by Adam & Tim
This race always proves an interesting challenge because of its wave start format. 5 racers started simultaneously every 30 seconds, so that feels like a mass start, but the fastest time wins so it feels like an individual start. I was starting in the third wave, so I was hoping to break away at the start, catch the two waves ahead of me, and be the first one to cross the line. My goals for the race were to change up my technique and tempo depending on the terrain for maximum speed, and to try to double pole like Paddy Caldwell (who I had chased at practice the previous day). I started in the 2nd closest lane (out of 5) to the left, which wasn’t optimal, as the course took a sharp right turn immediately after the start and I would have to cut across the other skiers if I wanted to pass them. The start was on a slight downhill incline, so it was hard to get in a good starting position without sliding forward.
Our wave started and I ran with high tempo out of the start before transitioning to a really quick double pole. Andrew Dougherty and I pulled away from the other skiers in the start, but Andrew was farther to the right, so I had to go around him at the corner. Andrew and I skied side by side for the first 500 meters, soon the trail transitioned to a gradual climb, and with a couple of long quick strides, I pulled away from him. Through a combination of kick double pole and striding, I climbed the long hill in the middle of the course, before catching up with the pack of the ten skiers from the first two waves. Passing was difficult because people were skiing side by side in the tracks, so I double polled between several people in the middle of the two tracks. As I entered the downhill, I focused on getting extra power in my double pole in order to pull away from the rest of the skiers. Some of the downhills started getting a little icy, but with nobody left to pass, I was able to easily negotiate them. There was one more really steep uphill before the finish, which I traversed with a quick herringbone. I accelerated over the top of the hill and broke into a full sprint double pole approaching the finish. I lunged across the line, then did a 180 in the tracks, landing backward at full speed and gliding to a stop. Overall, it was a very fun race and a good specific strength workout (lots of double pole).
I had a good race, but the best part was stopping at the world’s longest candy counter on the way home, admiring some of the more absurd candies, then loading up on .7 pounds of chocolates for the way home.
Over the course of my endurance career in high school I have grown accustomed to waking up in the wee hours of the morning to go to a race venue. Today was no different. My brother John and I woke up at 5:00 AM on a Saturday to pack the car and eat then drive to Centerra to meat the rest of the team to get into Gertruuude. To get there on time I needed to leave at 5:50, but being the well oiled machine John and I are at 5 in the morning we left at 6:00. No big deal, we arrived with some others on the team and all was well. The drive up was pretty mellow, interrupted only by a quartet of well hydrated skiers that needed to release some pressure off in the woods. When the van pulled in the team got things done quick, the tent was up, the skis were set up in the racks and we were putting on wax to preview the course in a relatively short time. The course was set to be epic, tons of double poling, short quick climbs, and rocks, because what snow based sport is complete without some lack of snow.
Long story short, the races were great. The men finished with several in good positions to qualify for Easterns, and several more to the J2 Festival. The women destroyed their race as well, with EVERYONE in qualifying positions for Easterns. After these amazing races finished and we were packed up we took off, and headed right to the longest candy counter in the world, and oh my goodness, I’ve never seen so much sugar in my life. The rest of the trip was pretty low key, tons of candy was eaten and many Zs caught.