Monday, January 20, 2014

Balsam Vinterfest

Nate and I loaded up in a car with a few other skiers this weekend to head up to the Balsam Vinterfest.  The race is on the Garfield county park trails, which were my home trails growing up and where I learned to ski, so I'm always excited to get back and ski them.  We stayed at my parents Friday night and they fed us some noodle hotdish, a good carbo loading meal.  The trails are really fun to ski, they are rolling and windy enough to stay interesting, but still flow well.
Garfield County Park Trails - Photo: Stuart Radde
The race has a nice small town feel, no chip timing, only one feed station at the lap, and about 60 skiers total.  Which is good because the trails are narrow and there aren't many great places for passing.  When the trails are icy there can be some tricky downhills, but with the fresh soft snow everything could be taken at full speed with no problems.  The groomers had been hard at work to pack down the new snow we got the night before and the trails were in great shape.

Working on starts during practice last week was at least somewhat helpful, as was the extra elbow room at the start line.  I was the second one off the line and Nate tucked in right behind me.  I took things out fast but controlled, and by the 2k mark the two of us were well away from the rest of the field.  When it became clear that the race would be between the two of us and that I wouldn't be shaking Nate off I dialed the pace back and tried to ski relaxed.  Both of us were skiing on Fastwax Green and our skis seemed to be running fast and just about even, so there would be no advantage to be gained there.
Nate leading through the lap - Photo: Stuart Radde
We traded off the lead a couple times, but Nate was climbing better than I was, so slowly a gap formed.  I pushed to close it a couple times, but that took it's toll and eventually I just couldn't keep contact.  I kept Nate in sight all the way to the final downhill, but there was nothing I could do to bridge back up to him.  Nate won the race in 57:30, I was 40 seconds back, and it was another 5 minutes behind me to third place.
Nate and I after the race - Photo: Stuart Radde
It was a great day to be out racing, and fun to have a Vakava train leading the race.  Next weekend is Seeley Hills Classic, a chance to see how Nate and I stack up in a classic race.

1 comment:

  1. That was a fun race! Thanks for hosting and letting me beat you. Maybe I will return the favor this weekend :)

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