Throwin down with the master blasters

Tuesday night sprints!

There might only be 300 meters of skiable snow in all of Massachusetts, but that's probably 250 meters more than what the CSU guys would race on. Tonight was the first of the CSU Tuesday night sprints at Weston, and the course was -- according to my time, anyway -- about 65 seconds long. Basically, you hammered for 25 seconds, then did a U-turn, then hammered for 25 seconds, then did a U-turn. Eight laps of that.

These races are not "organized," in the conventional sense of the word, but they are timed, which is good enough for me. I got a sweet 5 minute warmup in after booking it out of work early, and then a mob assembled. Someone said it was a self-seeded mass start, and no one else seemed to want the outside of the front row, so I stood over there. And then someone said go, so like 30 people started ski racing on a postage stamp of snow. Which is awesome.

The first couple laps were a tight line of skiers, pretty much tip to tail. I fell into second for a bit, and then I stepped on the leaders pole pretty bad on one of the turnarounds. I didn't want to come off as someone who takes these things to seriously, so I apologized profusely and kind of let up. So I went back to fourth, and there I stayed.

I didn't figure out until afterward, but I was a complete idiot strategically. Let's see, a race that has a sharp turn every 25 seconds... what other sport that I did all fall does this sound like... hmmm... and what did term did this sport teach us? "Accordion effect?" So where's the best position in a lead group of four? Probably not fourth!

So I sat at the back like an idiot, and every time we skittered around an icy U turn the gap opened up, and I'd have to really turn it on to get back into the draft on the straightaway, because the guy in 3rd was having the same problem hanging on to 2nd. So he certainly wasn't waiting for me.

Unfortunately, this was not sustainable. Somewhere around lap 5 or 6 of 8 the gap opened to almost five meters on the corner, and that was it. The lead three hung out in front of me for the rest of the race, just out of drafting reach on every straightaway, and I was pretty much resigned to fourth on the finish straight. Then there was a crash, so I passed that guy to get a 3rd, but it was really a fourth. My time was 8:53, I believe the winner was 8:47 or so.

Afterward I felt freaking horrible. A day of drinking too much coffee, a five minute warmup, followed by 9 minutes at or above my anaerobic threshold -- this is not a recommended training program.

Afterward I skied a few cooldown laps, then my foot cramped up and I fell down in a little pile of wuss while clutching it.

But, it's now time for dinner and a beer. So things are looking up.


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