On Sunday, my SMS T2 teammates and I finished our longest rollerski workout…ever! We skied 100 kilometers, and it took us 6 hours and (approximately, by our math) 15,000 pole plants, 3 jugs of gatorade, and at least 50 Powerbars. And the fundraiser was a success! Thanks to everyone who donated, it will make a huge difference in helping our new team this winter on the road with travel and race expenses.
The morning started off early, with a 7am departure so we could drive to some beautiful winding roads in New York that Newell had mapped out for us. Our strategy was to start with classic and mostely double-pole, so that we could cover ground quickly while it was still cool and shady. In the first hour and a 20 minutes we cranked out 25km – we were on track for a 6 hour ski.
We did get off to a bit of a rough start with the guys missing the first turn on Andy’s carefully mapped-out route. Oops. But Packer had a gps going on his watch, so we just adjusted the plan.
At no point during the ski did any of us hit the wall; nobody just blew up because we paced it well and really stayed on top of eating and drinking enough. I think it really suprised all of us that we never got super bored or hit the “mental wall”. And I think that was because we’d all had time to plan on this ski and wrap our minds around the idea that we’d be skiing for 6 hours or more, and we just accepted the fact and went with it. If we’d been told it would be a 4 hour ski and then had to do 2 more, it would have probably been a struggle, but just being mentally prepared made a huge difference. I think this was an important ski to accomplish not only from a fundraising perspective, but just to know that we could actually do it.
Speaking of eating and drinking….there was a LOT of roadkill out there. I’m talking at least 10 dead animals, starting with the bird that smacked into the van on the drive over in the morning. Imagine how much roadkill you see on your regular over-distance ski; then double it. Gross!
There weren’t many sketchy corners or hills, but there was a good railroad crossing or two.
After 3 hours, we stopped and switched to skate gear, and many of us exchanged our “secret skier gifts”. In a fun last-minute plan to spice up the day, we decided to draw names out of a bucket and each person would get or make a fun suprise for their secret skier to give to them sometime during the ski. The most common gifts were lovely edibles for refueling, or fun things to wear during the ski. My gift from Gus was a rap that he wrote and performed with Sten while the boys laid down a beat. It was really funny and a good pick-me-up!
Around 4 hours, it started to really heat up and the sun was directly overhead since it was now mid-day. Luckily for us, it never got scorching hot but even through the sunscreen we all have definite tan lines that will probably last the rest of the summer!
Because it was so hot, Gus decided we needed some extra salt, so he, Sten Kaeding (his brother, who came to help get photos of the event) and Austin Caldwell, our great support crew, made some stops along the way to buy extra water and snacks. Gus mixed up a batch of Gatorade with extra salt, but since the water in the van had turned warm, it tasted absolutely foul! It was pretty funny watching everyone take a sip and then visibly make the effort to swallow it. Lesson learned…salty warm gatorade is one of the most disgusting things ever.
However, Gus redeemed himself from the salted gatorade by providing a fan-mist-sprayer which he periodically spritzed us with. It felt awesome.
Because there were so many turns, the coaches kept marking arrows. As the ski progressed, so did the quality of the drawings, along with how many k’s left.
We were inspired by Gus’s rap song and after Annie kept busting out raps on the go, which were hilarious, clever, and helped the time pass by quickly. Yeah buddy.
After the ski, we were extremely hot and sweaty so we went straight to a river to swim. It may not have been very deep (most of us hit bottom) but the rope swing was fun Eric and Jordan busted out a couple backflips to celebrate the ski.
So now, we’re taking a few days of easy training to let our bodies rest back up after such a big output!
Also – something totally awesome just happened, and you should definitely check it out; Sophie, Erika and Annie made blogs! I’ve got them linked on the blog roll (on the right side of the website, near the top). Check out their fun pictures and stories, as well as the new page for our team (smst2.com). It’s still in the works, but it will be fully up and running soon.