Wednesday Night Race Series #5
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!