December 2011 Blues
I'm actually pretty happy with last week's skate sprint. But I'm definitely not a sprinter and couldn't sprint fast on skis (or on foot) anymore if my life depended on it.
Got the kids all waxed up and ready to go in the morning, only to have Tristan run into one of those metal barriers the start corral and he broke his brand new--never been raced on--Rossignol Xium 174 cm skis. He raced one round with the broken ski, and made the semi and we switched him into his warm up skis (4 yr old jr-level skis) so he didn't make the "A" final. On the final round I retrieved his good ski and he went one old ski, one new ski and ended up 4th in the "B" final of the B bracket. Decent for a freshman with a broken ski. Likewise, Mikko had a good day, and made A final of B bracket and was actually leading with just 300 m to go, but he rigged up at the top of East Ramp and finished 4th.
Good experience for the boys and a lot of the kids.
The masters heats were all messed up. We were supposed to go at 12:30/35 in two heats, with a final at 12:40, but there was schedule misprint so many (most) of the skiers thought we'd be going an hour later. Oops. So it became a one race final at 2:00, after all the A bracket racing was done. I did 2 warm ups, which probably isn't so bad.
Started out cautiously in 4th, not wanting to go after Arvey (hey he's only 33 and not really a "master," if you count 40+ as masters) and Kramer. But by the time we got to the spruce tree hairpin (maybe 350 meters in), I decided to hammer and go after them. It was too much to ask, so I ended up the rest of the way in a lactic acid induced no-man's land hoping to hell that I'd stay on my feet and finish. So took a suprise (remember I'm not a sprinter) 3rd OA (actually 2nd). But jeez, 3 min and you're done!? What kind of racing is that.
Gundeloppet 15K tomorrow. I've always managed to be competitive and finish within 20% of the top UAF skiers and to beat the top women. Not going to happen in a classic race anymore. I'll be lucky/happy to be within 30% and be behind no more than three of the women. It might end up a lot worse than that the way classic racing has been going.
Honestly, I used to be good at classic. In 1990-91 I was 4th overall at the Tug Hill Tourathon, one of the biggest classic marathons in the East, 1st in the Empire State Games championship classic race, and 2nd at the Gatineau 25K classic in Canada, also a big race out there. I just can't do it very well anymore.
Tomorrow will be perfect skate weather. If the 20K in January is too cold to skate or if it gets cancelled due to cold (& I'm not racing if it's colder than -10 F), I will be one pissed local customer.