Wild Rumpus Sports

Top Ten!

I was not optimistic yesterday. This course didn’t treat me well last year, and skiing around I did not feel good. Also, the forecast called for significant snow, my least favorite condition. I told someone I would be lucky to break the top 70 on a course and day like this one.
I was a little more optimistic as I warmed up today. The snow was much faster than I anticipated, and my new skis were running very well. I did a couple of pick-ups on the course and felt fast, but worried about the amount of lactic acid I was building up.

I had a wonderful start to the race. The first 100 meters are gently downhill and with the wind, so I got up to speed quickly. I flew through the stadium and started down the long hill to the bottom of the course. Halfway down I passed a skier on his second lap, and by the bottom I caught another second lapper.
I attacked the long climb to the 2 km mark, making time on my 30 second man. By the top though, I had slowed down, and I struggled to get over the top with good speed. I was less tired than I expected as I skied through the slalom course of haybail wrapped trees. After another tight corner I started up the other big climb. I got my first split–2nd place! This was before any of the A seed had gone through, but still much better than I expected. Halfway up the climb I was only 5 seconds from the lead, but then by the top I had tired and was losing time again.
I struggled through the stadium–10 km was seeming like an awfully long way. My tuck down the long hill was interupted as I was caught by the last starter in the A seed. I discovered at this point how good my skis were–I had no trouble catching back up going down the hill even after letting a gap open up. I tried to stay with him longer, but halfway up the next climb I had to give up. I struggled to the top, thinking I must be falling apart. But as I started the second big climb, I hadn’t lost any more time. I redoubled my effort, but this lasted about 100 meters. My technique was deteriorating badly, but I could see my 30 second man and was close to catching him. Finally, in the final kilometer I found the strength to accelerate, passing the two skiers who started in front of me and crossing the line strong.
I could barely stand. It has been years since I hurt myself as badly as I did today. I pulled off my bib and found my warmups. Halfway through putting them on I stopped and leaned on a post, virtually crying from pain and exhaustion. Once I had my breath I started looking at the scoreboard. I was in about sixth place with many A seed skiers already in. As more and more skiers crossed the line, I held on to tenth place.
I joked that I should write about my new training program. Getting up twice every night to get my daughter back to sleep, training maybe 400 hours, and doing half my skiing pulling my daugher in a Chariot. If I can duplicate this result in the classic race, people might even take the idea seriously!

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