a few weeks left before race time. The best approach is to do a couple of high intensity bursts while out skiing just to get a feel for what your fitness level can handle. A slight uphill works best for this kind of workout. When you get to the bottom of the grade just punch it as hard as you can go for 30 seconds. That does not sound like a lot but you will feel it! Try and do 5 or 6 of these with ample rest in between. That is only 150 to 180 seconds of pain but it will pay off when the gun goes off.

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Another easy way to simulate race pace is to just jump in behind a faster skier after they pass. There is no shortage of this here in the Wasatch. Around here, unless you have won a Nordic Olympic gold medal or World Masters gold medal, your getting passed so jump on! Stay a ways back but see how long you can hold the pace of a faster skier. This will give you a good idea of what kind of race pace you are capable of. So do some intervals over the next week and feel some race pace pain! This topic deserves a few more posts so next week I will discuss newbie race waxing and race course recon. If you want an idea of what real Nordic pain looks like, check Switzerland’s Dario Cologna winning the final climb of and the overall race in the 2012 tour de Ski.

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Keep skatin! PPPC.

The quickest way to get to know a place is to get to know the people who live there. It is in that spirit that Pedal and Pole Park City is starting the local interview series. These interviews will consist of five questions and feature someone from around town who is making things happen as far as creating a local experience or product that encapsulates Wasatch mountain life. Pedal and Pole is excited to kick off this series with Paul Clark who is the current operator of the White Pine Touring Nordic center located in the heart of Park City. Paul is a longtime fixture on the local mountain bike and Nordic ski scene. An avid racer, he regularly places in the top end of any race within the inter-mountain west but most people who visit Park City know him as the guy at the Nordic center who is always smiling and ready to offer up great advice on some new gear or help get you fitted up with proper gear for a day of skiing. He is also the guy getting the grooming done, counting the money at the end of the day, and pretty much anything else that needs done around the place. So take a few minutes and get to know Paul Clark.

1) How did you end up a Nordic skier and then the head guy at White Pine Touring?

I was hired at White Pine back in ’96 to work as a rental boy. I was 14. Yeah, breaking the law. At that point in time, I was playing soccer and baseball, and not really into it anymore. I started riding mountain bikes, and wanted to learn more about them, so I started hanging around White Pine when it was up on Main st. I kept bugging the guys in the shop, so finally, I was offered a position at the Nordic Center for the winter, and if I did well, I would have the opportunity to start the following summer in the bike shop. That winter I tried XC skiing a few times, but thought it was silly, hard, and slow. The following year, I even tried a skate race. I thought it was so hard and not fun, that I literally gave up XC skiing for a few years. Then in high school, I was looking for a way to stay in shape in the winter to support my mountain bike racing. I went and tried going for a skate. I was hooked. I didn’t try another ski race until I was a Sr. in college. My switch was turned on, and now I race as much as I can. As far as running the store here at White Pine… I have always had a passion for working in the outdoor industry, and a few fortuitous events lined up for me, placing me in line for the position. My predecessor, Isaac Wilson, set me up for success, being a great mentor, and strong example. From there it was easy.

2) What is the most unglamorous aspect of running White Pine Tourings Nordic center?

I am constantly thinking about the place, the track, the customers, the programs… Sometimes, I mix things up, or lose track of the day. As unglamorous or glamorous as this sounds, I ski pretty much every morning at sunrise, until we open. (today I had to skip my morning ski, and I feel groggy and sluggish…) But it is pretty early sometimes…

3) What is your favorite local trail winter or summer and why……

favorite summer trail: it’s a tie, I love riding Spiro, Crest, Robs before work in the summer, or a rip down Crescent Mine Grade with Kevin Holiday always makes the hair stand up! Favorite winter trail: It’s pretty fun to have all the offerings we do around here, but nothing beats the Farm trails in spring time. Fast, and hard.

4) What is the main main food that sustains your healthy lifestyle?

Right now, avocados are cheap and a daily staple. I come from a foodie household, and if you really want to talk food sometime, come see me. A guilty pleasure of mine is Garden of Eaten’s Red Hot Blue corn chips, I regularly consume a bag or two a week. I like food, all kinds, and I love preparing food, I love the act of making a meal, opening a bottle of wine or making a cocktail and seeing what the food brings to the conversation. I had the pleasure of eating at Forage down in Salt Lake City, and it blew my mind. It should be on everyone’s bucket list. The Farm at Canyons is pretty special too. But by far the best meal I have had in Park City is at Talisker on Main.  Amazing service goes so far in my book, and when good service is combined with great food, Bam!

5) Can you picture life without mtns, snow, and and skiing? If yes, where would it be?

This year has shown what we can do with limited snow, and the generosity of people showed what a little labor can do to keep our track open. I also have heard the doomsday people say that our grand kids might never see natural snow, I hope that is not the case, that would be so unfortunate. I love skiing, I love season change, and I love the mountains. However, I like my road bike, and I love surfing, so I could keep myself busy…

Thanks again Paul and enjoy the Red Chairs! PPPC.

 

 

Perfect conditions despite low snow.

A weekend skate at Round Valley turned into a mini Wasatch adventure complete with some pro dogsled racing this past Saturday. The fantastic trail system and Utah Brand blue skies, mild winter temperatures and a few lingering clouds made it the ideal day to recreate in the mountains. Round Valley is a trail system located just east of Park City and it is maintained by the Mountain Trails Foundation. The area has around 20k of fast, rolling, well groomed, multi use trails. In the summer the area doubles as a single track gymnasium perfect for mountain biking and trail running but more about that when the snow melts. Since it is a multi use area, you will run into walkers, dog walkers, snow bikers, Nordic skiers, and all various combinations of the above.One unbelievable aspect of Round Valley is the it is FREE! Of course you can join Mountain Trails Foundation but there is no trail fee winter or summer. Like I mentioned above, the Nordic skiing was also backed up with some Pro Dogsledding! An event was going on near the National Abilities center which paired up Pro Mushers with local area junior mushers. You should have been aournd to hear those happy dogs barking and just waiting to pull those sleds! The video clip below combines the great skiing and the super charged atmosphere from the dogs yelping plus a few shots of sleds taking off from the line.

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Chris McMaster, Owner and Operator of Ultralight Adventure equipment was kind enough to provide action model services in the video. Of course his backyard is Round Valley so running into him over there is pretty typical. Round Valley is a great example of the recreation opportunities that we have available here in the Wasatch mountains. Stay posted to Pedal and Pole as we continue to explore all the possibilities!

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