Category Archives: Boards

Posts about things that happen on two boards (aka skiing).

Working Out with Baby

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Jonathan and M ascending.

After we had Baby M we were committed to keeping in shape. So committed, in fact, that we did our first race five weeks later, followed by a full cross country ski season with pretty decent results. After the race season we took a couple weeks off and started to think about next year. Unfortunately, even with the generous babysitting by our friend Jessica, we can’t count on the same schedule we have in past years, so we’ve been making do.

This week we’ve been working out with baby. While doing our hour-long weights and plyo sessions can happen during naps, babies don’t always nap as planned. Because the very nature of weightlifting in pairs involves one person waiting for the bench, we devised a perfectly acceptable alternative; one lifts, the other entertains. It’s much more exciting to rest between sets with a smiling baby. Less so with a fussy baby, but you get what you get.

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The resort is closed, so we (meaning Jonathan) had to break trail.

Since not all workouts can be weight workouts we were looking for a bit of cardio. Baby is too little at this point to hook to our bikes (and I’m not sure how I feel about that one right now anyway), so we took her for a ski. Alta is now closed during the week, so touring within the ski boundaries provides us with low-angle cat track to ascend and descend.  We needed to be able to manage avalanche danger, as in we wanted to eliminate it. The route we chose and all terrain that overhangs it is safe and we know it well, so it’s easy to pick a route to the top and back without having to worry. That said, once the resort is closed it isn’t maintained, so route finding is very important.

Proud papa at the turn around.

Proud papa at the turn around.

Jonathan took Chariot duties on the way up. I pushed a little on the steeper stuff, but he lugged M and the trailer most of the way to the summit. For the first time in the history of our ski touring I was the one to blister first, so we called it good about 500 or so feet from the top. There was a nice flat spot where we could switch gear, and it so happened that it was time for M to eat. After all, it’s good to keep a baby on her schedule! I engaged in a little extreme breastfeeding at 9500 ft. She was oblivious to the majesty of her surroundings; all she cared about was that she was warm and getting her afternoon tea.

The feed. Milli gets hers while I eat a Feedzone Portable snack.

The feed. Milli gets hers while I eat a Feedzone Portable snack.

After she pasted my ski pants with spit-up (par for the course) we packed her up and tightened her three-point harness for the rough ride down.

Even though we chose all greens for our up and down tracks, that sled can get going fast. Last time we skied I had her up on one ski, so I decided to be a little more ginger with her since she just ate.

Jonathan grabbed the back and we descended ski-patrol style. The sun-warmed snow was sticky; we had to pole out of a few places, but it was a beautiful day. Mom and Dad got in nearly two hours of outside time and Baby M got a wild ride.

A day for dark glasses.

A day for dark glasses.

 

 

 

 

Stuff I Like (And Paid For*)

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Once again I’m reviewing Stuff I Like (And Paid For*) *not always retail.  My Salomon Equipe 10 Soft Ground Skate Skis are my favorite in the quiver.  Full disclosure – I am a member of the “Salomon Athlete Force” and received a discount. But I did buy them. Here’s the scoop.

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The Salomon Equipe 10 Skate – Soft Ground. Designed for use where I live!

I’m relatively new to the sport of Nordic skiing, but coming from a place where I know good equipment when I see it. Or ski it.  These skis are specially designed for use on “soft ground”. Translation: newly fallen snow that has been groomed recently and not rained on.  The construction is different from its “compact ground” counterpart because it is built with softer sidewalls and a more flexible tip that resists “plowing in” to soft, new snow.  It is also one of the (if not the) lightest skis on the market, which may only be a few grams, but it makes a difference over 25 or 50km of skating.  The idea was to eliminate unnecessary stiffness in situations where it simply isn’t necessary and come up with a ski that excels in soft snow.

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Skis well on hard, soft, snowshoed, dog walked, just about any ground.

So how does it do?  The first time I skied them last year I loved them. (If you know me, you know that’s a HUGE deal).  I felt like they stayed in contact with the ground more, and in theory that is faster.  The tips float over and brush aside loose snow rather than diving into it, which is also faster.  An unintended bonus I discovered was their excellent performance on multi-use trails that have huge divots from feet and snowshoes.  The soft tip rides over the rough track and keeps them in contact with the ground rather than reacting harshly like a stiffer ski.  I equate it to lowering the tire pressure in a mountain bike or cyclocross tire on rough terrain for better traction; in this case it means better glide.

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The SG in action at the 2012 Boulder Mountain Tour.

Since the Intermountain West is almost always full of soft snow, I skied them often.  They became my “go to” ski in almost every condition, and if I was waxing a few days ahead of traveling and I didn’t want to spend a ton on wax, I would just assume I was skiing these.  After a year I was finally presented with an opportunity to test them against the stiffer ski when I headed to Soldier Hollow in extremely cold temps to race on hard, man-made snow that had been groomed multiple times and closely resembled an ice rink.  I tested the Soft and the Compact on a set distance with the same wax. In the end I chose the Soft because it was just as fast, and I love how it handles in anything that is imperfect. Let’s face it, most courses are not perfect.

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They even work well when powering along with a passenger.

Most people who skate ski recreationally only own one pair of skis. In most cases the Soft Ground ski would be seen as a “specialty” ski; you’d only own it if you had a large quiver.  I can’t speak for all areas of the country, but for the West, where snow tends to be more abundant and very soft, I would recommend this ski as a fantastic “only” ski.  It handles hard conditions very well, rides over defects in the trail most likely found outside the confines of a race setting, and is priced the same as the competing high-end ski from just about every manafacturer.  If I could only have one weapon in my quiver, this one would be it. I’ve been told by many a ski coach to always ski the softest ski you can handle in a given set of conditions.  I haven’t found conditions in the Intermountain West where I couldn’t handle this ski, and I keep going back to it every week.

If you live in the Salt Lake area you can get your Salomon Soft Ground ski AND expert fit advice here:  http://www.wildrosesports.com/

If not, visit Salomon’s site to find a great dealer near you: http://www.salomon.com/us/activity/nordic-skiing.html

Happy Trails!

Stuff I Like (And Paid For*)

 

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Introducing a new segment called Stuff I Like (And Paid For*) *not always retail. I include that I paid for it because athletes tend to say nicer things about those items they receive for free.

You’re reviewing WHAT? This edition of Stuff I Like (And Paid For*)*not always retail features a cookbook.  What that has to do with bikes and boards you’ll soon find out…

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The Feedzone Cookbook. Available at Amazon.

The Feedzone Cookbook by Biju Thomas and Alan Lim solves a few current problems I have identified in my life.  You see, due to the bikes and boards portion of this site I often find the need to eat. Lots.  In fact one might argue I only do any of those activities as a license to eat.  But I don’t like to eat crap (all the time). The baby situation presents the second dilemma: it needs to be simple and again, not crap.

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A Feedzone pasta dish featuring walnuts, bleu cheese and a mustardy dressing. Made with pre-cooked pasta – FAST!

So we’ve all been to Pineterest. It’s a wealth of great ideas for delicious dishes that are advertised as “so fast and easy” etc.  The thing is, many of the shortcuts popular on these sites are really not much shorter than making things from scratch. They often involve a lot of pre-prepared items that play host to hidden sodium and fat.  Other times they cut corners that take away from the taste.  In the end I’m willing to do a little more to eat something that is healthy and also tastes good.

Another HUGE pet peeve of mine is recipes that have not been tested. That’s why normally I stick to Alton Brown, America’s Test Kitchen and Cooking Light; they seem to test out their claims as well as write decent instructions. They are based in science and tested, but those recipes aren’t always aimed at the segment of the population who burn a second person’s daily calories working out.

Enter the Feedzone.  The focus of the book, written by veteran cycling chef Biju Thomas and renowned cycling physiologist Alan Lim PhD, is to provide recipes that are simple enough for a bachelor bike racer to make, mostly from scratch, taste good and are above all healthy.  A word of caution, though: most of these recipes are intended for people who are active endurance athletes, so there is a little more fat allowed. If you love to play outside, read on.

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That awesome granola that costs $5 a bag. Made from scratch for pennies.

The book is divided neatly into sections for each part of a typical training day; breakfast, ride food, après, dinner and the all-important dessert.  The breakfasts are aimed at those going out for long or difficult training and the après meals are what the rest of the world might call lunch.  The “portables” section caters to those of us who just can’t bring themselves to eat one more pre-packaged energy bar.  This section is so awesome they are about to fill orders for their second book on only this subject.

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Two kinds of “Portables” rice bars; one with fig and honey, the other with chocolate and peanuts. Neither one will freeze in your pocket or work out your jaw.

What I love about the book most is that the recipes are clean; the ingredients are few and tasty, and the meals leave you feeling full but not stuffed.  Brilliant touches like a vegetarian and gluten-free options for most recipes allow anyone to eat from this book.  They also do an excellent job of explaining the “why” behind the nutrition (because they thought these recipes through) and offering tips on how some of the items can be prepared ahead of time and refrigerated or frozen. Because who wants to come home from a five-hour thigh-burner and cook a meal from scratch?

Also featured in the book are some instructions on how to make basic items like pizza dough and pie crust.  An “on hand” pantry list included makes it easy and economical to have staples on hand so that your shopping list is short even for a week’s worth of meals.

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Banana Rice Muffins. Great for before, during and after long hours. Also a great midnight snack while up feeding hungry babies.

I cook almost every night from one of three books and various internet sources, but by far this book is the most used.  And this is one of the “Stuff I Like” that I paid RETAIL for.  You can too here.

Although the book was written as a result of experience with cycling, it lends itself to just about any activity that involves burning fat.  In addition to using the book for meals, I powered my longer ski races on the portables and never once had that bloated, sugared out energy bar feeling.

Stay tuned for their next installment; a book only about “portables” pocket snacks for during activities. And check out Skratch Labs for a nice clean-tasting hydration solution that won’t break your bank or belly.