11 December 2008

Snowed in

Well not quite, but almost. Today a second day of continuous rain here in my private training camp in Gréolières. Last night the locals informed me that all the rain comes down as snow on the, higher, back side of the Cheiron and that the ski resort is open for business.
I believe that being in shape is an important factor in (competitive) paragliding as flights can take 4-5 hours and although the physical effort is rarely huge it is not negligible. I did fly a couple of times with a heart rate monitor and for me the physical intensity of flying is about the same as for walking briskly. To keep in shape I go running on a daily basis, usually for 50-60 minutes. In addition I walk a lot, and every now and then do really long walks. The rain now prevented me from doing any of that and the Worlds are getting ever nearer. So lots of reasons for me to check out the local cross country skiing possibilities this afternoon. In short: excellent!
There was lots of snow, at least 1 meter, and more coming down all the time. The cross-country ski lodge (Maison du Fondeur) rents nice equipment for a very reasonable 8 €/half-day. Due to the snowfall they had not been able to prepare the tracks very well and therefor waived their normal track fee (6,5 €). The 6,5km "blue" track was in quite good shape though. I did the course twice as it was so much fun, and so beautiful. The first 2,5 km was mainly uphill, so soon I was really warm. The second part then was flat and downhill, but without ever being very steep so it was easy to steer through the many curves. Especially as I had the whole track for myself; the only other skiers I saw were two Swedish women, I guess there's a reason it is known as ski nordique....

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