In the late fall I decided life was just too easy raising three young boys, or maybe I just needed a little escapism, so I registered for the Keskinada classic race and planned my training. With my ski coaching background I took into account my strengths and weaknesses and other life commitments and came up with a training program similar to my marathon training program.
Once a week long and hard starting at 6:30 am on Sunday mornings.
Race day - I prepared my skis with many layers of glide wax including some old Rex green and put on Rode skare special, covered with 4 layers of Vauhti green fluoro. I did a warm-up for 10 minutes including an uphill were I was happy with my grip and glide. I put three more layers of green on inside and got to the start line in time to get a good spot on the outside lane of wave B. This was a wise move based on experience since there were a few people down over the first kilometre that were easy to avoid being on the outside.
Once I got to the Parkway I knew I had made a mistake in my waxing since I felt my skis dragging while double-poling and others around me were out double-poling me - which I am not used to. However, there is not to do at that point but keep on poling. The wind going across the field 4 times was brutal but at least you knew you only had two kilometres of it before shelter or a tail-wind.
I started feeling tired quite early in the race and thought I was back in the hundreds and not the top 75 which was my goal. However, I kept drinking from my gel solution (7 gels in a water bottle) and I was staying with the people around me and it gave a confidence boost to pass the second wave of skiers on the second 9km loop - and the thought of the Keski toque kept me going! Coming back down the parkway for the last time I felt my triceps starting to seize, then my quads starting to seize and a new one for me - my stomach muscles were seizing up - then on the last uphill a hamstring started to seize forcing me to slow to a walk.
I surprised myself by ending up finishing 61st in 3:18 ahead of my goal and with enthusiasm to do it again next year (and new goals).
Oh, and the waxing mistake(s):
- Putting on the last three layers - especially not smoothly enough.
- My wax pocket was two inches shorter at the tail end - something that +50km of skiing will show you with what is worn off. With no racing recently getting the wax pocket perfect is hard to do.
Comments and suggestions for the organizers
- It was a well run event with great volunteers
- A train of skiers I was following made a wrong turn for the 1st 16km loop (turned closer to the Parkway) and later on the 16km loop it would have been very easy to go straight and miss a turn. The second time around there was a marshall and cones on the trail but it was confusing for someone who knew the area and had skied on the course beforehand.