Friday, March 21, 2008

Tour of Anchorage (way late!)

Almost three weeks late with this, but I went to Anchorage with my family and 12 or 13 other kids (ages 10 to 15) to do the Tour of Anchorage on the first weekend of March. The kids did 25k and three of us coaches did the 50. It was a crazy weekend--try waxing 20 or 25 pairs of skis (kids, some parents, plus our own) in a hotel vending room, while the kids are running amok. Add to the mix another 15 or so high schoolers from our town.

Anyway after all those histrionics on Saturday, race day went really well. The course starts at Service High School at the base of the Chugach Mountains, has some serious climbs and scary drops on the Spencer Loop 5 throuh 10K and then gets onto a connected bike/trail system that takes you to the coast, which you follow for about 15k before climbing back onto some ski trails on a peninsula by the airport.

The Chester Creek trail (km 10 through about 33) was chaos, as we had to pass through hundreds of slower skiers from the 40k, some of whom had a hard time standing on their skis. I took on wipe out, when several people in front of me also fell, but got right back with the pack I was with. The snow was the consistency of sugar.

The lead women caught our train of 4 (3 of us battling for the 45-49 crown) at about 25k. We stuck together until Earthquake Park (~36k) when things started to break up. I tried to shake them for a couple ks, but the 3 ladies and Jim stuck right with me and I ended up getting dropped just before 40k. Was near contact (20-30 sec back) until 47.5, when they hammered it and left me flailing and trying to pass 25 and 40k skiers without taking anyone, self-included, out of the action.

Probably my best race of the year--covered the distance in 2:29 (4:48/mile) for 26th place (1st was a US Olympian who did 2:07) and 2nd in age group (Jim was a min ahead).

The kids did well too. All finished and some got age group awards.


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