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Monday, March 03, 2014

My Tour of Anchorage

Nora had been playing with the camera settings and all our race pictures ended up on the 'reflection setting' 
This year due to low snow they decided to shorten the Tour of Anchorage.  So instead of a 25K, 40K, and 50K race that ends at Kincaid Park, they just had 19K and 26K options that started at Service High School and ended at Alaska Pacific University.  The 25K races became 19K races and the 40K and 50K races became 26K.  Originally I had wanted to do the 40K race on classic gear because I would avoid the very hilly and tough Spencer Loop portion of the 50K race.  In the end both the 40K and 50K had to do the Spencer Loop - so no break there!

Anyway, I think I was the only racer in the 26K race on classic skis.  Everybody but me was on skate skis using the inherently faster freestyle technique.  So in the final results it looks like I did terrible - placing 329th out of 565 male and female racers.  But if you look at my pace per kilometer (26K in 1:39 or 3.8 minutes a kilometer) and compare it to times of the classic technique racers in the 19K race I would have been about 20th out of 200 (at around 1:10 for 19K), and that is in a shorter race that lacked the REALLY tough Spencer Loop.  So I did well, and I found out what it is like to do the Spencer Loop in a race on classic skis, and go mano a mano with the freestyle skate skiiers.

It was an eye-opening experience.  As skate skiers blew by me, I learned just how much faster the freestyle technique is than classic.  I'd work really hard to climb up a slope I'd have just glided up on skate gear.  The weird part was that I ended up racing with people who had pretty bad technique.  They would blow by me on the flats and slight up hills, but they did not know how to efficiently climb up steep hills or negotiate steep downhills.  They would all pass me on the uphill and then I'd slam back into them when they started snow plowing and wiping out all over the place on the downhills.  Normally I am up near the front of the race where no one snow plows on the downhills and everyone flies up the uphills.

As racers with pretty bad technique blew by me I found myself wanting to cheat and skate ski on my classic skis. I'd show them!  But I curbed my ego and stuck to the classic technique the whole race.  And I now appreciate how much work it is to go fast using the classic technique.  My upper body is completely spent.  Patrick

A note on the pictures:  Nora and Stuey have been playing around with the different settings on the cameras, and one of their favorites is the 'reflective' setting.  Zoya forgot to change it for the race finish and it looks like I skiing past a lake or something.  I actually kind of like them, and then there is me and Zoya standing in the lake at the end of the race (Nora is there under water).


Unknown said...

Nice Job Patrick. I was going to do a 42K classic race this weekend, but I have had terrible bronchitis and asthma this winter and have only been training three weeks. I thought I would just ski it, but I have no lungs. For my 50th birthday in two years I want to do a major European marathon. Or at least the Berkie. Are you game? A 90K skate race down a river?
Let me know. Best to you all,

Zoya, Patrick, Nora and Stuart said...

Stewart, thank you for the flattery! I think the hardest part about the race is that according to the freestyle results I did badly, but for classic technique my time was GREAT. But maybe getting smoked by skate skiiers is a good thing. It certainly taught me about humility. Patrick