Sunday, February 5, 2017
You might recall that back in 2011 I started snowshoeing, with borrowed equipment at first but with my own soon thereafter. This winter began with higher than average snowfall in December and I expected to go snowshoeing frequently, but I haven’t gone even once. We had a big warm-up in January and our current base in the West Bend area is only a couple of inches. It’s nothing for which you would need snowshoes, and frequent freezing/thawing has left many of our hiking trails icy and dangerous.
This week I added two new weapons to my winter arsenal, the first of which I christened today on the Ice Age Trail between Paradise Drive and Ridge Run Park. YakTrax makes anti-slip devices that attach to shoe and boots. For less than $20 on Amazon, I purchased the most basic model and set up an old pair of cross-trainers as my “new” winter trail shoes. I’m not backpacking and our sections of the Ice Age Trail aren’t so technical that hiking boots are required. My simple, inexpensive setup was more than up to the task today. I hiked on packed snow with complete confidence, even down fairly steep hills.
The other addition to my collection of sporting goods is a pair of cross-country skis—classic, not skate, for those of you who make the distinction. I have never been on skis in my life, and I don’t know when I’ll get on these. They were a gift from Jeff Wren, my indefatigable training partner in every cycling discipline. I think he misses me in winter. He has been trying to coax me onto the ski trails for years and he has just about succeeded. But first I need to find boots that will work with the Salomon bindings of my second-hand Fischer skis. And then there’s different kinds of wax for different parts of the ski? I don’t know anything about this stuff, least of all whether I will enjoy myself once I get going. All I can say is that it comes highly recommended from a number of friends, and I’m willing to give it a try if I can do it without spending a lot of money.
In the week to come, we’re going to have a couple of days with favorable cycling conditions. Getting on the bike remains the priority, but I know that’s not always possible. It’s good to have cross-training options.
Posted by Dave Hanrahan at 7:00 PM