I hadn't felt 100% all week, so my motivation for this endurance test got pretty low. Having skipped the sprints, the 50k was an all or nothing shot.
I had an ok start, despite being on a less favorable side of the grid. I narrowly missed a big crash on the first big downhill. By the 1k mark I was around 15th, and starting to see a gap opening up to the lead skiers. I worked my way through a few guys to get on to the back of the first pack. The first lap was a bit difficult at times, but my skis brought me back when I needed it. The second lap, the pace slowed and I was more comfortable, besides being on track with my fee schedule.
About halfway through the third lap Ivan made an attack that splintered the 11-man group. I was feeling good and moved in to about 7th, but the leaders were nowhere in sight. I skied the third lap with Chazz and got the word that we were catching Robin. It was shortly after this I started to feel a bit empty. Chazz took off, and I wasn't keen on skiing the last lap at a walking pace.
Brian and Gord caught me going through the stadium, and I gained some reassurance in the fact that I could stay with them, although I knew the pace was awfully slow. Eventually they left me, and shortly after Chris went "flying" by. At that point it was just a matter of keeping everything moving. In the last couple of k's Werner and Riku passed. There was nothing I could do at that point. A decent result of 13th place, but dissapointing to ski almost 15k bordering on bonking.
Wednesday, March 17, 2004
I had a lot of guys starting not too far behind me, but my mindset was to only look forward. I figured I would go out and catch Brian and Graham fairly quickly. My start seemed fast, the level of exertion was high but I wasn't closing. In fact, Timo caught me. As we got into the bulk of the climbs I started to go backwards. My skis were noticeably slower than most. I basically blew up, and got passed by a lot of skiers. When a huge pack went by on the gradual downhills back to the stadium, I decided I could stay on it. As we started into the climbs again, I started to feel better and tried to move up the group. It was quite difficult as nobody gave me any room. Eventually I got to the front and shattered the group in the climbs. Heading to the finish, I could see Casey not too far ahead, but a bunch of the skiers I had left behind closed up again on the gradual downhills. I was 2nd in a big bunch sprint, despite a well timed slingshot move. The skis were just that bad. I ended up in 18th with a miserable 26th best skate time.
Tuesday, March 16, 2004
I was ready to go for this one. Start was pretty good, quick but controlled, although I was trying in and out of the track for better glide. Drew caught me for 15 sec just after 1k, I skied behind him for a bit, but was lacking a bit of horse power, expecially over the top of climbs. Devon (45 sec) flew by me in the stadium with a sling shot as we lapped for the second loop (2.5k). I never got on the eventual race winner, and in fact lost a lot of time in a very short distance. A bit dissapointing, I wanted to be within 1 minute of the lead. 13th place, I can definitely classic better.
Monday, March 08, 2004
Tough race, that we used for training. There was lots of fresh snow in the track. I had trouble staying in the train since my skis were slow. Joel led for the whole first 10k. When we took a feed Gerhardt attacked and was gone. It didn't matter what I did, his skis were way faster and I couldn't catch back up. Lost over a minute, but got a small gap on Joel. Second place, but mostly just a good workout.
Monday, March 01, 2004
It's always great to do the cookie race. I have done it many times, and I really enjoy the trails in Peter Lougheed Provincial Park. Best of all, you get as many home baked cookies as you can stuff yourself with. After a 24k race, this can be quite a few, although I also tried all the different soups. The race itself started fairly well for me, my skis felt great and was staying in the pack fairly comfortably. There was quite a bit of traffic from earlier waves to weave through, but I let the others be my battering ram. At one point I had to go up the middle between the two tracks. Thanks other racers, for your understanding. After 3.3k, the course turns and the conditions changed from soft tracks with fresh dry snow to wet, glazy hard tracks. By about 5k I had to resign to the fact that my skis were not fast enough for me to stay in the lead group. I had used a lot of energy, and even going just about all out, I was losing time on all the gliding sections. Eventually I got passed by Cyrus and Brent, the latter having really fast skis. He passed me in a tuck while I was double poling. Packers was tough since it was not groomed, and I had no snap left. The last 6.6k was back on the groomed part, which was brutal for me as my skis just kept getting slower as the snow warmed up. I tried everything I could: changing tracks, outside the tracks, slow tempo, fast tempo. Despite this more guys easily passed me. My time was slower than 2 years ago when it was much colder, and presumably slower. Oh well, it was a tough resistance workout.