20K classic race report: hey it worked out
Photo by Nick Nugent
Techie stuff: I skied on the new Atomic World Cups, freshly ground (cold grind) due to some base issues from the factory, and re-waxed 10X in the past two weeks. Used Swix LF4 mixed with HF6 for glide; snow was dirty underneath which is why I used the high flouro. For kick very easy--4 layers of Swix VR30, their coldest wax but it was sticking so I went with it. Wax was good until the final hill on Moilainen's, with about 2K to go. Ouch. Not much was left after that plus I was running out of energy.
A bit of paralysis by analysis. This course has been good to me, whereas, the other standard Birch Hill courses like the "Three Hills" (Blue Loop, Tower Direct, and White Bear), and the one they used for Nationals a few years ago (South Tower, Tower Direct, White Bear) have usually been cruel. I'd be afraid to even try classic for the course they used for the 50K Nationals race for two consecutive years (South Tower, Tower Direct, White Bear, and Black Funk)--although I have had a couple of decent skate races at Besh Cups on the same course.
Anyway, the hills on the 20K course aren't terrible--the worst is biathlon range and 90% of the time I have to hop out of the tracks about 2/3 of the way up or sooner. HR shot up to 181 at that hill on the first loop, but other than that it was lower. You have 5 hills each lap to think about (East Ramp, Tower, Biathlon, out of Moilainen's, and White Bear, which is another butt kicker). But there is enough rest between these that you can recover.
The other standard race courses for classic at Birch Hill are usually just downright sadistic.