by Allan Lindsley
I led off for CyclovaXC in the M3 41-45 age class with tough morning conditions on a two lap (15Km per lap). The snow conditions were something that we do not see often in our midwest skiing. The combination of 2 inches of new fine snow and windchills at -25 F with the temp at 0 F at starting led to tough waxing conditions for both Dave and I. Although the humidity was 75%, the snow was very wind blown and dry. Toko was holding the line on high flural combinations but after glide testing our skis we decided that this combination vs straight cold wax was little to no difference. These conditions really came down the finest grind and the softest ski you could find in your ski bag. Leaving the Madshus at home, I used the new Salomon skis which ended up being a bad choice for the climbs. At 1000 ft per lap of climbing the snow on the uphills really broke down and it became tough to pull the skis together after the first lap. I can see why people drop out in conditions like those today, the only place I felt it was fast was in the old track. I just ended up grinding it out while hoping not to free off too many appendages. I remember thinking that this is great Birkie training. I finished toward the back of the pack very humbled and tired.
Dave Landgraf raced the M7 61-65 age class with close to 70 skiers. Dave was able to really push himself on the single lap race. There probably isn't a harder 15 Km race out there due to the amount of climbing you do in the first 11 Km without getting a chance to recover completely. Watching the race, I quickly realized that the best gliding skis would win the race seeing the racers finish the last 1.5 Km coming back down the mountain into the stadium. Holding the main group for several Km there was some separation on one of the larger climbs at 7 Km where Dave was forced to settle in and try to maintain contact in the second group. Dave finsihed within 1 minute of the leaders finishing in 8th place. If he had been able to nail the waxing he would have been battling it out for a medal. At this level of racing the smallest advantage makes a huge difference. I really believe the locals have the biggest advantage in understanding the little subtle differences in what makes a ski run in this cold snow blown weather. I think everyone believes that every condition could use some level of flural. If we learned one thing from all of this, it seemed the most successful races ran low or no flurals with a cold powder or similar product for the final layer. Interesting enough Dave settled on his 13 year old atomics with an old wax job for the race. Nothing we seemed to do made the skis run fast.
Side note: As I was sitting in the local cafe today I noticed a pair of Fisher carbon lite skis against the wall. I noticed they had a hole in the shovel of the ski that had been machined out to help the skis be a better climbing ski. I have a couple pairs exactly like this but can not get them to climb. I found out the owner was an older Norwegian man that had not only won the 30Km skate on them but also the 10Km skate with the same skis. I asked him the best I could through our language and lots of hand signing how the skis climbed. He said they were great. [Editor's note: I would have loved to see Allan communicate with this guy using "crude hand signals..." he probably thought Allan was asking to come over and meet his daughter] I noticed after looking down his ski he had a fine structure rolled into the ski. I asked him how he waxed the skis and he said green vaughti and then Swedish SkiGo 380 powder and and then he put structure on top of that!!?? with a Swix 025 riller. I would have never believed the skis would run but the proof was in the golds they had been putting around his neck for the past two days.