I totally dominated this morning’s “Winter Wild” race up Pat’s Peak. As easy as taking candy from a bunch of babies. I mean, where exactly was the competition?
Ah . . . not exactly. The truth is I survived two laps up and down Pat’s Peak on my skate skis, but saw many runners pass me on the way up. True, I got to ski down but still wasn’t that far ahead of the folks without skis.
“Winter Wild” consists of a fun series of races in New Hampshire held at various ski areas. Four different groups compete –“open” – running or walking; telemark; “track skis” – skate; and my favorite name – “heavy metal” – randonee, snowboard, alpine. We all start at once, a particularly good way to wake up and get in the moment. The courses go uphill, then down. For this race, we start from the Lodge, then up Puff, then up Twister, then down the easy greens to the east – twice. It is that simple.
Did I say the start time is 7:00 am?
Gliding over snow is easier than walking in or through it. That’s why years ago those Scandinavians invented it. But when these forebears fashioned their “transportation shoes” or whatever they termed their skis, they had no way of knowing just how much research would be undertaken with regard to how this activity benefits the ”systems” we each have. When I was out this weekend – at a steady, below lactate threshold pace, I started to wonder if any specific studies had been done on age and xc-skiing. Sure enough, here have been many. I ran across one 2010 story reported in Science Daily, a portion of which is reprinted here:
A year ago Mid Sweden University and the Karolinska Institute launched a study of seniors who are still active skiers. The study attracted a great deal of attention in the media in connection with testing and experiments in Östersund. Some of Sweden’s skiing icons, now more than 90 years old, took part.
Now the results of the study are being presented. They show that the maximum capacity for oxygen uptake is twice as great among active senior men compared with men who do not exercise. The results for the active seniors are comparable to values for men who are 40-50 years younger but do not exercise to improve their stamina. Analyses of muscle samples at the molecular and cell level reveal a profile similar to what is found in younger men.
“The high values for maximum oxygen-uptake capacity that we have measured have never been reported before in a population of men of advanced age,” says Per Tesch.
Any story featuring the work of a Swedish researcher named “Per” has to be true!