This year here's how it went down... Last year it was fairly cold (no klister) and this year it was warm (klister).
Thursday 15km Skiathlon
We got new snow the Tuesday before the races and it was cold at night, so I was hopeful for hardwax conditions, but that was not the case. It was sunny on Wednesday and everything transformed. We used klister, covered by a hard wax, I know this is not really acceptable, but I don't remember which wax was on my skis. There were a few of us getting wax advice/instructions from XC Oregon speedsters Brayton and Zach. We were able to get the skis going good though, with good kick up the hills and decent glide. Races like this, I learn that I need to be better at double polling. That's what I get though, for only half heartedly being committed to off season (and in-season) strength training. The skate was on the flat part of the trail, that is not usually groomed up here. Most if not all of the trails at bachelor are up and down with very little sustained flat, and skiing the flat was hard. I used to be a midwesterner, and the flats are very common. I'd never complain about a flat trail, because it was what we did. It was like doing a big VA loop with a little bigger hill in the middle of it (back when we skied at the VA in high school). I can't give much age group podium strategy talk because my age group was a whole 2 people!!! But I was behind Joe Jensen from Idaho, and he's the same one who beat me last year (this year by a little bit more), but the main difference being that I gave 35 pints of blood (iron overload) from June through February, and he didn't. Try training thought that ordeal!
Saturday 15km classic
It was warm on Friday, and it never froze on Friday night. So it was like skiing in firm slush. The track was not super soft, but some spots were choppy around corners, but it was pretty good considering how warm it was. Kudos to the grooming team at Bachelor. There such a deep snowpack here, that it becomes like ice underneath where they groom, so even the warm days they can work out pretty decent grooming in most conditions. The swix recommendation was 2-1 mix red-universal klister. A pair of fast gliding no wax skis might have worked well on this day. For me, I had an ironed in base of green toko klister, and then I put a little silver and red mixed w/ universal. I skied a bit, (around the stadium and up and down blue jays... and I didn't think the kick was enough so I had brayton put a bit more klister on (panic waxing), for some more red. In retrospect, I'm still split up on whether or not this was a bad idea, because on the downhills during the race, i could feel the kickwax on my skis. I guess it was good for going up the hills, but I think i could've used the original wax. Plus when I was cleaning the klister off after the race it was a total mess. I did a fair amount of classic skiing this winter, but on the klister days, I skated. That probably didn't help me in choosing my skis and/or wax either. As for the race, I felt OK... I was skiing with a 25-29 skier, and on the flats, I would pull away (even w/ the extra wax), and on the uphills he would catch me. His ski's must have been slower than mine, so maybe my wax wasn't so bad. The end of the race there is a kilometer long uphill, and he passed me. I tried to hang on but had nothing left for the sprint. I skied hard and was satisfied w/ the result.
Sunday 30km Skate
This was the biggest race in terms of total people. My only real complaint is that they split up the age groups (and this goes for all of the races really) staring the 34 and under first, and then the 35-39, etc. This spreads things out alot, at least for us, when there are a wide range of speed. It probably works better for the older age groups where you'll have like 15+ in an age group, that are competitive. If you start too many at once, the way the start is setup, it would be complete chaos, so maybe the small groups are justified. On race morning, I was laying in bed, thinking it was going to be hell up there skiing in the snow... Thought about not going, I was a bit tired from the previous 2 out of 3 days of racing... But I still went, and got up there, and sat in the car for a bit, and was thinking, this is going to be hell... It was snowing pretty good... There was new snow today, and I was justifiably worried about the conditions. There was about 5 inches of snow in the parking lot, and it continued to snow. But once again the grooming was good, and firm, with just a bit of new snow on top. Since we were not the first wave, the earlier skiers had packed it enough, so the new snow was really not an issue. It was warm enough so it would pack, and didn't stay powdery. It was pretty fast too. So, the race started and as usual I fought hard to hang on to the lead group of skiers in my wave, and did for a while, the first 5 k is for the most part, almost all down hill... and then when we got to the uphill sections it was a bit more difficult. There are some super hard climbs in the middle part of this loop, and then the flat section (same flat section as skiathlon). I was a bit bummed, that on the first lap I couldn't have skied up the big hill a bit faster, because I was nearing the top, and Pat Weaver passed me (I had 3 minute head start) and put in a small gap, and then I skied behind him not losing much time at all, over most of the flat section. It would have been nice to draft off of him during that part, at least for a while. The second lap, I managed hang on, and ski hard the whole way, but it was hard. The last uphill before getting to the stadium was a 'gut buster' to say the least.
Well that will pretty much put a wrap on my ski season, until the PPP (commonly referred to locally as 'the Bend olympics') in May. I'll still get up for some skiing, but I'm converting to riding my bike and running more right now.