|Dallas sums up how everybody felt after driving several hundred miles for a cancelled race|
Sigh...I knew we were in trouble back on Thursday. Zulma and I walked out of our anniversary date movie (we saw "Skyfall" which was great by the way) only to find that it was raining heavily outside. Those of you who live in Eau Claire know that Tower Ridge has been in tremendous condition, world class condition, the kind of conditions you dream about as a skier. But nothing kills a ski trail like rain.
Still, at that point, Sisu was making a valiant effort to continue with their race. It was warm and drizzly all over the state, but the hope in Ironwood was that a cold front would come through at the last minute and turn that rain into snow. All they needed was a...couple...degrees!
If there's one thing I've learned during the ski season over the last couple years it is that you need to do these races when you can (plus, I was pre-registered, so what did I have to lose?). Bearing that in mind, everybody piled into their cars and we all made the 3-4 hour trek to Ironwood. Here's what the conditions looked like on the road:
Again...not all that hopeful with all that moisture on the road. But the thermometer was sitting in the thirties and all it would take was a small drop in temperature to turn that rain into big, welcome flakes!
We got to Ironwood and the race organizers told us they were going to have people out on the trail and decide whether or not it would be a race or a tour the next day. That was actually good news since it meant that either way we'd be able to ski. They told us to check the web page at 6:30 when they'd make the final call.
We retired to the Buget Host Hotel which, from now on, is going to be the official hotel of CyclovaXC in Ironwood. We got this awesome room with four beds that was a HUGE advancement over the Advance Motel where we stayed last year (when I pulled into Advance, the guy behind the desk was surprised when I pulled out a credit card, "aren't you going to pay cash?" he asked....hmmmm).
We went to bed, and awoke to a 6:30 temperature of 41 degrees. Race cancelled, tour cancelled, the temperature had not dropped as they had hoped, and the pounding of rain throughout the night had rendered the course unskiable. We all went back to sleep.
Honestly, I have to give credit for the Sisu organizers for doing everything they possibly could have to make this race happen. Some people might wish they had called it a day in advance, but this truly was a case where if things had gotten colder even hours earlier, the trail would have hardened up and the race would have been good.
As we got up and went for breakfast (around 8 or so), you could already see flakes in the sky. The cold front that had been promised was rolling in...four hours too late. On the way home, I snapped this photo of a section of the race course:
We tried to lift people's spirits at the shop by offering a free stonegrind to people who had made the trip to Ironwood and come back with their bibs. We'll try to do something similar to this every time a major race is cancelled, so keep CyclovaXC.com on your radar in such instances.
I went home, but the rest of the Cyclova boys made the best of things and headed out to TrollHollow to do a 42K ski (here's a stock photo of Cyclova skiers at the Troll--the unofficial training ground of our guys):
Seeing all these status updates on Facebook about the monster skiing day at Troll on Saturday made me jealous, and I headed out there on Sunday. I was furious about something that happened Saturday (I wonder what that might have been? I don't think it had to do with the race cancellation), so I hammered out 20.5 miles at Troll Hollow myself. Ben came out to keep me company which was much appreciated since you need something to take your mind off the fact that you're doing loop after loop after loop after loop...
Skiing at Troll yesterday, I couldn't help but think that we really should talk to somebody about turning Trollhaugen into something like Giant's ridge. If we could get them funding from somewhere, do you think they'd be open to it? Imagine if we could start up a Pepsi Challenge type race in Dresser, with a guarantee that it would be run because of man made snow? That would be awesome!
Anyway, after the 20.5 mile ski Ben and I headed to Traprock. Turns out Traprock has a burger that's so big you have trouble finishing it even after skiing 20.5 miles:
All things considered it was a pretty awesome weekend (except for Saturday night). I really should have taken a picture of the monster brownie Sunday been had at the Maplewood steakhouse. It brought back memories because that's what Frank and I used to get at that very same restaurant location back when it was a Country Kitchen (and we were in our twenties).
Hopefully there will be some racing next weekend! See you all on the trails!