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Stowe SuperTour - Day 2: A Blustery Day!
By:  Megan McTavish   (2009/02/09)

On Sunday, a 10km classic race was on the menu for the women and 15km classic for the men. This was going to be particularly challenging for a few reasons: first, Karl, Sheila and I were at the race without our trusty waxing genius John Suuronen, and second, the forecast called for rain, sleet, snow and sun with temperatures above and below zero. This forecast spelled a waxing nightmare!

A blustery day!

We prepared ourselves as well as possible by getting two to three pairs of skis each ready the night before, picking the most likely ones (glazed track) to put the zerofox flour-block on. I also put zerofox on Karl's Zero Fischer skis. These skis have a special base in the grip zone that can be roughed up easily and made into a fuzzy "hairy" consistency. They tend to work well around zero when the conditions are really tricky.

When we woke up in the morning, it was pouring rain! Sheila and I immediately went out on the porch and applied silverfox G (another, warmer weather flour-block) to our klister skis. Shortly after that we headed out to the race course.

As we were leaving, the rain turned to sleet and the wind was howling. We arrived just over 2 hours before our race and set up our wax bench next to the NENSA organizers who were giving us the results of their wax tests. Unfortunately, it was so windy that noone could set up their tents and so we were all waxing outside in the sleet! Sheila and I bundled up and proceeded to put a binder layer on both our glazed skis and our klister skis. At that point in time, it was unclear whether we would be using hard wax, klister or klister covered with hard wax.

This "quick job" of applying the base wax ended up taking us almost an hour! The power was going out periodically, Sheila and I had to share the grip iron and heat gun because I had brought the wrong extension cord (only one plug on it) and the skis were slipping all over the place due to the ice and snow on the forms! Our hands were freezing, our mitts were soaking wet and full of klister and we were quickly losing our patience. Finally, with about 40 minutes to go, we had one pair with universal klister (my skis) and one with super binder covered with silver (Sheila's skis). We went out to try them out thinking that we would pick one and quickly wax one more pair to match. We got about 200 m and realized that mine were icing like crazy and Sheila's had NO grip! Now we had about half an hour, no skis and we had not started our warm up.

I grabbed Karl's zeros and quickly found that they were way better than anything else. Given that I had little time left, I decided to give up on the waxing and race on them. I did about a 15-20 minute warmup (including a bit of running around getting ready) and tried to help Sheila find some skis to use.
Karl showed up around this time and tried to get a pair of Sheila's skis ready with universal klister covered with hard wax, but had some trouble with irons flying off the wax bench in the wind etc.

Luckily, 10 minutes before her start time Sheila spotted the former Rossignol race manager, Jim Fredericks, who gave her his waxless (fishscale) skis to use . ..and we were off!

We started into a head wind that almost blew us backwards, went around the corner and almost blew over sideways, then got into the bush where it was sunny and calm (and HOT!). Given our crazy start and limited or no warmup, both Sheila and I raced pretty well and learned a lot! I finished 7th and Sheila 19th. What a day! XC Ottawa's Danielle McVicar, racing for the University of New Hampshire, placed 75th out of the 132 women. Full women's results are here.

results board results board results board
Women's results

Megan and Danielle post race

Karl and Mike Argue (Rocky Mountain Racers) had it a bit calmer as it was no longer rain/sleet/snow-ing. It was still really tricky to find grip though. Karl ended up on universal klister and Mike on hairies. Karl improved on his standings from the day before and also finished 19th and Mike decided that hairies were the wrong choice! Men's Results

Karl striding to the finish

Mike Argue

Lars Flora, 2nd place among the men

We had a great time at the Trapp Family Lodge and really enjoyed the huge number of competitors that were racing. We will come back next time, but hopefully with John.

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