Tuesday, February 10, 2009
With my feet on American soil for a solid 48 hours, I headed north to Stowe, VT, for the Supertour/UVM Carnival/Eastern Cup races. I had missed the Wednesday sprint, since I was still in transit, but the racing continued over the weekend and no matter how jet lagged I might be, I wanted to take part. Anna, Jess and I made up the jaded seniors group, and we showed up to perfect tracks and a sunny sky on Saturday. It was another 5km skate for the women, I am starting to feel like a 5km skate specialist this winter.
I started in the A seed, just behind the college race. Lindsey Dehlin (US Ski Team) started 30 seconds behind me, and I wanted to see how long I could ski with her when she passed me. The course starts with about a kilometer of rolling downhill, then a climb back into the stadium, then some more twisty downhill to 2km. A short climb, a gradual hill to 3km, then a long downhill and some flat to 4km. The last km is mostly uphill, with a very short flattish part between the two major climbs. I knew I wanted to start semi-conservatively, to have something left for the last km of uphill, but I got too excited and hammered out of the start gate and worked that downhill. The first uphill I was slowly reeling in Keely Levins, my 30-second girl, and I passed her near the bottom of the second long twisty downhill. I knew I had another long downhill coming up, so I V2ed as much as I could of the gradual hill, and approaching the 3km mark I could hear people cheering for Lindsey right behind me as I crested the hill.
My skis were fast enough that I was at the edge of control on the next downhill, trying to eek out every possible second of the free speed, and then it was on to some flats where Lindsey finally passed me. Along the flat part, I matched her pace, but then we started to climb and my legs gave me the veto. I tried to keep it quick and light but the burning was too much, and by the last hill where everyone was cheering, I could tell my form was falling apart and my momentum was largely upper-body-driven. Into the finish straight I V2ed as hard as I could, but I was pretty dead, and could tell that my legs weren't as happy as they could have been. I still ended up in 28th, out of 173, which isn't too bad a result, but I wish I hadn't faded so much on the last climb. The positive side of this race was that with actual supertour racers in the mix, it was a 160 point race, which is much better than usual in the East.
Finis. Kris Dobie photo.
Sunday, we woke up to 40 degrees and rain, and by the time we'd gotten up to Trapps it was 38 and snowing. Luckily, one of my pairs of Peltonens are designed specifically to be hairies skis, Jess did a nice writeup on hairies if you want more information. Basically, they're the perfect ski for when it is above freezing and snowing. They aren't zeroes, like what Fischer and Atomic market, because the base material in the kick zone is the same as the rest of the ski, its just roughed up really well with sandpaper. All of the CSU J2s were on either zeroes or hairies, and we took 1st and 3rd in both the boys and girls races. Testing skis, I really liked my hairies, but I was worried that it would stop snowing, because then my skis would stop working. But I ended up racing on the hairies, figuring that I could just get out of the tracks if the track got too slushy. I didn't figure in the number of other people skiing out of the tracks...
This may look like I'm striding but really I'm just running. Kris Dobie photo.
It was a 10km, and within half a kilometer out of the start I was wishing I could drop out, I was that tired. But being a coach makes you think twice about doing something stupid like that, I could never have lived it down, so I reset my sights to "finish the race". As I slogged up the first climb, I realized that the sun had come out and it had stopped snowing. Only 8km left of herringboning and double poling! The upshot was that my skis were wicked fast, since there was no drag. I realized that everyone else on hairies would be in the same situation as myself, so I made a pact with me that I would not give up, that I would keep running no matter how I felt. Still in the A seed, I was getting passed by a lot of people, but I found that my double pole was taking me pretty far up some of the hills, even though my slogging/jogging/herringboning was wicked slow. I finally finished, and despite having a pretty horrible race, I was proud of myself for not giving up. Looking at the race, a lot of people did give up...
Just keep running... Kris Dobie photo.
So, the Eastern supertour has come and gone. It was a really well-run event, and I loved the combined atmosphere of college carnival and eastern cup. I hope that the supertour becomes a mainstay on this coast. But now for a weekend off from racing, this girl is tired...
Happy to be ski racing. Dobie takes awesome pictures.