A short turn around between my last race report and this one. Elm Creek hosts a set of 5 km time trials all winter long on Wednesday nights. This year, due to the holidays, two of them have been shifted to Tuesday night. Last week was one, this week is the other.
Plea For Participation
Before I talk about last week’s race, I’d like to encourage you to do this week’s race. Tuesday, December 30th, 7:00 pm, Elm Creek (due to my tardiness in posting this, tomorrow). Normally these races are an individual time trial. This coming week, Fulton Brewery is hosting a team event. The race goes off as usual, but finishers score points for their team. It sounds like there will be some minor prizes. More importantly however, there will be beer. Beer I say. And cool CyclovaXC people. And skiing. You can’t ask for much more than that.
Specifically I’d like to make a shout out for the ladies to participate. The “rules” state that a team MUST consist of 3 people and both genders. I’m not sure what happens if we fall short on having ladies participate if we only get points for two gentlemen (term used loosely) or if we don’t score. In any case, it is definitely the more the merrier.
These races are really low key and are a great way to try your hand at racing if you haven’t before. If you can get yourself around Elm Creek twice, you can definitely participate.
Again, you race, just like any other mass start individual race, but depending on your finishing place, you score points for the team.
OK, back to the exciting part. Tuesday night happened to be a good night for me to be at Elm Creek, and despite the pain, I like racing. If we begin with the excuses, despite not doing anything aerobic on Monday I was carrying fatigue into this race. I skied 3 or 4 laps of Elm Creek over the weekend (note, estimate may be off by an order of magnitude, ok, definitely off by an order of magnitude) including the 10k race and then I shortchanged myself on sleep Monday night trying to finish a Christmas present. Yeah, those are my excuses and I’m sticking to them… until next time when I need something new!
Planning on doing both the skate and classic races and knowing that there would be hardly anytime between the conclusion of the skate race and the start of the classic I started my warm-up by checking the kick on my classic skis. One easy lap checking out the kick of my Swix Universal Klister in the soft slushy stuff showed that it would be sufficient.
I switched gear back to skate and did another lap or two with Frank and former Forest Lake teammate Andrew Elvester.
At race time about 25 of us lined up near the parking lot and we were off. I started on the front line and quickly found myself being passed by the crowd. Having already gone out too hard once this year on Saturday I figured it would be best to just ski my own race and let the chips fall where they may. Partway through the fist lap a young lady in a Michigan Tech suit gracefully passed me. When I ski hard my technique goes to crap and I feel like I’m just floundering in the snow. I tried to mimic her smooth style and it helped somewhat, but she still skied away from me.
Frank took off like a rocket, but somewhere around the start of the second lap it looked like he was coming back to me. I got within a few meters of him at one point, but then he apparently recovered and pulled away again.
I managed to charge hard for the line and just nip one guy at the line. Not my best race, but a nice solid VO2max effort for a Tuesday evening.
Now I signed up for both races, and since the skate race started 5 minutes late and took 15 minutes, I had about 10 to run to the parking lot, change boots, grab my classic skis and get back to the snow. My hands were still shaking as I tried to switch boots. As I got back to the snow they were announcing that as soon as they had all five participants for the classic race it would start. Oh great, all five of us.
The second race I started on the front line again. There were only five of us, so it would have looked silly otherwise. Two college guys I think, a college gal, and one other gal, plus me. With the long gradual downhill start it was all double poling. We all shot to the track, and then hopped out of the track on the off trail side which had the best glide having not been mashed to heck. The two college kids flew away from me. At the bottom of the first lap the young woman passed me as well. Thankfully for me, her skis appeared to be slick and I was able to kick better and was able to open a gap and from there soloed my way into a solid 3rd place finish (only five of us remember).
I skied around for a while after the race as well. I was pretty spent after two hard 5k efforts. It was definitely a solid high effort workout with low expectations/anxiety and a chance to rub elbows in a race setting without it being anything more meaningful than an $8 weeknight race.
I would encourage folks to look into these if you are looking for an excuse and some extra motivation to get a hard workout in.