Monday, March 26, 2007

Sonot Recap

This was the 20th Sonot (my second attempt at the 50k), and the toughest according finishers who have done the race every year. At the start it was about 0 F and we had about 2-3 inches of fresh snow. Forget fancy flouro waxes because we might as well have painted on some spruce sap--at least that's how it felt. Actually the river sections (first and last 10k) were reasonable, but everything on the already tough Birch Hill section (30k of up and down) was brutal. All skate, no glide, no rest.

No glide at the Sonot! It was all work from 10k through 39k.

Got off to a good start in the 2nd pack, but then that dissipated more quickly than I'd hoped, so I was in no-man's land from 4k to about 25k. Then the lead women, Kate Pearson and Melissa Lewis, caught up. Skied with them (more like hung on for dear life) through about 36k before they put the hammer down. No one else passed but I didn't pass anyone else either. Just a tough day.

I finished 9th among men, 11th overall, in 3:06:44, 25 minutes slower than last year. Most of the top finishers were about 15-20 minutes slower than 2006 (and nearly 30 minutes behind the previous year which was very fast). This race tested fitness level. There was little or no advantage from finesse or waxing, and the heavier/muscular skiers suffered mightily. Those who were most fit and with a good strength to weigh ratio had the best days.

Pearson wins with big kick! Pearson and Lewis dueled the entire 50k and the race was not decided until the final half kilometer (photo copied from Fairbanks News-Miner)


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