Thursday, January 17, 2013

Race #2

2nd race of the year. 2nd podium. Granted, there wasn’t a very stacked field, but I still took the cash and nice MEC backpack. It was at Castle mountain. First race ever for them. At the start I let Peter and Stano get away just a bit, but past races I’d been able to reel both in so I wasn’t too concerned. We quickly got on to some very steep, rough switchbacks. About 50 of them. I was losing time...big time. I used some new skins I got over the summer. Wide up front, but I cut them off just below the heel. Thinking I’d have a nice compromise between edge to edge up front, but not all the way to the tail to speed things up a bit. In the end, it didn’t turn out so well as they didn’t give me enough grip in the loose snow and steep skin track. I lost a lot of time to the duo ahead of me.

As we approached the peak we had a boot pack. I later learned that Stano had to pack it in himself. Not a great move on the part of the organizers as the ridge line had some potential avi terrain to one side and some cliffy stuff on the other. Made it through ok, with a bit of postholing.

Then came descent #1. I’d always wanted to ski these steeper chutes at Castle, but the 2 times I’d previously visited the mountain there wasn’t enough snow. After the week’s dump of around 40cm’s there was plenty. Although the cut up pow on our short, skinny skis wasn’t the stuff dreams were made of, it wasn’t that hard and I don’t think I’d have given that run a dble back status.

We had another climb over to the cat skiing terrain. By now the 2 places were so far ahead I couldn’t see either. It was hard to push w/ no one behind or in front, so I maintained a fast, but relaxed pace. The second and final dh featured a fair bit of untracked. They’d asked us the night before not to take the pow runs from the paying customers, but hey, my skis just automatically went there....what could I do?

Both downhills turned into real leg burners. At one point on the second one I took a 2 second sit down break....not very competitive of me, but if you could have felt that lactic acid burn.... This second run was also supposedly a double black, going through trees and hitting some steep powder, but it didn’t seem that hard.

We finished down a nice and easy cat track descent into the finish. As much as I love the race, it’s always nice to cruise and be done. My days on the podium are certainly numbered as more young studs discover our cool sport, but I’m going to soak it while I can (2 last year, 2 so far this year).

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