2006 Keskinada Report #3 - My Keski Story
By: Chris Pella (2006/02/21)
I had no performance expectations this year, since I've been suffering from back problems and a lingering, mysterious virus all winter - maybe I have something in common with Marit Bjoergen after all. But even so, one just has to go out for a Sunday ski in the sun and pick up some of the ambient energy, even if you are skiing at 70% capacity. There is always something to see and learn.
My first commment concerns the new course. It was a bad idea. Trying to funnel all those skiers onto single-track didn't work at all. Much better to get out onto the parkway and give people a chance to stretch out and use Pink Lake hill as a first filter. Basically those of us in the middle of the pack had to stop at the top of every hill and wait while skiers decended. Going uphill was just as bad, as every little hill was a bottleneck. I didn't actually do much real skiing until the return down the parkway (this was the 29K course).
Another hard lesson was in ski choice. I have 3 pairs of skate skis: 1 pair of rock skis, 1 pair of soft skis, and 1 pair of hard-pack skis. For some mysterious reason I decided to use the hard-pack skis, based on the conditions around the warm-up area. Big mistake. I felt like I was skiing with snow ploughs on, probably adding considerably to the energy cost of skiing. My soft skis are generally slower under most conditions, but yesterday they would have been the right choice by a country mile. On the downhills where the snow was scraped down to ice even the hard-pack skis were of now use...it was better to ride the berms and hang on.
Next year I will try to skate the 51k event, but only if they revert to the old course. I think I recall that they were trying to make it more spectator friendly, but let's face it, this is a participatory event. I believe that European loppets are mostly point-to-point courses.