The Mt. Taylor Quad is coming up. I have done my training: I have biked 14 miles so far in 2015, skied about 5 miles and snowshoed 3 miles. I have run a lot. The only thing to do now is figure out how to pack, right?
Of course, it all depends on the weather.
Let's pretend that it is 45 at the start, expecting a high on the mountain of 45 and a high back in Grants of 60. I will start with bike shorts (no chamois), calf compression sleeves and knee warmers. Short sleeve shirt, long sleeve shirt, jacket. Hat and gloves. I did horribly last year on the bike. Thought I was going to fall over since I was going so slow and couldn't turn the cranks. Oh, and I kept having problems with shoe/cleats. This year, I have a "new" bike that is quite fine. I figure the bike will save me 20 minutes!! That's why I haven't bothered to train. The bike will do it all.
The transition from bike to run bag will have a couple of bars and gels. Running shoes with screws for traction. I will get rid of the knee warmers and the jacket, the hat and the gloves. Oh and the helmet. This is the easy part. As long as the road isn't icy. I hate running on ice. Won't be any faster this year than last year.
Transitioning from running to skiing will be a bit more of a challenge. On go wind pants, hat and gloves, and jacket. This bag will have food! There will be food in every bag. Last year I almost starved since I left all the food in the bag at the start/finish. My skins will be on the skis. I will have new poles. Going up hill is just a slog. No skiing involved. My pack will contain my snowshoes and shoes. Trying to decide if I want the shoes already strapped in or not. If they are strapped in, then they won't "stack" and I will have to carry the big pack and put them inside. If the shoes aren't strapped in, I can strap them to the back of my pack and put my shoes inside the pack. Not a big deal. No faster for this section.
After struggling to the ski/snowshoe transition, I just drop off the skies, put on the shoes/snowshoes and head on up. Which shoes? My Keens? Nice and light but the strap kind of hurts my foot when I wear them with snowshoes. Whatever. Technique is not important for this uphill section. Breathing is important. I will hit the top and then start my flight back down. Question is, do I stop and have a shot or just keep on flying? Only if they have Wild Turkey!!
Back to the ski transition. Will change out and repack my shoes and snowshoes, grab some calories and get ready for the scariest part of the race. Downhill. On skis, On ice. With turns. I am terrible! Last year I had to take the skis off and walk a bunch of the turns. But this year, I have new skis with metal edges. I haven't bothered to train for this leg. The skis will do it all. I should save 30 minutes relative to last year!
How can 3 miles downhill on cross country skis take 2 hours? I think it did last year. But finally, if I am still alive, I will be able to leave the skis and the snowshoes behind and grab my running shoes again. I should be really psyched by now. I can fly downhill. That will be the best part. I will need food. I have to feed my face. And drink some water. Plenty of water.
Back to the bike. Change shoes, eat some calories and throw on the helmet. This time I will go fast on the downhill. Not like last year when I was afraid to go fast. This year I will fly. All the way to the finish. I should save another 20 minutes here.
So, as you can tell, I am going to do great this year. Absolutely fantastic!!