Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Weston from the middle of the pack

What's a cyclist to do when you get a big snow dump in March? You ski it! Not only did I get a chance to ski tonight, I got to race the last of nine races in the sprint series. I competed in five of them. The last few weeks have had some dicy conditions, and being busy at work I felt the haul down to Weston wasn't worth the time commitment. Tonight was worth the drive. Conditions were likely the coldest and slowest of the season. I heard one skier comment "who'd expect packed powder in March!" The snow was a bit squeaky though, and after three laps of the long course, it was pretty chopped up.

After a respectable warmup, I lined up. There were a ton of junior skiers there tonight, I believe some are going to the junior Olympics. Great. I was going to get smoked by 14 year old girls. There had to be the biggest crowd there ever. I could not see the back of the staging line. 100+? I settled into around 25th place and held it for a while. Passed a few, a few passed me on the first lap. I saw a pole laying in the snow and didn't think much of it. Shortly later, I pass Marv Wang, sans one pole. I've never beaten him, now I'm thinking great, the only way I'll beat him is with one arm tied behind his back, almost literally.

On the second lap, I'm riding the Jamie/Victor train. Marv comes flying past, now with two poles. I was impressed with that recovery. The suffer factor was uber high. I was quite certain I was skiing at a two lap pace, yet we had to do three laps. We shelled a couple skiers out of our group, yet a couple others bridged up. It seemed I was playing a zero sum gain in this race. I really hadn't any expectations other than getting a spanker of a workout. I was not recovered from a hard weekend.

Beginning the third lap, my GPS armband velcro strap came loose. That really sucked. I was not going to forfeit a $500 GPS to a training race. I had to coast for about 10sec and fiddle in the darkness to find the strap to pull it tight again. I lost contact with the train. I killed myself going over Mt Weston to regain the guys I was with. Jamie and Victor are good guys to draft. After sweeping around the flats, coming back around Mt Weston, you go up the steep little hill by the lodge. I was overtaking another on it and caught the other guy's pole with my ski tip. I went down. I got up immediately, but the train had left the station. There was nobody behind me at that point, so I more or less soft pedaled the remaining kilometer or so to the finish. The hills got chewed up good and were very slow. Lots bunching up on hills and tripping on poles and skis were going on throughout the race. I might have caused another skier to bobble too, so I guess I was even.

Don't have a finishing place, but my time was 29:07 for about 9km. Warmup and laps after the race netted 24.8km, 320m vert in 94 minutes for the night. It was chilly, 19F at race start and dropping from there. Got the spanker workout I sought. The endorphin juices were freely flowing on the 45 minute drive home. Lets you think new thoughts, and you'll never fail a pee test for this kind of buzz.


Luke S said...

The hills at Weston ALWAYS get chopped up...even when its sheet ice. Wish I could have made it to some of these races this year, I miss a short hard effort on Tuesdays. Kept me focused.

rick is! said...

that xc ski race recap sounded pretty much like an xc bike race recap. maybe not so different afterall.

you forgot to tell us how many 14 year old girls beat you though.

Hill Junkie said...

Ski races at Weston are very much like CX races. Kind of flat, open, occasional steep pitches that force you really dig deep (like a run-up in 'cross). Plenty of 180's around barrels and getting tangled up in each others equipment going around them. Only thing missing are barriers. Hope Colin doesn't get any ideas. Crashes usually don't hurt as bad either unless it is icy.

I got schooled by one girl. I believe she is 17 with a very Russian sounding name. I traded places with her during first two laps. Her form was impecable. Fitness takes a back seat to form in this sport.

rick is! said...

hmmm, traded places with a 17 year old russian girl with impecable form. sounds like an old penthouse letter contribution to me.

Luke S said...

Not only does she have great technique, she's fit and fast as hell. On the New England Junior National team, and earlier this season placed 9th in an Eastern Cup/College Carnival/Supertour. Basically she beat out a crapload of really fast college girls, high school girls, and even a few pros. To cap it all off she's skiing for Colby next year.