Marine O’Brien Race Report

Eeks, with plans to race the 20km Baker Shaker at Elm Creek tomorrow, I better get this report out before I’m another race behind.

Marine O’Brien Race 20km Skate


With the crummy snow conditions and the race the day before, I was having trouble getting my head in the game for this one.  I had my now A/B skis waxed up (used to be my A/race skis until I messed them up and Frank and Duane did their best with them, but that is a post for a different day) and my rock skis with.

After bib pick-up and saying hi to Jeff Wolf and Ben Jonjak, I headed out for a warm-up around the swamp on my rock skis.  I wanted to see the trail conditions for my self.  They were sketchy.  Mostly covered, but you could see a root or two and the trail was very rough without enough snow cover to smooth it out.

I missed one of the team pictures while I was out on my warm-up.

Really not wanting to race on my rock skis which ski about as well as a 2×4, I decided it was good enough for my A/B skis and stopped at the car to grab them, drop my warm-ups at the trail center, and make one last rest stop before heading to the start area.


Still without my head in the game, instead of lining up behind Tommy, I picked a spot in about the third row.  I know this is a terrible idea as this race immediately necks down to one skater wide.

Off the start I quickly found myself behind Ben when we narrowed down.  No offense to Ben, but that probably isn’t where I should be at that point.  I proceeded to double pole through about 750m.  I succesfully avoided when Mike Phrenetten went down.

Somewhere around 1km I actually started to skate occasionally.  I managed to get in behind a guy in a Fast Wax suit and let him pull us through the field.  Without killing it, we were making decent progress moving up one to two people at a time.

Somewhere around the Rolling Hills Savanna trail I was getting good glide and was making a pass through the bottom of a hill.  The Fast Wax guy said I had fast skis and I was replying that I did when I mashed a root with my right ski.  Whoops.  Sorry Frank and Duane, but these are definitely my B skis now.

I took my turn pulling at that point.  Traffic was getting pretty light now so I just focused on skiing as smooth and efficiently as I could over the rough terrain and going hard, but not too hard.

Taking my turn at the front on the Wedge Hill Savanna trail near the end of the first lap.  Photo Credit Skinny Ski

I’m not a huge fan of two lap races.  I usually hit the first lap and think oh god, why did I sign up to do the long race.

Why oh why did I decide to race the long race?

My head was actually starting to get into race mode though so I kept chugging.  I felt pretty good about my level of effort for most of the race.  Good and solid, but without nearing the blow-up point.  This let me keep my technique together and I was able to hit the finish strong.  I also made a good point of keeping my eyes forward and not worrying about who was behind.  Keep the mindset positive about who you might catch, not in the negative head space of who is going to catch you.

Driving for the line.


Originally I wasn’t going to even crunch these numbers since my head wasn’t in it.  I did anyway though and the results weren’t nearly as “bad” as I thought.  They actually still show year over year improvement.  So I’ll call that a definite win for a double race weekend and not having my head in the game.

Having a laugh at Mike’s expense reliving his high traffic crash.

This race was definitely made more significant by hanging with teammates and friends though.  Anyone showing up in green at a race is alright in my books.

I’m not sure who decided this was our gang sign… we look pretty BA though.

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