Monday, February 4, 2013

City of Lakes Loppet - 33 km Freestyle

Bonnie reports:

Thanks to all the wonderful volunteers, race organizers, the City of Lakes Loppet Nordic Ski Foundation, groomers …  who make this race possible.  You did a wonderful job!
For me, like most Nordic racers, this was a busy weekend.  I spent all day Friday at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester with one of my five kids, trying to find an answer to why he has chronic stomach pain.  Saturday was spent transporting my kids to and from athletic practices and birthday parties.  It was 10:00 PM and I still needed to wax my skis for the race on Sunday.  I quickly checked the weather report and went straight to the Fast Wax Nordic Race Recommendation page http://fast-wax.com/race-day-wax-recommended .   I followed the wax recipe recommended for the race (1 layer HSLF 10 teal, then 2 layers HSLF 0 White, then Flight Arctic using the Fast Wax base saver); saving me research time.  In short order, my skis were waxed, and I went to bed confident I would have fast skis the next morning.

What a fantastic day for racing it was in Minnesota! The skies were blue and sunny, and the snow was light, fluffy, and falling from the trees.  The start was a bit chilly (in the single digits) after stripping down early to get our bags in the truck to be shipped to the finish area.  I started with the other elite women in the second row of wave 1, but was quickly swallowed by a swarm of very fast men.  I was lucky enough to narrowly avoid a multiple skier crash just seconds from the start. 
Since this was the longest race I have done this season, I tried to ski conservatively at the start, not knowing how I would feel after an hour or so of climbing, and descending.  I latched on to a group of men and women skiing relatively my same speed.  The group morphed a bit as the kilometers wore on, but a few of us stayed together for most of the race.  My legs were still feeling pretty fresh through the bog.  By the time I reached the lakes, I was ready for some flats.  The fast snow on the lakes turned out to be an unexpected bonus.  With a few hundred yards remaining I spotted the third placed women.  I went after her, but was unsuccessful in catching her before the finish.  I ended up 4th overall of the 162 women that skied in my race.  I was happy with my finish and with the speed of my skis.  My skis stayed fast from start to finish.

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