Spring Roller Skiing

Holy wheel bearings, Batman! I just realized I haven’t written here in a month.  That’s inexcusable, even though I’ve got a raft of legit excuses: at present, I’m working on a new article for FasterSkier.  I spent a good bit of time with Harv working on the NY Ski Blog cross-country ski area directory, and a new history of Mount van Hoevenberg.  And I’m managing the blog for my daughter’s charter school, although many others are doing the bulk of the writing.

In addition, I’m embarking on a new venture.  I’m studying to become a certified personal trainer.  If only that were as easy as saying, “Drop and give me 20!”  I’d have it in the bag.  There’s one online course that will require a lot of concentration the next few weeks.

So herewith, a brief update on what I’ve been up to.

Three weeks ago I saw bears on Snake Hill Rd at Lake Denmark.  This is the first time I’ve seen bears here in over a year.  Someone informed me that eight bears had been killed in the fall 2010 hunting season; however, I am unable to confirm that number.  It was a family unit: a sow with three cubs.  They were standing around in the middle of the road, wondering which way to go.  After a couple of minutes, they ambled into the woods as I kept my distance.

Early Saturday morning, I went to New York to roller ski with Nat Herz.  Spring day, sunny weather, and I’m still not ready to resume running.

It’s a good thing I obsess about arriving early.  Parking in Hoboken and hopping the PATH train, I made it into New York with plenty of time.  Then I got turned around in the subway.  It only took 20 minutes of waiting on the platform to figure out that the B train doesn’t run on weekends; I had to find another train.  In the end, I made it to Central Park at our agreed on meeting time.  We clipped into our boards and set out.

We rolled counterclockwise in fabulous weather.  What I most appreciate about roller skiing in Central Park is that it retains a feeling of…. not quite wildness, but of being out in nature even though it’s a designed and manicured space.  The skyscrapers poking above the trees in the distance; the aromas of the flowering trees….. it’s great.

Initially, the park wasn’t busy, and it took me a few minutes to get used to Nat’s pace.  I spend way too much time training solo.  By midway through the first lap, the road was busy with runners and cyclists of all ability levels.  It’s got to be difficult riding in the city.

Finally, yesterday I was back at Lake Denmark for a level four interval workout.  Back at the base of the hill after finishing a five-minute repeat, I felt something give as I pushed off my right foot.  Then a second time.  It looked like a bolt was loose, so I skied gingerly back to the Subie to tighten it.

On closer inspection, the bolt had broken in two.  Then I saw that the shaft of the Marwe roller ski had a big crack in it, through the bolt hole, at a 45-degree angle.  The bolt hole wasn’t perfectly circular; it had some slop to it.  I can’t tell if the broken bolt precipitated the crack, or the other way around.  In any event, that roller ski is toast.  If any of you have Marwe roller ski shafts that have broken, I’d love to read your experience in the comments.

I’ll put photos, including pictures of a controlled burn in Lewis Morris, in a separate post.  Thanks for reading, and don’t forget to check your gear before heading out!