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Keski Report #11 - Birthday Race to 2nd Place.
By:  Erik Carleton   (2007/02/26)


This was my third Keski and second one on my birthday. My first one resulted in a huge bonk and 13 places lost in the last 5k. Three years ago, I missed the start of the A wave and started just behind the B wave. I moved up well, but started to fade at the end and only avoided another huge bonk because of the shortened course. I was looking forward to improving on my 22nd and 12th places from 2001 and 2004, respectively.

This year, I made it to the start with plenty of time to spare. It turned out I did not need to get my skis marked, since I did not have a lycra bib. I was told to go behind the marking table to lineup for the start. To my surprise there was a tape separating the paper bibs from the lycra bibs. I was a bit upset, but I had company in the form of Donald Farley and Ian Murray. With a little help from Ian, I was able to work my way up into a good position before the first uphill. Soon a single line formed and we were on the parkway.

I took the lead as we headed off the parkway and I skied controlled, and there seemed to be nobody behind me. Later, I found out several guys went down at the turnoff. As we went through the start chutes again I pulled off and Phil Villeneuve told me Steve Cyr and Donald Farley were going to start attacking. The move on Pink hill was decisive and the pack split. When Steve and Karl fell and got tangled around 20k, the rest of us agreed to slow down so they could catch up. This made for a slow pace for serveral km, including the steeper hill at the start of the Champlain parkway. On such a windy day in the open, it was a huge advantage to ski in a pack.

Eventually there was just three of us left in the lead pack. Steve Hart set a hard pace up the last hill and Cyrus dropped off. That little hill really hits you after 50k, and it was all I could do to keep my body moving. Coming into the finish Steve got the skied-in lane and my legs were too empty to accelerate. Still, it was the strongest long distance race I have ever skied, and my best Keski finish.

Thanks to everybody who cheered. It is always appreciated when I hear my name out on the course. I would also like to thank the Rennies for their great hospitality and local insight.

Erik skis for Rocky Mountain Racers and is sponsored by Rossignol.

Read Other 2007 Keskinada Reports..

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