For the past few weeks the title of the blog should perhaps be ‘Two Skis Fast’, and not just in the downhill variety either. The skis I bought last year to start my quiver were Salomon Lords, and knowing I would be venturing into the world of ski touring I set them up with the beefy Marker Duke touring bindings. This set-up means that by attaching skins I can get away from the lifts and access fresh snow, or use them for an uphill training session before skiing down. It’s a good workout and over the past month I have been experimenting with twilight ascents (with beautiful sunsets) followed by head torch lit skiing down freshly groomed piste!

Things took a more serious turn last Friday night. I’m not sure what it is about sports that involve an unhealthy combination of expensive kit, suffering and lycra, but I found myself lining up at the start of a rando-racing nocturne. These races are held every week here in the Alps and involve getting hold of the lightest possible kit and then ‘skinning’ like a bat out of hell up the hill, with the real ski-mountaineering races covering several ascents and descents. Friday was 800m of uphill only in the dark, and I finished around halfway down the field, which had I been on the aforementioned heavy Salomon/Marker set-up I would have been more than happy with. Instead I had borrowed some ultra-light skis and boots off a student so was expecting a little better.

One thing for sure is that the suffering on the way up was a familiar pain, much like a time-trial in terms of intensity and now I find myself looking for some lighter skis for myself to get training on… Hopefully it will all help build up for a good summer on the bike!

Back on the topic of two wheels, getting to the velodrome is not as easy as I’d hoped; time is a premium in the term so once a week is all I can manage at the moment. Still being a good 5-6kgs over a fit race weight I know I have work to do, but turbo sessions seem to show the power is not a million miles off. The killer for me is the lack of a racing season to aim towards, and training is therefore a little less focused. Hopefully the rando-racing could bring renewed vigour to the regime (and a lighter wallet at least!).

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