The warm temperatures are not being welcomed by many who are fervently logging kilometers and gearing up for the heart of the race season. It sucks to look at the extended forecast and see temps one day in the single digits and soar into the forties by the weekend. Oh well, you train with what you are dealt with. And given our previous winters, this is nothing new.
The race season took off this past weekend like it always does with the ever so difficult and humbling Blue Hills Ascent. Being able to stay with the parents, get a good home cooked meal, and ski on the trails I grew up on conjures up memories of how far I’ve come and challenges me to realize where it is that I want to be.
Nikole and I loaded up the vehicle Friday night with the dogs and skis and headed north to good ‘ol Bruce. With some steak and potatoes made to our liking, a small game of cribbage, and a movie we were off to a good nights rest for the race on Saturday.
Saturday morning I awoke to temps in the upper twenties and a forecast that looked and felt warm. I traveled to the trail head to register, hoping I was early enough to get a descent wave placement. Wave 4 was not bad…and was not good. I figured I would be picking my way through the field starting 30 skiers back. Oh well..
After a hearty breakfast, Nate and Karyn met us at 10:00 and we were off to the race. The race was at noon so Nate and I had a chance to ski a nice warm up and get a feel for the snow and our skies. Its always nice to race later in the day, not having to worry about rushing around and being on time for early starts. Non-the-less, noon o’clock rolled around and the race was on.
There were six waves and each wave starting one minute apart. Nate began his ascent in wave three and I was a minute later. Being the first race of the year, the Blue Hills Ascent is a tricky race in that its only 12 ks, not real technical, but every year it ends up being a painful race. The first 4 K is spent climbing. There are no big hills, just one long, never ending, continuous climb that at times you don’t think your climbing but your thighs are reminding you that you have been climbing for many Ks…so it is fitting that the name of the race is the Blue Hills Ascent.
I started out strong and was feeling confidant about my conditioning. In fact, I started out too strong. By the time the trail narrowed and we entered the woods began the climb I had caught Nate. It was then that I realized my heart rate was racing and that I could not keep the pace that I had started. With the long and continuous climb I was unable to recover and ended up suffering throughout the race. It sucked not being able to get into a good rhythm and find a good pace. I had to work extra hard up the hills and I had to gasp for air so that I could recover on the down hills. Not exactly how I wanted the first race to go. It was 12ks of humility and recognition.
Nate had an awesome race and we enjoyed the great fan support. Thanks to the Bro and his girl, Nikole, Karyn, and my parents for watching us start and seeing us finish. If anything, finishing a race with your BFF is sweet as hell. Nate skied to a solid 17th place and I took the 16th spot. We also took 2nd & 3rd respectively in our age group. No money though…
Nate and I finishing stong!
This weekend I’m off to the Birkie trail to race the Seeley hills Classic race. 22K of classic skiing. I’m not big into classic skiing but we will see how the race goes. It going to be tough. I will post first thing on Monday! Thanks for continued support y’all.
Thanks to skinnyski.com for the pics (Nothing like seeing Sturgie in spandex…eh?!)
Cord under the boards,