Fortunately Theodore Wirth has their snowmaking loop, and so although races in Hayward and Ironwood were cancelled yesterday, the preloppet was still on. The race was 4 times around the 3k snowmaking loop, and the snow was transformed, chopped up, and very fast (or at least my Fast Wax Tan with Flight Cold sure felt fast).
|Me with Caitlin close behind.|
When the race started I got off the line fairly well and by 100m out was skiing in 2nd place with Doug Debold of CXC pulling away. At the top of the first hill Doug had a gap on the field, I was still in second, and a quick glance back revealed that Caitlin Compton was the only skier right behind me. Caitlin went around me part way through that first lap, and soon I was skiing in no-mans-land by myself as Caitlin caught and then passed Doug. I had a decent gap on the large chase pack, but by the end of lap 2 my legs were starting to feel the hills. Doug must have been feeling the early pace too, because he was getting closer to me, but the chase pack was reeling me in. By the end of lap 3 both Doug and I were now a part of a 6 man lead men's pack (Caitlin was far out in front). Mark Beitz made a move to the front but got tangled with a skier being lapped. Doug, Vakava teammate Eugene and I traded off the lead a few times in that last lap, and just before the 2nd to last hill Doug made his move to get a slight separation from the field. On those last 2 steep hills, which were covered in deeper, loose snow, my legs had no pop and guys who skied smarter races were able to surge up the hills by me. I came in 5th, feeling a lot better than my first race of the year. I can tell I am in better shape than last year, just not in good enough shape to hold of the field yesterday. I hope we get more snow soon so that I don't need to rollerski the rest of the winter like I did last year!
The final results.
5th Nate (age group win)
38th Dave (age group win)
Here is the Loppet Foundation's recap of the race.
Here is a great video recap of the race from Skinnyski.com