October is the time to head out west. Why? First of all because it’s a beautiful change of venue for some Autumn training, the kind of place we can escape the rainy wet roads of the East for some dry crisp mornings. Or so we thought. Erika and I traveled from Vermont to Bozeman on Monday and were greeted by 2-4 inches of fresh show in the morning!
The first snow of the year always gets your heart pumping a little bit but it’s also a tricky situation usually leaving you with too much slop on the roads to roll but not enough snow to actually ski. This is why it’s usually best to just commit to one or the other. On Tuesday morning Erika and I went all in, driving just outside of Bozeman to get that first October ski.
We parked at the bottom of a winter access road and skied up into the mountains, thinking that the dirt road would be the best place to be able to ski on just a few inches of snow. Sure enough it worked pretty darn well and we enjoyed a good hour of gradual uphill skiing before having to turn around. That’s when things got a little sketchier, since while we were skiing the snow was simultaneously melting from the ground up making for a more wet, gravely, and ski destroying decent. Unfortunately now we owe Natalie Flowers a new pair of skis (since I was borrowing hers) but we did manage to get in that first ski of the winter.
Since the initial snow fall things have returned to normal here in Montana and we’ve had those crisp, dry, sunny training days we come to expect in the high west during October, which brings me to the second big reason for a western training block. Altitude.
For most of us the next three weeks are a perfect time to get a little altitude boost before charging into the early season races. For me that means taking the next few weeks to focus on long easy distance training session and building in some training volume that will help me extend my race fitness as long as possible this winter. So far we have had some great hikes with some friends in the Bozeman area and have purposefully kept the training pace pretty low and steady in order to adjust to the altitude before our more aggressive Park City training plan next week.