XCFeedsRossland NorAm – A Recap

FasterSkier FasterSkierDecember 19, 2010

After much waiting and base training, it was time last weekend to pack the race boards and put things to the first test of the year. Rossland, British Columbia was the site last weekend of a North American Cup race, and a notable one at that. The skate sprint was to serve as World Championship Team trials for the Canadians, so the field would be top-heavy and points superb. MOD made a wise purchase this year of the Pacific Northwest Division’s old Madshus test skis, which along with two new pairs of matched Rossignols compiled a tidy fleet for wax and structure testing. On today’s circuit with its ever-increasing professionalism, wax and ski speed is a necessity few skiers can do without; having a good test fleet and diverse wax box is a boon to the competitive racer.br /br /SO, I checked the (correct?) forecast for Rossland snow and set to waxing 10 separate skis with 10 different glide waxes for testing when I arrived. I had arranged to stay with my friends on the XC Oregon racing team. These guys are true racers: they travel as a group and support each other at races, waxing and prepping skis, cooking and sharing lodgings, and driving between venues. It was great to mix in with them and have the ability to offer our test fleet and some elbow grease to get all our skis faster for the weekend’s races.br /br /The drive up was relatively uneventful; the border patrol lady was polite to point out I had taken a wrong turn and was facing a much slower route to my destination, and was also of suitable Christmas cheer that she didn’t chastise (or detain) me for the banana peels on my passenger seat. Bless you, Canadian customs officer. Now facing a longer finish to my drive, I upped the boomboom on my subwoofer and cranked the Tool blasting out my speakers. Then I nearly went off the road on the way-too-sweetly-named Strawberry Pass, where the roads were slicker than Torin Koos at a fancy dress ball. But I arrived unscathed, and after a half hour of fruitless searching through condominiums, found my compatriots just settling into a delicious soup and rice dinner.br /br /The weather. Apparently I was reading the forecast for the TOP of Red Mountain Resort, NOT the bottom, where the race venue lay. This of course meant a difference of almost 10 degrees in air temp, so Brayton and I set to re-applying glide waxes to our test fleet. On Thursday morning we spend an hour or so running the different skis underfoot through the sprint course, a twisty-turny fast little mother, one I was sure to enjoy the next morning. We picked our wax of choice and headed for home and lunch. I was feeling some nerves for the upcoming sprint; I hadn’t put myself through a true race trial in months (with the exception of my solo-run on the C2 a few weeks back), and with all the big guns at this race I wanted to make a decent showing. Waking up on Friday morning I felt a bit mixed; I knew I had the root speed to compete well but I was unsure as to how honed (if at all) my top-end speed was. Bah, I said; bring on the bacon.br /br /The tracks had hardened up nicely the night before, turning 2″ deep sugar into fast firm corduroy. A power-sprinter’s course. My confidence went up a notch. I warmed up well and arrived at the start. Rob Whitney, a good friend from way back at Nat Brown’s summer training camps, former champion skier and now photographer of the circuit, snapped some great shots of me during the race (see below).br /br /a onblur=”try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}” href=”http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_Mg2hQbkHkNs/TQ7asbPHp8I/AAAAAAAAAhw/7fCi48FcuLA/s1600/Rossland10-sprint.jpg”img style=”display: block; margin: 0px auto 10px; text-align: center; cursor: pointer; width: 320px; height: 213px;” src=”http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_Mg2hQbkHkNs/TQ7asbPHp8I/AAAAAAAAAhw/7fCi48FcuLA/s320/Rossland10-sprint.jpg” alt=”” id=”BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5552615847354673090″ border=”0″ //abr /The business: in the sprint I felt pretty good, though by halfway through the prelim I knew I wouldn’t be able to shift into my 5th gear. I felt strong, fit and capable, but the maximal speed and power wasn’t there yet. I fought hard to the finish and turned in a respectable (for the quality of the field) 20th. My quarterfinal which lay ahead of me turned out to be a strong one, and I took the opportunity to again test my gears. When Stefan (Kuhn; eventual race winner) made his break, I couldn’t match, and fell into 5th, then 6th place. I stayed on the pack through the finish but wouldn’t advance. Encouragingly though, I didn’t have terrible fatigue, and was able to ski a good cool-down and later get a half-hour run in that evening. More waxing, then on to Saturday’s 10K skate.br /br /Scott’s advice and my plan for Saturday’s distance race was to take it more as a workout than anything else. Especially after the revelations from the sprint, where I recognized my race speed was not yet present, we felt the most prudent course to take was to pace the distance race well but not to cook myself; this coming week would be too important for training to risk days off due to fatigue. It was a really good workout/race for me; I was able to push my HRs higher than the day before while still recovering well in transitions, and worked mostly on technique and relaxation/glide. The result sheet was rather dismal but I take more from the qualitative than the quantitative in this instance.br /br /Also great to report, Methow native and former MOD’er Sadie Bjornsen has been TEARING it up on the circuit. She was on the podium last weekend in Silver Star and this weekend she WON the sprint, got 5th in the skate race and 2nd in the classic! Here’s hoping Sadie finds a berth on the World Champs squad.br /br /Returning to the Methow last night my folks, Alison and I all met up to attend the local theater production of “A Christmas Carol” and share a dinner. Then today I got to visit my friends and former campers at the Methow Nordic Clinic at Sun Mtn. With 180km of trails open and Christmas approaching, it’s a great time to visit the Valley.br /br /Merry Christmas!div class=”blogger-post-footer”img width=’1′ height=’1′ src=’https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/tracker/2910103639238326543-321956113878974940?l=methowolympicdevelopment.blogspot.com’ alt=” //div

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