This report is from Dallas, this was the first ski race ever for Dallas and Jeff, and Jeff's only been skate skiing for about a month (he got serious about it when he won an entry to the Birkie). Awesome stuff guys!
For Jeff Wolf and I this was our 1st race ever, and for Ben it was a test to see if he could travel half way around the globe then skate competitively for 25 k. The terrain of the William O' Brian State park trails are a treasure all year long, but especially during ski season. And the ability of the race organizers and volunteers to make an actually pretty decent course out of the ice and sparse snowfall is amazing. Of course there was icy spots and debris, but overall better than expected. The mass start to the Marine O' Brian Race is a challenge. Approximatly 250 skiers that funnel down to single file in less than a half kilometer.
Ben Mullin struggled through the jet-lag for the best finish in our group at 1:21, I skied as I had hoped to, which means I didn't crash, blow up, or take anyone out. I was able to ski strong for the entire race passing skiers the whole way including 3 in the last kilometer to finish at 1:30. looking back I should have started closer to the front. Lone Wolf, who has only skated 10 times before today skied a very strong race on natural ability and pure cardio horsepower finishing at 1:48. Great overall experience.
Here's my response (we were posting in a communal message on Facebook):
Nice work to all you guys! Yeah, you should get up to the line and hammer double pole in a shorter race. In a marathon it's not so critical because sometimes the slower pace in the beginning saves your butt in the end.
Nice work Jeff Wolf! That's a killer time for a guy who has only been skate skiing for about a month!
Not to be left out, our resident race reporter Ben chimed in with his own account:
25km is probably long enough that you don't have to hammer the start, but the trails are O'Brien are also narrow enough that it can be bad to get stuck too far back. It can be a fine balance between going out too hard and blowing up and starting too far off the back and skiing in no man's land.
My race was a tale of two laps. I was seriously considering dropping out at the end of the first lap. I just did not feel great with plenty of aches in my back and legs and was starting to get passed by a bunch of people. Thankfully I stuck with it and hopped in behind some dude and skied with him from the visitor's center all the way to the top of the first big climb. From there on I just started picking people off and passing them. I passed everyone who had passed me and then a bunch more. Probably 20 people in the last 8-10 km.
I absolutely need a nap now.
Nice work guys! Next week you should all think about doing Badger State Games! It was snowing like mad here in Eau Claire, so I hope they got some coverage down in Wausau. For more information on that, click here! Congratulations on a great day of racing!