|Zoya and Adelia before the start of the race|
And the race did not start well. I was late to the starting gate and started near the back of the pack. Then the guy in front of me fell down on the first hill and I ended up dead last. So for the first 10K and the Spencer Loop all I did was pass people. It's a good thing I did so much mountain climbing this year because I had to do most of my passing on the uphills in the Spencer Loop.
After the Spencer Loop I was in a small pack of 3 guys drafting each other, and we caught up with the elite women pack who had started out 2 minutes ahead of us. Things were looking very good - it's always better to be in a pack where you can draft and keeping up with the other racers provides incentive. Except only the 2 guys ahead of me made the pack. They jumped to close with the women, and a small gap formed between me and them. And once they joined the women the whole pack accelerated. I was literally at one end of the Tudor Road bridge and the pack was at the other end, but I could not close the gap. All the way to Westchester Lagoon I could see the pack in the near distance slowly drawing away.
So I skied the rest of the race completely alone with no one to draft and no one to help with the pace. But I did pretty well because I still managed to finish within 2 minutes of the pack I almost caught at Tudor Road, and I beat most of the elite women in the pack because they finished less than 2 minutes ahead of me. I must admit sometimes it is more relaxing to ski outside of a pack - maybe skiing sans pack is not such a disadvantage after all?
Funnily enough, the fastest I went all weekend was the day before the race when I got chased by a moose. I tried to sneak past a moose browsing by the side of the trail and he spun around and chased me down the trail. I had a moment of serious panic when I looked back and the moose was not only still chasing me - but gaining too. I needed that kind of breakout speed for the race!
|Zoya eyes the finish line - she finished 4rth in her age class! Not bad for very little on snow training!|
|The race announcer commented on Zoya's glasses and everyone laughed - 'number 2126 your sunglasses are on crooked'.|
|That's me entering the stadium - almost done!|
|Zoya in the stadium|
|Final sprint - not much left in the tank|
|Adelia, Todd, Zoya, Bonnie and the kids - Todd had never met Adelia before the race|
|Adelia at the finish talking race with Julie who finished just ahead of her. Julie almost broke 2 hours for the race which is VERY fast.|