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.
Can you see a race in there? Started kinda hard, became afraid and
backed off a bit, then with 2k to go, hit my highest HR of the race
over Mt Weston to stay with Jamie to the end.
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."