Saturday, January 23, 2010

Well, the rain could be worse: Theodore Wirth race report

I took the Macalester team over to Wirth to ski the race this morning. 10k (I think it might be a bit short, but maybe not), lots of hills (18 of them in a 10k), none sustained, but a lot of climbing. The weather was, well, left some to be desired, but the rain was light during the race. I got bibs, warmed up a bit on the course, making sure to ski the new steep hill up to the top of the snowboard hill and then pretty much waited.

We watched the women's race with an umbrella and then got ready for the men's race, for which the rain was holding off pretty well. I was sort of warmed up and had sort of had enough to drink and, it's only a 10k, right? Just with a lot of hills. Yes, a lot of hills. Depending on how you count, six to ten per lap. I found a race map and started describing the course for some of the Mac racers: "Okay, so you go down flat, then down a hill, up a hill, down a big hill, up a steep hill, and then down a curving hill. There's a short flat section, then there's the long, gradual replacement for the widowmaker, and then a long downhill. Then you go up a hill, down a new hill [which it turns out was very soft since it hadn't been groomed when it was cold], up a hill, down a little hill and up a little hill and down a curving hill and up a little hill and then down a long hill. Then you go up a big, long hill, across a somewhat flat section, down the sledding hill and then up to the finish."

Got that?

It's a hilly course.

So I went out and felt okay, with Collin half a minute behind me and Anders Osthus, who I'd told Collin to stay with, fifteen seconds behind him. I powered up the steep hill and passed a couple guys on their second lap, went down, and got passed by Collin and Anders (yeah, he's fast; when I saw the Ski Hut suit I realized he probably skis with the rest of the Duluth crew), stayed with Collin for a while and let him go. One of my strengths—one of few—was that I knew the course well, so I knew to take the inside of the 180-downhill after what used to be the start of the Loppet. I took the inside and made it easily. He took the outside and took a dive. Whoops. And then it was down, up, down, up and start the second lap.


So I finished in about 31 minutes (Liebsch won in, oh, 22-something, which is why, with the slow snow, I think the course might be short) and had a cookie. It started raining harder right as I was getting in and decided I really didn't want to cool down and get soaked. Ugh. A bit more cheering and a poor excuse for cooling down, warm clothes inside and home. And whether we'll ski tomorrow, classic 15k in slush, is definitely up in the air.

But the course is pretty fun. It would have been nice to have nice snow, but we have what we have—and it was surprisingly good. There are no long hills; it's definitely a midwest course (if that makes any sense) but they've definitely thrown enough climbing in. The longest climbs are about 25m, which is okay, but they just keep coming. And it stayed pretty firm even after all the women had skied, so with good conditions … well, I guess this is a good warm-up for JOQs next year.

I ran the Gmap-Pedometer for this and computed the elevation—it's definitely not perfect, but it gives a decent approximation of the hills in the course. Someone's got to homologate it.

1 comment:

  1. It started raining harder right as I was getting in and decided I really didn't want to cool down and get soaked