Thursday, May 7, 2009

Racing in Thin Air

April 25th I found myself in the rarified air of the big CO....that’s right, Colorado. Taking a 1 week sabbatical from my work to reflect, unwind and recharge, I decided to head south for some sun, friends, mountain biking in the desert of Moab and yes a Rando ski race in CO.

Having taken my final 4 week period of rest/recovery otherwise known as “de-training” I wasn’t in the frame of mind or physical space to enter the longer, more demanding race, so at the risk of being labelled a sand-bagger I entered the rec course. I didn’t wear my nat’l team suit as to give myself away, but I ran into Scott Coldiron at the start and my cover was blown.

After Canadian nationals and my disasterous performance there I just didn’t have the heart to continue training hard intervals and such to prepare for this race that probably wouldn’t help my Canadian standings. Besides, that injured knee from the Euro champs still wasn’t 100% , so I decided to end the race season, rest up, plan the next year’s training and get ready to mount my drive towards the 2010 season.

However, being in CO it was too tempting not to toe the line on the race. I reasoned with myself that even if I wasn’t in full on race mode, every start gives a new experience and lessons that can be learned. There’s just so much to this sport to figure, pacing, training, technique, etc.

But holy cow!!! Is CO ever high up in elevation!! The race was at A basin and started....yes STARTED at 11,700 feet! We ascended up to over 13,000 feet.
I watched the first group go up and I thought to myself, maybe I should have entered the full on race division as they seemed to be moving pretty slow, then I started my warm up and realized why they were moving so slow!! There’s no air!!

I started out ok....leading for awhile, but as I kept a watchful eye on my heart rate monitor I realized that backing off a bit would make my day a whole lot more enjoyable, so I slipped into 2nd place where I remained all the way to the top of the mountain.

The rec division seemed to be the main race, at least numbers wise. The longer event had only recently been added, so there almost seemed more prestige.....anyway, all told it was a great experience. The downhill down a double black chute (after bootpacking up) was powder ice crust and a real pain. Yet I skied it ok with the new SkiTrabs helping a ton.

So what up now? Training man!! I’m recharged, refocused and ready to go. I’ll do some posts on laying out a systematic plan for the year. A couple guys have asked help with this, so I’ll start to put some info down. Plus, I’m contemplating putting together a manual on the “when to’s, why to’s and how to’s” For ski mo. Let me know if that’s something you’d be interested in!!!

Ciao 4 now!!