I eagerly entered the 53km classic Gloppet for the fourth consecutive time after having a great race last year. From last years' review I asked the question
What was limiting me from going faster?
1) Double-pole: I was getting whipped double-poling. Something to work on for next year. Running to work all winter gets my legs in good shape but not my core.
2) Intervals: To reduce the amount of time it takes to recover from the uphills (2 minutes is toooo long).
3) New skis: My skis are quite a few years old are getting beaten up and have lost some of their camber.
With all my spare time I managed to work on one of my weaknesses, core strength and the double pole, by swimming more in the summer and rollerskiing to work and back 35 times or so. I bought a nice new pair of Solomon skis last year, but never found, or made, time for intervals. Once the snow came I put in my regular Sunday morning skis in the Gatineau Park and at the bumpy twisty trails at Nakkertok. I ran frequently to work in the winter logging up to 60km with a pack (mainly food), but this year with the bus strike I ran more than previous winters.
Feb 14th race day! Oh and Valentine's day! See ya honey I'll be home in the afternoon :)
An hour before the start I warmed up on my skis up the last downhill and had great grip with my klister-binder combo overwaxed with green. The start went well and I avoided a good pileup a couple hundred meters into the race. Actually as usual I started a little too fast and had to back off by the first uphill and continued to drop back along the Parkway getting out-double poled again :(. Heading up Mont-Bleu my wax was not working as well as in my warmup. By the time we were going up Pink's Lake hill I was feeling downright depressed, until I got passed slowly by the first two women. Getting passed shouldn't improve one's mood - but it did because I realized that I was in about the same position as last years' good result.
From Penguin on I held my own skiing mainly by myself but always around other skiers. It was fun on the downhills getting up to high speeds with the fast conditions, but I really wished for the original technical course instead of all Parkway skiing. [aside: Nakkertok had been groomed perfectly on Friday and there is no reason trail #15, Ridge Road and Burma could not have been groomed and used in the race]. When I got to Black's I stopped and overwaxed with Vauhti carrot. I should have done this earlier because it most definitely helped me up the hills catching those who had passed me by the top and making the hills easier out to Champlain.
Heading home from Champlain I had the usual muscles starting to ache and quiver - triceps, stomach, quads, hams and the energy levels running down held at bay by fueling from my water bottle and feed stations. Coming down Blacks' was particularly interesting as the fatigue faze kicked in at high speed, but the adrenaline rush of a potential wipeout kept me on my feet. Heading up from Mont Bleu I was skiing near two skiers both of them faster than me on the double pole. One fell back on the uphill and the other took a wipeout at the top of the last downhill and I managed to stay ahead for 61st in just under 3:07.
My synopsis of my 2009 Gloppet: The change to a less technical course and fatigue from running to work hampered me physically and mentally but for a once a week skiing it was a good result.