Friday, February 25, 2011

Wednesday Night Race Series #5

I don't care what some of the mucky mucks around here may think about the resurrected Wednesday Night Race Series, to the racers & other cool kids :-) they are a welcome addition to the calendar. I hope these continue, if not expand into the spring (late March/April) when the snow is still really good but most everyone forgets about racing.

Here are results and a short write up from organizer Ken Leary, and after that I'll give my own blow by blow perspective.

Wayne Peppler skied for yet another win Wednesday evening February 23. Following Peppler on a soft snow White Bear Loop 4.6 kilometer course was Dave Arvey and Jim Button.

Melisa Lewis skied 16:49 for her first Wednesday win followed by Julia Pierson and Kari Lovett. Heidi Rader skied a 3.5k course in 16:33.

Eric Hoefler was the first youth while skiing classic technique in 16:19. Dave Edic was the first master skier to cross the finish line making his move on the last hill into the finish area with a time of 16:00.

1. Wayne Peppler 14:38
2. Dave Arvey 15:16
3. Jim Button 15:29
4. Dave Edic 16:00 *1st Master
5. Roger Sayre 16:16
6. Erich Hoefler 16:19 *1st Youth (classic)
7. Heidi Rader 16:33 (3.5k course)
8. Peter Fix 16:34
9. Melisa Lewis 16:49 *First Woman
10. Julia Pierson 17:19
11. Mike Hajdukovich 17:28
12. Kuba Grzeda 17:29 (classic)
13. Kent Slaughter 17:59
14. Patrick Lovely 19:59
15. Joel Pierson 20:27
16. Kari Lovett 21:14
17. John McKinney 22:17
18. Teresa Small 23:48
19. Jake Scholey 25:26

This was one of the stranger, more disorienting races that I can recall. To avoid any trail use conflict with this weekend's state high school championships, we started and finished in the dark at the biathlon stadium and most of the course was out on White Bear Loop.

Snow conditions were still soft and rutted, and we had 1 or 1.5K of skiing in the dark on the return along White Bear (from the Moilainen's cutoff to the bottom of White Bear Access).

Peppler took command right away, with Arvey and Button in pursuit. I found myself alone in no man's land about 8 or 10 second back. There was no sound from behind, so I just focused on those guys and on staying on my feet/keeping efficient over the snow. A light V2, while it seemed slow, was usually the most efficient technique. We'd sink with a V1 (although we had ample hills that forced our V1 hand anyway).

Into the darkness at about 2K I was all alone and was only trying to keep it steady. Heading up the hill toward the stadium at about 3K Arvey and Button were maybe 12-15 seconds up. I snuck a peak back, and was surprised to see 2 or 3 dark shapes in the shadows. Erich Hoefler (skiing classic) and Edic 8 or 10 seconds back. So I put my head down and focused on getting up the hill, hoping to re-extend that lead.

On the switchbacks near the top I caught Heidi Rader who had taken the wrong turn...I couldn't tell if she was just doing intervals or what, so I hesitated on passing her for 15 or 20 sec. First mistake, but relatively small.

I was foggy and exhausted by the time we got to the stadium and made the quick left back onto White Bear. My transition was a little slow, and the tracks were a ways down the hill. Second mistake (should have just hammered that 30 or 40 meters), moderate because I didn't have a full head of speed going down the hill.

Then on the sharp turn, were Access meets White Bear, I failed to jump into the tracks. The tracks would have been faster and I would have gotten 10 or 15 seconds of rest. So I was slow on the run out. Third mistake, and that was the big one.

Had just gotten onto the long flat stretch past the biathlon range exit (just a half km to go) when I saw a shadow moving up from behind. I thought it was Erich, skiing classic, and I figured I could pick up the tempo and hold him off. But no! It was Edic, and he was skating and he had momentum. Passed me in a flash, before I even had time to react.

So I tucked in behind and stayed okay until we just past the base of the steep hill at the far end of the range. I took about 3 strides up, and my muscles just locked up with lactic acid/as if I was 300 meters into a 400 m track race race. Edic sensed my faltering stride and hammered home. I was a lump and just double polled into the finish.

Erich, skiing classic, was awesome! Just 3 seconds back and 6th overall. He said it felt easy, and that he could have done another lap at the same effort. He's ready for JOs!

Dawn of a Blizzard: Frozen 30K Race Report

Here's more or less of a photo essay (5 pictures telling the story) from Sunday's Distance Series 30K (which ended up being 31.8K). All photos from Karl Kowalski ( Karl's an awesome photographer!

Start at -4 with new snow. 15 minutes before this tracks were groomed perfectly.

1.4 km, skiing along in 6th place but being stalked, by Dave Edic (skiing classic in black) and masked mystery man (turquoise). That's Peter Fix, but at the time I didn't know it, and I kept wondering, who IS that guy!?

Classic chase pack in pursuit. Maria Bray, Davya Flarharty (women's winner, skiing classic), Bad Bob Baker, and Greg Wisenhant). The race was freestyle (skating) but due to the cold and slow snow, many opted to ski classic.

4K, free from the chasers and in my own pursuit of 4th place, who was about 30 sec up. I caught and passed Max just before the lap at 15K. Finished 4th but it wasn't comfortable!

And you thought I was kidding about the duct tape! Mike Kowalksi here, wearing the latest style of duct tape as skin protector. Now with 3 patches frostbite of my own, I wish I had. Or maybe a beard like Bill Husaby (in the background).

I bonked moderately toward the end. It didn't get any warmer and the snow kept accumulating, 2" by the end (on the way to 18" by the next morning). Had to single pole (granny skate) up the big hill on White Bear, but fell flat on my face near the top after catching my pole with a ski. mmmmph! Slow slow time (2:02:43), but with a solid placing and 16% behind Tyson Flaharty, using the race as a tune up for the Birkie in Wisconsin--hey at 52 and coming off 1.5 years of injury I'll take it.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Wednesday Night Series Numbr 4: February 11, 2011

Fast and furious is the best way to describe the fourth of six 2010-11 Wednesday night cross country ski races at Birch Hill. The race was scheduled for classic, but due to three inches of new snow it became a freestyle race.

The biggest question was whether Tyson Flaharty, who's been on a local roll, could win the entire event by skiing classic.

Flaharty took and early lead and challenged the lead pack of Wayne Peppler, Jim Button, and Dave Arvey almost the entire way. But by the end, the faster skate techique of Peppler (15:04) and Button (15:19) prevailed ahead of Tyson (15:20), who finished ahead of Jim Button (15:23). Davya Flaharty was first woman in 16:55, 26 seconds ahead of Julia Pierson.

Back in the 2nd pack, I had warmed up on my Atomic RS 11s, with a mid-warmth grind, but these seemed slow, so I switched to the Atomic World Cups
with a cold grind and cold wax (same skis and wax that I used for Sunday's 10K), and those felt much better. I was in about 8th coming out of Roller Coasters (1K), and moved to 5th by the time we got off of the killer hill past the biathlon range. I had a good 6 seconds on Max, but he caught me at the base of White Bear, with about 1 km to go. I hung with him up the hill and on the switch backs, but had nothing left for a kick and finished 6th.

My lungs were burning and felt inflamed for the next day.

Still happy to get a "master's" win and to have kept the leaders in sight for the entire way.

1. Wayne Peppler 15:04

2. Dave Arvey 15:19

3. Tyson Flaharty 15:20 (classic)

4. Jim Button 15:23

5. Max Kaufman 15:53

6. Roger Sayre 15:59 *1st Master

7. Joel Buth 16:13

8. Dave Edic 16:35

9. Mike Hajdukovich 16:54

10. Davya Flaharty 16:55 *First Woman

11. Brad Marden 16:58

12. Peter Fix 16:59

13. Brian Finch 17:15

14. Julia Pierson 17:21

15. Owen Hanley 17:34 (classic)

16. Kent Slaughter 17:45

17. Ken Leary 17:57

18. Heidi Rader 19:25

19. Matt Stoller 19:57

20. Bob Baker 20:05 (classic)

21. Kari Lovett 20:08

22. Byron Broda 20:50