One Last Tuesday Night Race

Racing on natural snow, in Boston, on March 20th? You've got to be kidding me.

I always forget that "race-able" snow and "good snow" are totally different things. I had this funny idea we'd be skiing on smooth, beautiful wet granular conditions.

Well, it was granular, so I got that part right. The daytime high was 42 (low for this time of year!) but what little snow was there was soft. They started grooming around 6, which left a layer of frozen smooth stuff on top (because the temperature was dropping) that broke through to slush/grass when you pushed off. There were two water crossings on the course.

And somehow, they were charging $13 to for a trail pass, because they have no idea what they are doing.

Anyway, there was a pretty good turnout for an unofficial Tuesday night, most of the fast guys were there. The course kept firming up as time passed so it ended up as an icy, rutted mess, the kind that destroys shins and confidence.

This is actually really good for me, ice means high speeds (good for drafting) and favors technique over fitness. I got a good start and settled into second place like I knew what I was doing.

After one lap there was a lead group of I think 5 people, and the pace was disturbingly comfortable... ok, it was slow, really. So Rob Bradlee came through from 3rd to the front and then things really picked up. I went with him to stay in 2nd, but the difference in pace was staggering, and after a few minutes that little voice in my head started asking me, "do you really think you can keep this up until the finish?" I kept letting little gaps open and then having to work twice as hard to close them.

So at the end of lap two Rob broke me. I've got to hand it to him, he was disgustingly smooth for someone skiing on total crap. The guy who had led earlier, Dave Currie, came around me when he saw I was losing Rob but he couldn't stay with him either, so heading into lap three it was Rob off the front, then me and Dave, and then Chris City and someone else trailing us by 5 seconds or so.

Dave and I were both hurting from trying to stay with Rob, so about halfway through the last lap Chris City pulled up to us and went past. Continuing my trend of lazy/dirty/effective skiing, I went with him to stay in second place in the group.

Into the last up-and-back fairway section I went all out on the climb since I didn't trust myself to sprint effectively on an icy, rutted gradual downhill. I got a small gap and no one could really close any ground on the way down so I hung onto 2nd place.

Where the hell has THAT been all year?


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