Another great event is in the books! On a sultry August morning, 15 of us gathered at Cyclova XC to attempt the first ever pursuit start Sasquatch Dash.
Pursuit start? What is that you say? In skiing this is typically a two discipline event where you ski classic first and then later you start a skate race with starters beginning with the same gaps they had at the conclusion of the first race. First skier to the finish wins. In this case we used a handicapped pursuit start. This means we took past results in attempt to predict finish times and then started people such that if our predictions were good, everyone would finish at the same time.
|The sweaty post run crew.|
So I'll be honest, I was a little worried my organization and spreadsheet magic was going to be an utter failure. It would have been pretty straight forward if everyone had run this course before, but since we hadn't I needed to translate race times from other races to this course. In the end, I was thrilled with how this turned out. The majority of the group finished within 6 minutes and everyone finished within 11 minutes. Given the nature of the course and the weather and what that can do to your performance that is fantastic.
Without further ado, here are mixed gender finish results. These will get divided up for scoring, but the cool thing about this style race is that it should be gender neutral, and the winner could be anyone.
So, since this is a little different than usual, we should describe the columns. Time is the time since the first starter that the person finished. Time on (course) is the actual running time and what would have been the time under a normal race format.
Talk about a good finish! Check out Tammi and Tom sprinting it out with Starr just seconds back. Congratulations to those three on being the top finishers.
In fact, here is an action shot coming up to the overlook. Tammi and Tom are in the foreground with maybe 100m to go. Starr is just coming off of the foot bridge. Think about that, 5.4 miles of racing at different abilities and it comes down to that sprint finish. Awesome job guys!
|Tammi and Tom charging for the line.|
|Finishers sorted by Time on Course|
Overall Standings Update
With just the finale to go, we should take a look at the overall standings. First a few notes to remind you of how the scoring works. Your final score will be a sum of your best 4 race results plus any bonus points. With 5 races completed some people are already throwing out some results. Some of us who missed a few races are still hoping to accumulate a few more points. Also, the finale counts for double points which could really make some swings.
With those notes, pay attention to the columns. Total points is just that, all points that person has earned. Final Points is more important now as that shows what that persons score would be if the series ended today. I added a new column Smallest that indicates what the smallest race score is included in that persons score. If that score is still zero that person has not completed 4 races yet and assuming they participate in the finale will score at least two more points (you always get 1 point for participating, but double that to two for the finale).
|Men's Overall Standings|
So we have a race on for first among the men. Alex has a slim two point lead over Tom. The pursuit race today netted him the winners points plus the shirt order bonus. That said, assuming Alex shows up on September 13th, I think he wraps up the win. I may have a shot at Sean and Tom, but it is going to be close.
|Women's Overall Standings|
At last, what I'm sure you were all waiting for. My personal race report.
I don't like heat. I don't like humidity. I'm a skier. Give me a race at zero before one with a dew point in the 70's. Given the weather I wasn't overly optimistic about making improvements over the time this spring.
I started second to last, 21:13 after the first starter. Tammi was the next starter ahead of me by almost three minutes. That was scary. I wasn't confident I could run faster than Tammi let alone by 3 minutes. Then there was Alex starting 2:48 behind me.
As I hit Hamilton, no Tammi in sight. I figured I should be able to see her up the road, but nope. I wasn't going to look back to see if I could see Alex coming. My best bet was to just face forward and run strong, but not too strong. This is interesting racing when it isn't quite as heads up from the beginning to pace yourself against others.
I made it all the way up to the intersection in Wert before seeing anyone else. It just happened to be my girlfriend heading the other way. Just enough time to shout encouragement and continue on up the hill for me.
Making some split estimates against the returning runners who started ahead of me and then Alex charging behind me wasn't terrible. I could tell I was making up ground on people ahead of me but could also tell Alex was definitely closing.
After that it wasn't until all the way across the field at the top that I pulled anyone else back in sight. By that time I was fighting with a side ache. I haven't dealt with too many of those in recent years thankfully. It was never horrible, but it was definitely a distraction.
I caught a few folks on the bomb back to Lions Park. As I hit Hamilton for the last mile I was a little dismayed by the distance up to the next couple of runners. I'll tell you though, this definitely kept me on the gas for the last mile. Usually this is the point in the race you are running by yourself and it can be easy to back off and coast in.
I also figured Alex was closing fast. By halfway down Hamilton I could tell I was going to catch Ben Jonjak, but I could also hear footsteps and knew Alex was almost on me. Moments after passing Ben, Alex came by. I surged to try and stay with him hoping that might break any surge he was putting on to make the pass. I didn't stand a chance though. I couldn't even hold his pace for a moment. Excellently executed pass by him. Instead I settled for just barely picking up Lacey just before we hit the Overlook.
In the end I ran 37 seconds faster than I had back at the beginning of May. I'll take that given the far less favorable weather conditions this time around. I was also really pleased with how the pursuit start worked out. I hope everyone else enjoyed the way this mixed things up giving everyone a shot at the win and pushing people at the end. I definitely would like to try this again next year.