Monday, December 26, 2005

Rochester Clinic

Anytime I can get a class on skate skiing - I grab it! I need help. Hi, my name is Kurt Donath and I can't skate ski. So there's a posting on the NYSSRA web site that says there's help in Rochester with lessons on be held at Harriet Hollister Spencer Memorial State Recreation Area (that's a mouth full so we'll call it HHSPMSRA). So Caleb and I jump into the car and head west. Trip looks like it's going to be about 2hrs and any trip is easier with a book on tape. This trips feature: The Theif Lord.

Now I'm concerned. If snow was hair, my yard is bald. Maybe not the billiard ball variety, but bald. As we drive along the thruway we see the billiard ball variety. The write up for HHSPMSRA says they get tons of snow and it stays. I'm hoping this is true, cause lessons on dirt aren't fun, unless you're a biker like Eddie.

Now this place - the mouthful above - is south of Rochester, near Honeyo Lake. We swing down West Lake Rd. and head south. Beautiful, steep valley. By this time, it's snowing. And we drive. And we drive. And the warning flag goes up and I look at the map and we're on the wrong road. We roar back north, pick up RT 20A go over to the next road and this starts to climb up and up. We leave the main road on to a rough country road and I'm getting worried about HHSPMSRA. But there it is. We jump out of the car and I ask the dude next to me when lessons start. Turns out this is Bob and he's runn'n the show. Stay with Bob and we'll be on time. Bob's the guy in black and yellow.

And there is snow. Icy with some powder on top, but skiable. Bob told us to ski down this road until we get to the overlook. We get there, and what an overlook! We're waaay up and on a clear day the view must be something. Today it's snowing, but good enough.

Lessons consist of skating without poles, working on letting the skiers weight and lean drive the ski. My shins and calfs are killing me after 10 minutes. Couple of the folks recommend (a) sitting in the chair and flexing my toes, (b) standing with my back against the wall and lifting toes, and (c) just get out on the skis more! Next we ski with one pole, up and down, with the point in our belly button and the pole touching the nose. The point in the belly seems like a bad idea, but maybe there's some secret here - like acupuncture and pain and stuff like that. So you got to picture this: 15 skiers in a line with their poles up and down - looks like a scene out of Monty Python. The goal is to keep the pole straight up and down. Lots of movement is energy wasted. Turns out I'm not getting my weight out over my glide ski enough and I'm lifting the other ski and bringing it back to the glide ski, when it should come more automatically. That was worth the trip there to have that pointed out. We work V1, V2, and V2 alternate.

One drill was to form a line with out two ski poles length between people. Last person in the line 'slaloms' between all the other skiers to the front. Repeat. Idea is to see if you can beat someone else. Lots of people on the snow!

So a good lesson! Bob's really jazzed about the new Rochester Cross Country ski club/foundation. Rochester's got a strong High School program, but after that not much. Bob mentioned that Syracuse just got a grant and bought grooming equipment to groom for skating. That's awesome! Today I have to drive either 40minutes to Greek Peak or 1.25hrs to Osceoloa for skate skiing. This news was worth the drive!

Photos by Eric Barbehann

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Osceola 10K 12/10/05

Last year I died in this race - freestyle cross country ski race. No rifle. No stops for shooting. Lots of hills. This race attracks lots of high school ski teams and the masters class also has lots to top skiers. Last year this race took me about 52 minutes to finish. My goal this year was simply to beat that time and to work on technique. My problem is that I ski too much from the center, I don't shift my weight enough over the glid ski. Joshua, David and Jonathan also came with Joshua racing in the 5K race. It was a beautiful day with tons of snow in the trees. The base was strange: layer of snow, layer of ice, then a layer of snow. Stick a ski pole in the wrong spot and it would sink about a foot!

What's fun about this race is that the prizes are pies. No chance I would place, but Joshua did place in his category! He was suprized when they called him up to the table to pick a pie.

Wasn't happy with my race: was on 49 minutes and didn't feel the technique coming together.