Ski Incline!

Ida and I on the Tahoe Rim Trail.

For the last ten days, the Craftsbury Green Racing Project has been holding a training camp at Lake Tahoe. Why? People keep asking me if we’re chasing snow. Nope. The main goal of the camp is to get some altitude training in – ideally, we’d be skiing at altitude, but doing dryland at altitude is the next best thing. Tickets were cheap and we have a free place to stay in Incline Village, so things are working out well.

We’ve had many beautiful, sunny, warm workouts – exactly what one would expect in California. This makes it all the more surprising when things turn nasty.

Last night, Hannah and I sat in the hot tub as tiny snowflakes fell all around us. It had been cold all day, but at least sunny, and we merrily imagined snow piling up on the neighboring golf course. After all, there had to be some place we could dig up skis, even if they were kind of clunky.

In the morning, we faced reality. Not much snow had accumulated on the ground, but the roads were covered in a layer of black ice and snow had piled up on the shoulders, swept there by the passing cars. Motivation for our two-hour rollerski was low. Perhaps nonexistent. I crawled back into bed after breakfast, and thought over and over about how tired I was. Maybe I should just take a day off…

But no. I correctly recognized that while I was tired – the last week has been big on volume – I mostly was just being a wuss. I strapped on my skate boots, my warmest spandex, several layers on top, and actual ski gloves. We hit the streets.

I almost immediately found that I couldn’t skate on large sections of the road. My skis slipped out as I kicked, leaving me unbalanced and, mostly, frustrated. We double-poled the iciest sections, and even then, it took concentration to keep our skis upright and moving in a straight line. The challenge did have its benefits: before I knew it, twenty minutes had passed. I didn’t have time to complain about the sub-freezing temperatures or how tired I had been. I was just out there, skiing.

We tried to ski up the pass, but after half an hour, gave up. It was just too icy. Instead, we skied through residential neighborhoods along the lake. Adapt and overcome, as Ruff would say….

The tabs open in my browser are getting quite numerous, so here’s a link dump of, as Ollie says (hi Ollie) “things Chelsea has read and wants you to read.”

– One of my cabinmates from the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory, when I was working on my thesis, is headed to Copehagen for the climate negotiations! Here’s a little bit about what she has to say. Go Ellie!!

– On energy: Obama can give a darn good speech. But, as climate legislation keeps getting bumped back and as Copenhagen looms, what’s his vision? Come on, buddy…

– On the other hand, apparently doing simple things like changing lightbulbs could actually make a big difference. So everyone, do the 17 things this Science article suggests.

– Closer to home, a Vermont program offering incentives for sustainable energy installments is inundated with applications. Hope all those things get built!

– I suspect that Meatless Mondays would have a similar reception on our team as it did in the Baltimore School System. We may try to sneak it past the boys somehow anyway.

– And finally: “Why Sleepyheads Forget.” We are definitely sleepyheads. Except Ida and Lauren, who wake up early.

This article is about some really cool research calculating Amazonian forest biomass from planes. Sign me up!