My Tuesday night routine: Barely break away from work in time to see what random adverse conditions we'll be racing on down in Weston. I think Weston owns the only patch of snow left in eastern Mass. I really didn't think this one would happen for me. Customers in for the day at work. Then weather forecasters were predicting major uncertaintiness. Could be heavy snow. Could be heavy rain. Could be windy. A quick peek at the radar before bolting out of work suggested the greater Boston area was in a rain hole. It was drizzling in Merrimack, NH. But yellows and orange were fast approaching from the south. At least the drive should be good. Rain would almost certainly move in by the 7pm race start.
I had plenty of time to warm up. It was +4C. The course was beautifully groomed, but it was ankle deep mashed potatoes. I can work with that. It beats ice. I do not have a riller and much of the original base structure of my rock skis has gotten polished smooth. Every time I went down a hill it felt like my skis threw an anchor out. They were sucking big time. Literally. Oh well. I find the races I suck the most in I get the best workout. I win one way or another.
A large crew lined up. I lined up 5th row, but it looked like some rows were double filled ahead of me. It was threatening to rain with some sprinkles, but that was it. There were a few entanglements at the start. My skis and poles got skied on multiple times. Somehow I managed to stay up. Seems a lot of the guys structured their skis. I was quickly dispatched from the group I hang with. There was a wicked east wind blowing too. It paid big to draft heading out on the flats. But for the rest of the course, things split up quickly. I passed the normal handful of people that blow up in the first lap, then I was in no man's land for a while. I think it was Wes I caught in lap two. I was killing myself to stay with him, then buried myself even deeper after I passed him. He dangled just behind me for the rest of the race to make sure I wouldn't let up for even just an instant. Victor was ahead of me but slowly growing the gap. I crossed the line at 20th overall, with my slowest 7.3km race yet with a time of 24:41. That totally hurt. Not the time, but how hard I had to kill myself to get this time. All these Tuesday night sufferfests will pay dividends come Battenkill. At least that's what I keep telling myself.
The rain was still holding off, so I did a few more laps after finishing. Hooked up with Peter Hult, who still owns the Mt Ascutney bicycle hillclimb record he set back in 2004. After skiing about 25km total, I was cooked. It was spooky warm out. Looks like Weston could get inches of rain over the next few days. Not sure how well that machine made base will hold up. It is already getting thin in spots. The good news is the mountains should finally get some snow.