Wednesday, February 8, 2012
I've been hitting Weston the last few Tuesday nights but been too busy with work to blog about it. Weston has amazingly been able to hang onto their base. A compact 2km course is raced. The previous two weeks were in sloppy corn snow. One night, many of the kids were skiing in t-shirts... in January! This Tuesday wasn't quite as balmy. Just before the race, the temp dropped enough for the base to crust up. I'm utterly incapable of skiing Weston crust. My skis refuse to stay under me. Yes, my technique sucks.
At the pre-race meeting, Andy said we were doing the Full Monty, five laps around the course for just over a 10k race. I feared certain doom. The course was getting more solid by the minute. Should I even start? I could always bail out of the race if it got too sketchy.
I lined up about where I thought I'd finish, 8th row, or around 24 back. I got a really good start. Marv Wang was ahead of me and told me to hang onto his "wheel." That lasted all of about a quarter lap. The group I can normally hang with when conditions require power, not speed, just walked away from me. I could not find traction, and without traction, I couldn't even get my heartrate up. It didn't help I had my rock skis with worn edges either.
After about a lap, I half threw in the towel. No sense in risking injury. I backed off as another string of skiers latched onto my draft. I think I went around the course twice, 4km, towing the line at a comfortable pace. I didn't know it at the time, but Todd Brown was the next guy on my tail. He did try passing me a few times on the climbs, but there was traction there, so it was easy to hold him off. On the fourth lap, I was getting a little sloppy and sketched out. Todd passed me and I was more than happy to sit in for a while.
After a lap of recovery, and perhaps Todd realizing it was more work to pull than draft, Jamie Doucett came around both of us. There was still a string of skiers behind us. I wasn't about to let all of them blast past me on the finishing sprint. With "Mt Weston" coming up, I figured I'll dig and see if I could bolt free. Jamie had the same idea. Jamie picked the pace up a notch or two, and I shamelessly stayed glued to his ski tails. It was a clean break, a minor victory during an abysmal performance for me. Some skiers excel on crud snow. How, I don't know. Anyway, Jamie towed me to the line. I finished 10.3km in 30:38, another sub 3-minute pace night at Weston. I placed 25th out of something like 66 finishers, which is further down than I normally finish, but only about 17% from the winning time, which is better than the previous two weeks. Go figure.
Skiing a bunch of laps after the race with Todd gave me 26km in less than 90 minutes for the night. A great workout, but not quite the intensity level I was hoping to hit. Might be my last time hitting Weston this season unless we get a big natural snow dump. Still hope to do the Rangeley Loppet in early March if snow holds up. A week after Rangeley, it's off to Arizona for a little "spring training."