Weston is becoming its normal self, hard packed and very fast. I usually suck in those conditions and become very apprehensive. I didn't bother to fuss much with waxing, I used my rock skis with thoroughly rounded edges, and I used my cracked up rollerski boots because my newer ones are hurting my ankles (I could hardly walk after Lake Placid). I thought probability of crash was 50% tonight.
I lined up 5th row. We start, and it was a total cluster of slipping skis and flying poles. Amazingly, nobody in front of me went down. About 30 seconds in, I hemorrhaged a bunch of places. I just couldn't get traction on that surface, and the speed was insanely high. It never really thinned out to single file. We stayed two and three across for a long time. There was huge draft benefit, and I think everybody thought because it felt so easy in that draft, they deserved to be further up. Kind of like a bike race really, where if you get pinched off in back and want to quickly get to the front so you don't miss a move, it ain't gonna happen. I was content for the moment.
2.5km course we've been on a few weeks now. With several hairpin
turns and man-made snow enhanced hills, it is quite technical.
Eventually I had to start passing people. I was at least 30 back. A couple minutes in, a lot of guys implode and the parachute opens up. Those are the easy ones to pass. I was finding my cornering skill has improved quite a bit over the last year or so. I used to get killed around Weston hairpin turns. Not anymore. I'm still a little clumsy, but I don't get gapped anymore.
In the second lap, I started passing people that beat me the last couple races. This surprised me, as I wouldn't have expected to bounce back enough from Placid to make this happen. I caught up to a group with Doucett, Wang and Faltus in it. This group was better part of a minute ahead of me last week. They were cooking right along and I spent a little time at the back recovering. Not a good place to be. They kept shelling guys, and every time they did I'd have to close the gap the guy in front of me opened up. I buried myself each time, as that was a good train to ride to the finish. This happened at least three or four times.
Also in laps two and three, guys crashed within two or three in front of me on three occasions. In all cases, it was around hairpin corners getting scraped off. I avoided getting tangled up, but again, I had to close gaps back up. Coming towards the end of lap three I entertained the idea of contesting the sprint with our now whittled down group. The pace picked up just enough that it wasn't going to happen. I was happy to ride the back of this one in over the line, with plenty of margin behind me to the guys shelled in the last lap. I finished ahead of several people that have beat me the last couple races, so I think I had a very good race. I did not hold anything back in this one. My lungs still hurt from Lake Placid on Saturday, and they surely hurt after this 20 minute anaerobic effort. About 2:47/km was my fastest average at Weston to date. For the night, I skied 27km in 1.5hrs. Large quantities of pizza were consumed afterwards.
Chance I may head to Pineland Farms in Maine for the 10k race on Saturday. I had hoped to ride on the Cape on Sunday, but it sounds like they are getting wacked by Wednesday's storm. I will have to do my bike hill repeats from work Wednesday morning before the snow gets too deep.