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2013 TC Champs Classic Race Report

Ben Tearing it up, photo courtesy of Skinnyski.com
Hey Folks!
I've got another inspiring race report from Ben Mullin! Love to see our guys out there racing and having a blast!

By Ben Mullin

One of the axioms of racing is to never do something new in a race you have not done in training.  I pretty well disregarded that for the opening classic race of the two day Twin Cities Championship pursuit. Being relatively cheap, I am predominantly skiing on my equipment from highschool.  Being 15 years and 15 pounds removed, my skis are not exactly optimally fit for my current build.  At the start of the season I had planned to purchase a pair of Ben Jonjak’s old classic skis that theoretically fit better.  Unfortunately when we checked them, they were too soft as well.  My back-up plan was to borrow a pair of skis from another friend, but sadly come Thursday he broke them.  Facing the possibility of doing a classic race where I had to kick up AND down the hill, or have no kick at all, I talked myself into a new pair of Madshus Hypersonics at CyclovaXC on Friday night.

So the first time I stepped on those skis on snow, was an hour before the race to check my kick wax.  How about that for trying nothing new on race day?  Yes, it was awesome, seriously.  Even better than racing is that I now have classic skis that fit and I am excited to be able to classic in addition to all of the skating I normally do.

Back to the race.  I was pretty nervous before getting out to test my kick wax.  My kick wax selection is pretty small and I generally have no more intelligence about how to do it beyond reading someone’s recommendation or reading the temperatures on the container.  10km on the hills of Battle Creek is a really long way to go if you miss the wax.  Once I got out there and started kicking around I was thrilled.  A few layers of Swix VR30 corked over the ironed in Toko Binder and I was striding great up the steep climbs on the first half of the course.  Whee, this is fun!

I hung out for a few minutes before the start with fellow CyclovaXCers Tom Krentz and Kevin Rodgers.  The start was a relatively narrow chevron start with about 8 to 10 across and probably 12 rows deep.  I lined up over on the edge about 8 rows back hoping to stay out of any carnage and go easy on all of the climbing in the first 1.5km.  It all worked out well and I did not see any carnage in front of me.  Someone did get a pole snapped about 1km in as a few people transitioned from striding to herringbone.

Unlike last week where I blew up by 2.5km, this week I managed to go easy through that stretch before starting to pick people off on the second climb to the top of the hill from the back side.  By the run back into finish at the end of the first lap I found the front of this group and started skiing on my own.  The second lap definitely started to hurt more on those big climbs.  I pushed through and was pleased to find that the lead women did not catch me until the second climb to the top of the hill and when they did, while I could not hang on, I felt like I was doing more than standing still.

At the end of the day it was a fantastic race as usual by Ben Popp and company.  Comparing against last week at Como indicates that it was better relative to the competition.  Tomorrow’s pursuit is not going to be very exciting with the next starter ahead of me at 42 seconds, though I have someone 13 seconds behind.
Someone will have to talk Kevin and Tom into their own race reports, and it goes without saying but I am going to say it anyhow, they finished ahead of me.

Time to go wax up the skate skis for tomorrow’s race!
Tommy Killing it Like Always, photo courtesy of Skinnyski.com

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