By which I hopefully do not mean my last race of the season but rather my most recent race…I did not race Ski to the Clouds last weekend as it was cancelled–it turns out if they had not moved it up a week they would have been able to hold it on the new snow. Oh well, c’est la vie.
Anyway, my last race on U.S. soil this year was the Cheri Walsh Memorial race, moved from Holderness to Craftsbury and changed from an interval start classic race to a mass start skate race.
I had a clean start, and took a couple of early pulls while mostly trying to stay close enough to the front to avoid both trouble and working to hard by leading. Then, at about 7.5 km I made a big move and opened up a significant gap on the field. And at 8.2 km I realized that I did not have the endurance to hold onto the gap and I got caught by a group of about six skiers. I was seriously nervous that they would drop me, but nobody was interested in pushing the pace.
With one kilometer to go I made a second attempt at breaking the field. Once again, I was able to open up a decisive gap, and once again I was unable to sustain the pace. I was caught by Bret Bedard and almost passed by David Sinclair as well. I ended up losing by a single second.
Which is good. A season just isn’t complete for me almost winning a mass start race at Craftsbury but finishing second instead (7 times now in 6 years…)
Incidentally, while I would like Craftsbury more if I could win a race there, they have done a great job of improving their trails…last year the trail near the finish was narrow and very difficult to pass on–this year that was plenty of room for Bret to blow by me and David had room to go by but just wasn’t fast enough…and of course they have done an amazing job with snowmaking to be able to host races for other venues this year!