Showing posts from January, 2009

Straight Busted

I bailed on the Tuesday night race this week. I was just totally broken from running that 5k on Sunday -- and part of my revolutionary 2009 training plan is "don't race when you're really, really tired, because you'll do badly and be unhappy." That's right, it only took me twenty years to figure that out.

It helped that the race had been shortened to only two laps because lots of folks had done Jackson or the Gunstock Tri (and I guess one idiot did both...), but the thing is, when it's that short you actually need more preparation because if you aren't ready to hit 105% effort at five minutes in you get dropped. I actually would rather do a longer (three lap, 8k) Tuesday night race when I'm tired, where you can actually settle in at race pace instead of spiking really hard and then having to recover -- because when you're tired you can't recover worth crap.

This weekend is a raceless one, so there might not be much blog fodder for a while…

Gunstock Winter Triathlon Race Report

For some reason all the weirdest winter events I do end up being at Gunstock. First a Ski-O, then an "F1 race," now a "Winter Triathlon." No event is to bizarre for the crazy Russians at Gunstock.

This year's Jay Winter Challenge was canceled, so I jumped at the chance to get my snowbikeracing on elsewhere, even if it meant running a 5k. The fact that the third leg ended with xc skiing was just icing on the cake -- I would've cut a hole in a lake and gone swimming if it meant I could race a bike on snow.

I was briefly concerned about the 5k because I don't run at all, but wait, I did do a 5k already this fall! Sure I spread it over two days and did it with a bike on my back, but the important thing was that I did it. And running in five inches of mud is actually a lot like running on snow, so I should be set.

Believe it or not 50+ people showed up to this thing, most importantly my buddy Justin. I don't run, he doesn't ski, so we had a long d…

White Mountain 30k Race Report

This year's Jackson 30k was, for the first time in a while, not my first real race of the year. I'd already raced 28k TOTAL of classic skiing, definitely a record for mid January. Accordingly, I tried a new strategy called "line up where you should be" instead of "line up so you'll get blocked and have to start slow." This led to the obvious result of being "in the mix" and getting an honest 1:40 of racing in. As for how it went...

The start was a pretty "interesting" setup, with about 15 start lanes going straight for 50 yards and then hitting five lanes crossing them at a 45 degree angle. This meant that if everyone jumped in the first track they saw, 200 skiers would go into one track after 10 seconds of racing. Since everyone is in full-stupid mode at the start, you can guess how that worked. Yeeeeehaw! I didn't even have a choice in the matter since the track was already occupied when I got there, I just busted across…

Geschmossel Race Report

It's Tuesday night and I'm not racing. It's been seven days since my last post. Generally these would be signs that my world is falling apart, but in this case it just means there was a three-day weekend with a Monday race. Fear not! Collapse from overtraining and/or overblogging is still weeks away.

This three-day weekend started with a trip to watch the Eastern Cup sprints in Rumford on Saturday, which were cold and less exciting than I had been envisioning. I briefly (very briefly) had considered racing, but $55 just to miss the heats seemed like a stupid idea. Apparently this was the consensus among people old enough to pay their own entry fees, as a grand total of 3 people over the age of 23 raced. You might think this means that nordic skiing is going to be huge in a few years (omg so much youth!!), but it's really just the odd age/seriousness segregation the sport exhibits. I ended up racing Monday and being the fourth-youngest participant.

Sandwiched in b…

Tuesday Night Something Something

After a whopping 2.5 weeks off I guess I'm fully "back on it," with the 3rd race in eight days. Because I don't spend my time as a desk jockey just so I can go out and do base training at night, you know? Not when I could do some damage to my lungs and lower my self-esteem, all in an efficient 13 minutes!

So yeah. Tuesday night sprints, race #2. The natural snow enabled us to race a "new" course, as much as anything is ever new at a place as small as Weston. We basically tacked on some fast flats to the top of the course, and one fairly dark pass behind some trees, to make a 2.3k loop. The race ended up only being two laps, for no apparent reason -- flat and fast and short, even by Weston standards.

My 12th place from last week earned me a third-row start spot, and my feel-no-pain fast-twich start earned me 6th position in line going around the first turn. So far, so good, now to just hang for a scant five kilometers...

The lighting on the outer loop …

Bogburn Race Report

This weekend it was time for leg number of two of the reality check chronicles -- an individual start, 13k classic race called the Bogburn. I was on the fence about this one until Alex -- fresh off a trip to US Nationals in Anchorage, that saw half the races canceled -- rallied the troops and got four of us into her car and on the road from Boston at 8 am.

It was definitely the right decision. The snow was deep, the trails were awesome, the downhills were sketchy -- as far as old-school venues go this one was hard to beat. There were a disturbing number of college teams in attendance, but I'm far past matching myself up against guys who do "dryland" and "ski camps" and whatnot. I was more interested in seeing if I could hold together something resembling "race pace" for 45 minutes of hilly classic skiing. Despite my pull-up dreams, the upper body strength is lagging well behind where it should be.

With 15-second intervals between starters I was exp…

Tuesday Night Reality Check

Everyone's favorite fitness test/sufferfest was just as brutal as expected this week. The recent melting had chipped away Weston's outer loops, but the cold nights had allowed them to complete the inner section for the traditional "three fingers" course design. A record 88 skiers show up, and for the first time in the history of self-seeding people were actually reasonable -- 22 rows, 4 skiers per row. It looked like Nascar.

My rep from last year was only good enough to get into row 4, but since the plan was "make the lead group, hang until you can't" it was a totally workable start spot. When the tracks ended I used my cyclocross-start-freakout skills to dart around a row of people and settled into around 10th. After the prologue lap ended, I noticed some free space behind me -- make the front group: check.

Two minutes in, it felt just like last year, skiing behind the same guys with the same questionable technique, feeling the same burn accelerati…

Surviving Race Report Void

Post-posting update: Go read Rosey's unusually verbose thoughts about growing cross, they are good, so good I haven't figured out how to respond to them yet.
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It's safe to say that the last 12 days proved I'm nothing without race reports. It's one thing to sneak the odd non-race-report item into a 4000-word essay about a mountain bike race, it's another thing to build that non-race-report item into a 4000 word essay. There's a length requirement for these things, right?

My desire to crush souls on snow, despite the fact that I did zero dryland training and didn't even get on skis until December 20, has already caused some problems. I'm up to, let's see, 9 days on snow and there has been zero progress in how I feel. Linnea and I hit the snow for 3 straight days over New Year's, and by the last day I was completely useless, not getting stronger at all, I just wanted to walk up hills until we hit two hours and I could legitimatel…