Sunday, January 18, 2009

Seeley Classic race report

Jakob and I drove up to Wisconsin for the Seeley Classic—biggest solely classic race around, and on the Birkie Trail, too. We made it in to Drummond without issue, having signed up for the race and pretty promptly went to sleep. Waxing had been easy, Start green (or something similar) and toko binder with lots of, uh, whatever on top. With new snow, anything would kick.

With the 10 a.m. start time, we had plenty of time in the morning, and only cut it close because we got three miles out when I realised I'd left my number at the house. Whoops. Back through the four inches of new snow each way, and then to the start—in the new snow—just minutes before the gun, so I managed not to warm up at all. It had just set in to Jakob and me that a 42k classic race is a bit of an undertaking.

The classic trail—the course—is fantastic. I can't stress how well-designed it is as a striding trail, and overall as a ski trail. Amazing. I stuck with the leaders out of the front and soon dropped back to about 15th, but still skiing well. I took the first feed, headed down the hill, and began dry heaving. Bad times. I thought I pulled something and stopped on the side of the trail to stretch some. As I said, bad times. I went pretty quickly from 15th to 45th as I waited to see if I should go back to the feed, knowing I was a ways from the start. Once I was able to go on, I took it easy most of the way to OO, but started feeling better, so I took off.

After the OO crossing, I felt better and started picking up positions. I made up about ten before skiing most of the last 10k from the 34k marker on the Birkie Trail back to OO. A fine race, except for the five minutes stopped by the side of the trail.

After chopping some firewood (after half an hour we were completely beat) we had dinner and then I went for a short, easy night ski to loosen up. In the morning, we went to the North End Cabin and skied to OO, where there was the promise of food from the official opening of the Classic Trail (and a lot of skiers, too), again in new snow. Conditions couldn't have been better. And free chili and hot dogs at OO. And a slow ski back to the Birkie Trailhead—and after 80k of striding, a soothing drive home.

Results, or something approximating them.

My skinnyski trail reports:

Outstanding—some of the best conditions ever.

Four more inches of snow on top of the snow yesterday made for fantastic conditions. There was a bit of breaking trail but the snow was so light and fluffy that it wasn't a major issue. The new classic trail is amazing—so much work went in to it, and kudos to anyone who worked on this great project and to the Birkie Foundation. It's great. We skied from North End Cabin south along the Birkie Trail to OO, snacking on hot dogs and chili and cookies and hot chocolate (thanks!) before lumbering back along the Birkie Trail to North End. All fantastic, can't wait for the Birkie!

Beyond excellent.

There was new snow in the tracks for the Seeley, but the trail has fantastic conditions. Beneath the new snow is a solid skate deck and the tracks are very firm. Kick was easy and with some binder stayed on the whole race. Are we excited about a few more Birkie Trail hours tomorrow? You betcha.

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