Cross Country skiing or Ski Nordic or Ski de Fond whichever you choose, I can tell you it’s hard, both technically and energetically.
As we can’t ride our bikes during the winter , I don’t think alpine skiing does much for your fitness as it’s gravity aided and I don’t enjoy the turbo trainer, I thought I would learn to Nordic Ski skating style in order to help my fitness and learn a knew sport.
I bought all the gear so looked the part just one major problem, I couldn’t do it. I went to the beautiful area of Chamrousse with some friends to have a go. With their patience and coaching I got to move a little, progress was made. After Christmas I went up to Alpe d’Huez to have another go and failed miserably only achieving pure frustration. Note to self ‘I am not a good self learner – too lazy’ Enough was enough and I booked some lessons, 3 x 1.5 hr lessons later and being an xc skier became a real possibility. My tutor left me with the feeling that I could progress and to remember its all about technique, it is very difficult to wing it.
I did 12km in Alpe d’Huez and after talking to my friend entered a 20km race, He told me the course was flat so there it was the ‘Foulee Blanche’ the biggest xc race in the area.
Alan and I went to Autrans where it was being held on Sunday morning, the weather not great damp and cloudy. On arriving even though I knew I had nothing to prove being my first race and only being on the skis about 10 times, I felt totally out of my depth lot’s of lycra clad people going very fast warming up, I can honestly say I could have walked. I didn’t and got kitted up and entered the starting pen making sure I started at the back of the other 650 racers! There were as many entrants in each of the other distances: 42,10 & 5km this event was big.
We were off to ‘Land of Hope & Glory’, it all got better from that point. The support was superb and the track started going through the town and then wound it’s way around the woods. I managed to keep skating and stay upright for the most of it, I only knocked one person over and was knocked over once, it certainly wasn;t the carnage I expected.
2hrs & 2mins later I crossed the finish line, shattered but elated 140/194 female that certainly won’t be my last race.
It is definitely just not just for fitness but for doing something new which is very enjoyable, I would liken xc skiing to xc mountain biking, varying terrain, beautiful countryside and v. friendly.