|Nora had been playing with the camera settings and all our race pictures ended up on the 'reflection setting'|
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).