I'm getting behind things because the MASSIVE SALE at CyclovaXC has been keeping me occupied, but I wanted to take a few seconds to talk about last weekend at Badger State Games.
First of all, I want to say that I was super-satisfied and extremely impressed by the race that they put on at Badger State games. In a year where snow has been scarce, they had a tremendous course at 9 mile forest that held up amazingly well. It was the first time in a long while that I finished 42 km in under 3 hours, and the super-humans that are always in contention like our own Tommy K, were right around the 2 hour mark (doing that distance in around 2 hours is a blast).
The only slight hiccup was that those of us doing the 42 k (which turned out to be more like 44 or 45) had to do THREE laps instead of just two, and that confused a good deal of the competitors.
The course at Badger State isn't terribly hilly, but the difficulty comes from a mental standpoint in that you end up having to go through the finish area 3 times (in a normal 2 lap year) before you finally get to finish. Let me tell you, it's TOUGH to keep coming through the finish area, especially when you're sitting at 35 k of your eventual 42.
Due to the lack of snow, we ended up having to do two 18 k laps followed by one 7 k laps which required us to come through the finish area 6 TIMES (finishing on the 6th)!
Now, there were plenty of posters all over the place telling people to do 3 laps, and I even went around and told all they CyclovaXC people I saw to do 3 laps, but even with that, I started getting confused at the end of my 2nd lap. You see...it seemed like I'd done about 42 k and I didn't see any signs saying "LAP 3 HERE!" To make matters worse, as I approached the finish area, I saw a guy who appeared to be a race official saying, "lap 2 to the right, finish to the left." I replied, "lap 3?" And he just said, "lap 2 to the right, finish to the left."
I was within about 50 feet of the finish line when I saw the "lap 3" this way sign, so I begrudgingly took it. It was pretty mentally tough to get that close to the end, see the opportunity to just sit down and relax, and force yourself back out on the course...but I did it. Still, I don't really blame those who just ignored the lap 3 signs (of which I'm sure there were a few) or those who got legitimately confused (of which I'm sure there were plenty).
The fact is, you just aren't thinking straight at the end of such an extreme physical effort.
But I don't believe that anyone should be all that angry about things. I've been getting a bunch of very apologetic emails from the staff at Badger State Games as they try to sort through the official finish list (attempting to figure out who did 2 laps and who did 3). I'm just happy that they had a race out there. They really overcame a lot with this no snow winter, and I'm very grateful to them for holding a tremendous event on a wonderful day and giving us all the opportunity to get our much needed ks in!
So thanks Badger State! Don't worry about the confusion, we'll get 'em next year!