Thursday, February 19, 2009

When the bug bites you, it will bite hard

On Tuesday my friend Bernie sent me a Facebook message, at the end of which he wished me luck in my pursuit of glory at a friendly 3k ski race on the Tsalteshi trails where I ski each night.
He did so not only by literally spelling it out, but by using a piece of brocabulary I havn’t heard in some time.
The term is “podo bro!”
A quick lesson on brocabulary.
Brobaculary is, much as it sounds, the vocabulary used by bros.
When I say bros, I don’t of course mean siblings, but in fact, beach bros, snow bros, bike bros etc. Bros in general, are defined loosely as anyone who uses the term bro with far more frequency than the average person.
Podo bro, broken down, in plain English, has two meanings.
When said to a racer before a race, it means, “I hope you are successful in your effort to get a first, second or third place finish and stand on the podium after this race, bro.”
When used after the race, it is usually shouted from a racer who has placed in the top three, to tell their bro, that the racer has placed in the top three.
When used by myself, it means I was successful in dumping shots of Nyquil into the competitions water bottles.
Bernie and I used this piece of brocabulary in training in the days and weeks prior to an event, in a mostly sarcastic jest, to psych ourselves up for races in which podiums either not involved or out of reach.
For example, I continually told Bernie on long cold wet training rides last spring that was going for a podo in my first ever road race, the Tour de Battenkill.
We were both quite aware that if survived the race in one piece I’d be successful.
We also used the term quite often in November of 2007 on even longer colder training rides preparing to do the 100 mile Sweat’n’Ice Century. While we both planned to ride it hard, the race was mostly in our and a few other rider’s heads.
No victory prizes were awarded other than the knowing that, at least until the snow melted, we had the glory being the new course record holders.
So when I saw ‘podobro’ on my Facebook wall, old feelings of racing nostalgia immediately began to flood back in even before I skied up to the line.
I knew the only glory afforded in the Tuesday night race series would be that in which I gave myself, or received from other racers.
At the same time, if I got dropped out there, now having been on the skis almost every day after work since October, I’d be just a little crushed.
I also wanted to spend some time skiing in a group where I didn’t just have to watch myself, but also watch out for someone else’s skis that could quickly cut into mine. I wanted to draft off another skier and have them swing their sharp tipped poles rhythmically towards my face. I wanted to have to step on the gas to catch or overtake someone. I wanted to study those who were better than me. I wanted to plot and scheme for next week.
When the bug bites, it bites hard.
I can’t do any of these things on my regular nightly skis. If I pass more than three other skiers in an hour it’s a busy night on the trails. Pacing is impossible as similar paced skiers will be out on the trail staying the same distance in front of me all night unless by chance our loops intersect. On the rare occasion that’s happened, I certainly don’t feel comfortable skiing up closely behind a stranger, and most often they’ll pull over anyway.
I was pshyched when I got to the trailhead and found the lot quite full, with a few more cars pulling in behind me.
I signed in, did a warm-up lap, and came back to find everyone lining up.
Shedding my jacket, I stayed towards the back. I could already see who would win the race. Two very serious, though nonchalant, looking skiers had come down from the upper trails. I believe they’re both high school coaches. The rest of the field looked much like myself.
I stayed in the back, and as we enged out, it took a matter of two seconds before someone tripped and fell down just in front and to the left of me.
Another skier piled on and skis splayed sideways, I moved out and around ina few quick turns, finally testing my ability to ski around a pile up, albeit a small one.
It was an unfortunate start for that racer, but I needed the small confidence booster.
The two coaches shot off and I and another racer, Keith, pursued.
While we both lost ground, Keith was skiing at a good pace, and I clipped on in his draft, enjoying the change from having to always break by myself.
Drafting off another skier is different in every possible imaginable way from drafting off another biker, except that both are easier.
We skied through the first k, loosing ground, but leaving the rest of the pack well out of sight.
Finnally I noticed keith was slowing up on the climbs and found myself tailng far too close. I made the pass but tried to get him to clip on with me.
He didn’t stick, so I picked it up and went after the coaches.
I thought they’d escaped me, when I came into a corner with a notorious patch of ice and found one of them covered in snow skiing out of the woods. I tried to drop the hammer and clip on, but he easily sped away.
Until I refine my V2, I’ll struggle to keep pace with the more experienced skiers.
I held a strong steady pace and finished the race in third with a time of maybe 10 minutes forty I think three seconds.
Keith came in 10-15 seconds on my tail.
I hung around to chat with the other racers, feeling extremely good in the warm 30 degree air and fading twilight before finally heading off to ski another 6-7 mile loop where I started focusing on my V2.
By Wednesday evening I began to stick it, and though it’s far from perfect, me speed on the flats is picking up.

Skate drafting when skate skiing require coordination in movement and pace. This couple went the extra mile and even color corrdinate

I tend to plane my led to low and far for too long after I push, throwing off my balance.

If I could plane my leg out less I'd put more power into my push like this ripping Brit

1 comment:

Andrew J. Bernstein said...

This post is totally blog podo, bro.