Saturday, March 28, 2009

2009 Canadian Ski Mountaineering Champs's my personal race report for the race today. The final result was not at all what I was hoping for and I'm a little bummed out. However, life is good. I live in the mountains. As long as I've got my health I'll be skiing. My family (which went w/ my this weekend) is awesome and fun. Finally, there will always be more races to do and goals to shoot for. Here's what happened to me today:

we ran around the lodge before clipping into the skis for the downhill. I was a little slow as usual getting into those dang Dynafits, but wasn't too far behind.

Hill 1:
going up I wasn't in the bindings right and had to stop and re clip in slowing me down (did I say I hate Dynafits?). I was only about 20m behind the lead group of 5-6 and a quick transition into the first downhill brought me right back into things.

dh #1:
My new SkiTrabs did their job and I skied respectably down the difficult dble black chute.
A decent transition put me chasing the pack right w/ Reiner the eventual Canadian winner. Another good transition put me still in contention. I was flying down the hill and almost had a major wipe out. I’m convinced an angel righted me up as I was about to crash Big at hi speed and somehow recovered. I then proceeded to the transition point and became one of the talks of the race. I came in somewhat "hot"....actually, really hot and crashed super big. It was b/c I hit the fence. I was fine, but several guys in the lead pack verbally made sure I was ok.
shades of disaster looming:
Up the switchbacks as we now began to climb back up to the start were problematic. The skins weren’t delivering enough kick and despite all the switchback practicing I’d done, I was losing time. Then as a couple of guys were bearing down, I lost a skin. I was reeling in Jeff, but had to stop and grab one which was handily placed in my suit.
Coming up to the top of the bootpack I again struggled to get my dang Dynafits on, but wasn’t too far behind the lead group.

Dh#3 and big climb
I went down ok, but w/ the lead group out of site, didn’t take the chances I’d taken earlier. Now there were 2 guys between me and the lead group. As I climbed up the bowl, my skin tip attachment was coming off. Somehow the knot had worked its way through the stopper I’d placed on there. After putting it back on several times I was able to gingerly ski with it until the bootpack #2.

Top of the world and major disaster.
Having been warned that if you lose your ski at the top of Dogtooth mountain (hi point of the race), it’d be a point of no return for the ski, you and your race. Maybe I was freaked out by all that, but in any case, I couldn’t get into my Dynfit binding (are you seeing a pattern here?). Finally, after monkeying around w/ it for what seemed like several minutes I started the narrow, spooky descent right next to the "point of no return cliff". Wouldn’t you know it, my Dynafit binding wasn’t on and I lost a ski. Fortunately it didn’t careen off the end of the world, but I was in a major spook zone. The big Swede then passed me here as I was sliding around on one ski. After finally getting in and moving ahead, I clipped my pole on a tree and it bounced out of bounds sitting on the edge of the now several timed mention "point of no return". So I had to side step down and retrieve it.....more time lost....what a gong show!

Dare Downhill
Finally, some good news, my run down this dble black was actually pretty decent. The snow was good, my turns were good and it was fun.

Disaster once again
After all the playing around at the point of no return, people were starting to catch me. At the final transition, not 1 of my 4 skins was sticking to my skis. About 4 people came in and finally I started begging for a skin. Some really cool, natty snowboard looking guy tossed me his synthetic back ups. I never got his name, but I love this man. With the synthetics I was bomber in my kick. The funny thing was that all the folks that passed me really weren’t in my aerobic league, so I blazed back by them all (well the close ones anyway).

It was great to finally finish this race. I was about 15-18 min. back of the leaders. A few of the guys I’d beaten the last time we raced, but that seems like an eternity ago now. I was so bummed out as with my missing Fernie (knee injury) and Nelson (being in Europe), it seemed like if I’m to have any chance at getting back to Europe to redeem my poor performance there I had to deliver today. Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be.
I really needed to have Whistler. It would have given me another chance to race and score some points towards the nat’l ranking, plus it’s a course that suits me. It’s long, not too technical and you don’t have to do a lot of Dynafit switches!!

What really gets me is that aerobically, I’m fit. And w/ my technical blunders it’s as if the hard training was wasted. Of course there’s purpose and joy in the journey, but when you’ve done many really hard gut busting workouts to be ready and blow your race because your skins aren’t working or you can’t get your skis all seems kinda sad. Week after week of my Sunshine ski resort interval workouts and time trials.... weekly Canmore Nordic Centre intervals and other training...oh well.

The good news is, there’s always another race. Always another challenge. I learned a heap this year. The Euro experience was amazing. I did a major gear upgrade. For the first time ever I did my dryland training specifically for rando racing and hope to do so again this year with refinements. I don’t even know if there’s a chance for me to go to world’s next year, but even if I don’t, the domestic calendar is getting good and it sounds like Whistler is going to be a major North American championship race. Life is good.

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