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Keski Report #5 - How do you evaluate a good race?
By:  Steven Paradine   (2007/02/23)

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Placing? Who you beat? Who you were close to? Compare to how you did in previous years? How it felt? What you learned? Percentage of the top skiers [if you are not one of them :)]? How much pain you managed to put yourself in? Finishing?

I managed to get in about half a dozen skis before the Keski this year, excluding the dozen skis with my boys. Nevertheless I decided to enter in the last week for the Keski again this year being a sucker for receiving punishment, almost as much as giving out punishment, as any of you who I have coached know. I waxed with Vauhti flouro green ironed in with 3 layers of flouro orange, covered with green again. I warmed up to the first hill and decided to add some orange back on top very thinly covered with green. When I went back inside I noticed that my skis had white in the glide zone despite having put on 4 layers of wax: Vauhti green, antistatic, and two layers of a Start cold Flouro I had in my basement. Oh well, nothing I could do about it now.

Going back outside I did a few more minutes of warm-up and did the last washroom break and then went to the start. I was seeded in the A wave this year after placing 61st last year in a time of 3:18 for the very cold multiple loop 51km classic loppet. I decided to start near the back of the A wave, but after the gun went for the first kilometre I was only cruising - unable to really pass anyone. Lesson 1: never start at the back of a wave. I don't need to be on the first row, but not at the back. The first loop down bottom went fairly well. I was passing a fair number of people double poling along the Parkways.

Steven Paradine, photo by Jo-Ann Holden of Musicianonskis.ca

I caught up to Stephen Eyvindson of Deep River and stayed around him through to the bottom of Pink's Lake hill - the race is going well up to here - since I am close to someone who beat me last year and I am passing people.

Going up Pink's I get passed by a few skiers and lose some ground to those in front of me. I get the feeling that I have not enough grip and not enough glide. Was it technique? wax? skis? Out to Penguin and back I continue to lose ground on the uphills and hold even on the flats and downhills. I took a swig of my mixture of rice gel packs mixed into water on the downhill to P5. At P5 I got cheered on by Craig and Ed (or was it Tom) (thanks) and tripped up the guy in front of me (sorry) while going for a drink.

Once I hit McKenzie King Estates turn-off I was feeling very tired - with still more than half the race to go! I think about rewaxing but don't. I take another couple of drinks at the feed station and keep on. Black's! Although it is better to keep looking ahead so your hips stay forward, I put my head down so I don't have to see how much more hill there is! My quads start to seize up - but fortunately I am at the top of the hill and can double-pole again. There are people around me who I generally catch up double-poling and lose a bit on the longer uphills. At the T junction the Mortimer's cheer me and and I hang my tongue out like an exhausted dog. However, at this point I know I can make it back as there is much more down than up.

I have been counting the people coming back at me since Phil passed me somewhere between Black's and the T (I was going blurry-eyed around then) and realized I was around 70th at Champlain. I had been hoping to improve on my position from last year - but I actually took heart that I hadn't dropped further back - especially since I saw Stephen about one kilometre ahead of me.

On the way back played a game of tag with another skier who kept passing me on the uphills only for me to pass him on the downhills. Finally after going down Black's he didn't catch me again. It was nice to sit in a tuck and watch the kilometre markers go past :). My legs kept on cramping up on the uphills, but fortunately the top always came before I completely seized up. Coming back from Gamelin I actually passed someone on the last uphill and then passed a second skier going into the finish area.

I finished in 3:51 in 71st position and then proceeded to hobble back indoors as I realized that I had tied one of my boots too tight and me foot had completely cramped up swearing never to do this absurd event ever again. Of course a few hours later I start forgetting the pain and think about how I can improve for next year.

So, did I have a good race. Well, in long races I think just about everyone has times when they do not feel they are having a good race - and often you are not going much slower. I can't compare to my younger self who managed to get in well over 100 skis some years. I sure didn't leave much on the course as my legs still attest to five days later. Although my position was down from last year I improved by 1.5% compared to the top 3 skiers and placed in the top quarter of the field and placed comparably to other skiers near me last year. But when it really comes down to it I always feel proud to having finished a Keskinada loppet - it is a gruelling event!

Till next year.

Steven Paradine, Nakkertok, Ottawa

Read Steve's 2006 Keski Report: 51km Classic


Read Other 2007 Keskinada Reports..

 
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