Saturday, February 13, 2010

Close to the Coast Race Report

My first Nordic freestyle ski race went about as well as expected. I came in third to last! I'm of course okay with that. I'm really amused at the contrast between my running and skate skiing ability. Not that I think I'm all big and bad at running, but the difference is still very humbling. It goes to show how much technique is involved with the sport. I'm still new and have a lot to learn, but that's seriously what's fun about it.

Okay, the race... it was at Pineland Farms and was 10.6 kilometers long, featuring a 5.3 kilometer loop that was done twice. The race would start in intervals, meaning skiers started one at a time and 10 seconds apart.

The conditions were surprisingly awesome. They had to truck in snow from other parts to cover bare patches and did a great job in getting everything in order (we've been in a snow drought, and a warm rain several weeks ago obliterated our snow pack). I had anticipated a lot of ice, but there really wasn't any. Conditions were simply fantastic.

My friend Jeff was the RD and some other runner friends Val, Rick and Kevin were also volunteering. Dr. Jamie and Floyd (another Trail Monster runner) were also competing. It was nice to see so many familiar faces.

My attitude was lax. I know I'm not fast, so I didn't feel any pressure there. I just wanted to be sure I stayed out of the fast folks' way, and not finish the race last. Missions accomplished.

So, it came to my turn at the starting line and I was off. Lots of fast skiers had started behind me, so this meant one of them zooming past me every 10 seconds, give or take. I was very mindful to stay out of their way, and admired their technique and ability to fly that fast with confidence.

About a third of the way into the first loop the faster folks had all passed me and I had some breathing room. Then, as I got closer to the end of the loop, the front of the pack was lapping me and heading in to finish. Man, those dudes (and dudettes) can book it!

Ah, the second and final loop. Now I could really relax as there were no real worries about anyone coming up behind me. As a result, I did this loop a few minutes faster. I never was really pushing my pace, but was still trying to keep things moving at an okay lick and it was still a lot of work. Eventually got to the finish line and was done.

Very fun race and I'm grateful for the experience. It really was a nice reminder of how much I have to learn and improve on, and I'm looking forward to the challenge. Just got to practice more and keep at it. Can only really move up from here.

Skate skied 10.3 kilometers @ 12.51 kph/avg.
Total time: 50:54
Overall place: 63rd out of 66th.
Fast trails, packed and well groomed.
Moderately hilly.
Mid to upper 30s, sunny.
Long pants, long sleeved shirt, sleeveless shirt, beanie, gloves.


Sparkplug said...

Nice job Jamie! I'm impressed you went out and raced a 10k skate race for your first ski race!

Thomas said...

You had fun, which is far and away the most important thing. But I think your future is in running,

pathfinder said...

Great job Jamie.....I gained a lot of respect for this sport as I watched the difficulty, these racers required a lot of technique to do well. You sure didn't look like you were a rookie..

Jamie said...

Thanks Danielle! The distance was relatively easy, but I just can't go fast.

Thomas, agreed! However, I'll keep trying. It'd be nice to be at least be a mid-packer.

Kevin - you should give it a shot sometime. I bet you'd love it.