US XC Nationals Field Reports
Classic Individual 10/15 km Distance-
Glide- Both men and women were waxed the same despite a 2 hour time difference. Because of the cold abrasive snow, an extremely hard under layer was necessary. I went with a LF blue layer but a hard graphite would have worked too. After that I waxed the skis with HF blue the night before. We tested powders the morning of the race and no surprise, Jetstream blue was best, we stuck with that all day. I did not test or apply topcoats as I felt my time was better served testing and nailing the kick wax.
Kick- I felt the grip wax was pretty easy but was worried about durability. I tested 4 different binder/klister combinations. The best ratio of kick to speed ended up being just straight green binder. I felt adding any klister to the binder (whether hard or soft) slowed it down. I always like when the wax combinations prove to be simple. Kick for the women ended up being 3 layers of blue (I wanted to get a harder “base”) followed by 2 layers of red. Some women chose to have a cover of one blue layer for speed and others wanted the extra kick opting for straight red hardwax. All of the men went on straight red hardwax. I did not give them the blue cushion between the binder. Because red is softer, I was worried that the wax would start to “run” and smear off but, at the end of the race, everyone’s skis looked as if they’d just been waxed. The red hardwax proved very durable given its warmer temperature range.
Men- I went with “safe” waxes for the men considering 30km is a long way to ski. Again I used a hard LF blue layer under everything. This was followed by a HF blue/red mix. After that was Jetstream blue powder which had been good every morning. I knew it was supposed to warm up a ton during the men’s race but, I felt a colder powder was still the right call. I finished the skis off with red block corked in. The men’s skis were excellent for the first half of the race and then the sun began to cause the track to glaze. Some of our men’s skis slowed down and some stayed good. I suspect this was more of a function of structure (or lack there of) but, if I had to do it again I would opt for a Jetstream blue/red mix. It warmed up faster than I thought.
Qualifying glide- I was very glad the race was not the previous days because with mid 20’s weather and new snow, I could not find a single wax that did not ice. Even zeros either had no kick or iced. Race day proved much different. I waxed both men and women with a mix of HF blue and AX 134. This is a great Toko combination allowing for more fluorine and I had been waiting for it to show through in testing. Over that I put red powder and again, did not test top coats instead opting to focus on kick wax.
Qualifying kick- Very tricky. Anything that kicked well was too slow. Anything that was fast did not kick well. It was a perfect day for technically proficient classic skiers. Red hardwax kicked very well but was slow. I laid down 6 layers of it to build an excellent cushion and then covered it with one layer of blue hardwax for speed. I definitely errored on the side of having kick which was good on the uphill but, hurt us a little once they got back to the stadium finish where no one had skied. We still finished the morning with 4 qualifiers in the top 11.
Finals- By the time the rounds started in the afternoon, the tracks had completely glazed. I added red block over the top of the glide areas then spent my time on kick. Yellow hardwax kicked very well in the tracks but was too slow in the non tracked sections. I covered the yellow with a layer of red hardwax. This was borderline too slippery for some but, I felt it was worth it considering the course ended on a long downhill and double pole section. Everyone felt the same and we finished a successful week with 3 skiers in the top 12.
Gus Kaeding, Head Coach
Note: Congratulations to Stratton T2 skiers Skyler, Annie, and Ben for qualifying for U23 Worlds and to Erika for qualifying for the OPA Cup Finals!
Once again we ran on Toko HF Blue with AX134 mixed 50/50 for our paraffin layer. On top of that we found Toko JS hello block covered with Yellow Helix to be super fast compared to all other liquids.
Kick was a real challenge and we tried just about the whole wax box (every brand) to find something that would give adequate kick with our icing. Toko yellow was our final race wax in the heats and it worked well from the 1/4s through the final. The athletes were very happy with out even without the red cover that had been recommended.
Note: if you are interested in the conditions for the races, look at the eBlasts that were sent out and that described the respective conditions. You can find them here.
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