The disclaimer is that I've been sick for a while. Twelve days, not that I'm counting, but hey I managed to perform decently at a Randonee and also have a respectable Tuesday night so I thought I'd take the illness-denial lifestyle north for the Flying Moose. Plus, it's my dad's race, and I was signed up as results guru because that's my schtick.
So, off in the car, sans Linnea for once because she's Mrs. Pro Cyclist these days. Instead my college buddy Aaron "not suitable for minors" Duphily came along, I picked him up in Auburn and we spent a solid sixty minutes hypothesizing what the klister situation would be like. We were so worked up about 20km on ice we ended up buying a tube of KR20, which is technically just another klister but behaves more like an epoxy. Then we ironed a crapload of it onto our kick zones, because it was going to be crazy abrasize out there, which of course jinxed the weather into being warmer and sunnier than expected and the snow a lot softer.
Suffice to say my excess of binder meant that at least I could kick everything.
The field was actually more stacked than last year although a bit smaller. Colby and Bowdoin and the entire masters scene were in attendance, plus Adele Espy was back from Junior Worlds, in addition to the standard collegiate beatdown I would be probably receiving the double-my-age beatdown and possibly even the dreaded high-school-girl beatdown.
I got things off on the right foot by putting KR40 on one ski and KR50 on the other, not because I was testing wax, just because both purple tubes look the same and I was probably talking too much and focusing too little. Luckily they both ended up working great, furthering my hypothesis that KR 40 and 50 are actually the same wax with different labels.
Anyway somewhere between the pre-ramble and the whining comes the race. I ended up with a place that would suggest I took it easy from the start but a perceived effort that said otherwise. My non-awesome glide might've had something to do with it. After 1k we crossed the road onto the Gould trails and got the serious climbing started.
I was happily chilling in the single track behind a gang of Masters but a Bowdoin guy behind me was not happy at all, so he went running past me, so I went running with him, and we ran the whole first hill while passing three people. It was pretty awesome and just before I cracked we went over the top, hooray!
Of course this was the first of about ten major climbs at Gould so it was probably not a good sign. Nevertheless I had too much kick so I kept making good progress on the climbs, plus the downhills are fairly technical and we're four miles from where I grew up -- so I had some advantage there, too. Anyway, the point of all this was that I managed to move up a few places and generally ski pretty decently despite feeling like crap. Every time I was about to cross over from "burning" to "numb" we'd crest a hill and I'd stave off exploding a bit longer.
Thing was, though, I was only able to take shallow breaths because everytime I went for the big air gulp I'd start coughing. This may have been reducing my oxygen uptake -- well, that or the pound of phlegm in my lungs that was causing the coughing. Whatever it was -- when we left the Gould trails and went into the Bethel Inn trails, which demanded steady exertion, the rocket exploded on the launchpad and my race effectively ended.
It started with a cramp in my side from taking a stupid feed, then spread to being suddenly very irritated by my heart rate monitor -- I can't take a deep breath because this thing is squeezing me, argh -- so I stopped to take it off, always a sign things are going well. While I was fumbling around Andy Milne passed me, so free of my HRM I set off after him. He appeared to be traveling at around the speed of sound, so I exploded further, and then I started giving up, I just couldn't hold onto any kind of steady exertion, and after trying for a while I couldn't even recover on the downhills.
So like a true champion, I stopped on a climb, leaned over my poles, and thought long and hard about how unfair it was that I was getting my ass handed to me. During this time Adele passed me to complete the beatdown trifecta, which didn't improve my spirits.
From there I plummeted backward, losing another five or six places and eventually finishing twenty-seventh. The only bright side was that I resolved to stop doing stupid exercise things until I kicked whatever sickness was ailing me -- but then I woke up Monday feeling a tad better and Linnea was like "hey, want to go to Otis?" so that plan went out the window less than 24 hours after it was hatched. Such is the power of the bermed twisties.
My disc rotor almost fell off, a sure sign Thom P didn't work on this bike.