Thursday, February 17, 2011

Barely Survived

I've been so busy I forgot to say a word or two about Weston on Tuesday night. My routine for the past several weeks has been to bike and ski myself into the ground over the weekend, "recover" on Monday by running, then bring only ski stuff to work on Tuesday. I have no choice but to ski if I'm to get in any workout at all. This Tuesday, Weston was in a state I tend to avoid - smattering of loose granular over frozen granular.

I brought my new skis. I thoroughly saturated them with Toko base prep, then finished with Toko HF blue since the temp was expected to drop below 20 by the end of the night. I first went out on my rock skis, which I quickly slapped on a layer of cheap Fastwax fluoro. The conditions were frightenly fast. My rock skis have completely rounded over edges. I could barely keep them under me. Particularly scary was coming over the whoops at 20+ mph, momentarily experiencing zero gravity, then landing on polished frozen granular. My legs just wanted to squirt right out from under me. No way was I going to race on this. BrettR and JodyD where wise. They stayed away.

After two laps around the 3.2km course, I brought out my new World Cups. Down the hill by the clubhouse, I nearly face planted. They were butt slow! WTF. I know new skis take a few ski/wax cycles to reach maximum glide, but this was awful. I bet they were at least 20% slower than my rock skis with cheaper wax for similar temp range. The WC's handled superbly though. I could actually edge on the crud. The new WC's also have a little softer flex in the tips, making them handle quite differently all together. I skied one lap with them, actually getting my heartrate up due to the increased friction, before putting them back in the bag. More wax work was needed.

Back on my rock skis, pre-race instruction was being given out. Man there were a lot of people there for sketchy conditions. No way was I doing it. Nope. Not thinking about it. But when everybody took off to staging, I figured what the heck. What's the worst that could happen, a little ice rash? By now the first 10 rows were filled and I wedged myself in about 10-12 rows back.

We go off. Things seemed way sketchier buried in the middle of the pack. At least 50 skiers were ahead of me. I could not even see the front. Heading out on the flats, I pretty much coasted along, maybe a little double poling here and there. There was nowhere to go. I was stuck behind a huge plug. I would coast up on ski tails on the descents.

It wasn't until coming around the last barrel in the first lap when skiers piled up, that I broke free of traffic. I think I finally had to open my mouth to breathe going over Mt Weston beginning the second lap. Now I was getting a workout, periodically passing 1-3 skiers at a time. My skis offered no edge. I relied heavily on poling and skid turns around the 180's.

I passed upwards of 25 skiers before crossing the finish in 27/89 place. 17:29 for 6.4km is almost certainly my fastest ski there despite being held back for half the race. Amazingly, I even stayed upright. The whoops at race speed totally sketched me out. It was hard to keep skis on the deck with such speed. I skied about 28km in just over 1.5hrs, nine full laps of the course for the evening.

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