Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Tuesday Night Worlds #4

My sprint race tonight forced me to tap into a dry well. I expected as much. The weekend entailed some pretty serious volume and intensity both on skis and the bike. Normally I do recovery rides at lunch on Mondays. Yesterday I was so beat up I didn't even bother to take a bike to work. 46 year old bones just don't recover the way my 35 year old bones did when I first got into cycling. I pretty much figured one day off was not going to have me in good form by Tuesday. Then again, these Tuesday night gigs are all about learning to go fast on skis, not about results.

I'm now three for four on Rt 128. Four visits to Weston have had me stuck in non-moving traffic due to accidents three times. Don't people know how to drive down there? There hasn't been snow on the roads for over a week. Last week when there were no accidents, it took me 46 minutes to reach Weston from Merrimack. Tonight was nearly double that. Needless to say, I didn't get much of a warmup in tonight.

Course was similar to last week with one additional hairpin turn thrown in and a little bit more climbing. There were many giant moguls created by snow guns to ski over, and the guns were blowing tonight during the race. This was the most technical and most fun course I've skied yet at Weston. It was also the coldest night. My skis were very slow, but I think everyone's were slow. I seemed to hold my place just fine drafting in paceline down the hills. My recently acquired RS:11's performed well.

I started in the 5th row. I think mostly slow guys were behind me, as few to none passed me double poling. I was no more than 14 back once the skating began, my best start to date at Weston. It all went downhill from there. I continued to hemorrhage places the entire race. In the first of two laps, around six guys passed me, including Marv Wang. He was easy to pick out, as we were both wearing IBC colors. I haven't beaten Marv yet but can stay with him. I did my best tonight to shaddow him. On the second lap Jamie Doucett passed me. I followed him to the line last week for a 14th place overall finish. I was struggling tonight though. Just didn't have any punch over the top of each hill. I stayed with the Marv/Jamie group to the finish. I was last guy out of more than 10 in that group to cross the line. I got nipped right at the line by Rene Harde.

My Garmin measured 5.82km with a 17:27 racing time, netting 22/76 overall. That is exactly 20kph, which is a fairly typical speed for me at Weston. It felt a lot slower. Looking at my HR data later, my HR responded nicely at the start and stayed dead flat for the rest of the race. My avg was 169bpm, max only 173bpm.

It's not worth backing down on Sunday to do a little better at Weston on Tuesday. I need the Sunday bike training days. I have a ride planned on Hawaii in early April that might possibly be the hardest ride I've ever done. It will go 97 miles, have 15,000ft of climbing, done with a MTB with knobby tires, mostly paved but good portion of it is rugged, loose 4WD road, and the average altitude will be around 10,000ft, max'ing at nearly 14,000ft on two different summits. It will take over 8hrs riding time to complete. My longest ride so far this year has been 2hrs, and only 4-5hrs per week.

You can't beat Tuesday night at Weston for the cardio training value. That is one reason I go. Another reason is going fast on skis under your own power is quite exhilarating. For a klutz like me, it is no small undertaking to learn how to ski. The learning process itself is highly rewarding. I have much more to learn, and as long as I keep chipping away at technique improvements, skiing will never be boring. I'd like to poke into the top 10 some day at Weston, but I've got a ways to go.


Luke S said...

Those Tuesday night races are absolute killers. I've done my fair share, and I often get beat there by guys who I would absolutely crush in an individual start 5 or 10k. Granted, its usually because I do something stupid like stick my poles in between my legs 3 times.

Hill Junkie said...

I haven't taken a Weston tumble yet, self inflicted or otherwise. With the near record size crowds each night, there are a fair number of entanglements. Everybody is good about it. I've stumbled on poles a couple times, had others stumble on mine. I own cheap poles. Cheap = strong. I'm not good enough yet to invest in fly weight, break if you sneeze at them poles.

Luke S said...

I've never broken a pole at Weston, at least not on a Tuesday night. I completely shattered a Swix CT5 once in a high school race sprinting to the finish...just poled too hard. I use cheap rollerski poles for those races usually.

For someone who has issues staying on his feet at the best of times, and a disturbing tendency towards breaking equipment, I've had the same two pairs of Toko poles for going on four years now. One for classic, one for skate. The grips are decaying, but the shafts are perfectly sound.

The not falling thing gets hard when the conditions start to deteriorate and you get frozen in slush ruts and such things, or when your convinced that you should be skiing with the leaders and thrash yourself to death trying to get there.