I can't believe I've been racing Tuesday Night World Championships for four years now. It's been an interesting trip. Year one I thought I could jump straight to skis and ski as fast I did in college; I ended up slow and then overtrained for most of the year, never making the front group. Year two I trained less/smarter and was consistently in the front group after the first few weeks, even placing second twice. Year three I raced fewer Tuesdays and regressed a bit, probably because I didn't race as smart or with as much motivation. And this year -- who knows?
My transition to snow has been as feeble as ever this year, so my expectations were low. Just before heading out I went back and read last year's entry, which ended up being a really good call. Last year I thought I would just make the front group and throw down, and ended up exploding; note to self: stay away from front group. And they say writing a narcissistic race report about every little race you do is pointless!
I ended up seeded in the 4th row, but not everyone ahead of me showed, so combined with some carnage to the side of me I came out of the tracks in a dangerously forward position. Up the hill and out onto the flats, I was a mere 5 meters behind the tail of the front group, so I threw the plan out the window, threw in a few hard skates, and got on.
Of course we were 60 seconds in and my legs were on fire, but what do you expect from the 4th day skating? When the gap reached 3 ski lengths I quit worrying about it and skied my own race, instead of flipping out and trying to close it. I got your maturity right here.
Gosh, what is there to even write about if I didn't do anything stupid? The gap opened up steadily (I lost about 25 seconds/lap to the leaders) but only one guy came around me, and I jumped in his draft and focused on skiing efficiently.
"Focused on skiing efficiently??" Man, I sound like Alex. Such mature race strategy.
Terry eventually pulled us into the comet trail of guys falling off the front group, and I was able to make some bad decisions. Terry went around Dave, but Dave is usually fast, so I was content to sit on the back of the group. We picked up another guy. I stayed on the pack. Oh, look, Terry is skiing away now, good thing my burning glutes and I are back here behind two other dudes or we'd have a chance of sticking the draft and getting away with him.
So I waved him goodbye, suffered through a few more minutes, and dropped the hammer with as much flailing as possible to win the 3-up sprint for 8th, a little over a minute back from the lead group of masters. I was feeling pretty good about this until I looked at last year's race #1 results and saw that I was exactly that far back last year, too.
The key to happiness is low expectations, I guess. Gimme two more weeks (or one race on ice), and then I'll worry about failing to make "the group."
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