After nearly two months of warm, dry weather here in Colorado, I was beginning to wonder if I was going to get any proper Winter training in before the Iditarod Invitational. It was rarely dipping below 20 degrees at night and we had gotten at most a foot of total snow in 6 weeks. Things seemed a bit promising though last Thursday night. The forecast was for 4-7 inches of snow that night and much cooler temperatures over the weekend. I went to bed with a few flurries starting to fall and woke up 8 hours later to over 30" of new snow! I don't know if I've ever seen that much snow fall in such a short time. By the time it was done we had close to 40" from that one storm. Since then it has been down around zero most nights and snowed at least another foot.
The last 9 days of training has been incredibly enjoyable for me. I think I had forgotten how much I love proper winter. The snowshoeing around here right now is as good as I've ever seen anywhere. The nordic skiing is also incredible. I don't know what it is, but I just love slogging though really deep snow. I've known for a few years that I love doing rugged mountain "runs" with tons of vertical, in which I'm covering very little mileage for the time that I'm out. I don't think it was until this week though that I realized that I seem to just love any "runs" in which it takes an insane amount of time to get anywhere. I don't know why, but there is something really satisfying about busting my ass to cover 3 or 4 miles in an hour.
The other thing that's been great about all the snow, and a bit of cold weather is that I've been able to test a lot more of my Iditarod race gear. It feels really good to be 2 weeks from the race and have almost no concerns or doubts about my gear. I still have some decisions I need to make on certain items, but there isn't anything that I'm really nervous or uninformed about as far as gear is concerned. It feels good to be going into the race having used everything I will be taking with me numerous times in the past couple weeks. Not something I can say about either of the other two times I attempted this race.
Here's a few photos from the recent playing I've been doing in the snow: