Wednesday was the pursuit time trial that CSU always runs each year at MSA. The course follows trail 11, first classic, then transition to skate. We have a rule that you can't use anything fancier than LF wax, and still my skis were running really fast. It was wonderful. We self-seeded across the stadium, but then we had to squash into three-across rows, and I let myself get pushed way back, behind skiers that I should be way in front of. I didn't feel like fighting for a spot, so just stood there and let myself get pushed further and further back. Not sure why, it really took me out of the running, but I just couldn't be bothered. Whoops.
Off we went, and we hit the first hill in a bunch. I was able to kick up the whole thing, although not in any sort of spectacular manner, and near the top I finally broke through a pack of CSUers and onto the Zoe-Olivia train. After a couple strides there, I knew I was feeling waaaay too comfortable to be racing, so I went around them, but at this point there was a fairly big gap to the Hannah-Cate-Max group. We were near the top of the first hill, so I tried to work the transition-y rollers at the top, but as I already had realized, my double pole is pretty pathetic right now. Not to mention, my elbow was doing its sharp pain thing with every pole. Pain tends to limit how much you want to push on the hurty bits.
Anyway, there were some nice restful downhills, and then a gradual uphill bit that rolled back up to the stadium, and I was closing in on Hannah, who had dropped off the back of that pack. I could see the pack, but the gap was closing really slowly, and I realized then how much I'd handicapped myself in the start.
I came into the stadium and had a good transition to my skate skis, but then found myself caught in between everyone else's skate skis - I couldn't get out of the transition zone! It took some pretty-footing through other people's skis and poles to eventually get back to the trail, I'm not sure if I could have backed out of my spot, but in retrospect, that would have been much smarter than attempting to turn around. We didn't really have a nice transition area set up, just piles of skis and poles on the side of the trail.
Luckily my transition time was fast enough to still close down on the gap to the pack, but I quickly discovered that my cold feet and the skittery snow were causing my left shin to cramp up pretty badly. I tried to focus on relaxing, but skiing uphill isn't exactly conducive to relaxing. The shin wasn't so bad that I couldn't flex at the ankle, yet, so I kept hammering and caught Hannah as we crested the steep climbs. I couldn't force my shin to relax, definitely felt like it was exploding, and it meant I was doing a shit job of balancing on that leg, but that didn't stop me from working the upper rollers to catch Max, just before the downhill.
I caught Jordan on the lower set of rollers, and I was definitely starting to hurt, now. Racing is hard! I still couldn't really balance or use my left leg, but I'd figured out a way around it, more or less, and I finished the race feeling like I'd put in a good effort. I don't know why cold weather makes my shins cramp up, it seems to have something to do with my feet freezing up and then doing stuff that I'm unaware of, that makes my shins hurt. Or its compartment syndrome, coming back, but its so infrequent that I hope its not.
Anyway, today my lower back is so sore I can barely move. I was doing speeds with the kids, and Corey kept wanting to race, and I thought my back was just going to break. Nothing like the first classic race of the season to remind you that racing is hard!