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Wednesday Night Workout and "Race"

This is a shortER report.  Just a 5k mixed into a workout but the pack racing was fun so I thought I might write about it.  Turns out you can write more about a 5k that you can remember than a longer race that the details get muddy.

Tommy and I decided to hop into the 5k skate time trial at Elm Creek last night mid workout.  The goal of the night was a hard workout with some marathon paced efforts and some VO2max efforts.  After a solid MP effort we popped into the chalet to throw down our $8 and collect a bib and a chip.

I popped back out to warm back up quick before the race.  I had gotten sweaty standing by the fireplace signing up and then got chilled pretty quick back outside.  Just a few short hard efforts and then we were standing on the line to race.

The race was going to be the full lighted loop for I think the first time this year.  Definitely my first time skiing the loop.  The man made trails were hard packed and almost icy with a few windblown slow sections.  The report was that the rest of the loop was soft and slow, but we hadn't previewed it.

Course was the Valley Trail and then the Northern Lights Trail
A dozen of us lined up and we went on the whistle.  I slotted into second as we descended past the practice field down to the lower loop on the Valley Trail.  The leader pulled over just before the bottom and I took my turn at the front of a race for the first time since... well I'm not sure I've ever been at the front of a race no matter the size.

We ran into a little non-race traffic on the wall and I almost got boxed out but managed to jump skate my way into a slot in second again.  We held that order with a pack of six or so up past the chalet, down the donut and then off onto the Northern Lights Trail.

True to the reports it got soft.  I push with my legs a lot and found it pretty challenging as the trail was firm up to a point and then would break through.  I did a fair bit of scrambling for the rest of the lap.

What going hard looks like.
Up the big hill at the start of NL the guy in the lead put in an attack.  Trusting in my growing fitness to allow recovery on the coming downhill I decided I could go with him.  For about 20 seconds there was quite a surge.  I think we spread things out a little bit, but I don't think we dropped anyone.  Thankfully he didn't go again before the top because I'm not sure I would have gone again.

Down Cowabunga and onto the flats the pack shuffled and the leader went to fifth and I slotted into fourth behind Tommy.  As we made the sharp turn and climb by the beach Dan Deroma went to the front, Tommy followed, and I followed him.  It got very soft and scrambly here and I was at what felt like max effort to stick to Tommy.  Dan was gapping Tommy though and slowly skiing away.

Artie Huber was right behind me and we held this little pack of three for about 1.5km until we were just under 500m to go and hit a wider slightly firmer stretch of trail just before we joined back into the donut.  Artie started going around on the left so I went around Tommy on the right.

I held on until we got to the donut and then tried to up the tempo and power and pull around Artie on the right as we gently turned left for the finish.  Unfortunately I didn't quite have enough gas and speed to get around and ended up about a ski length short.

You aren't likely to see that order again... this year.  My ambitions are growing though, what previously seemed unthinkable isn't so far fetched any more.
In the end the mid-workout race was quite a bit of fun.  Throw on a bib and you'll push yourself harder than you might otherwise.  Tommy and I did a relaxed lap and then decided to go for it again.  We figured we would probably be more in the 16-17 minute range the second time.  Surprisingly we were at about 15:30 doing it again.

After that it was just a short cooldown for me and then I had to boogy.

If you are looking for a little mid-week intensity consider signing up for the Elm Creek TT.  It's inexpensive, low key, but fun and chip timed.  I might be out again next week as a final tune-up/peaking workout before the Big One.

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