Posting for Sanna:
Our internet connection at the hotel went really patchy with last nights snowfall, so I could not write about Paul's long distance race then. Now things are working better and I'll start with a spectatoer report from yesterday.
|Paul coming up the last hill in the falling snow|
Already in the morning we had light snow fall. It did not change waxing much but made some uphills a bit soft. Paul chose again my skies as they glide better than his new ones that we bought from here. Had a good hard wax as base and a high fluor coating to help with the moisture. Paul's start was at 10:25, and the cut off time for starting the last loop was at 12:45. If he went as at the middle distance race, he should have no trouble making it (30km in 2h4min), but this was a new race, slightly slower snow and a lot longer distance. We practiced technique a little on the race day and were hoping that would make a difference too. In the beginning of the race I was runnig from spot to spot trying to follow Paul's progress, taking video and photoes. We had planned that I would give feeds and drinks on top of a hill where the loop passed three times. First time when Paul came in there were a lot of people there and everyone cheering. His technique looked good, skiing was easy and the first 10km had not taken too long. Right after he passed that spot, the wind picked up and it started snowing more heavily. I could see various parts of the course from the hill and Paul seemed to start the second 15km loop very well. He didn't look too tired and was gliding well. At that point there were lots of skiers on the course and the women were hitting the last 5km of their 30km race. So, I decided to see them finish before Paul would be passing again. In my age group the gaps were clear. The Russian who skied the last leg in their relay was winning F1 and a Finn was clearly in the lead for F2. Slightly after the women had finished the youngest men passed my spot for the first time. They were going very fast. One of the interests in Paul's race was also whether his age group winners would lap him. When he came to the feeding station again, he was still clearly ahead of them, and also ahead of another man he had been racing with in the 10km race (lost by 10s). Technique worked still well and he was gliding the uphills easy. In the last uphill before the end of the second loop he finally was passed by the three leaders of his age group, who were racing for the finish. But Paul made it to the third loop some 15min before the cut out time, so he was allowed to finish. The man he had lost to in 10km did not make it. At this time the spectator grouds started to thin out. There were only me and a canadian cupport crew on the hill any more. I tried to cheer all teh skiers as they started to look more and more tired. Some women could not glide up the hills anymore, but had to herring-bone. It started snowing more and more, and the trail got very soft, as less and less skiers were passing. When Paul came , he looked tired, but he was still keeping the technique going. He was with one F4 and one F3, who passed him at the feeding. But next time he came up, they were not too far ahead. One of them had to stop at the hill, and Paul got closer. In quite heavy snowfall Paul finished his race in 3h15min. He was the last that got a result (passed the cut off) in his age group, but there were those who did not make it. He wasn't too eager to go for a cool down. So, we headed home straight away.
|pretty race venue after the snow fall|
It continued to snow the whole night and we got a good 10-15cm of new powder. That changed the kickwax scenario quite a bit, but in the morning it was sunny and my start being at 10:10am, I was afraid that the track would glaze during the race. So, I played it safe and put a soft layer of Power Grip under covering with Rode blue. At the testing area it worked very well, and teh trails were nice and hard there. At the start everyting went well now. No pushing and grippy track. In the first downhill, however, I notriced that I wasn't gliding as well as the fastest. The first uphill was very soft and the trail was completely beaten up already. The next uphill was even worse and there was no chance of doing anythign else but run it up. At the next flatter part I had to stride where I had bee double-poling all other races. The track was so soft and my wax was draging. The Belarussian lady who was second in the middle distance race passed me slightly after that, and I had no way of going as fast as her. My skis just did not glide that well. Had to make a quick change of strategy. Now it was all about trying to find the least skied, hardest track, where I had best glide. I just kept going, running the smasched uphills and trying to fiind better glide. In the steeper downhills I wasn't too bad, but on the flats it was just dragged. I was doing fairly alright physically and still ahead of the norwegian F1 skier that had beaten me slightly in all the other races. Once lapping, I noticed that my skies started to work a bit better. The track started to glaze more and my glide improved. Felt strong still and just tried to push, passing a lot of older women and being passed by some men. My glide continued improving, although it was still a bit bad on the flats. In the last uphills I could finally ski up nicely as my wax did not grip too much anymore, and I think my finish was quite strong. So, I was second in my age group, some 4min behind the belarussian lady. Paul said that the first lap she was gaining time on me all the time, but the second lap our distance kept the same. All in all, I felt I had a good race. Was physically strong all the time. I just could not ski faster today. Must say that it felt a bit sour not to be able to really race with the other lady, but this made the middle distance glod taste a lot sweeter.
The awards for today were given at the race venue, as the big tent is prepared for the banquet. So, next we heading there.