I hope each of you and your families are well and safe! Strange times are upon us! The good news is there will be an end out ahead of us- sooner or later- where we get back to a more normal life!!
One of the things on your job list each spring should be equipment maintenance. Good time to get cracking….
– Skis—check them over, clean up any nicks on the edges, brush them out really well and put a protective layer of a med hard non-fluoro wax on them for the summer. Swix purple, Toko red, Start Purple all work good. Then next winter you normally can scrape it off and get out on the snow. If the ski bottoms look really dry, or turned gray after a half hour of skiing this past winter, or if they are chewed up from bad conditions, or if the grind is really coarse like most factory grinds, you should get them reground before next winter. Put some wax on them for now anyway. If the bottoms are really dirty, take a layer of hot wax off with a scraper while still melted, then cool, scrape again and put on your summer storage wax. On classicals, I like to put a Swix extra blue layer in the kick zone just to keep that area from drying out..
– Poles—check them over, shafts, grips and straps. Length- I am seeing a lot of poles that are too long for skating. When standing on the floor with shoes on the pole strap where it comes out of the shaft should not be above your upper lip. 90% of your height in cm’s is a good check. If your poles are too long chances are you are not getting over your poles and simply sagging back behind them, even when you do plant them with a proper back angle. For classical I like mid shoulder..for flatter courses that are mostly double pole a bit longer is ok, but for hilly courses you still need to learn to stride up the hills instead of herringboning every little bump. Shorter poles help on uphills. Long poles can be cut down by removing the grips, cutting and replacing with hot glue. See below.
For most it is time to put on your summer ferrules with carbide tips for roller skiing. Use a heat gun or boiling water to get the winter baskets off, and apply some hot glue to the end of the shaft—heat it up a bit—then force the ferrule onto it with the point facing forward—away from the strap.
Boots—check them over—look for worn zippers etc, or loose soles. You might want to use them for roller skiing this summer and purchase some new when the sales are up. Last years models are just fine!!
Roller skis should be checked. Make sure the bindings are functional, that the wheels are not worn badly or unevenly, and replace as needed. Be sure to switch sides on the skis either half way around your workout or every other time you put them on. Occasionally switching wheels from front to back will help maintain life longer also. Do not try to work on technique on roller skis with squirrely wheels!!! They need to track in a straight line when gliding on one foot.
Rifles—either your own or a leased rifle you have in your possession. Clean it really well. Use the brass bore brush extensively. Take the action off the stock and tighten up the two screws that hold on the trigger group. Tighten the front sight barrel. Put a good coat of gun oil with a preservative on all metal parts. Then start dryfiring—100 shots a day!! Mix of prone and standing—get into a perfect position over and over..And wipe down the rifle with an oily cloth each time you dryfire! Our rifles are showing a lot of pitting on the exterior of the barrels.
If you have a leased rifle in your possession, as soon as the stay home order is lifted, you need to get it to one of the coaches.
I am putting together training plans for the older athletes [2nd or 3rd yr in biathlon]. If you need a plan, let me know along with how many hours you trained last training year. Our MN Biathlon training plan starts on Monday, 13 April. Between now and then you can start biking, roller skiing, running, doing some body strength and of course, dry-firing. Keep firmly in mind that biathlon and xc skiing, for that matter, are individual sports and you do not need organized practices all the time to train. You need to learn to do much of your training on your own…so now is a great time to learn that. You should have some dumbbells, maybe some strong bungees and a pull-up bar at home to help with strength workouts when we get started on the 13th. Scope out some good pavement for roller skiing, and safe routes to run and bike. Be sure to wear a helmet when you ski or bike!! Gloves will also help preserve the skin on your hands while roller skiing if you take a tumble. Don’t be bashful about wearing knee or elbow protection until you feel comfortable on roller skis..and you might want to consider a face mask if you are on a busy trail.
Our planned Spring Summer Fall schedule is posted on our webpage. That said, it is very likely, looking at the statistics and watching the news, that we will need to modify that in some way or another. I will try to keep you posted via this email list..so keep an eye on your email.
For now, get out the door at least once a day, watch some world cup races on the IBU webpage to get good mental images of good ski technique, and keep an eye on your email.
Enjoy the Journey—it is not always what you expect!
Bill Meyer, Coach