The Buff Bandit

This is my weekly adventure/training log for week 2 of 2016. You can find all of my logs here.

It’s been a cold week in Oslo, and this weekend we finally got the snow to match the cold. It’s winter, for realz! Although the snow wreaked havoc with my planned running mileage, I made up for it with skiing. Here’s a recap of my training this week.

Monday: I work about 15 kilometers outside of Oslo, and given my environmental consciousness and love of being outside, I try to commute under my own power as much as possible. During the summer I can ride my road bike and get the commute done in 40-45 minutes each way. During the winter, riding on snow bike paths on my (relatively) heavy hybrid bike with studded tires, it takes much longer. On Monday it was -12 C, and my toes gradually got colder and colder the longer I was out, despite my fleece-lined shoe covers. But I saw a man riding his unicyle on the bike path, and that made my day. After I got home I lay on the couch like a slug instead of doing strength training like I planned. No longer being on vacation is rough!

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The Buff Bandit emerges with the cold weather.

Stats: 32.2km, 398 vertical meters, 1h55min.

Tuesday:  Run too/from my weekly dance class in central Oslo. I was feeling antsy and ran pretty hard, although I wasn’t wearing my heart rate monitor. My playlist was egging me on! I ran past a whole block of buildings surrounded by police cars, which I later learned was due to a fire, not the TV-show-like crime scene I imagined.

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The Buff Bandit prowls the streets of Oslo in the dark.

Stats: 9.3km, 105 vertical meters, 56min + 90min dance class sandwiched in there.

Wednesday: I took the bus to work (which involves more time walking to and from bus stops than it does actual walking). Then I left most of my stuff at work so I could run home. The best part of the run home is the first 2 kilometers, which go through the forest. I jogged up the steep inclined to the top of Gjelleråsen while listen to Tour de Ski coverage on the radio and watching the beautiful colors of the sunset. 

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If the Buff Bandit goes out in the daylight, she stays in the forest to avoid blowing her cover!

Stats: 12.9km, 133 vertical meters, 1h22min

Thursday: On Thursday Audun and I met our friends Vibeke and David on the west side of Oslo for some cross-country skiing. There was just barely enough of a base for skiing, and there were both icy patches and twigs and brush sticking out of the snow in some places. It was snowing the whole time we were out though, so there’s hope for more robust conditions!

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The Buff Bandit has a Buffed companion.

The first 4 kilometers of the ski was all up hill, and I was feeling good, so I went hard. Then somehow Vibeke had convinced me to do a 10K ski race with her next week. Since I’ve resolved to work on my racing nerves, I decided to go for it. I’m already nervous!

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Stopping by woods on a snowy evening.

Stats: 15.5km, 347 vertical meters, 1h29min + 30 min yoga in the AM.

Friday: I biked to and from work in pretty snowy conditions. It was really slow going, and I felt totally drained afterwards.

Stats: 32.4km, 370 vertical meters, 2h2min.

Saturday: I finally convinced Audun to buy himself backcountry skis this week, so naturally we went out for a backcountry adventure this weekend. We went to Norefjell, and skinned up next to the ski lift at the resort before heading into the mountains. The conditions were pretty heinous - it was -15 C and very low visibility. Luckily the route to Høgevarde cabin is marked with big wooden stakes placed within 10 meters of eachother, so you can find your way even if you can’t see anything else. The stakes had been coated with frost and snow, and provided the only relief in the landscape. 

Initially we had planned to ski into a cabin further out, Toveseter. But the going was slow, and the route markings ended at the Høgevarde cabin, so we did the wise thing and stopped there.

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This is what Høgevarde cabin looked like we when arrived. Brrr.

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Self portrait: Buff Bandit trying out the icy monobrow look.

To our surprise, on this cold weekend in early January, seven other people showed up at the cabin. All of them were decidedly more hardcore winter travellers than us; some of them tented out that night and most of them sat around swapping notes from last year’s Amundsen Expedition. But, as one of them kindly pointed out, we had made it too the cabin as well. That counts for something, right?

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Audun digging out the area around the front door at Høgevarde.

Stats: 11.9km, 788 vertical meters, 3h14min

Sunday: The wind had picked up by Sunday morning and it was snowing even harder than the day before. We decided to take the easiest way possible back to Norefjell Resort, by following a marked route down from the cabin to Tempelseter and then picking up some cross-country ski trails That way we wouldn’t have to break as much trail as the day before.

The downhill from Tempelseter was some of the most horrendously difficult descending I have done on backcountry skis. It wasn’t steep, but the light was flat so you couldn’t gauge the steepness either. The snow was highly variable, from icy nubs to loose powder to wind compacted snow. More often than not, a nice patch of soft snow would suddenly turn into rigid wind pack, stopping your skis and throwing you on your face.

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Audun telemarking on his new backcountry skis. I kindly didn’t photographer the faceplant that inevitably happened.

After the frustrating decent, it was a relief to finally find the ski trails. There was less wind now that we were low down in the forest, but it was still snowing hard and there were gusts of wind whenever we crossed through open areas. I was glad we weren’t high up on the mountain, and even glader to get back to the car just in time to listen to the last stage of Tour de Ski on the radio.

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In the forest on the groomed ski trails.

Stats: 19.2km, 371 vertical meters, 2h56min.


Running: 22.3km, 238 vertical meters, 2h18min

Biking: 64.6km, 759 vertical meters, 3h57min

Skiing: 46.6km, 1506 vertical meters, 7h39min

Yoga/dance: 2h

Total training time: 15h49min

This week my goal is to enjoy the beautiful snow, and start strength training again!

- The Wild Bazilchuk


  1. Great week! I like that you're recapping your daily training for us, I've been curious what your everyday looks like. I know what you mean about the flat winter light, it's really disorienting.

    1. Glad you enjoying, I'm just trying out this new format. The reality is most of my everday life is working and then squeezing in workouts in the dark and cold...


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