Friday, November 23, 2007
The speed is there. Unfortunately, so is the spazz.
Cooooold this morning. Frosty breath on my jacket, well under zero at 8:30 when I showed up to pick up my bib. I like to give my lungs at least 45 minutes to get used to this sort of abuse when its this cold, run through all the paces, so a nice long warmup was in order. Rob showed up with my skis (yes, I had Toko wax for me), and they were faster than LF6, which is what I'd been skiing around on. Hard to have fast skis on snow this squeaky. The sun finally came up over the trees, making the air more bearable. I started fourth from last, behind some J2s from Craftsbury. Not a bad place to start from, as my skis were faster on snow that had been skied over.
The beeping starts, and I jump out. Smooth like a ninja, that was the goal. Second pole plant and my right pole strap un-velcroes itself. I managed to not let go of the pole, and tried to get into the downhill fast enough to have momentum to put the strap back on. Got it on, concentrating on not freaking out. At the bottom of the hill I realized I had to start my V2 a lot sooner than I had in my warmup- not a good sign. I caught up to the first Craftsbury girl on the short steep uphill, and she blocked me admirably. I almost had to ski over her before she'd move, but it still feels good to pass someone by 15 seconds in a 2 minute race. Slight downhill, I tucked here even though I probably should have used some V2-alt. Hit the uphill, which had been V2able yesterday, today it was a solid V1, but I'd watched Laura Valaas do that so clearly it was ok. Crested the steeper part and switched to a strong V2, remembering to compress and use my legs and all that. The burn had started, it wasn't pleasant, but its a sprint, so its supposed to hurt. Flattened out into the finish, had to fight to stay V2, still driving, always driving, passed the other Craftsbury girl before the finish lanes. Threw my foot in a halfhearted manner, and had to lie on the snow to catch my breath. Burning lungs, but its supposed to be that way--sprint race in the cold.
Bad luck with the pole strap, I have no idea how to determine how much time I lost by not being able to push the downhill, but I was only out of the heats by about 6 seconds (I'll know for sure what the time was when they publish the results). Still a solid result, not what I'd hoped for, but that is sprint racing. I knew going into this that to make the heats it would have to flow perfectly, and it was far from it. The speed is there, no doubt, but the spazz is still overpowering it.
Thanks Freddy B for the pictures.