SCUM have no problem social distancing on Ester Dome

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.

social distanced on dome

However, most of the SCUM still had their masks handy, just in case, we couldn’t social distance.

Masked on dome

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.

Rocky II: the SCUM workout

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.

Preparing for Rocky II

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:

https://sonotkkaazoot.org/2020/06/17/scum-hill-training-rocks/

After a warm-up hill climb without the rock, Carl did his hauling duty that slowed his hill climb time by 4 minutes.

30# is what percent of my body weight

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:

V for victory

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.

Poles celebrates his ascent PR

Having used a backpack, Carl told us, “I am not 70 yet!” by hefting the rock without pack assist:

Rocky isnt 70

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.

4th of July celebration under COVID-19

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,

From 2 to 4 looks like this

I can’t believe I climbed that alpine hill 4 times!

and she had the data to prove that she had done it.

IMG_7460

While our fellow SCUM play in Denali or Homer, we celebrated our 4 on the 4th on the top of the hill

Celebrating the 4th under COVID

4 FWW hills for 4th

and in the Birch Hill parking lot:

Celebrating the 4th

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.

SCUM hill training rocks

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 while prepping for workout

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.Carl & Dan pace Robert w rock on hill repeat 2

and finished hill realizing that gravity still ruled.

Robert and rock on repeat 2

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:

Hill repeat 3 wo rock

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.

Hot Dog Honey Badger

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. 

Colleen Personett skis virtual 50 km Sonot Kkaazoot

She writes:

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!!!

Yes, Tom, March 2020 was snowy

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:

March snow

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:

March temps

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.

Jon Denton skis virtual 30 km Sonot

He writes:

I was able to get out on Saturday and ski about 30 K in 2 hours and 51 minutes.  I was able to ski white bear and the meadows in the time I normally ski just white bear.  I then dropped into warm up, then the blacks, back around the stadium for a snack and drink. I got my second wind up east ramp into blue, then outhouse and made the turn into sunny side, finished relay and made my way back to my snack stash, climbed tower and med evac’ed out.

Trail highlights:

  1. Seeing folks out skiing with smiles in the sun.
  2. The stretch between hilltop cutoff and the bottom of white bear was crispy corduroy, I was able to keep good balance free skating and V2.
  3. The s curves into black hole were super fun.  My skis sounded like a rocket ship chattering around the corners.  Plus I did not wipe out this year.
  4. Powder turns down sunnyside!

With all the terrible news, it was great to have amazing trails and the Virtual Sonot to look forward to.  Thank you everyone for keeping the Sonot Kkaazoot alive this season.