Monday, February 8, 2010

Last couple days of the Sierra Ski-o

The Sierra Ski-o festival wrapped up with two days of more technical orienteering - Saturday was at Auburn Ski Club, which has lots of trail junctions over a pretty small area, and Sunday was at Tahoe XC, down by the lake, and Greg and Ken did the extra small-trail-grooming for that one, so it involved a little more thinking than the other days. It was snowing all day for Saturday's race, with maybe four inches of freshies on the tracks. This, combined with the fifth day at altitude, made for a very tough race for me. I felt like I was just slogging along, barely moving, and placed a little further down the results than usual, getting beaten by Randy, Scott, Donatas, Raffael, Greg, and Smokey, my friend from Colby who I roped into coming to a ski-o =).

I made Greg take a picture of me starting, because I knew I wouldn't take any pictures otherwise. You can see how deep the snow is even where everyone has skied over it. It was a long slog of a day. I decided to fly the club colors that day, representing for CSU! (which happens to be my orienteering club, as well as skiing).

The interesting part was a downhill cut, that, while possible to ski around on trails, was really set up to make people ski straight down the side of a mountain on skinny skis in deep Sierra cement. During the race, it wasn't all that much fun, but later on, I went to pick up controls and picked up the ones out there in the field, and things were a lot more fun when I felt like I had the leisure time to take some turns down the hill. Still not metal edges, but it was fun.

I felt pretty trashed that night, but I rallied, put jetstream on my skis, and got myself to the start line on Sunday. It was a beautiful day, at least forty degrees and bright and sunny, which meant that my wet snow based Peltonens were rocking fast. The fluoros wore off around control 13, which got me most of the way around the course, but it was shocking how much slower my skis got once they no longer had pure fluoros on them.

The course was super fun, with lots of decisions to be made on the fly, constantly thinking and constantly in contact with my map - no more of these long slogs up a hill with no thinking required. Now THIS is how ski-o should be! I had an almost-perfect run, making a 15 second error when I almost missed a junction because I was reading too far ahead from 8-9. The narrow trails were really well packed, and I definitely chose some routes to stay on narrow trails just because it was fun. In the end, I was second, about a minute and a half behind Donatas, and beating the rest of the boys (although to their credit, Greg and Ken were not racing Sunday, since they set the courses). This was a good enough result to put me into fifth place overall on the men's course, which was a nice little ego boost.

Pretty much everyone rushed out of there afterwards, trying to catch planes and avoid the ski mountain traffic, so I went out with Greg afterwards to collect the controls. The one at the top of the mountain sure hurt going up a second time, but the view was worth it, and I remembered my camera. Hopefully, the idea of grooming some narrow trails to add intricacy to the map catches on, it seemed that some of the other course setters from earlier in the week really liked the course today.

Some of the trails were narrow.

Some were wide.

Control pickup.

Maps are coming. I'm currently in the Reno airport, and while they do have free wireless, they don't seem to have free scanners...


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