Roller skiing is…

Roller skiing is shallow, forward leaning, alternating single knee bends, balanced on a blade’s edge while rolling. Sling a rifle over your shoulders, and it’s biathlon.

All you need to get started: skis, boots, poles, and gloves; rifle optional.

North American Vasa 2018 -063 days

17.3 km; 1:46:32; 239 m elevation; 09.7 km/h avg; SatSki PR roller ski elevation 239 m

PR roller ski elevation 239 m, pathetic, I know, but you try finding a hill on Florida’s coast.

A slight drizzle made me hesitate at the Stevenson Creek bridge this morning. I decided that the weather would not be wet like Thursday night’s ski. The boots sat in front of the fan all night long and were still not fully dry by Friday. My superb judgement got me home safe and dry, just before the actual rain began. #DryBoots #HA


The Memorial Causeway Bridge, from below, with the corkscrew just around the corner to the left and the Pierce Street Market just below the curve at far right.


The view from the corkscrew.


A stranger took this shot of me under the Memorial Causeway Bridge near the Pierce Street Market

Downtown Clearwater was hosting a 5 km event this morning which  officially closed my bridge for a spell. I did an extra “bluff climb” lap and unofficially bypassed the corkscrew to make it up the first ascent against the descending throng. Well, less of a throng, and more of a small mob. The “Cold Front” most assuredly kept many locals from coming down.

But the bridge was dry for my three round trips and I made it home in time to shower, shave and get changed [business casual] for American Power and Gas’ office Christmas Brunch up in the Crystal Ballroom of the Fort Harrison Hotel. [roast beast, perfectly cooked whole salmon, cheese, cheese, cheese, eggs Benedict, scalloped potatoes, salad, salad, salad, kielbasa, bacon, fruit, pie, pie, pie!]

Memorial Causeway Bridge, fom Crystal Ballroom balcony

Here is the view of my Memorial Causeway Bridge from the balcony off the Crystal Ballroom of the Ft. Harrison Hotel. Doesn’t look like much of a hill, does it? But it is the best I have to work with here in flat, flat, flat Florida.

2018/01/27 -049 days Noquemanon Ski Marathon [OMG!]
2018/02/10 -063 days North American Vasa Festival of Races

[click links for race maps]

North American Vasa 2018 -065 days

[T-065 days] rollerski 10.1 km; 1:02:28; 094 m elevation; 10.7 km/h avg; ThuSki
[T-066 days] rollerski 16.3 km; 1:25:55; 158 m elevation; 11.4 km/h avg; WedSki bridge climb 4x
[T-067 days] rollerski 15.8 km; 1:22:29; 040 m elevation; 11.5 km/h avg; TueSki circles
[T-068 days] rollerski 02.0 km; 0:24:45; 007 m elevation; 04.8 km/h avg; non-strenous walk
[T-069 days] rollerski 15.8 km; 1:25:08; 131 m elevation; 11.1 km/h avg; SunSki bridge climbs 3x
[T-070 days] canoe 04.1 km; 0:52:59; 003 m elevation; 04.7 km/h avg; Dunedin Christmas Boat Parade
[T-070 days] rollerski 20.7 km; 1:51:08; 051 m elevation; 11.1 km/h avg; SatSki
[T-071 days] canoe 02.0 km; 0:31:09; 004 m elevation; 03.9 km/h avg; FriCanoe

[T-065 days] Finally, another “cold” front. This one has brought more clouds than cold. Rain, too. Skate roller skiing on smooth, wet concrete and pavement, I had to be a bit careful about keeping my weight over my leading ski. Is this what skate skiing on snow is like? Perhaps. Just 2 bridge climbs tonight. Did they feel more “natural?”
[T-066 days] The goal is to make climbing feel more natural. The strategy is to do more consistent climbing, while gradually adding more climbs and more elevation.
[T-067 days]
[T-068 days] A “non-strenuous” walk
[T-069 days] Climbing again. It was hard, but I did it. No more “strenuous” exercise till after Tuesday morning’s [routine] blood draw; 24-48 hours; drink lots of water plus a 12 hour fast.
[T-070 days]
[T-070 days] Flat ski, out to the circles, including the Duck Pond Velodrome. Willing to go 20 km, but not willing to confront climbing.
[T-071 days]

2018/01/27 -051 days Noquemanon Ski Marathon
2018/02/03 -058 days White Pine
2018/02/10 -065 days North American Vasa Festival of Races
2018/02/24 -079 days Birkebeiner

North American Vasa 2018 -071 days

14.4 km; 1:13:17; 133m elevation; 11.8 km/h avg; 52.2 km/h max; FriSki bridge climb 2x
canoe 02.5 km; 3m elevation [What? Where were the rapids?]; FriCanoe

PR max speed [roller ski]: 52.2 km/h

A moonlit canoe trip with my wife and Lovely Assistant, Susan, out into the Intra-Coastal Waterway and up Stevenson Creek to the Pinellas Trail Bridge. We saw some pretty Christmas lights, marveled at the calmness and watched the fish jumping in the creek. The fish were way less active, now that the Full Moon approaches. The Full Super Moon of 2017, no less. The tide was very high.

I passed my boss (who Nordic skis, both skate and classic) and his wife on Osceola Avenue on my way skiing back from the bridge. “How many miles are you going?” he asked.

“About 10 tonight.” I replied. Time to tighten up the form and Look Mar·vel·ous!

2018/01/27 -057 days Noquemanon Ski Marathon
2018/02/03 -064 days White Pine
2018/02/10 -071 days North American Vasa Festival of Races
2018/02/24 -085 days Birkebeiner

North American Vasa 2018 -072 days

17.6 km; 1:32:49; 11.3 km/h average; 34m elevation; ThuSki Duck Pond Velodrome

Just for kicks, I started this post with a “working title” of “North American Vasa 2018 -000 days.” Wow. That was sobering, but exciting, all at once. I instantly got the idea of sitting at my computer in my little cabin early on Saturday morning to write a pre-race blog entry. Then I neatly folded that thought up and carefully put it away. Can’t go there just yet, especially the since the Noquemanon has captured most of my skiing imagination, and since the Noque is at minus 58 days.

Tonight it was good to be back on the roller skis after taking Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday off. Skiing actually did not feel foreign the way it did any time I took even one or two days off earlier this year. Good sign.

I had been busy finishing this fun blog entry, Noquemanon, a History.  Also, the waterfront bushes in the back yard had been calling to me and to my little 8″ Ryobi 18V cordless electric chain saw – On A Stick. The water view is secured for another year. They always come back, of course, but it is so nice to have them neat and trim. It had previously been a 10-12 hour job. I think the Ryobi may have helped me shorten that a bit. it certainly made the whole experience less arduous.

Also, the canoe helped. I had never approached the waterfront bushes from the water side since I began this bi-annual chore in 1990. This time I did the top half first, leaving the deepest, most difficult, jungle-like, can’t-get-through-the-bushes-in-order-to-cut-them sections, and left the rest for later – with the canoe. So, over the last three days, with the help of my wife and lovely assistant Susan, who learned to pilot a canoe just to help, we finished the job.

2018/01/27 -058 days Noquemanon Ski Marathon
2018/02/10 -072 days North American Vasa Festival of Races

North American Vasa 2018 -078 days

-081 days: 10.3 km; 1:03:32; 085 m elevation; TueSki lost a tip

-080 days: 11.2 km; 1:02:46; 030 m elevation; WedSki circles

-078 days: 19.1 km; 1:42:35 (moving); 231 m elevation; 11.2 km/h avg; Black FriSki bridge climb 6x

PR roller ski elevation gain: 231 m = 758 feet, 34% of the total Noque climbing: 2242 ft

Aided by a two hour nap, my wife and Lovely Assistant, Susan came up with the bright idea of carying an extra ferrule tip [a.k.a archery target tip #BulletPoints] in a pocket while I ski. I lose one, I can just screw in a replacement, on the trail! Brilliant.

Mid to late afternoon is my favorite time of day to work out. Just like suiting up for football (or track or basketball or wrestling or cross country) practice after school.

2018/01/27 -064 days Noquemanon Ski Marathon
2018/02/10 -084 days North American Vasa Festival of Races

North American Vasa 2018 -84 days

25.1 km; 2:07:18 (moving); 074 m elevation; 11.9 km/h avg; 50 k leg 1 out
17.6 km; 1:39:57 (moving); 053 m elevation; 10.6 km/h avg; 50 k leg 2, 10 k tp go
10.1 km; ?:??:??; 50 k last leg

52.8 kilometers, Ski marathon distance, DONE

I split up the “back” recordings because my phone was running low on charge and I wanted to minimize the data loss, in case it died completely.

Dunedin and Tarpon Springs trail markers, and the tunnel under Alt. U.S. 19

I was not ready for 50 km today. 35? Sure, likely even 40, but today’s final 10 k leg was a fine bit of torture.

Body parts in the most pain (in descending order): feet, shoulders, ankles; I also must mention the last 10 k ability to generate energy; dehydration must have been a factor, despite the amount of liquids I was drinkng – I dropped 10 pounds out there; It turned out to be a very warm day; high 70’s felt like mid 80’s, unfortunately. Very surprised by how painful my feet were. Felt like bone/nerve damage.

[Girls at the Dunkin’ Doughnuts drive-through window] Neeeeeeeeeeat! Now, that looks like fun!

I skied through the Dunkin’ Donuts drive-through window on my way to the Tarpon Springs Kash n’ Karry grocery store to refill my stainless steel water bottles with good spring water. The greeting from the Dunkin’ Donuts girls was greatly appreciated. I Drank as much of the 3 liter bottle on the spot as I could, because I knew I would be consuming the bottles before reaching home. Refilled the empties again at Curlew road from the drinking fountain. Why did I not buy another bottle of spring water at the Publix grocery store right there on Curlew? I did not even think of it, because Curlew marks the 9 km to go stage , and by this point in the workout, I could not easily name the sport I was participating in when asked by a biker. #mental

2018/01/27 -070 days Noquemanon Ski Marathon
2018/02/10 -084 days North American Vasa Festival of Races

North American Vasa 2018 -085 days

-085 days: 18.1 km; 1:37:34; 049 m elevation; 10.6 km/h avg; FriSki Ozona

Longest ski of the week, sandwiched between two ex·cur·sions out into the mangroves to drain the chainsaw battery. The light week of skiing is largely mental. I have the consideration that, because I have added all the yard work, that I don’t have sufficient “energy” to also do long workouts. This is, of course, a lie. I have less motivation, after having done some other mild excursion. I feel more like sitting in front of the TV than clicking into my Salomon nnn bindings and heading up the first hill. It is almost as if there were some self-imposed limit to the number of activities that are “comfortably” accomplished in a single evening, and that number is much greater than one.

So, tonight I took advantage of having the house to myself, Susan having gone out to enjoy the Celtic Thunder concert at Ruth Eckerd Hall. I sau·téd some onions speedy-quick, threw them into a salad with some leftover eggplant and mushrooms, and got busy.

And now I am done, and it is late, but there is still time for some TV. Bonus.

2018/01/27 -071 days Noquemanon Ski Marathon
2018/02/10 -085 days North American Vasa

North American Vasa 2018 -086 days

-086 days: 07.6 km; 0:42:19; 031 m elevation; 10.8 km/h avg; 19.4 km/h max; Stevenson Creek lower 4 bridges

naVasa2018 -086 days.4bridgesMoonless night skiing around the neighborhood.

Finding Balance

“You remember lesson about balance? Lesson not just karate only. Lesson for whole life. Whole life have a balance.”
– Miyagi, Karate Kid, 1984

Balance Lesson not just skiing only. Skiing for whole life.

2018/01/27 -072 days Noquemanon Ski Marathon
2018/02/10 -086 days North American Vasa

North American Vasa 2018 -087 days

-087 days: 13.6 km; 1:14:43; 096 m elevation; 11.0 km/h avg; 41.0 km/h max; WedSki bridge climb 2x
-088 days: 05.5 km; 0:26:25; 12.5 km/h avg; TueSki SpeedSki
-089 days: 04.3 km; 0:24:24; 10.6 km/h avg; MonSki up the creek without the ice
-090 days: 02.7 km; 0:16:11; 011 m elevation; 10.0 km/h avg; SunSki1 around the block, light rain
-091 days: 21.1 km; 1:58:20; 178 m elevation; 10.7 km/h avg; SatSki bridge climb 4x

[Sea Org woman, waiting or her bus] That looks like fun.

naVasa2018 -087 days.RyobiManMy skiing distances have lessened the last few days, as I began turning my attention to some other targets that need completing before my North American Vasa trip to Traverse City. Namely, I have begun the annual task of trimming the mangroves to preserve our water view. My new little 8″ cordless 18v lithium battery powered chainsaw “on a stick” has proven to be just the tool for the job. The battery lasts only 12-18 minutes,  but that keeps me out of the mangroves for extended periods, which is good for mo·rale.

I have been exchanging emails with Timber Ridge in Traverse City, and it looks like I will have a “cottage” to stay in Up North! I may be putting my skis on outside my front door, and gliding right onto the Vasa Pathway trail. How awesome is that?

2018/01/27 -073 days Noquemanon Ski Marathon
2018/02/10 -087 days North American Vasa