The Tuesday night crit-on-snow race series has begun at Weston on the Leo J. Martin golf course. A large group showed up Tuesday, despite frigid temp, with over 80 racers between the A and B fields. With conditions marginally sketchy after a full day of activities on the course, I pondered for a moment if I shouldn't race in the slower B group. Hard packed conditions brings out the worst in my weak technique.
I queued up a little further back than I was at the end of last season. Looking around, I realized I was still too far up with faster skiers behind me. Before I could even give this a second thought, we were off.
I made it through the freshly made mashed potatoes snow ok, but then the speed picks way up on the hard pack. Should be easy drafting, right? At least conditions were fast even though it was cold. I hemorrhaged several places. Coach Maddy came around and I thought I at least need to stay in her draft. My useless flailing just wasn't delivering enough kilojoules to the snow. Maddy slowly faded away into a tiny silouette down the fairway. Bye-bye.
After a large gap opened, a few more skiers came around. Marv, Robert, Tom and Viktoria. Ok, I can usually hang with these folks. I was still going backwards though, and I was afraid to look back and see there was nobody left behind me! But hang I did. Marv was drilling it with many in tow for all of lap two. Laps were running about 1.8km.
Some fractures were opening in our group on the climbs in the third and final lap. I took advantage of this weakness and moved up a few spots to behind Marv. That move burned matches. Moments later on the long gradual climb by "Mt Weston," I came to the front. Stupid I thought, as there is much flat terrain and a downhill before the finish. Everybody was still there, and surely they would all pass me just before the finish. One did, Robert. Robert does much better than me on fast, hard packed terrain.
You know how in the Olympic races they all fall over after crossing the line? Well, that was almost me. That was the hardest I breathed since doing this last year at Weston. I did reasonably well, finishing 14-15% back from the winner, right where I was last season. Great workout and good mid-week adrenaline rush. Can't wait to do it again!