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Archive for April, 2012

Sharkfest

Thursday, April 5th, 2012

So I wrapped up my competitive season this past weekend with some Cross Country races at Sharkfest.  Sharkfest is Alberta XC Provincials hosted by Rocky Mountain Racers with the venue being Mt. Shark in the Peter Lougheed Provincial Park.  I was happy when I saw the race schedule as both Saturday and Sunday would be skate races.  We opened the weekend with a 12.5km mass start, I didn’t really know what to expect the last time I raced a cross country race was in Feb 2010 and I missed the finish line going through the lap lane instead.  For me racing cross country is just a nice break from Biathlon, I don’t know the athletes nearly as well and can just enjoy the weekend.  Any Biathletes without FIS or CCC points were seeded at the  back of the Mass Start which included Jr’s and Master Men as well.  I was not sure how it would play out but everyone was pretty awesome and gave people the space they needed even though the trails at Mt. Shark are not up to World Cup standards in terms of width.  The first lap was a comfortable pace even though I didn’t feel that comfortable, I am not sure if I was excited for just a bit rusty from a week and a half of LSD workouts.  As the race progressed I started to feel better.  Part way through the 2nd lap there was a surge at the front and being at the back of the pack I kind of got left behind for a bit.  Anytime I got to a straight stretch I tried to take a peek at the leaders.  On the final portion of the 2nd loop I decided it was time to go and go I did I passed a few competitors made up all the ground putting myself in a great position for the final kilometers.  At this point Kevin Sandau was in the lead and I was on his heels,  it seemed as though we were entirely on our own.  But I forgot I was racing at 1800 meters and that took its toll in the final 2000 meters of the race.  I am not completely sure if I struggled because of the altitude, poor ski selection or just slow conditions but before I knew it I had blown up, Nathan Smith had caught back up and Kevin was pulling away.  I was done and it was all I could do to hang on for 3rd, I don’t think I have had to breath that hard in the last 5 months.    The fun part about a race like this is that there was no expectations and no rifle zeroing and no wax or ski testing. I waxed up two pairs of skis the night before after watching a youtube video on how to apply powders.  And I wasn’t the only one, most athletes in the field took the same approach with ski selection and some were left with much worse skis then I had.  It was just fun and took me back to the time when I only had one training pair of skis and one race pair.  I finished the afternoon with a couple of great tasting smokies and headed back to Canmore for some recovery.

Sunday was Team Sprints, I took the same waxing plan but this time I figured I needed more structure so I grabbed some different boards out of my ski bag and waxed it up hoping it was going to feel a little better then the day before.  Sadly the AWCA was not racing on Sunday so the field was significantly less competitive and just smaller overall.  But being that I have never raced a team sprint and haven’t raced anything shorter then 7.5km in years I am not sure if I needed any additional challenges.  I was starting and my teammate was Nathan Smith, I didn’t really know what to expect so on the first lap I decided to just follow the lead of the others on the narrow track.  Nathan tagged with the lead and on the 2nd lap I decided I needed to try and attack,  the athlete in front was Ian Murray and as soon as I had enough room I went for it scared to look back.  When I tagged off Nathan I was happy to see that I had a bit of a gap and we now had the room to ski our  own races and hopefully maintain the lead. After a total of 6 laps we finished in 1st feeling tired from the usually short effort.

A big thanks goes out to the Rocky Mountain Racers for putting on a great event at the end of a very long ski season.

 

Prize ceremony

Team Sprint

 

Mt. Shark Panorama

 

More to come on Season debrief

 

SP

 

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