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A Perfect Night for Rollerskiing

It's 40 degrees, dark, and raining...

Wed, Oct  29, 2003 - By Mike Muha

Ya, it's yucky outside. With the end of Daylight Savings Time this past weekend, it's pretty much dark when I get out of work now. And tonight it's raining and not particularly warm. But it's a perfect night to train.

Perfect: Jill's out

But tonight is also the night that Jill's tutoring reading at a Detroit elementary school, so it's an opportunity to get home late without losing any family time with her. I have to use this opportunity to train.

Perfect: I've got a plan for tonight

Tonight's plan calls for running a time trial for a personal record. Somehow, running in the rain, at night, on slippery grass-covered uphills and downhills just doesn't make for very good conditions for setting a PR. OK, move the time trial to Thursday night - maybe it will be dry. What about Friday morning? My work calendar is free! I'll do the time trial Friday morning and be a little late for work.

Can I move Thursday's quality session to tonight? It's a 3 x 7 minute rollerski interval session at Intensity 3 and 4 - that'll work. And it's a relatively short session: should be over in an hour or less.

Perfect: The right clothing

I arrive at the parking lot, shed my work clothes, pull on tights, a long sleeve synthetic t-shirt, SmartWool socks, and waterproof jacket and pants. Maybe it'll be a little warm, but better than having the cold rain suck the life out of me. Jill bought me the rain suit after my Acco hardware $10 plastic rain suit fell apart last fall. The rain pants fit over top of my ski boots, so water doesn't run down my leg and into my ski boots. Nothing is worse than skiing with boots full of water.

Tonight I full out some regular ski gloves - they're also synthetic and shed water. My normal rollerski gloves - long fingered bike gloves - would soak up all the rain and get really cold.

I have a bike cap to go under my helmet - the visor on the cap will keep the rain out of my face and off my glasses.

Perfect: Lights

My pride and joy: my helmet headlamp. Sometimes I don't use it if there's enough ambient light outside (e.g., cloudy reflection of city lights) and I'm going slow, but neither are the case tonight. I sprang for a high-end Light & Motion light last fall - On it's high setting, I can light a small city. (I have successfully used less expensive headlamps in the past.)

Perfect: Rollerski fenders

It's puddles out there. Not the best night for my fenderless Aeros - the spray would be up my back and down my front. The fendered ProSki S3's? Lot of wet leaves and painted center lines out there tonight - maybe too slippery for going fast on skating skis. The Pro-Ski C2's? Yes, let's make this a classic night. And the rollerskis have great fenders on them and slipping while doublepoling is a pretty rare event.

Perfect: The trail is empty

No little kids on bikes, no couples inline skating hand-in-hand, no one to slow down for. It's my private trail tonight.

Perfect: My competition is taking the night off

My competition is inside, staying warm and dry, putting off training for another day. That's one less day of training for them, one more day of training for me...