Fisher Loppet was my final
Salomon Marathon Cup race of the year. Itís a 40 km skate race at
Hardwood Hills, just outside of Barrie. I have raced here many times
in the past, so I had a pretty good idea about the course. The trails
are twisty, up and down, but nothing too difficult.
I waxed up 2 pairs of skis
Thursday night, one for fresh snow around zero, the other for rain and
wet conditions. I drove up Friday night and stayed with my sister, who
conveniently lives 10 min from Hardwood.
Sat morning I awoke to freezing
rain and 0 degree temperature. I drove to the race site, and found that
the race had been delayed 1 hour so the conditions would be less icy.
The forecast was for rising temperatures and rain. I didnít bother
testing skis, I just went with my wet snow skis waxed with vauhti speed
violet, pink IR Spektra and zero fox. I also had the benefit of my sister
giving me eload feeds every 5 km. Due to the twisty looping course she
could stamp in the same general area and see me every 5 km.
I checked out the start list,
and the competition was Cyrus Kangarloo, Phil Villeneuve, Kazuma Takahashi
and Paul Tolomiczenko. My race plan was simple. Try to stay with the
lead group as long as possible. I also expected a typical marathon race
strategy: go hard for 5km, then ease up for the middle of the race,
then at some point go hard to the finish. I also expected Cyrus to be
the strongest skier, who would dictate how the race would play out.
The race went basically how
I thought. The first 5km or so was fairly hard, and we eventually dropped
everyone but the 5 skiers I thought would be there. The 3 x-c.com skiers
(Cyrus, Phil and Kazuma) took turns at the lead. Every time Cyrus went
to the front I was watching for him to make a break. At around 25 km,
Paul got impatient with the slowish pace and went to the front and pushed
the pace. After a while he slowed down and Cyrus made a bit of a move.
Around this time we dropped Kazuma. In the last 10 Cyrus did most of
the work. In the last 5 km the pace ramped up some more, and we dropped
Phil. I was still feeling good, my skis were good, I was thinking I
might be able to win. But Cyrus sprinted the last 2 hills and got a
small gap going into the downhill finish and I had to settle for 2nd,
followed closely by Paul.
Overall it was my best race of the year, with one more race to go, the 50 km at Nationals. For anyone who has never skied at Hardwood Hills, I would highly recommend it. And a great way to do that would be to ski the Fisher Loppet next year. It is a low key race, on a nice course, and the grooming is always perfect!
Cyrus, Wayne, Paul and Phil.
Wayne with the glazed tracks in behind.
Wayne leading Paul and the pack.