NorAM Telemark Supertour Report, Telemark Resort, Wisconsin USA 29/30 Jan 2006
By: Andrew Wynd (2006/02/02)
Saturday 10km Classic Interval Start
We awoke to warm temperatures and a track that varied from ice to slush, making ski selection and waxing somewhat tricky. For the 3rd time this year, we pulled out the klisters and set about working out a good wax and luckily I had some support from Frank Lundeen of the Toko tech team, who helped test some waxes for me. Unfortunately I had counted on "normal" Midwest snow conditions and not packed my klister skis, which was my first big mistake. After a good warmup and practicing the sheet ice downhills, I was ready to start and went out quite hard on the relatively flat first 1.5km section. I was racing well until the first major climbs which required running herringbone due to the steepness and I found these difficult. The snow was so hard packed that you either kept the skis flat and trusted your wax, almost running straight up the hill, or you attempted to edge the skis. Edging the inside edges of the skis was an "all or nothing" type affair and I found it almost impossible to do this in an efficient manner. The result was a series of slow hill climbs where I seemed to lose a lot of time to the other competitors.
With one lap down and no falls on the technical sections, I was pretty happy with myself, but being overconfident can be a dangerous thing and I followed up a nice downhill with a massive face plant on another of the subsequent uphills!
Crossing the line in 23rd place doesn't sound too bad, but I was around 6 minutes back and quite disapointed with my result. Still, tomorrow is another day!
Sunday 15km freestyle. Mass Start
This race saw over 500 competitors start together, making for quite a spectacle and serious potential for danger! I had number 52 and knew that in order to ski some good FIS points, I would have to finish in the top 20. A tall order considering that the track narrows significantly after only 1.5kms! Anyway, I got off to a clean start on my soft skating skis, which I chose as they were the fastest in testing and a decent choice for the 10cms of fresh, new, wet snow that had fallen overnight. This was my second major mistake in ski selection for the weekend. The course quickly became hard packed and glazed due to the excessive moisture and my skis became slippery and difficult to edge and control. This became apparent very early in the race and by the end I almost coudn't keep the skis underneath me and boy were my shin muscles hurting from "hanging on" to the skis to stay upright. To make matters worse, I was involved in a pile up due to skiers tangling in front of me and lost another 10 places in just a few seconds. Perhaps the most frustrating thing was not being able to ski to my full capacity, as every time I tried to work harder, I became unstable and inneficient! Aaaaaarrrrggghhh. It felt like I had forgotten how to ski! At the finish line I was in 27th place, some 5 minutes behind podium finishers, David Chamberlain, Zach Simons and Chad Giese. Another disapointing result!
So I am certainly looking forward to the next races to try and remember how to ski again . . . I guess the take home message in this is spend time working on ski selection. This is far more important than having the fastest wax for the day, as the fastest skis in the world are not much use if you cannot stand up on them! So make sure you pack ALL your race skis in the bag for your next major races and pick your skis based on the ACTUAL snow conditions, not what you think SHOULD be the best pair! Good luck and happy racing.