Continuing with my fitness recovery plan, I made it down to Weston Tuesday night for the training sprint race. The 1km course of machine made snow was in superb condition. What would we do without Weston this winter? I didn't bother waxing my rock skis since the triathlon this weekend. They were surprisingly fast anyway in the almost slushy granular that got only faster as the temperature dropped.
With such a short course and a fairly large crowd, we did a NASCAR start. We self seeded, then did a neutral lap around the course. As the "pace skiers" approached the start/finish line, they ramped up the pace to race pace. By then, we were well strung out. No pile ups, no broken poles, no blood stains in the snow. Even though I did eight warmup laps before the race, my body was unprepared for the shock going from 20% to 110%.
My goal was to not get lapped. I'm normally about 20% back from the leaders in these sprint races. We were doing five race pace laps, so that meant the leaders would be coming up behind me for the finish as I began my final lap.
I found it hard to not flail. The speed was so high most of the time that poling didn't contribute much to the effort. I found others to draft for the couple middle laps, but then realized I was losing places by doing this. The last lap I stepped out of my comfort zone and passed several skiers (not just lapped skiers). This was good for another 5bpm jump in HR. Been a long time since I've brought myself to the hurl threshold. Weston is good for that. As Marv Wang commented in the finishing chute, intervals on the bike seem so much easier after a Weston sprint race.
I finished in 19th place. My Garmin time for the 5.3km race, including the neutral lap, was 15:04. It was the third time I skied in five days. Woo-hoo! All on machine made snow, of course. Glad I didn't invest much into rollerskiing this fall. With no snow in the mountains and rain on the way, I don't know when I'll ski again.