Today was the beginning of the National Masters. YEA! It was pretty cool. XCSkiworld.com is making it happen and is pulling off a great even up here in Oregon. Any midwesterners on the fence about coming to this next year, should seriously consider it. Excellent snow conditions are pretty much gauranteed.
My friend kevin leads a group of skiers into the transition. That's me behind 233, with the blue headband. Bend Bulletin Photo.
The conditions today, when we got to the parking lot at Mt. Bachelor, were a steady 31 degrees with about a 30 mph wind. It felt very cold at the start area, but I knew (from skiing at the trails there almost every weekend) it would be hot when we got in the trees. The kick wax wasn't too tough today, swix vr65. My skis were a bit slick, but they were gliding awesome, and there was only one major uphill on the 2 loop classic course (so we skied the hill twice) I went w/ the vr65 over the staart grip tape (my trusted backup this season). I got in a quick warm up, and got the skis in the transistion, and then we were lining up to start. I was scoping out the age group competition. Not huge numbers in my age group which was expected, this event catered more toward the 50+ crowd. And they are serious about it too.
I got out of the gate without trouble. The race overall was fairly smooth, the classic was about 8k, and there was a stretch that was against the wind, where I tucked behind the group I was skiing with (including my age group competition). On the 2nd lap when we merged on to the course w/ the start of the womens race it was a bit exciting. In the 1st K there is a pretty significant downhill with a sweeping corner. I had to pull the bob and weave to get through, but I made it! whew. It was the last time I would encounter major traffic for the rest of the race.
Leading up to the race I'd done 2 mock skiathlons, and each time it was a suffering death march, especially on the skate leg. I was concerned about that trend continuing today, so I took an extra moment through the transition, sort of took my time w/ my skis and poles. I got out on the skate leg, and knowing that there was alot of rest on the first 5k, I took advantage and tried to keep my speed high over the short uphill sections. I got to the last half of the 10k skate, with the leader in my age group in sight. I was fighting to close the gap, and it was closing but not fast enough. I had a pretty good result today, I was able to keep the tempo on, unlike my other experiences w/ practicing the skiathlon. All in all it was fun, and I'm anxious to try it again. In the mean time, I have to focus on the next event, on Saturday, 15K classic, and then Sunday, 30k Skate. I'm ready to put the smack down. Bring it.
thanks for reading.