At the recent Rumford Eastern Cup I teased Kris Freeman by asking who waxed his skis for the race. He replied “I did! And I could barely remember how to do it”. At the Craftsbury Marathon I was chatting with his dad, Donovan, and he told me that Kris’s goal was to never wax his own skis and that he didn’t even want to know what waxed was used. At the time I took this as just a funny quirk, but soon I was to discover that Kris had figured out a very wise and useful strategy for elite racing.
For the Craftsbury Marathon I came up with a good kick wax tip: Green klister binder put on very thin and then covered while warm with Mint stick wax. The klister binder would be best at keeping the wax on the ski in the very cold and abrasive conditions. The Mint gave plenty of kick in the cold, dry powder that was mixed in with the icy snow. Friends who used my suggestion liked it and reported good skis for the whole race.
What happened to me? When it came time to wax my own skis I decayed into irrational thinking. I got nervous that I wouldn’t have enough kick (despite my good tests) so I put the green klister on thick to act as a cushion. But, the green klister is a binder and does not work well as a cushion. If I had wanted a cushion then I should have used Viola klister. Then, since I had the Green on thick, I cooled it outside, corked it smooth, and then covered it with Mint. Probably that meant that the Mint didn’t bind perfectly to the Green klister. During the race I had both drag and poor kick in the striding sections. If I had followed my own advice I would have had a really good race. Instead, my anxiety took over my reason and I did things that made no sense whatsoever. Now I realize what Kris Freeman is doing. He is taking wax thoughts out of his head. He just trusts his waxers to respond to his need for more or less kick. But, he never gets his own mind caught in a maelstrom of
irrational thought. Instead he can focus on racing well. So, from now on I’m going to do what I’ve been telling others to do: just follow the tip!