Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Why do I keep going back?

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.


DaveP said...

Doug, You keep going back the same reason why Brett says he's not going to do any road races anymore.

Ryan Amirault said...

did you get in to the Leadville 100?

Hill Junkie said...

Ryan - I did, but none of my friends from the Northeast did. Kinda bums me out. I thought the lottery process would have given us the option once we were selected to sign up or not, but no. The first email I got from Leadville was a $275 invoice on my credit card, before I was told I was in. My tentative plan is to make a family trip out of it, hit Durango for 4-5 days, then to Leadville to acclimate a few more days at 10,000ft. Are you in?

tiny said...

Uh... long time reader/first time poster...

You wanting the roads to be clear, but not to be stuck behind a snow plow is similar to people wanting to end our dependence on petroleum, but don't want a nuclear power plant in their area?

I... hope that was a joke?

Perhaps your desire to have the roads cleared is more genuinely magnanimous than I'm interpreting it... but?

Anyway, I'll keep reading and hopefully my disappointment will be alleviated by your tales of daring do.

Ryan Amirault said...

I didn't enter the lottery this year, but now wishing I did. None of my friends here in Colorado got in, I would really like to know the specifics to the lottery process. I'll be up in Leadville to spectate. Maybe I'll see you there.

Hill Junkie said...

Ryan - yeah, the Leadville lottery system is fishy. Many speculate there are all kinds of preferential entries granted. Oh, if you didn't get in, you can sign up for a CTS training camp for only $1200 and still get in. That rubbed a lot of people the wrong way.

Tiny - I'm surprised more people didn't go "uh" on my comment. Perhaps it was a bit tongue in cheek. Might have been better to say everybody is for wind farms, unless of course they want to put them off the Cape or some obscure ridge in northern Vermont. However, I make no apologies of being a proponent of nuclear power. In fact, in 1989 I built my house in Michigan down wind from a nuclear plant. As a pragmatist, I see reliance on foreign oil a far greater evil than nuclear power in so many ways. Solar, bio and wind power are still many years away from meeting our nation's energy needs. People just don't understand that one gallon of gas possesses 130,000,000 Joules of energy. Even if the US converted 100% of agriculture to biofuel, it would meet only a small percentage of our transportation needs. Photovoltaics and battery technology will get there some day. We need to invest heavily in these. I see nuclear as interim means to carry us over. Not perfect, but we wouldn't have to fight wars over uranium. I'm reasonably successful keeping politics out of this blog, but it appears I have failed with this post.

tiny said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
tiny said...

Heh... nice explanation!

It's difficult for me not to be uncomfortable with the idea of turning to nuclear power, even as a short-term solution, but I certainly see your point, I'd like to think anyone halfway realistic can see we aren't where we need to be in order to ease our way off petroleum in a significant way based on our current alternatives.

I'll admit I was partially teasing... I had a "wait, what?" moment when reading that segment.

Even riding "by" Seabrook gives me the willies!