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eLoad Race Report: 2005 National Championships Pursuit Skate
By:  Tom McCarthy   (2005/03/04)


This short season of mine has been a bit of a surprise for me. I've skied well on less training than usual, and learned, in a positive way, important lessons about rest and mental focus. I've also learned some more specific, technical things which have certainly helped my season- small but important details which add up to feeling fresh and bubbly at the start line.(bubbly? Who the heck feels 'bubbly' at the start line? You're supposed to feel MEAN. No, not me, I feel bubbly.)

I've always hydrated with water the morning before a race. I knew that other people had sport drink, but I rationalized in my head that I'd get a sugar rush from it. But then this summer I started getting cramps during running races, and my racing buddy here, Vesa, suggested I try a sport drink so that I'm getting the required amount of salt. So I started hydrating on race-mornings with e load, XC Ottawa's drink of choice. Their product contains significantly more salt than commercial sport drinks, which is essential to maintaining the proper chemical balance. They also have Zone Caps, which are capsules of additional electrolyte material that you can swallow or add to a bottle to customize for a distance race or multi-round sprint event.

Since I started hydrating with e load as opposed to water, I've stopped cramping during races and felt a lot sharper at the start lines of races. I've had to turn down the energy level a notch to stop from going too hard at the start of races, but I've been able to keep pushing harder for longer distance. I am very confident that e load has been a contributor to my successful race season.

Perhaps the best race of my season thus far was the second day of the pursuit, a 15k skate, at National Championships two weeks ago in Prince George. I was the 28th starter, based on my results after the first day. More importantly, I was 13 seconds behind my brother, argh! My brother was surrounded by a train of good skiers around him, while I started without that benefit. I pushed very hard at the start but was unable to catch anyone for close to 4km. My skis were running very fast and I caught a group that was about 7 second behind my brother. I considered sitting with them for a while but chose to keep pushing. I caught my brother soon thereafter, and sat behind him to get some energy back. Then Ian Murray came by, having a great race, so I got on his tail. He towed me around for almost 6km, and we passed or caught some very good skiers. I was having a great day, much better than I was expecting, and I felt very fresh! Ian finally dropped me with about 2k to go to the end, but I kept pushing hard and beat Chris Butler in a sprint to the finish line. I ended up in 21st spot, having made up 7 positions, and 19th senior man. It's been a long time since I was in the top 20 at a Nationals race!

While there are certainly many reasons why things went well this year, drinking e load before races has definitely contributed to being more ready to race when I break the wand to start the clock ticking.

Until next time!

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