Gunstock Spring Fling F1 Race Report

Another Monday has slipped away without me getting a race report up. I realize that solo needs reading material, so here's what happened this weekend, slightly delayed. If you read what Alex did this weekend then nothing I say will be news to you.

Saturday was the Gunstock Spring Fling F1 race. What is an "F1 Race," you ask? It's something the crazy Russians at Gunstock made up, because cross country skiing for a long time in the woods by yourself is stupid, and racing around in little circles is way cool.

If you think I'm joking, don't forget that I ski at Weston.

So Gunstock had a 10-lap race set up with 700m loops, which were both hillier and longer than a Weston lap. In between each loop you had to make a pit stop to change skis, so you ultimately skied 5 laps classic and 5 laps skate. To make things even more motorsport-ey, we all did a "qualifying lap" to get spots on the start grid, and they added a cone chicane on the backstretch.

If you're under 30, you're probably thinking that this sounds like a pretty entertaining way to finish out the season. If you're over 30, you're probably thinking (as Sam Evans-Brown put it), "hurrr, that sounds like too much fun, I'm gonna go ski a marathon."

I was the oldest person on the start line, which is a first for me and will sadly not be a last.

Anyway, there was an actual race hiding inside the nonsense and like any actual race it ended up being pretty painful. I had the 3rd starting spot behind Sam E-B and Sam Marshall, two guys who are way faster than me, so of course I skied with them for the first lap, and even considered passing at one point.

Also predictably, they dropped me by the end of the first classic leg (lap two) and I got to ski all alone for the final 8 laps, checking periodically to make sure Alex wasn't in sight.

Throughout the race the chicane on the backstretch got harder and harder to navigate. I was depressed at my declining handling skills as I got tired and the turns got icier, and I came closer and closer to eating cones each time through. Only after the race did I find out that Igor (the aforementioned crazy Russian) was tightening the chicane after every lap, which is a pretty sweet trick. This kind of insanity should be brought to the cross scene -- why not try raising the barriers over the course of the race? What could go wrong?

Directly after the chicane was the ever-changing jump section (another thing that ought to be added to the World Cup), which got progressively harder until I had to jump a bamboo pole Igor was holding horizontally on the last lap. Luckily I had been practicing my mad hops so it was no deal.

As previously mentioned, I ended up 3rd, which meant a podium spot and some Easter chocolate. I ate my chocolate before getting off the podium because I was bonking.

That's it for the ski season, finally. I've progressively pushed back the date I would quit skiing and start training for cycling over the course of March, but it's finally time to get serious about things that roll with King of Burlingame two weeks away and lots of blogosphere mtb cred on the line. I'd get into the details of exactly how I'm preparing (hint: it has pedals) but I don't want to become that which I parody.

Oh, and Sunday I rode three hours at Otis with Callie,Alex and Linnea. Great ride, or greatest ride? You be the judge:

(Otis in Google Earth -- lots of this data came from MTB Tom. Email if you want it.)