Tommy K and Ben Mullin in Pursuit!

Ben Mullin, Photo Courtesy of Julie Wenner
Ben Continues to do an exemplary job of keeping me updated with photos of CyclovaXC skiers! He looks ready for the Sisu race this Saturday!

This must have been the pursuit leg of the Classical race he wrote about last time. Here are some more photos of Ben and Tommy K!

Here's Ben's Report:


By Ben Mullin

Day two of the Twin Cities Championships brought a skate race with a pursuit start on the hills of Theodore Wirth. For those unfamiliar with a pursuit format race, it is a two part race. In this case day one was a mass start classical race. Day two was a skate race with people starting with the same time gaps they finished day one with. The first to cross the line is the overall winner.

As I indicated in my race report from day one, it was going to be a pretty empty trail ahead of me with a gap of 47 seconds (yesterday I said 42, I had math issues) to the next guy ahead of me. The only saving grace is that they realigned all of the men, women, and high school leaders to all start at the same time so there were some women and high schoolers closer for me to pick off.

I have raced at Theodore Wirth a few times now between past TC Champs and the City of Lakes Loppet. Every single time I have blown up on those hills. I paced the race well yesterday with the help of the mass start field rolling out. Today I would have open trail and could easily over do it. It turns out that I managed to keep things in check on that first lap. I slowly passed maybe half a dozen or so women or highschoolers in the first 3km or so. By the time I rounded the 11 th tee and came into view of the headwall I could not see a single person up the trail from me. Reviewing the data after the race it looks like I lost a little focus on my way through the lap area as the kilometer that split the laps was the slowest of the race.

The second time up the long climb through the snow making area I noticed there were two guys gaining on me. A quick glance over my shoulder and I saw bib 162 which meant one of the guys had started 10 people behind me. That did not tell me the time gap, but at 10 starters I knew it was a fair bit. They were not gaining all that fast and I managed to not get passed until just after the headwall on the second time. This was finally an opportunity to race instead of time trial. Despite what appeared to be several attempts to drop me over the next two climbs I stuck to Gear West Guy and New Moon Guy stuck to me.

Climbing up past the tubing hill for the final time New Moon Guy made a move and I moved over behind him. At the hairpin at the top where the stadium used to be I took the inside lane and momentarily gave a thought to trying to put a move in to create a gap. A few V2 strides and I gave it a second thought and backed off and dropped in again behind New Moon Guy. It appeared we had gapped Gear West Guy, but after the downhill past the tubing area and on the short climb up and around by the grooming building he caught back up.

We had one last downhill past the par three parking lot, up over one short climb, and then about a 200 meter very wide stretch to the final corner and then 50 meters to the finish. I stuck to New Moon Guy up that climb and then after the short downhill as we entered the wide straightaway I opened it up and took the lead and held it to the finish. What fun! Now granted my sprint victory was good for the overall pursuit, but on the day New Moon Guy outskied me by almost two minutes. We have to take our victories where we can get them.

Overall it was a great weekend of racing. Both days were extremely consistent for me relative to the competition and a marked improvement over the past two years. Sure I would like to be faster, but I am headed in the right direction. Up next is the SISU Marathon in Ironwood on Saturday with a few more CyclovaXCers. I am really looking forward to the trip and racing.

Photo Courtesy of Julie Wenner

Photo Courtesy of Skinnyski.com

Photo Courtesy of Skinnyski.com

Photo Courtesy of Julie Wenner

Photo Courtesy of Julie Wenner

Photo Courtesy of Julie Wenner

Photo Courtesy of Julie Wenner

2 comments:

  1. Note to Tom K. I blew the call on Seeley. I didn't realize the conditions were so thin up there. Also, I picked up your prize (a hat). I'll hand that to you at the next race.

    JW

    ReplyDelete
  2. Ben, enjoyed the read and skiing with you after the race.

    JW

    ReplyDelete