It had been a couple of weeks since my last race (Rocky Mtn Ski Marathon...30km....6th), so I felt I needed one last race type effort before our SkiMo nat'ls this weekend. What to do? Time trial up Sunshine ski area. I've gone from gondola bottom to the very top several times, but only a couple in a time trial format. The total climb is 1070 meters of vertical over approximately 12km.
It was a saturday so I wanted an early start to avoid the crowds. Starting out low the freeze/melt cycle had set up a bit of an icy course but I was surprised how quickly it gave way to untransformed powder. I used all my best race gear, mohair skins included. I find that icy conditions really eat up the mohair skins, so in the spring I switch to synthetic. Today though I could see the mohair was the right choice.
My format is to ski easy for 15 min., then give 'er. I don't know if it was the short night of sleep or the 3 hour easy ski I'd done the night before, but I was tired and I just couldn't get my heart rate up very high. O well, I thought, just go hard, see what the intermediate time is at the main lodge and see what happens.
As I started cranking. My first thought was, "I gotta shorten these race poles." I've already cut 'em down 3 times....any more and they can double as sledge hockey poles. But I'm finding that for climbing the shorter poles are the way to go. 125 cm for me, otherwise they just get in the way...in the ups and the downs.
I made the lodge in 47 minutes, a pb by almost 3 minutes. Even though the heart wasn't getting very high, I must have been moving pretty good. As I continued to climb I could see the area had really been getting a lot of spring pow. If fact that day it was wind blown in. It kinda slowed me down. As I reached the "Bye-Bye Bowl" the steeper sections were challenging as the new windblown was slipping away over the ice. I had to make several extra switchbacks to keep the angle lower. This obviously was going to cost me time, but reasoned I needed to practice my switchbacks anyway. With each one I ranked it for its speed and efficiency.
As the top of the mountain lift station came into view I could see from my watch that a new record was in reach. I'd tell myself, "13 minutes to get to the top." Then, "7 minutes to get to the top." With each glance at the watch I could also see my heart rate also begin to climb. Maybe I'd just needed some motivation to get it high, which now seemed to be the case.
Final time: 1:28:02
My previous best was 1:32:00. A PB by 4 minutes. I was stoked. I guess I am in ok shape after all. How will this compare to the other guys next week? I couldn't tell ya (probably be in my next blog). But in the end it's not about beating anyone or placing at any position. It's about doing the absolute best that YOU can do. That's where you have to focus your energy. A lot of people really have big time race nerves, but I've found that if you just concentrate on you- your race and doing all you can to be the best you can be, it really helps the pre-race nerves. Go as hard as you can, maximize every opportunity to pick up time and let the results take care of themselves. In this way you can walk away from any race at peace with yourself.
After posting that time I must admit I was stoked! Though my legs were shaking I teamed up with someone and dropped into Delirium Dive. On my light 160cm race skis the powder mank was a challenge, but I was up to it. The ski out saw this skier with a big smile on his face as I contemplated how cool it is to live here, do a (shortish) 2 hour workout in this manner, in this environment.