I brought two pairs of skis with me this time. I'm sick of doing a bunch of warmup laps, only to find my skis slowing down before the sprint race. I still botched the wax job. I planned to put Toko HF red on but used regular hydrocarbon wax by mistake. Rather than wax, scrape and brush again, I sprinkled on and corked in a minuscule amount of Start pure fluoro for 0 to -6C. Turns out the temperature was colder than this. I can never get this right.
I swapped skis right before the race. It was the first time I put my "race" skis on this season. I had no time left to ski on them. They are shorter and have a softer flex than my rock skis. They handle wicked different. I was going to kill myself going off in a mad dash with nearly 100 maniacs on skis I was completely not used to.
After doing well two weeks ago (last week was cancelled), I lined up a little closer to the front. Alec Petro and I argued who should go in front of the other. I was feeling tired so I queued up behind him in the same outside lane. Brett Rutledge was also a row ahead of me. I planned to keep an eye on him.
We go off and I hear the usually entanglements behind me. No crashes in the rows ahead of me. I stayed in Alec's draft for a bit. Once we got around Mt Weston, ColinR came around me. He must've started way in the back again. I jumped in Colin's draft, until a hole opened in traffic and Colin was gone just like that.
Brett was dangling well ahead of me in no-man's land for much of lap one. The laps are big now, over 3km. Going over Mt Weston starting lap two, I finally closed the gap on Brett with Alec in tow. I was completely gassed when Brett asked me to pull through. I couldn't maintain the pace. Brett pulled on the return from "The Flats." He's so much smoother than I at speed. Eventually it was my turn to work. I pulled for a good portion of lap two. We caught Bob Burnham. Now I had three guys in tow.
After a brief recovery with less than 1km to go, I was back up front again. Another group was dangling just behind us. The hills were much bigger this time than two weeks ago. The trail gods made massive machine made moguls. They spread it around to accentuate the natural rizes in the course. Altogether, I'd say this doubled the climbing around the circuit. Climbing is where I flail less and have any hope of putting distance on Brett. I punched the last two climbs with all I had left. It worked. Sort of. I did not ditch Bob Burnham. He handily out sprinted me to the line. I did cross the line with a small gap on Brett and Alec.
Kevin Galeaz along one of the cut into machine made
moguls. Looks like dirty Charles River snow to me.
Photo: Jamie Doucett
The race was about 6.2km and took me 18:46, good for 19th place overall out of record number of 94 finishers. Exactly same place finish as two weeks ago. The course suited me well. Lots more climbing than before, wider and nice flow. The volunteers do a fabulous job pulling this race together every Tuesday. I will be doing the Lake Placid Loppet on February 5. A 10k race is planned for next Tuesday at Weston. Not sure that is a good idea so close to a 50k spanker.