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Wyndy's Race Tales #3 - Hello all from Liberec and the 2009 World Championships.
By:  Andrew Wynd   (2009/03/02)


XC Ottawa alumni Andrew Wynd was at the recent Liberec World Nordic Ski Championships! This time he headed there straight from a Down Under summer. Here's a re-cap..

Hello all from Liberec and the 2009 World Championships. Last Sunday's 30km duathlon race was another difficult day for the athletes and the support staff. Ski waxing conditions were extremely difficult again and when I heard the weather report the previous evening, memories of the Sapporo snowstorm come flooding back. Those who remember the last World Championships would remember the freakish snowstorm that moved through the race course at exactly the wrong time and caused havoc with our skis. I was praying this would not happen again, but it seemed Liberec also likes throwing weather related surprises at the athletes.

Race day arrived and there were 95 starters in this event, making it the biggest event at the World Champs, with a crowd of more than 30,000 spectators lining the course.

Weather played a prominent role in the race, making our ski and wax selection critical. Our waxing and testing team were forced to make a judgment call with our skis with only 20 minutes until start time, choosing to send us out on "no wax/hairy" skis where there is no grip wax under the ski, only fine hairs that grip the snow. These skis can by dynamite in the correct conditions, but quickly turn to slippery skis with no grip when the temperature is not correct.

At the 2km mark into the 30km race, I found I had very little grip and had no choice but to start running up the hills, rather than kicking and gliding which is significantly faster. As a result I knew it was going to be hard to hold the lead pack off. I was desperately trying to hold them off until we changed into our skating gear, but unfortunately they were just to fast and they soon moved up to my position.

In the end I finished in 74th place from 92 starters, which is a relative better position than 100th at the last World Championships, but still not the result I was looking for as I felt I had the fitness and strength to ski into the top half of the field.

There are some more comments on the Australian Team website at the following link, http://www.hoppet.com.au/xc/xcfiles/reports/r_0809_wc.htm.

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