Eeks, with plans to race the 20km Baker Shaker at Elm Creek tomorrow, I better get this report out before I'm another race behind.
Marine O'Brien Race 20km Skate
With the crummy snow conditions and the race the day before, I was having trouble getting my head in the game for this one. I had my now A/B skis waxed up (used to be my A/race skis until I messed them up and Frank and Duane did their best with them, but that is a post for a different day) and my rock skis with.
After bib pick-up and saying hi to Jeff Wolf and Ben Jonjak, I headed out for a warm-up around the swamp on my rock skis. I wanted to see the trail conditions for my self. They were sketchy. Mostly covered, but you could see a root or two and the trail was very rough without enough snow cover to smooth it out.
|I missed one of the team pictures while I was out on my warm-up.|
Still without my head in the game, instead of lining up behind Tommy, I picked a spot in about the third row. I know this is a terrible idea as this race immediately necks down to one skater wide.
Off the start I quickly found myself behind Ben when we narrowed down. No offense to Ben, but that probably isn't where I should be at that point. I proceeded to double pole through about 750m. I succesfully avoided when Mike Phrenetten went down.
Somewhere around 1km I actually started to skate occasionally. I managed to get in behind a guy in a Fast Wax suit and let him pull us through the field. Without killing it, we were making decent progress moving up one to two people at a time.
Somewhere around the Rolling Hills Savanna trail I was getting good glide and was making a pass through the bottom of a hill. The Fast Wax guy said I had fast skis and I was replying that I did when I mashed a root with my right ski. Whoops. Sorry Frank and Duane, but these are definitely my B skis now.
I took my turn pulling at that point. Traffic was getting pretty light now so I just focused on skiing as smooth and efficiently as I could over the rough terrain and going hard, but not too hard.
|Taking my turn at the front on the Wedge Hill Savanna trail near the end of the first lap. Photo Credit Skinny Ski|
I'm not a huge fan of two lap races. I usually hit the first lap and think oh god, why did I sign up to do the long race.
|Why oh why did I decide to race the long race?|
|Driving for the line.|
Originally I wasn't going to even crunch these numbers since my head wasn't in it. I did anyway though and the results weren't nearly as "bad" as I thought. They actually still show year over year improvement. So I'll call that a definite win for a double race weekend and not having my head in the game.
|Having a laugh at Mike's expense reliving his high traffic crash.|
|I'm not sure who decided this was our gang sign... we look pretty BA though.|