Individual start 5km skate
As soon as I started, I realized hadn’t warmed up enough. I wasn’t physically cold, but my muscles weren’t warm enough to hammer out of the start. I started gaining on the 3 skiers who had started ahead of me, but I noticed Russell had passed the two skiers who had started ahead of him and was flying up the hills. I increased my tempo and power and caught Royal McDonnell I debated ditching my hat, and I immediately saw Russell’s of the right side of the trail. I immediately throw off my hat and feel a burst of newfound energy. I pull up to high school Hill, the biggest climb on the course and notice that Russell is sprinting up it. Thinking “confirmed”I go for it, flying up the hill and Passing Walker Bean. I continue to catch Russell over the top of the hill before relaxing on the following down, trying to get the Lactic Acid out of my legs. I v1ed up the following bump then tuck skated toward the finish. I break into a V2 sprint and fly across the line. I look at the results and am dismayed to see that Russell edged me out of first, but only by a second.
I’m not a sprinter, so I wasn’t expecting a spectacular race today. I went into the qualifier after a long warmup, and felt good skiing out of the start. Daniel Streinz, a first year U18 who raced with me on the New England JN team last year had a spectacular race and caught me by the second Hill. He gained in me with every stride, but I was able to stick behind him and push myself over the top of the hill much quicker. I double polled onto the downhill, marveling at the tremendous speed of my expertly waxed skis (thanks coaches). I felt like my technique was great double polling into the finish, and I was happy to qualify as the 7th U16 of the day. Right before the start of the semifinals, it began to snow, which changed to rain, and then transitioned to freezing rain. I tensed, waiting for the race to start. The gun went off, and I realized that starting with quick strides before transitioning to double pole wouldn’t work. The track was glazed and my wax was slipping. After the start, the track dropped to 3 lanes from 6th. I was forced into last by the aggressive lane changes of the other skiers, on the first hill, my wax slipped, so I ran up the hill, forcing the wax to work in the glazed tracks. On the second uphill my kick was nonexistent, so I herringboned up the hill, then started to double pole. I noticed that the other skiers were slipping as well and I began to catch the rest of the pack. A pack of came over the top of the hill, with me barely hanging on the back in 5th. The final 300 meters approached and I started to double pole. To my surprise, I started to catch the rest of the group, then entered the last 100 meters right behind the first 4. I was lucky enough to have positioned myself in my own lane, and sleeps accelerated into third, with the top five separated by under a second. I lunged across the line in third, moving into the A final. I was now guaranteed an automatic top 6, and was interested to see how well I could do. I was soaked from the rain, so I put on a dry shirt, then went to ask Dennis about kick wax for the final. With only 20 minutes to go, Dennis applied emergency Klister to my skis, with which I got some kick. I went to the start, feeling tired and outclassed. The start of the second race went smoothly, but I was forced into last again when the number of tracks went from 6 to 3. I managed to hang onto the group up the hills, though my kick was slipping and my arms and back were exhausted. The gap between me and the top 5 continued to increase as the Klister held back my glide on the downhill. Suddenly, Neil Thorley of SMS went down after catching a tip right ahead of me. I couldn’t turn right far enough to avoid him, and if I went far enough to the left to avoid his poles I’d go off the trail. I flexed my knees and leapt, clearing his poles, I landed in a tuck and continued down the hill. My double pole to the finish gained on the rest of the group, but not enough to move up into 4th. I crossed the line in 5th totally exhausted. This was definitely my best sprint race so far, and I’m excited to see how future ones will turn out.