In an attempt to add a fresh challenge to our ski walking up the Fort Wainwright ski hill, this season the SCUM added carrying “the rock” that Allen Doyle (former Equinox Marathon winner and Sonot Kkaazoot skier) used to slow himself down when training with the SCUM last summer.
As reported here, Bill Husby and Robert Hannon were the first SCUM to carry “the rock”, previously estimated to be 30 pounds:
Several weeks later, Carl Hemming carried “the rock” up the hill in a backpack.
Because Carl is a retired Alaska Fish and Game fish biologist, we asked him if he had a fish scale that we could use to weigh the rock. Being a professional at estimating fish by eye, Carl didn’t need a scale. However, Dan Johnson, our retired nurse and EMT administrator had one and offered to bring the scale and a shopping bag to hold the rock to today’s workout. So before we did our 3 ascents of the FWW ski hill, we officially weighed “the rock” and it was lighter than all our estimates at a mere 20.2 pounds:
Bill Husby in official Sonot Kkaazoot orange tank top holds “the rock” in Dan’s fish scale
Bill was the only rock hauler that showed up for today’s workout and his estimate of the rock’s weight was the closest to today’s measurement (Carl was fishing and Robert was recovering from a tough night). However, the three gramps and I did three ascents of the FWW ski hill in the unfamilar sun today.
Three Gramps wait on platform at the top of FWW ski hill for me to finish
We walked up Beacon Road and down the Tower Loop to the Birch Hill parking lot where our four silver Subarus awaited us.
4 SCUM owned silver Subarus (that match our hair color)
My car like my carcass was the oldest model at the workout today.
Join us on Fridays at 9:00 a.m. We also let skiers with blue and red vehicles to ski walk and carry the rock.
Without an Equinox Marathon in 2020, there’s no problem social distancing while ski walking on Ester Dome. Today Bernardo was so far ahead of me, I didn’t even see when he crested the top.
However, most of the SCUM still had their masks handy, just in case, we couldn’t social distance.
All photos by Joanna Fox
Enjoy ski training outside, but make sure you are well separated from your training partners while breathing hard on the uphills. We had no problem with a group widely varying in age and fitness. Today we were able to climb above the fog, but didn’t really appreciate the sun above Henderson Road until we were heading back down from the dome.
With the prediction of yet another wet weather system engulfing the Fairbanks area this weekend, the SCUM had less than their normal enthusiasm for Friday’s Fort Wainwright hill climb. Thoughtfully, Dan decided to wear his rain jacket to appease the weather gods. By contrast, Dermot wore a classy sombrero in an attempt to confuse the weather gods.
The prescribed workout was for 3 repeats of the hill and it was Carl’s turn to do it with the rock. He arrived with a camo backpack as he hadn’t taken his turn hauling the rock back in mid June when Bill and Robert carried the rock uphill on their shoulders:
After a warm-up hill climb without the rock, Carl did his hauling duty that slowed his hill climb time by 4 minutes.
and gave him reason to celebrate: with a V for victory. Dan provided moral support as he’s still in PT after his shoulder surgery:
Bill Husby (aka Poles) also had reason to celebrate as he set a new hill climb PR on his second ascent with a time of 10:48:28. I took a photo of his Apple watch but it was blurred by the aura still surrounding him. He made a special reference to his time as a challenge for Joanna, “the kid” to beat next Friday.
Having used a backpack, Carl told us, “I am not 70 yet!” by hefting the rock without pack assist:
Back in the Birch Hill parking lot after the workout, “Rocky” kept repeating the same 5 words: “I am not 70 yet.” That will have to wait until March 2021.
During summer, the Friday morning workout for the remedial SCUM is ski walking up the Fort Wainwright alpine hill under the chair lift. Today to celebrate the 4th of July while taking COVID-19 precautions, we decided to do four ascents of the FWW alpine hill, a first for all of us. The day’s motto was “4 for the 4th!”
It was sunny when we arrived at the top of the alpine hill and dropped down to the start. Joanna, who ended up following Bill Husby up ascent #1, was already channeling her inner Eeoye as we walked back down. However, she found herself drawn up the hill three more times by one bionic kneed SCUM and pushed by the other,
I can’t believe I climbed that alpine hill 4 times!
and she had the data to prove that she had done it.
While our fellow SCUM play in Denali or Homer, we celebrated our 4 on the 4th on the top of the hill
and in the Birch Hill parking lot:
Joanna had thoughtfully brought an entire case of Hawaiian beer expecting that our “definitely maybe” SCUM would join us. Because we had our hearts set on salty, greasy foods after our 705 m of climb today, the beer will still be in her van next week if you run out of excuses and decide to train with us.
The COVID-19 has kept the SCUM close to home this summer. To keep us from going stark crazy, we’ve been hill training in preparation for crushing whatever mountain is put in our path.
Masked and social distanced in the Birch Hill parking lot, we discussed the workout objective: ski walking three times up the Fort Wainwright alpine hill (on the trail under the chair lift). For extra challenge (and bragging rights), a SCUM could carry a 30 pound rock down and back up the ski hill (a trick we learned from Allen Doyle last summer).
We accessed the Fort Wainwright alpine hill from the Tower Direct trail so we had a 1 mile warm-up before we descended 0.84 km to our first hill climb start. Bill Husby carried the rock down from the bench at the top (where it has been stashed since last summer), and then demonstrated on the proper carrying technique up.
On hill repeat #2, Robert decided to carry the rock. He tried to use gravity to roll the rock down the hill. However, having been a philosophy not physics major, Robert and the rock disappeared into the nearby woods.
Robert did eventually retrieve the rock and carried it on hill repeat #2 being paced by Carl and Dan.
and finished hill realizing that gravity still ruled.
Carl was supposed to carry the rock on hill repeat #3 (Dan was exempt because he recently had shoulder surgery), but forgot his pack frame. So all the guys did hill repeat #3 with just their poles:
This 8.0 km workout had 625 m of ascent (and descent) under beautiful blue skies and a light breeze. During those hill repeats, we were temporarily relieved from the stress of grim national and state news, and concentrated on just putting one foot in front of the other without tripping. Even the mosquitoes seemed to ignore us on the FWW alpine hill.
We’ll do it again next Wednesday at 9:00 a.m. if you want to join us. The groans and sighs at the end will be the best of the entire day.
From the National Weather Service Fairbanks, Fairbanks should be warming up by the weekend with our first 40 deg F day of 2020:
If you venture out in the mornings, expect rocket fast tracks on the downhills! Free speed!
My garmin forerunner watch recorded 62 kilometers of skiing between March 24-26, 2020. Thanks for keeping track of all the skiers for the Virtual Sonot Kkaazoot.
What is bad a** honey badger, who has finished up the virtual Sonot Kkaazoot grand slam (20 km, 40 km, and 50 km events–each done in a single day as a single workout), supposed to do when he must shelter in place and social distance from fellow SCUMs?
Merely skate skiing icy trails at Birch Hill wasn’t enough from Bill on Wednesday, no way! If you’re Poles Husby, whose orthopedic surgeon told him “no moguls” with his bionic knees, you decide to be one tough a**,–hot dog–honey badger.
Thanks to Joanna Fox for this video clip.
I’ve been rather slow to reply…but, I skied the typical 30 km at Birch on March 21. I had planned to do all 50 km that day, but the river had other plans. Life didn’t allow time again until Thursday, March 26. I ski low tech, so I’ve got nothing but my word (3 hr for 30 km (which I did with Johnna Underwood)) and about 1:50 for the random 20 km at Birch—cut off some of White Bear and some of the blacks).
I am not looking to have a big write up—or any at all ️—on the website. Just listed on the standings…for no reason other than just because. .
Last year I entered and had to leave town for emergency eye surgery for my then 2 year-old. I was very much looking forward to a normal spring…well, I need to say no more. Skiing makes life feel a little bit normal…I’m sure that’s true for many of us.
Thank you to all of you that have taken the time to make this happen. It has been a fun way to be connected in some way and to see people encourage each other and to be encouraged…thanks to Bad Bob and the MANY others that help—sorry I can’t thank you all by name!!! Enjoy the sun, snow…and whatever is ahead. Be well!!!
Groomer Tom Helmers was correct in thinking March is usually a low snow month in Fairbanks.
As this National Weather Service Fairbanks graphic shows, March 2020 was snowy:
Thus, the Virtual Sonot skiers, who bemoaned the shoveling and scooping toll, were not being whiners. We did exert considerable effort removing this snow from driveways and paths.
The clouds that gave us all that snow kept the temperatures within normal lows but without the daytime sunshine, our highs were cooler than normal:
So enjoy skiing on that ample snow pack in April as the average temperatures rise dramatically. Remember to keep social distancing on the trails and ski within your abilities. Now is not the time for injuries that will increase the health care burden needlessly.