ADVENTURE & TECH NIGHT: Thursday, January 31, 2013 - Kayaking in British Columbia & Advanced Race Wax Techniques

Duane & a friend "maneuvering" on the Fox River in Northern Manitoba.  Photo Credit: Duane Lee

Join us tomorrow evening, Thursday January 31 starting at 6 PM for a fun evening of socializing, adventure, tech, and complimentary beverages!  This will be a particularly fun evening featuring presentations by two Cyclova XC staff:  Duane Lee & Frank Lundeen.

6PM:  Kayaking the Broken Islands on Vancouver Island - British Columbia:  Cyclova XC's very own Duane Lee presents his recent September of 2012 paddling adventure in the Broken Island chain (part of the Pacific Rim National Park).  This was was a 7 day unsupported paddling adventure on singles boats through the rugged wilderness of coastal British Columbia that he and wife Debby enjoyed together.  Duane's slide show and commentary will give the audience a feel of what it's like to explore rugged wilderness with many interesting encounters including Humpback Whales, Sea Lions, and other Marine Tidal Life.  While they carried most of their food, there were other evening culinary delights including Oysters, Chicken of the Woods Mushrooms, and Sea Asparagus.  You don't want to miss this adventure tale!
 
Following Duane's Presentation:  Frank Lundeen zeroes in on advanced race glide waxing techniques. In this clinic, we will discuss and demonstrate advanced race glide waxing techniques used on the World Cup - tricks that will make real differences in your ski speed and race results. A few of the topics to be covered include application of flourinated glide waxes, synthetic hardeners, flourocarbons, layering of waxes, and application of structure. 10% off on any wax or tool purchase during this wax clinic!

Be a part of the fun & meet other local adventures & skiers at Cyclova XC's Adventure & Tech Night!

Pederson Puts Cyclova on the Podium!

Photo by Everett Myers from Skinnyski
Congratulations to Jes Pederson for winning the 12.5K skate race at Marine O'Brien! I love to see guys in our suits holding BIG checks! Nice work Jes!

Note Jes did not take the prize money so as not to comprise his amateur status for school sports.

Race report for the 42nd Marine O' Brien ski race

I figured the picture Dallas sent me didn't have the CyclovaXC logo on it enough, so I doctored up the image somewhat (actually the baby fell asleep in my arms making it impossible for me to move from the computer for 20 minutes so I needed something to do)

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!

Noquemanon Today, Marine O'Brien Tomorrow

Hey Folks,

It looks like all the ski races are ON this weekend and as we speak a good contingent of CyclovaXC skiers are racing in the Noquemanon ski marathon (check out their web page and their awesome retro poster here).

For a race a little closer to home, make sure to show up for the festivities at the Marine O'Brien ski race.

If there's one thing the last couple winters have taught us, it's that if the races are on, you should jump in them (there might not be snow next week)!

Good Luck!

Balsam Vinter Fest and Fridtjof Nausen Cancelled

Snow...remember what that looked like?
Man...what a drag! Both the race in Balsam Branch and the race in Eau Claire that I was planning on doing this weekend were cancelled. I haven't been to Balsam Branch in a while, but I was at Tower Ridge yesterday and the course is in decent shape. However, decent shape to ski is a far cry from decent shape to race, and I can see why they decided to cancel.

The good news is that we got about another half inch of snow in Eau Claire last night. It may not sound like much, but the ice base at Tower Ridge is so good that just an inch or so will make it really good.

This year has still been better than last year...although that's not saying much because last year's snow set the bar for epic badness. Two years like this and believe me...the gears are turning in my mind about how to build an awesome nordic only ski center with man made snow. We're still having cold days, it's just a matter of recuperating after the occasional rain out we've been getting. Hey, when a million copies of Beyond Birkie Fever have sold, I'll build something that will rival Giant's Ridge in our own backyard (so either buy the book or write a review).

I'm glad I bought an XC trail pass at Troll, it's only a short loop, but it's enough to break yourself on, and it's always immaculately groomed. I'll be there tomorrow around 9, hope to see you all!

Once You've Cheated Death, Who Cares About the Tour de France?

A tire with a hole in it--because I don't have any images of Lance Armstrong
Lance Armstrong finally came clean to Oprah and admitted to doping. I haven't seen the video, but I've read a partial transcript, and from what I've heard, at least Lance didn't insult anyone by working up any false tears.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out now. Lance is clearly setting the groundwork for rebuilding his image and returning to competitive sports in one way or another, that would be a best case scenario for him. The worst case would be something along the lines of paying back millions of dollars and facing jail time. However, I don't think we'll see that happen (although I've been wrong frequently about this case).

What bothers me most about this whole Lance Armstrong fiasco is the fact that Lance is clearly a bit player in the vast corruption of professional cycling. For those of you who have forgotten, the 1998 tour was a complete joke. It's also known as the "Tour de Dopage" because the entire Festina team lead by Richard Virenque was pulled out of the race for...well...an elaborate doping program. Before recent events, this was the single worst moment in cycling history, and it looked like the back of the great race had been irreparably broken.

Enter Lance Armstrong.

Here was the brash young rider who had just survived cancer making him an instantly appealing underdog. He'd already had some great moments in the tour, as well as a stirring World Championship win in Oslo in 1993. At that point, he'd never shown anything more than flashes as a stage rider, winning minor races like the Tour DuPont, but a 4th place finish in the Tour of Spain in the previous year had made people whisper that he was a contender.

He went on to win the prologue at the 1999 Tour, and gave his famous speech about how it's a long way from a deathbed to the yellow jersey at the Tour de France. It was a great story, everybody was happy, everybody could forget, for a moment, that Cycling was a sport shrouded in corruption. The Cycling world quickly anointed Lance Armstrong as the rider who could "save" Cycling from the stain of doping that had threatened to destroy it.

But then Armstrong failed a drug test. He failed it in 1999 just a few days after winning the prologue. This is the forgotten little nugget in the whole Armstrong mythology, yes, he did fail a drug test in 1999.

For about a day, the whole Cycling community held its breath. Could the tour survive two major scandals in a row? Apparently somebody decided it could not. A BS story was concocted about how Lance had applied a Cortisone cream to a saddle sore without knowing what was in it, and the man's reputation was restored. The anointed savior of Cycling was free to ride again.

If the race officials had just followed their established protocols, there would be no "Lance Armstrong--7 time tour winner." He should have been disqualified in 1999.

But professional cycling needed a distraction from the scandal of corruption, so they manufactured Lance Armstrong. He was the "Golden Boy" everybody could point to so they could feel good about Cycling again. Armstrong settled easily into this mantle, and it can be truthfully stated that he took Cycling to a new height of popularity during his reign. Lance became the rider who could "save Cycling," a mantle that no other Tour winner had ever been forced to bear.

Now, the story that floods the news is how Armstrong was the leader of a fraudulent doping scheme the likes of which sports has never seen. It's bad, very bad. But what drives me crazy is the fact that nobody is talking about the fact that Cycling was dirty before Lance Armstrong, dirty during Lance Armstrong's reign, and continued to be dirty after Lance Armstrong. 

Folks, Lance Armstrong is not the beginning and end of corruption in Cycling.  The 1999 cortisone "exemption" that Armstrong received is proof enough of that. At the time that it happened, I simply believed the official story. After all, it was issued by the sport's governing body. It didn't occur to me to think then that such an institution could be complicit in a vast doping cover-up.

I indulge that suspicion now.

All throughout Lance's tour years, there were whispers of doping, but no "evidence" was ever produced. How is that possible?

Along with the whispers of doping, there were also whispers of payouts from Lance to the UCI and other governing agencies. Heck there were even rumors that Lance tried to buy out the USADA.

When the most recent scandal broke, I thought the UCI would surly throw the whole thing out--not because of Lance's innocence necessarily, but because it seemed like they were complicit with Lance and would be buried along with him if he should be found guilty. However, somebody in the UCI lost his/her nerve, apparently, and seemed to decide the report couldn't be brushed off.

Just as Lance had been anointed the "Savior of Cycling" in 1999, he was anointed as Cycling's "sacrificial lamb" in 2012. The UCI decided to uphold the USADA's findings, and Lance was stripped of basically every achievement of his professional life.

This whole situation clearly stinks, and Lance Armstrong is clearly guilty, but there are more people that need to be hung out to dry here. The greatest crime that has been committed, in my opinion, is that the ruling body of cycling contributed to the creation of a competitive environment in which it was impossible for any athlete to succeed without engaging in illegal activity (doping). Essentially every podium finisher throughout Armstrong's years (and the years immediately before and after), has been connected with doping in one way or another.

Stop for a second and consider that. Also consider that before these athletes became stars, they were just nameless kids trying to make their way in the world by riding their bicycles. I don't think they were out on the street experimenting with PEDs on their own, I believe they were given PEDs by coaches and team doctors they trusted. Sure, that doesn't excuse them entirely, but I think it has to be recognized that this is an ugly situation that has destroyed the lives of many good people.

The governing bodies of all sports are meant to prevent the exploitation of young people are they not? What's going to happen to all these doped up riders? Are they all going to get cancer, or die of an overdose like Marco Pantani did?

When the governing body had evidence that this kind of thing was going on (like Armstrong's 1999 positive test) they looked the other way. How can you not see that as anything other than a case of "playing favorites" or even encouraging doping?  How can this be seen as anything less than laying the cornerstone of a doping community?

Add this with the tradition of doping that you hear about in books like Rough Ride and it's clear that not only has doping been around for decades, but the gentlemen's agreement to look away has also existed for just as long. It takes a long time to rewire traditional thinking, even when that thinking is deeply flawed.

Apparently, Armstrong hasn't gone so far as to start naming names (at least not in the Oprah interview). He's clearly showing his hand one card at a time. My guess is that this interview is going to cause a major shift in power in the "behind the scenes" negotiating--which is where all the real decisions get made, not because they're right or wrong, but because of who is currently in a position of power. There are huge ramifications of this interview, and I really doubt everything is ever going to be allowed to come to light.

I don't agree with Armstrong's decision to cheat, but he is not a person I'd want to tangle with, and I'm sure the Oprah interview made many people in positions of power sweat.

As for Armstrong himself, what can you say? The thing in his favor is that he apparently used most of his notoriety to start up an anti-cancer foundation. Sure there have been some reports that this foundation wasn't all that sincere--that much of the funding went to make an icon out of Armstrong himself rather than help Cancer patients, but I don't really agree with that. I've read enough reports that confirm Livestrong does make a sincere and effective effort to help Cancer sufferers. Livestrong has done good, and maybe Armstrong has seen that as his penance from the beginning.

It's Not About the Bike seems to have a somewhat prophetic title now doesn't it? Lance Armstrong has been living on borrowed time for quite a while, and I think that there is a different perspective for people who have come as close to death as he has. I'm beginning to think the tour "wins" were just stepping blocks in the true battle Lance has been fighting since he was diagnosed with cancer in 1996.

I admit, I don't really feel any better knowing the truth in this case. I would have been happier to just live with the delusion that it had all been real. No matter where the inquiries stop, there will be good people who are ruined by the truth, and bad people who will remain out of reach of the spotlight.

I guess we need to hope that cancer patients continue to find funding and inspiration, and that young cyclists can pursue their sport without having needles thrust upon them. At the end of the day, the Tour de France is just a bicycle race--human lives are of greater value.

TONIGHT: Adventure & Tech SocIal Night At Cyclova XC!

Join us tonight (1-16-2013) for another great evening of adventure, tech, socializing, beverages, & snacks!  We're expecting another great crowd tonight of 30 - 50 folks!


Don't miss out on tonight's Adventure & Tech night!  We're expecting another capacity crowd at Cyclova XC for this one.  Come for the adventure & tech, enjoy the great company & complimentary quality beverages!

Tonights presentations will include:

Guest presenter Tom Anderson presents "Winter Camping on XC Skis".  He will present a photo slide show on the Cyclova XC big screen featuring a photos from his winter camping trips in the BWCA on XC skis - including photos from his trip with Cyclova XC's Duane Lee.  Tom's a great presenter & photographer and will have you motivated to go winter camping!  The last time Tom presented, we had a packed house - you REALLY DON'T WANT TO MISS THIS ONE!

After Tom's winter camping on skis presentation, Andrew Poffenberger of Holmenkol USA presents Holmenkol's new top notch wax & easy to understand line-up!  Holmenkol is a new wax brand for Cyclova XC this season, and we're thrilled to be working with the ultra-qualified crew at Holmenkol.  While Holmenkol is a German brand, Andrew is a Stillwater, MN native.  10% off on any wax or tool purchase during this wax clinic! 


Kick back and relax the adventure presentation by Tom Anderson - featuring a slide show op epic Bondary Waters Winter Camping images on our big screen & entertaining commentary by local adventurer Tom Anderson.

A photo of the scene from Tom Anderson's last presentation on adventures in the Yukon Territory.
CLICK HERE for the full Cyclova XC Adventure & Tech Event Series schedule.

Hope to see you tonight!


Be a part of tonight's ski wax clinic after the Adventure Presentation - tonight we will feature Andrew Poffenberger of Holmenkol Ski Wax - this will be one of the first ever Holmenkol clinics in the State of Wisconsin.  You asked for it, come and be a part of it!


Sisu Cancelled But CyclovaXC Makes the Best of It

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!

Turn The SISU Ski Festival & Seeley Hills Classic Blues Into a Free Stonegrind at Cyclova XC!

Ben's bib from the race that never was:  The 2013 SISU Ski Festival marathon. 

Did you make the drive to Ironwood yesterday for the SISU Ski Festival or the Seeley Hills Classic?  Did you fill up your gas tank, pay to stay in a hotel, etc, etc?  Do you have the SISU Ski Festival Blues?  Well, I don't blame you - Mother Nature dealt us an insulting blow with this one...

We at Cyclova XC want to ease the sting for you:
  1. First, as the Cyclova XC race crew (we had 10+ people on our team drive up there yesterday) is doing, drive back here to the St. Croix Valley and enjoy what is the currently the best skiing in the Midwest @ Troll Hollow!  Join our crew at Trollhaugen today for a good hard race pace workout.  They will be out there for most of the day today!
  2. FREE STONEGRIND!  While you may have spent a bunch of cash to get up to Ironwood only to have the race canceled, at Cyclova XC you will get something to ease the sting - did I already say FREE STONEGRIND!?!  If you drove up to either of these events and picked up your race bib, give it to us it here at Cyclova XC in exchange for one free stonegrind.  Note that you must have your race bib, and must stop by this weekend (Offer not valid after Sunday, January 13, 2013, Offer limited to first 100 people).  If you wish to also have your skis Hotboxed after the grind, you will pay for that as per usual.  For info on our full range of ski service, click HERE.
Stop on by Cyclova XC, join us for a ski, and start vigorously snow dancing now that it's cooled down!



WAX TIP UPDATE: Sisu Ski Festival, Ironwood, MI

Fast skis are a key part of racing your best.  Rely on Cyclova XC to ensure your skis are flying!  Photo Courtesy of Julie Wenner

Mother nature is a unpredictable one at times, and this weekend is no exception.  Will we get snow or rain?  Will it be warm or cold?  Will it be windy or not?  The forecast has been spastically gyrating over the past few days, but now seems to have settled down a bit - looking like the temperatures will be drastically cooling with gale force winds out of the west as the events start on Saturday morning.  One thing is for sure - this will be an EPIC DAY we won't forget!  Following is the updated tip as of Thursday, 10 January at 5:30PM.  

Disclaimer:  Following is the Cyclova XC Racing Service Wax tip for the 4 major wax brands of the region. Note that these are not officially endorsed wax tips by the wax companies, rather these are tips that I have personally created based on my 12+ years of professional experience in creating race wax tips.


When:  42k race starting at 9AM, 21k race starting at 11:30AM, Jr race and Taste 'n Tour events starting later on Saturday, 12 January at the fabulous ABR Trails in Ironwood.
Forecast & Conditions:  UPDATE:  Here is the very complicated weather scenario:  Very warm "melty" conditions and rain are expected in the 2 days leading up to the event - likely with significant dirt present in the snow.  Note that the snow coverage should still be adequate - just dirt mixed in with the snow.  Friday day time temps will exceed 40'F and temps will remain in the mid 30's through most of Friday night.  As day breaks on Saturday morning, the temperature will begin to plummet along with a very strong westerly wind blowing in (gusting to 40mph).  This westerly wind may pick up moisture off of Lake Superior, perhaps delivering lake effect snow.  BOTTOM LINE:  On race morning, expect wet / dirty track conditions, transitioning to icy conditions as temperatures drop.  There is a chance that the firm icy track will be covered in fresh "lake effect" snow.  Click HERE for the very dorky but info packed hourly weather graphs published by the National Weather Service.

Ski Flex:  Moderate to firm flexed ski for firm machined track conditions. 
Structure:  Warm Universal Stonegrind or a coarse linear rill.  Having moderate structure will be critical and more important than wax at this race.  If using a roller type structure tool, apply your structure after your paraffin hot waxes, but before your flourocarbon overlay.  If using a cutting type / riller bar structure tool, apply structure before you begin hot waxing.

Glide Wax Tips: 
Fast Wax:  HS-20 Blue, Scrape, Brush, HSF-20 Tan, Scrape, Brush, Flite Cold (ironed using the Base Saver, Brushed with dedicated Nylon brush, Polish with Speed Block
Holmenkol:  Clean skis using Nano CFC Cleaner, Matrix Red, Scrape, Brush, Mid Speed Block or Powder ironed, Brushed using dedicated nylon brush, Polished with polishing pad
Swix:  CH-7, Scrape, Brush, HF-7, Scrape, Brush, Cera-F FC-8 ironed, brushed with dedicated Nylon Brush, Polished with polishing pad
Toko:  Tribloc LF Black , Scrape, Brush, Tribloc HF Red, scrape, brush, Jetstream Red ironed, brushed with dedicated Nylon Brush, Polished with Thermo Pad

Grip Wax Tips:
Swix:  Roughen grip zone with 180 grit sandpaper.  Apply  KX-20 Klister Base Binder, iron, and smoothen with cork.  Wait to apply grip wax of the day until race morning - being sure to follow published wax tips by wax companies.  I anticipate that the likely grip wax of the day will be KX-35 Violet Special Klister covered with a very thin layer of VR-40 hard wax.
Toko:  Roughen grip zone with 180 grit sandpaper.  Apply Base Green Klister, iron,  smoothen with thumb, and allow to cool.  Wait to apply grip wax of the day until race morning - being sure to follow published wax tips by wax companies.  I anticipate that the likely grip wax of the day will be Red Klister covered with a very thin layer of Red Hard Wax.  

Have fun and see you out there!

Wax Tips: SISU Ski Festival, Ironwood, MI

Fast skis are a key part of racing your best.  Rely on Cyclova XC to ensure your skis are flying!  Photo Courtesy of Julie Wenner


Following is the Cyclova XC Racing Service Wax tip for the 4 major wax brands of the region. Note that these are not officially endorsed wax tips by the wax companies, rather these are tips that I have personally created based on my 12+ years of professional experience in creating race wax tips.


When:  42k, 21k, Jr race, and Taste 'n Tour events starting between 9AM & 1PM on Saturday, 12 January at the fabulous ABR Trails in Ironwood
Forecast & Conditions:  Very warm "melty" conditions and rain are expected in the 2 days leading up to the event, which will result in the snow conditions being wet - likely with significant dirt present in the snow.  Note that the snow coverage should still be adequate - just dirt mixed in with the snow.  Overnight lows friday night will be in the low to mid 30's with a temp of about 35'F at the start of the 21k/42k events.  Daytime high will be in the upper 30's, with snow showers and sleet possible.  Expect wet machined track conditions with some dirt (tree leaves, tree sap, and plain old dirt) present.
Ski Flex:  Moderately flexed ski for machined conditions.  Better yet, if you have warm weather "wet /  corn snow skis", this is the event to use them!
Structure:  Corn L/NL Stonegrind or a very agressive linear rill.  Having enough structure will be critical and more important than wax at this race.  You want A LOT of structure for this event!  If using a roller type structure tool, apply your structure after your paraffin hot waxes, but before your flourocarbon overlay.  If using a cutting type / riller bar structure tool, apply structure before you begin hot waxing.

Glide Wax Tips: 
Fast Wax:  HS-30 Red, Scrape, Brush, HSF-40 Bronze, Scrape, Brush, Flite Warm (ironed using the Base Saver, Brushed with dedicated Nylon brush, Polish with Speed Block
Holmenkol:  Clean skis using Nano CFC Cleaner, Alpha Mix Yellow, Scrape, Brush, Matrix Yellow / Matrix Black mixed (1:1 ratio),  Matrix Speed Block / Powder ironed, Brushed using dedicated nylon brush, Polished with polishing pad
Swix:  CH-8, Scrape, Brush, HF-10BW/BD, Scrape, Brush, Cera F FC-10 ironed, brushed with dedicated Nylon Brush, Polished with polishing pad
Toko:  NF Yellow, Scrape, Brush, Tribloc LF Black , Scrape, Brush, Tribloc HF Yellow / HF Black Mix (2:1 ratio), scrape, brush, Jetstream Red ironed, brushed with dedicated Nylon Brush, Polished with Thermo Pad

Grip Wax Tips:
Swix:  Roughen grip zone with 180 grit sandpaper.  Apply  KX-20 Klister Base Binder, iron, and smoothen with cork.  Wait to apply grip wax of the day until race morning - being sure to follow published wax tips by wax companies.  I anticipate that the likely grip wax of the day will be KX-65 Red Klister.
Toko:  Roughen grip zone with 180 grit sandpaper.  Apply Base Green Klister, iron,  smoothen with thumb, and allow to cool.  Wait to apply grip wax of the day until race morning - being sure to follow published wax tips by wax companies.  I anticipate that the likely grip wax of the day will be Yellow Klister mixed with Red Klister (2:1 ratio).  

Have fun and see you out there!

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

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