2008 Gatineau Loppet Reports - Well Craig, You Asked.
By: Steven Parkin (2008/03/08)
My goal was to race so as to have a good indication of my skiing relative to others around my ski/fitness level; to wax fast like those around me, ie. low flouro top layer—with hopes of equalizing that variable. How I define that level is impossible, but I think most of us have a measurement meter. The plan: stay near wave B front and then position myself correctly before entrance to the woods (15); figure what that relative speed is, re-adjust before Penguin, then again Burma, then, what the heck—improvise.
The reality after waking: made coffee, woke up my skis, we checked ‘new’ temperature predictions, laughed at the multitude of variations over last 24 hours, then pondered the 14 day forecast (always enjoy a spot of humour in the morning) ; ate my spaghetti breakfast (my skis ate wax the night before), zoomed through taped hockey loss by our team; dealt with it, dressed. Turned key in car, no start ,big surprise from Mr Auto-reliable; only 2nd time ever. Scramble.
Run to start line after brief warmup. Ok start, ok+ skis; pass start line again, suddenly felt like I was skiing on putty. Must be me; pre-race routine again brings me to the day fatigued, lacking quality sleep, under the weather the previous day, but feeling better and optimistic o the morning of—still, I’ve gotta change the taper- week ‘trying to be good’ routine-- never works.
Stopped to feed, that’s how slow I’m going?! No glide to1 skate even; maybe I’m sicker than I feel judging by effort to speed and those around me. No glide going up Penguin. Burma the same; until, oddly, half way into the rolling downhill sections. The skis, me, or us both started to speed up. Passed the group I let ahead just 5 minutes before with relative ease. Headed down Ridge road happily. Hit 1st extended parkway downhill in tracks, looked around at all the Gu/gel packs littering the course (why not use 5oz bottles—easier/quicker. If not, stick the empty pack back where it came from); looked at clear tracks ahead and lifted head back to feed. Hardly moving by hills end. Miserable, annoyed and slow on the easy Parkway I looked so forward to. No power, no push, am I that drained, or ill? Actually stopped a couple times, looked up and said “what the !@#% , how could i/it be so slow; haven’t offset so much in years. Others are slow too, but still passing me by the droves.
Bottom of Pinks lake, started to catch up to guy who passed me just before downhill, I complained about odd snow, he only seemed mildly miffed. Notice that as we spoke I was suddenly pulling ahead with no extra effort, now 2 skating, 1 skating, catching others that passed some time ago. Things continue to improve.
Feel tired at finish, but oddly good because of last 4 km skiing; can’t figure out the huge variance over course; 30 minutes slower than pre-run 2 weeks previous.
Go home, put skis in corner; we don’t speak for 3 days. Decide to make up, do a little waxing. Notice minimum of 12 sticky splotches on each ski from tip to head of bindings; had to use scraper; tried soap and water, wax remover. Part of mystery solved, but never reached intended goal.
Anyone knows of up coming races within a few hours drive? I’ve trained fairly hard for a good reason; and need a little redemption.