29 March 2007

2007 XC National Masters

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.

17 March 2007


So here we are in Bend, Oregon, another beautiful day where you can XC ski in the morning and road ride in shorts in the afternoon! 65 and sunny!!! And the skiing was excellent! It really is march madness ;) ... Speaking of march madness, I'm in a NCAA pool w/ some guys from work, and I pick the U of O Ducks to win it all. So if that happens I'm going to win the pool, because nobody else picked Oregon. It would be sweet to win the pool having not watched one minute of one NCAA game during the regular season and not even during the NCAA tourney! That's what no cable TV will do to you. I still hope to catch some MN wild nhl hockey games when they start kicking but in the playoffs!

So if you're bored, check out a couple of these blogs...

xcoregon.org/blog - Great blog about XC ski racing and some local bend racers that are tearing it up in europe and norway. Good stuff.

- Our friends and former neighbors here in Bend that recently sold their house and packed up and headed out. They are currently traveling around Argentina and other parts of South America. (did I mention they have a 2 year old daughter?) They are having a big adventure!

kyia - Some of our friends from MN recently traveled to Poland, for vacation and a 50km xc marathon.

Well, that's about all for now... Damn the time change this year sure seems like spring and it's only mid march. I'll be XC ski racing next weekend here at Bachelor at the national masters xc ski races. I'm excited, but after this excellent weather, and 35 blood donations over the past year, I have no expectations. If your reading this, and your also doing the races, and skiing in the 30-34 age group, I will still try to kick your butt!


07 March 2007


April 2006 Ferritin: 1090
35 pints of blood later...
March 6, 2007 Ferritin: 30

What that means is I don't have to give blood every week anymore! Yay!

03 March 2007

Par II. Eric Freaking Martin.

Raced in the mbsef par for the course II today, and it went all right. Last year, former XC oregon skier and world cup skier Dave Stewart had the fastest time in 26 and change. This year Eric Martin went 25 flat!! on the same course as far as I could tell. He started before me, so he did not pass me on the course, otherwise I might have been able to tackle or trip him up, but he still probably would have skied under 26. He rides bike fast too. He could be pro skier or biker I think. He is a very nice guy to top it all off. As for my results, I went less than a minute slower than last year (but just under 5 minutes slower than Mr. Martin), so I guess that's not too bad after 35 phlebotomies in the last 39 weeks. I felt better than expected and, based on what I learned last week, I don't have to give blood this week, so I'll find out 4 sure on Tuesday at 4:00pm pst.

We went on a road ride this afternoon, it's like 55 or so degrees. Pretty sweet when you can get up in the morning go skiing where there's 11+ feet of snow, and come back down and road ride in the warm sun. Bend is a pretty excellent place to be outside during this time of year. But. There still a high percentage of idiot pickup truck and SUV drivers here. Today they were out in force, along w/ loud motorcycle riders. In fact, some of the pickup encounters today, reminded of a time in college when we went south for spring break for the purpose of riding our bikes, to get out of the wintery North Dakota flat lands to none other than Arkansas. We were actually yelled at by some hillbillies in a pickup. They saw us riding our bikes on the road, and didn't like it, and yelled: "That's illegal as shit", in reference to our riding on the road. To this day I still can't believe it; it was pretty scary, because down there, they have shotguns. We didn't get yelled at today but were honked at, and they didn't give us too much extra room.