Sunday, January 11, 2009

Winter in Grand Junction/Grand Mesa Marathon Ski

I have been too busy stalking people on facebook to even think about "bloging" lately. Until last week I had not been on my bike since the "incident" in Moab. I chose one of the coldest days to get back on the saddle though, it was a high of 15 degrees last Monday when I decided to go for a ride. There is an open space area not far from my house that is snow covered so the conditions for riding were nice and hard. It's a great place to take my pup too. Since then I've biked one other time and temps were almost too warm, softer snow makes riding a tad more challenging.
My prebike moment:

Yesterday I participated in my first skate ski marathon. I figured the two other times I skated this year for all of 2 hours combined, was enough training to guarantee a good spanking. This took place on the Grand Mesa, one of the best places for x-country skiing in the state. The elevation starts at above 10,000 feet and tops somewhere around 11,000. The day was crystal clear and the snow was sticky slow. Out of the handful of folks that started only a few completed the entire 42k. Some of us actually did 48k (not on purpose) and others stopped after one loop or half the course, due to super SLOW conditions. I was the only female to complete the marathon and one other super fast girl did 21k. One guy who did it last year said it took him about 3.5 hours and this year he did it in 5.5! Needless to say, 2 hours could have been shaved off our times if conditions were better. We started a little after 10:30 and I was out until dusk. What a gorgeous day! It was cold, forcing you to keep moving otherwise numbness would set in to the toes and fingers quick. By the end my feet were frozen, arches throbbing and lateral sides of my ankles in pain. Actually these things set in just before the halfway point.

After the first loop and halfway through the ski, I really questioned if I could finish. Lots of people had stopped or did a modified version because of the conditions which gave me an excuse to want to stop too. After giving it some thought I figured I should at least try and race the sun. There was little gliding to speak of so I felt like I was running in quick sand. I could only go as fast as the snow and my unwaxed skis (I'm so unprepared) would take me. I told Matt to meet me at County Line (the trailhead we passed twice that would be a good bailout in case I couldn't make it the whole way) and when I got there it was 4:05pm. I was worked by then and doubted my ability to get back before dark. Matt reminded me of the full moon and that was the excuse I needed to finish this huge day. I slowly made my way back to the Skyway trailhead and enjoyed the amazing sunset during my favorite time of day. As I approached the last turn I looked back to see the full moon rising. A little emotion came over me as I celebrated my achievement and felt happy for such a spectacular day.
Here's a couple of photos skiing on the Mesa the week before with Matt and Ringo.

Ringo the wonder dog.

There was a bomb fire and hot soup waiting in the parking lot with lots of good folks to celebrate with. Information on the Grand Mesa Nordic Center and their events can be found at, or click on my blog title above. There may be a write up about the marathon on the website within a week.


ojulius said...

Nice job with the skate ski marathon!!

gwadzilla said...

good job on XC Ski Marathon!


glad to hear you are back on the bike!

gwadzilla said...

oh... good looking dog!