And We Now Return to Triathlon Training

I know it’s been awhile since I’ve written about my training–did you know how many blogs out there are by triathletes following their training and racing? Reading them makes me feel lazy. But, my “real” tri training for Timberman started this week. And, after last year, I think with proper nutrition, enough sleep, not working night shifts, and simply being smart about it all will help in my favor to finish it. Not only that, but now I can actually swim…Outside…Which I actually prefer to do than in a pool.

Monday was a run day–running without my Garmin, nor a HR monitor has somewhat bothered me… ohh well. The weather made up for it.

View from Burger Hill, Rhinebeck, NY

But, running, which was something I’ve been okay at and have done for years, I mean, I’ve done marathons, half marathons, trail races….Has not been going so great lately. Last week I went for a longer than usual run (you know, instead of 4 miles you run 13–who does that?) and did something to my hip. I let it rest, stretched, and did what I’ve been told to do, but my run Monday was a killer and ended up being a walk–so painful I couldn’t walk up the stairs in my house. So, that is somewhat concerning, especially since I have a half marathon to run in less than 4 days. :-/

To give my hip a rest, yesterday I went for a great road ride which ended up being an easy 25miles–I’m saving my longer one for friday. And, to think I was riding in almost 70 degree weather in March is unheard of. It’s hotter in NY than in Austin, TX! Spring is here!

Catskills in the background, taken from the road ride

Today, since I went for a mountain bike ride last night as well, I’m taking a rest day…Maybe go to the pool later…We’ll see. (I actually do have a training plan that I follow–I really do!).

However, my race schedule this year, which really depends on work schedule, includes some different, and I’d say more challenging in certain aspects,  races: mountain bike races. I ended up going for a short spin last night before the sun really set and realized (1) I love going fast and (2) I love mountain biking, even if it really hurts, and (3) it’s simply fun, technical, difficult, challenging, and a blast. So, why not give this type of racing a try?

Trying to race the setting sun in the woods

This....

Caused this...Amongst the other bruises and scrapes all over my body.

Last car in the parking lot with my bike...Gotta love it

Soon, I’ll be racing with these guys…Well, women. And, maybe not the World Cup right away….

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WinterBike and Kingdom Trails in the Winter

They say the first time you attempt something and don’t succeed, try, try again.

And that’s what I do–whether it be mountain biking, swimming, or xc skiing.

Months ago, a friend and I decided to head up to Kingdom Trails in East Burke, VT for a mid-winter gettaway. I’ve shared my first (solo, mind you) mountain biking trip there this summer here . And, in the summer, it is amazing. Miles and miles of single or double track for mountain biking, technical trails and downhill for  those adrenalen junkies, to leisurely groomed paths.

co. of Winterbike

Ofcourse, I didn’t go up to go mountain biking in March. Well, that is a lie, because technically, the reason for the trip was to go to WinterBike, an event that started this year where mountain bikers from all over are invited to come and ride together on groomed cross country paths. A sweet idea. They had rides for riders of every level– fatbike rides, studded tyre rides, inntermediate, and “leisurly” paced rides. Towards the end, they even served Vermont cheese (yumm!) and a variety of local brews. After the main event, there was a race for those hardcore mountain bikers who really have no fear at all…I’m pretty sure they were stoked about the ability to race in the winter. I’m definitely going again next year.

As with the rest of the Northeast, East Burke did not get a huge amount of snow. As I recall, driving into Lyndonville looking over at my driver saying, “Umm, where is the snow?” thinking that there would be feet and feet of snow everywhere you looked. Nope. Fortunetly, at higher altitutes, there was more snow…Super for WinterBike! I did notice there was snow on Burke Mountain, so entering the town of East Burke observing visitors bundled up in ski gear gave me hope there would be enough snow to ski on. But, with the weather we’ve had, I think we managed to embrace the last of the snow of their winter snow season. **Meaning, next time I go, it’ll be for pure mountain bike pleasure!**

Kingdom Trails is amazing and has so much to offer for every season. In the winter, it has has special Nordic Trails only for cross country ski and snowshoe use. There is Darling Hill, which has about 20 km of trails which can be used for skiing, as well as Dashney Farm, with about 50km of trails–this is where the WinterBike event was held.

Some Winterbike Photos

Most courtesy of K.Young

Fatbikes!

Mountain bikers are simply hardcore. Shorts? Wicked awesome.

Vermont cheese, bread, PB, water, local beer, local vodka...What else do you need?

Cross Country Skiing

Okay, it’s actually a lie that I’ve never been cross-country skiing before. I have. Years ago. Furthermore, once upon a time, we owned a “Nordic Track” which I used religiously before we gave it away. During winters as a child my family would travel to Garmisch-Partenkirchen (in Bavaria) so my siblings and I could downhill ski, or snowboard. But that was years ago. Truth be told, with the winter we had last year in the Hudson Valley, I thought I’d be getting much more use out of my cx skis than I did this year. But, the Molly philosophy on learning how to do something is to go full speed ahead and simply, do it. Thankfully, I had an amazing person with me who actually does ski (and worked at a ski shop) and could teach me the correct way to cross-country ski.

Oh, and if you were wondering, exercising on a Nordic Track™ is nothing compared to actually cross-country skiing. For one, you don’t have hills; two, you don’t have ice, and three, with a Nordic Track you have something to rest your abdomen against. 

We were fortunate to stay at the Wildflower Inn, a Bed and Breakfast on Darling Hill, right from which you could clip in the skis and ski (or ride in the summer). It’s an amazing place, and has activities for the whole family–if you have a family that is. Plus, they have the best pancakes with REAL maple syrup and their breakfasts are phenomenal. Not only that, they are accommodating to vegetarians and those who must eat gluten-free. Their restaurant, Juniper’s, has incredible food too. I highly recommend it. Plus, I must admit, having a weekend with no phone, computer, television (not that I ever actually watch TV) was amazing. I may be old-fashioned, but I do miss the days when society was not so dependant on technology as we are now.

Fun at Wildflower

Courtesy of K.Trails...Darling Hill Nordic trails

Mountain bikes and skis in one car...And missing my bike

The Inn

Sledding at night behind the Carriage House where we stayed

He is an extreme sledder

The Inn has hot cider, tea, crackers, Vermont Cheddar Cheese, and homemade cookies every afternoon

View from Heaven's Bench in the winter

Where we stayed

Besides the point, after a five-hour drive to get to the Inn, it was time to learn how to ski. The person I was with had no problem whatsoever photographing my dread, terror, and fear.

With the lack of snow, most of the trails of Darling Hill were fields and tracks of ice. Not the best conditions for learning how to ski. (I’m pretty sure downhill skiing, from what I remember, is much easier than cross-country skiing). After some side-step instructions, learning how to snow plow, learning how to get in and out of the skis, we were off on the Bemis Trail. It took some time to get used to the movement, especially since I’m not used to the use of the poles and upper body, but I managed with only a few “Craaaaaaaps,”  “I can’t do this,” and, “I’m coming!!!Slowly.” Thank goodness for my skiing partner. He could not have been more patient with me.

Preparing for skiing

Mentally preparing myself

Coming along slowly…

Best teacher ever

The Nordic Center

Courtesy of Kingdom Trails

Before heading back south to NY, we decided to take advantage of the gorgeous weather and do some more skiing at Dashney Hill Farm. It had been nicely groomed from the WinterBike event the day before, but with the 40° weather, the snow was melting fast, and making trails turn into trails of ice. Going up was fine. Going down, however, was a different story. But, we were able to spend a couple of wonderful hours skiing, only passing a few snowshoe-ers along the way.

 We tend to wear matching colored hats and same-brand sunglasses.

All in all, it was a fantastic, fun, sometimes terrifying weekend BUT with no broken bones or hospital visits. If you are into mountain biking on the east coast, Kingdom Trails is the place to go. And now we know you can cross-country ski there, as well as downhill!

Thank you, to the volunteers at the Kingdom, the organizers of WinterBike (my t-shirt is the bomb), and the friendly, welcoming staff at the Wildflower Inn.

Ohh, and one last thing. If you decide to travel to East Burke, it is vital to stop at the Country Store, located right across from the Burke Sports store and gas station. They have the most appetizing homemade maple-oat or maple-wheat bread, and delicious sandwiches. 🙂

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