Monday, February 22, 2010

Cheri Walsh Memorial, Holderness EC finals

A good race on Saturday generally makes Sunday difficult - what are you fighting for now? To add to the feeling of "but I don't wanna race!", Holderness had about a quarter as much snow as Gunstock, and there was some serious debris mixed into what was passing for snow here. I previewed the course with the CSU girls, and we discovered that there was one hill - right out of the start - that went up for an insultingly long time. After that, it basically just rolled around and twisted and turned for another 3.5km, with one minor hill near the end. It would be a race where good skiers, who can accelerate through transitions, would excel. I made sure that all the kids were well aware of the fact that they had to go really hard on the flat parts, because it was so icy and fast that it would be easy to get lulled into a feeling of complacency - my skis are already so fast, why would I work hard to make them go faster? Because everyone else has skis just this fast!

I started third, which was a definite boon - the course was still hard and icy, and had only been skied by 30 J2 boys, so the hill out of the start was in good shape. I'd been hammering into my juniors the importance of not going too hard and blowing up on this hill, but I went and ignored that advice, doing a low-energy jump skate up much of the hill. Near the top I realized that my quads were filled with lactic acid, and my hip flexors were wicked sore from slipping yesterday, to boot. I almost couldn't stand up to get a good tall V2, but I pushed through the pain and got onto the first downhill. Unfortunately, on a fast course with lots of transitions like Holderness, the downhills aren't all that restful, and I had probably a minute or two where I wasn't getting as much out of every corner as I could have.

I got it back together though, and started working that course for all it was worth. Definitely a hard effort, I was wheezing as I came up the little hill near the end of the lap, just gradual enough that I could V2 large parts of it, then drop into a fast V1 to bring the tempo back up, and then it was all just twisting downhills to the end. It was over in 11.5 minutes, so fast. I knew that was a top-ten effort, it was a hard day but I know how to ski a technical course, after all, it was just Weston with a hill. The boys went after the girls, and I got out on course to cheer them on, as the snow slowly deteriorated into mud, I'm very glad I wasn't racing near the end of the guys' race in the sun. I ended up in 2nd, almost 30 seconds behind Corey Stock, but its ok to get beaten by a J2 if you're her coach. I'll take some credit for her massive win.

They named the JO team after the race, and CSU is sending seven kids! I'll be going as a coach, and I can't wait to see them rock it up at Presque Isle.
J2 boys:
Eli Hoenig
Hamish McEwen
J2 girls:
Corey Stock
Cate Brams
J1/OJ boys:
Chris Stock
Jackson Rich
J1/OJ girls:
Hannah Smith


Our tent explosion at Holderness. We're probably the most organized club out there these days, and all the parent volunteers know exactly what to do. Couldn't do it without them, really. The food table rocks, too.

Hannah and Corey rocking out after the race...

The hotel where Jess and I (and our respective boyfriends) stayed last night is worth a mention. The price was right, but it was painted this spectacular bright pink color, and they left the loopy bits up at the top but managed to paint all sloppily over the loopy bits, real good craftsmanship, right there. Jess is pointing out the fact that while there are two paintings on the wall over each bed, they both have the exact same painting in the frame... whoops.

High-class pre-race breakfast! Microwaved oatmeal, eaten with the end of my toothbrush, for lack of a spoon. This was supplemented with the most amazing cinnamon roll ever, which then sat in my stomach like a gut bomb for the next four hours. What do they say about not trying anything new on race mornings?

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