Instead of racing my bike last weekend I elected to go hike the Franconia ridge with Anna and some friends of hers. This is my favorite hike of all time, heading up the bridle trail and down falling waters trail, a relatively short 9 miles that can be done in 4 hours and leaves you plenty of time to find ice cream afterwards. Anna, however, is peak bagging this summer, so wanted to get Flume and Liberty also, and the Flume slide trail is much more enjoyable going up than down. So after some car shenanigans including drive the wrong way down a one way highway onramp (I wasn't driving), we start hiking, and it quickly turns out that these friends of Anna's aren't really in that great shape.
The trail starts really flat for a long time, and I was just itching to run, but didn't want to be an asshole, since it is nice to have company. By the top though, the frustration was getting to be a bit much, and it took another peak before I could calm myself down. Am I that much of a jerk that I can't enjoy a nice hike in great weather without thinking of training zones? Apparently I am. Granted, its October, and I have 47 days until my first race. Eventually I got to a good place in my mind, and relaxed to enjoy my favorite views of my favorite mountains. By the top of Lafayette, Mike (one of the non-skiers) was dragging a bit, so since we were ensconced in a herd of French Canadians and couldn't seem to break free of them, he started teaching me German. Es tut nier lide, aber ich spreche kein Deutsch. Sprechen ze English? Sorry for the spelling, we weren't doing a spelling session so let it lie.
By the time we got to the hut it started to rain, and since I was just wearing Linnea's hot, hot, blue hibiscus spandex and a polypro I got really cold, even after I put on the rain jacket. It was a long slow hike down to the car, solidly cold and almost miserable, but we were chatting and having a good time so that made it better. Until we went in search of ice cream and all three ice cream shops in Lincoln were closed. We had to settle for dunkin donuts coffee and ice cream from the freezer in a mini-mart. Sad.
Spent the night in Vermont and skied my favorite rollerski loop on sunday. The first time I did this loop, back in the day, it took me 3.5 hrs skating, it was the middle of the day in July, I had one small bike bottle and no food, and 10 miles of the ski were spent trailing a line-painting truck inhaling some deliciously toxic fumes... Those were in the days when 3.5 hrs of skiing would really wipe me out, and the paint truck didn't help. Things have gotten considerably better now, and there weren't any line-painting trucks, although it would be nice if they repaved that section of road again... Started in Londonderry, since there was an antique show in Weston and I couldn't park there, and made good time to the base of the big hill. Then I climbed uphill for 20 minutes and 15 seconds. Sometimes, I can delude myself into thinking that Boston is fine for training. And then I do things like an OD with a 20 minute hill in it, and I realize, there is a good reason I come to VT to do these things. The day was gorgeous, fall colors out in their glory, there is no better way to be a leaf peeper than playing outdoors. I wouldn't mind some snow, though... http://www.fasterskier.com/news4604.html