It's been 3 years since I last did an Eastern Cup. There's a reason for this. Eastern Cups are basically the UCI race of nordic skiing, minus the B field that might allow one to salvage their self-esteem or even have a little fun. Nope, an Eastern Cup is basically an experts-only race, made even more aggravating by the fact that most of the "experts" are high school boys.
So that's why I'd been avoiding them for the last 3 years, but hey, as part of the "Birkie Build" training program (patent definitely not pending... ask me next Monday) I needed a big weekend, and I train most effectively with a number on. Thus I registered for the Eastern Cup under the guise of "training," as if that would make me feel any better when the results went up.
The weather was beautiful for riding, and gross for classic skiing. 40+ degrees with slush in the sun and glazed tracks in the shade? LOVELY.
It was a 3-lap 15k and I was seeded near the back, as I should be, so when I hit the course (1 starter every 30 seconds) there were already guys on lap two and three of their race on it. How exciting! For the first 3 minutes I thought I was doing really well, because I was fresh and the guys around me weren't. Oooh check me out passing #327, that dude is seeded so much better than me but I am dusting him, go me!
Of course this dominance was short lived, and once I loaded up with lactic acid #327 made quick work of me, despite the fact that he was on his last lap and I was on my first. Luke from Colby was a lap ahead of me, so I also put some ground on him at the beginning only to watch him make it all up as he finished his race. Hmm, so my first and second laps are dead heat with his second and third... so all I have to do is turn lap #3 faster than his first lap!
Yeah, that totally didn't happen. I slogged out a pretty miserable lap three and ended up over a minute behind Luke and 71st/92 finishers overall. Yikes. Then I went back to my car and breathed in and out of a paper bag while mumbling "it's just training" to myself.
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