Saturday, January 17, 2009

Bash winter tri report

It was a balmy 7 degrees when we lined up at Soldier Hollow this morning at 8:30 - stayed right about there for the entire race. Knocks the Tahoe Xterra race off the podium for coldest event I've participated in. It was a bit of a scramble morning, pulled into the race about 15 minutes before the start, ran and checked in, set up the bike and skis in transition, and tried to get a 5 minute warm up jog in while they were going through race announcements. Race highlights as follows:

  • Run - 2 laps around a 1.4 mile groomed trail of snow. No problems with traction in standard trail shoes, but learned the hard way on one occasion that getting within a few feet of the edge of the groomed stuff increases the chance of punching through - found myself knee deep for about 4 steps, mangaged to stay on my feet, and didn't get close to the edges again. Went about as fast as I could without blowing up - which doesn't mean it was fast, but it was an ok run for me. The calves took the brunt of the extra work that came from the half inch or so of compression you'd get planting your feet in the snow, I'm pretty sore tonight. Finished maybe front 1/3rd or midpack.
  • Bike - The trail stayed in relatively good shape after the foot traffic - couple sections of stewed up stuff that I actually dismounted and ran through after a few seconds of trying to pedal it with minimal bite. Low tire pressure (estimate I had them down to 15-20 psi) and exagerated outside/inside/outside lines on the turns were critical in keeping the bike tracking where you wanted it to go. Made up some ground here, but it was as much a balance contest as it was a race you could really attack, and was a little disappointed I didn't gain more ground. Would find out shortly though that it wouldn't have mattered.
  • Ski - Knew within about 30 seconds of being on the skis that I was dead. I'm still figuring out the traditional XC skiing, and the skate skiers that came from behind flew by like I was standing still. It was pretty impressive and there were a lot of guys there that had pretty big engines. I quickly found the grooves cut for the trad skis and found that they helped a lot - I still tend to get my skis pointing off target so the grooves kept me going straight up the trail. Couple of good downhills where I was able to work on my XC speed scrub skills - refining which part of my body creates the most drag when I lay down, and think I accidently figured out I can use an elbow to facilitate cornering/turns. Total of 4 lay downs, 2 each lap, and only lost control on one which resulted in getting poles and skis a little tangled and the standard disorientation associated with not being sure which way your facing when you come to a stop. The other 3 were smooth and effective for a guy that can't baby step the turns at speed and hasn't figured out how to check speed while staying upright. I've got a good speed governor built into my ski technique - my race data reflects a pretty sharp drop in heart rate during the ski leg, where I lack the skill to go fast enough to keep it high. Gave up plenty of ground on the ski - as expected, but was really surprised/impressed with how fast some of the guys/gals were on the skate skis.

Fun race overall, and fun to mix it up and add something a little different into mix. Can't say that I can't wait to line it up again in 7 degrees though.

3 comments:

pat t cakes said...

Its 60 in stgeorge this weekend hint hint

b_banks said...

Nice work man, you are an animal!

Jason said...

Pat - yeah, St. George sounded real good at that start line. May not make it back down before ICUP though.

Banks - that animal your referring to must be a sloth.