The Boulder Mountain Tour is a great event for first time racers. It is well
organized, always has good ski conditions and the course is well prepped. It
also serves as a good motivational annual event for many skiers. For many
skiers its also a good break from races with harder courses.
The conditions were warm, with mostly moist and transformed snow. The overnight
temperature was about 32F and at start time it was around 35F. There was a slight
drizzle of snow/rain during the race. A record 1016 skiers started the race.
Team TorbjornSport members did very well at the 2003 Boulder Mountain Tour.
We waxed up 4th place overall John Aalberg’s skis with Fluor powder heated
in and then heated in PowerJet 1 on top of that. Most Team TBS members, including
myself did the same or something very similar.
John was 1 second from winning. Well, let’s make the story a little better:
John has hardly raced the last 3 years – he spent the time designing and
organizing the venue and competitions for the Nordic events at the 2002 Olympics.
During the race, around the 12K point someone stepped on John’s pole and
the handle came off. A short while later he got one (short) replacement pole,
and skied up to the lead group. However, 1 km later his other pole broke. From
that point he skied the next 7K trying to stay with lead pack with one pole.
He finally got a second pole, and barely caught the lead pack again before the
setup for the final sprint started. With a short and a long pole he was still
sprinting to win and was very close – not bad for a 42 year old! I think
we can safely say wax and smart training worked very well.
Last year’s American Birkie winner Jeannie Wall was 6th overall woman.
The important thing for Jeannie was to be able to ski with the pack until the
final sprint, which she did. Sprinting downhill is not her strength but that
bodes well for Jeannie in the upcoming longer marathons.
My own race
Last year’s Boulder Mountain Tour was the low point of my racing that
year and I hope that this year’s race represents the same. In the month
following last year’s Boulder Tour I actually went on to win all five
races at the US Master National Championships. I didn’t feel bad neither
last year nor this year, but the results were disappointing when comparing to
skiers I’m normally competitive with. Last year I was 24th overall and
2nd in my age group and this year I was 41st and 4th in my age group.
The Boulder Tour race course drops 1000 feet from start to finish. There are
no hard uphills in this race. It’s a fun downhill tour! Finding a good
group to ski with is important, since racing this way is much like drafting
when bicycling in a pack. If you loose the draft, your group is gone, and you
quickly loose lots of time.
My training strategy is to go from conservative to very hard. This race resembles
almost the opposite: start as hard as you can – draft – then sprint
in the end.
Well, I lost contact early with the group that ended up 8-13th but was skiing
in the lead pack of the group chasing the 18th – 23rd place group. This
group was about 15 skiers deep. With less than 10K to go we caught them and
I was all excited and looking forward to the sprint – well until I decided to
check out how hard the snow was – with my head. Over a little bump I put
my pole on the inside of my ski and went down hard – head first, and yes,
the snow was hard. I got up and saw that the tail end of the group now was 30
The race was over. Too bad, but that’s racing; one day peanut –
the next day peanut shell.
From there on in my friend Erik Stange and I skied together and chatted away
skiing level 2 – forgetting that we should try to beat the top women which we
There are good things by not reaching your goal in a race. You become more appreciative
when you reach your goal the next time around. Next up for me is to get back
into training, and get ready for the 6 – 10 races remaining this season.
Maybe I just need a bad race to get serious, train a little harder or smarter
and eat a little healthier. The good thing about standing on the starting line
one or two weeks from now is that every race is different and represents a new
chance to reach your goal for the season.
Some of the upcoming great events include the Moose Chase in Jackson Hole, Wyoming,
The Great Race in Truckee, California, The West Yellowstone Rendezvous, and
The Gold Rush at Royal Gorge, California.
Torbjorn Karlsen, Proud member of Team TorbjornSport