Have you ever been driving along in a snow storm and think wow, they are really doing a nice job keeping the roads clear? I had one of those moments on my way to Weston this evening. I left half an hour earlier than usual just to be safe. I soon realized why Rt 3 was so clean. I quickly caught up to an echelon of about 10 snow plows. Not one car was getting by, nor should they. The plows averaged between 7 and 11mph the whole way to Rt 128. I was riding the brakes in second gear with the engine idling. I don't tolerate that kind of diving very well. That added an hour to my drive right there. So yeah, I like a clear road, but don't clear it right in front of me when I've got some place to go. Kind of like folks that want to wean this country off foreign fossil fuel. They don't want to bad enough to have a nuclear reactor in their state. It is human nature to want it both ways.
Anyway, I left 30 minutes early and got to Weston about 45 minutes later than usual. I barely had enough time to warm up. The course was being nicely groomed for the race, but the snow had a very sticky, chunky texture to it. It was just below freezing. I threw a quick coat of warm Fast Wax fluoro on my rock skis the night before. It would be interesting to see if my skis would slow down right away.
Having a rough day at work and still feeling the weekend, my head really wasn't into racing tonight. I just wanted to gain the cardio benefit of pushing myself hard. Lining up, Brett mentioned he structured his skis. Hmm, sounds like he was looking for a competitive edge. We are neck and neck on this course. I started coming around and thought game-on.
I lined up in 6th row, a row further back than usual. This was a huge mistake, as I forgot it is vacation week and a lot of people weren't there. This meant many slower skiers filled in ahead of me. The start was very slow. During the first half of lap one, I was stuck. Finally, I took a risky inside line around a tight corner, drawing the ire of whomever I cut around. I bolted, leaving a gap. Brett was still in the group behind me with a couple other strong skiers. Now I was racing. I could draw a gap now, but would a few guys working together catch me again later in the race?
The next 20 minutes of the race was an individual time trial. I passed no one, and I continued to grow the gap on the chase group behind me. It started snowing really hard again, and my glasses were packing up with snow and ice. I was skiing blind half the time. I could feel myself slowing down. It was me, not the skis. I went out pretty hard when I broke free and started to pay for it in my final and third lap. No worries though. There was nobody back, and the same two guys I followed for laps 2 and 3 were dangling 50-100m ahead of me. I finished 13th overall with a time of 23:41 for the 7.3km race. Considerably slower than the week before. Got the workout I sought. By the time next Tuesday comes around, I will have forgotten how bad these things hurt and go back again. I'll be sad when the series ends in a couple weeks.
I've skied in just about every condition possible at Weston this year, except for maybe one: icy boiler plate. I've skied when it was cold, warm, rain, and now in a snow storm. I skied five more laps after the race as the snow really piled up at a rate of at least 2" per hour. The snow, my skis, and my body all got really slow by that last lap. Covered about 25km in 1.6hrs. The drive home was not nearly as stressful.