Monday, December 01, 2008

Skiing, of all things

On Sunday, George and I took tag-outs. He checked out the Homologated Race Course up around the Eagle and Wave neighborhood. I went to the South Hall.

I just love the feelings of sickness, age and decrepitude that have come to mark my early-season forays for the past couple of years. I quit being relentlessly athletic about three years ago. No more obsessive weight training and dutiful use of indoor equipment to bridge the gaps between cycling and skiing, and to maintain upper body muscle in cycling season if I didn't get to paddle a kayak enough to keep it that way. I have more time for creative efforts, but the neglect has caught up with my body.

I mention this just to set the scene.

My car dealt handily with the snowy drive up Green Hill Road. Not so smoothly did I trudge onto the groomed wet snow on some waxless semi-compact skis with my old touring boots.

I switched to Race Classic Salomon boots several years ago as I took up higher-performance skis. My touring boots felt too stiff and heavy on skinny, responsive skis. I started to notice things about boot and binding flexibility that had not mattered to me before. This will happen to anyone who skis long enough. You may not be able to identify what you're feeling, but you'll know there's something, and it will affect your ability to get the most out of your skis.

On Sunday I only noticed that my old boots chewed the crap out of the back of one heel. I needed a newer sock to help me fill the volume around my somewhat narrow heel. Even though I used The Wonderknot, my heel could still shift a little.

I also nursed the secret hope that my sore shoulder would decide it had only been waiting for the beneficial motion of poling to heal itself. I noticed no immediate benefit, but there seems to be some residual effect today. Maybe it will help. The pain seems to stem from muscle tension. Nothing is more relaxing than a good Nordic ski workout.

I need that relaxation in the strange little world I inhabit in the winter.

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