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 September 2, 2010: Volume 11, Number 18
Ramp It Up 
BY:Lowell McCoy,
Master Skier,  Summit Nordic Ski Club Board Member, Colorado

September means 10 weeks to snow and less than 100 days to get ready for our first race of the season - NRL at Gold Run Hopefully you have been busy getting fit enough to train. You've got new batteries in your heart rate monitor, you know your resting heart rate, you've fixed whatever it was that was injured last season, you've hiked and biked and genuinely enjoyed the delightful summer we've all had. You've gotten into the habit of maintaining a training log and check it often.

I've left you alone because you haven't needed someone nagging you about getting a stronger core and adding some intensity to your exercise and adding some lunges to your daily strength half hour and such. That's over. It's September - the time of year that we make skiers out of ourselves.

September and early October are dedicated to taking our general fitness and strength and getting more focused on converting that fitness into ski fitness. We need to add more strength that is specific to poling and pushing off. Instead of hiking for hours, we will bound up a hill for seconds. When we do hike, it will be with poles and with a little hip rotation and a little bounce in our stride. You get the drill. A little less time, a little more intensity. The exercise menu now includes some things to get the carcass ready for skiing fast and injury free.

Ski Marathon(ers) -
Chasing Pheidippides,
Part 3


We have learned a good part of the course is uphill; how well does this elevation gain compare to the hill-climbing we seek out for ski training?  With a little help from Google Maps and Garmin's GPS, we recently plotted out a workout highlighting this point.  We completed a loop of running segments comparable to the grades to be experienced in the marathon, a ski-walking section up a set of ski slopes, a lift ride down and a run back to the starting point.  The elevation below shows the profile.    

The marathon running pace, in the area of 6:00 to 10:00 minutes per mile, is much higher than what we produce ski-walking steep hills.  We know the marathon is run at or around lactate 2.5 (millimols/liter) pace, while the ski-walking with poles is done at a pace dictated by higher resistance of the steep grade and desired training intensity. 
Ground Speed/Pace
Ground Speed/Pace
The Heart Rate Response tells us how hard we are working.  The marathon pace yields much lower heart rates than the hill-climbing.  Running is 100% weight bearing and constant pounding on the road surface.  Ski-walking is full body exercise, imitating the smoother movements along the ground.  On that basis, we can "afford" to train and race at a higher heart rate over longer time.   

Heart Rate
Heart Rate
We have determined that our "running legs" will be the limited factor in the upcoming marathon, and we'll see what we can do for improvement the next few weeks.  Ski marathoners stay tuned as we chase Pheidippides through traditional and not so traditional cross-country ski training from Marathon to Athens.  You will also find an account of this project at the link:   The upcoming event is found at:   


baldy 1 baldy 2 baldy 3 

There are good views from 9000 feet, not much snow in late summer, but there is always a surprise



Jon Engen

Master Skier, 3-time Winter Olympian & Enthusiastic Athlete
Garrott Kuzzy @
Kangaroo Hoppet
BY :Garrott Kuzzy
2010 Olympian
CXC Elite Team Member 

Kangaroo Hoppet 2010 

After ten days of murky, overcast Australian skies, I awoke on Saturday morning to bright sunrays streaming through the window.  A vivid bluebird day was the ideal backdrop to the 2010 Kangaroo Hoppet.  Three feet of fresh powder fell on Falls Creek during the week and was groomed to perfection under the Southern Cross the night before the race.  Over 1000 skiers from around the world toed the line for either the 42km Hoppet, 21km Australian Birkebeiner, or the 7km Joey Hoppet. 

 The cannon blasted at 9:30am and we were off without a hitch.  The field strung out quickly through what locals appropriately call "Sun Valley."  The front runners took turns at the lead and by the time we came through the first aid station at 7km, there was already a five man breakaway, including four-time Hoppet champ Ben Sim, Continental Cup champ Callum Watson, Australian biathlete Alex Almoukov, Swiss sprint Olympian Valerio Leccardi and yours truly. 

Kuzzy Hoppet 2
Once we realized we had broken away from the field, the pace settled into a consistent cruise.  The local resort television station had a snowmobile documenting the race, making the race feel that much more Pro.  The first 10km of the 21km loop are very flat, skirting around the Rocky Valley Dam reservoir.  The second half of the loop gets hilly, with a 6km constant V1 climb, dubbed "the Paralyzer."  I took the lead up the Paralyzer and was treated to untracked corduroy snaking up through the snow gum trees.  Our little group stuck together over the high point and back down through the lap. 

On our second lap, the race got a little more interesting as we lapped hundreds of skiers in the smaller races, darting through tiny gaps and getting cheers from the folks we passed.  There was even a pair of snow bunnies who, upon getting passed, called out with their lovely Australian accents, "Hey fellas, mind stopping to give us a quick lesson?"  Man, life is full of tough decisions. 
Before I knew it, I was back with the pack and cruising up the Paralyzer for the second time-a little faster than the first.  Leccardi laid down the hammer over the top and shattered our little group into pieces.  Unfortunately, I was the caboose of the train and almost derailed on the fast descent.  It was fun slaloming past the lapped skiers, but the gap between me and the leaders kept getting bigger.  In the end Leccardi comfortably took the win, with Almoukov, Sim, Watson, and I rounding out the Top-5 in about 1 hour 40 minutes-over six minutes ahead of the next skier. 
Skiers kept coming across the finish line for the next six hours.  Among them was my dad, in Australia for the Hoppet-completing his 11th Worldloppet marathon.  We kicked back at the finish line, soaking up the warm Australian sun in t-shirts, enjoying big kangaroo burgers after an exciting day at the races. 
I've got another week here Down Under and look forward to enjoying some more sun and ideal winter conditions before heading home. 

Kuzzy Kangaroo Hoppet
You can follow along at or
American Birkebeiner Video
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Featured Article 
The National Cross Country Ski Education Foundation  (NCCSEF) promotes the development of U. S. cross-country ski racing through its support of activities that challenge and enable athletes to achieve higher competitive goals and of efforts that will lead to success in international competitions.

The not for profit organization NCCSEF is celebrating 12 years of supporting U.S. skiing. We have granted over $175,000 in NCCSEF Future Funds over this period.  In fact, we've funded every World Junior Championship team since 1997 and every J1 Scando Cup team since it was initiated in 1999. Now, as we gear up for skiing beyond 2010 there is much more work to be done and your help is needed! Find out how you can help at

Do you want to be a part of this?

Click to discover more.
New Zealand Camp
New Zealand Camp
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