Congrats to all of you skiers that I joined on the trail for another good Birkie.
you know I skied classic again this year. Last year was a learning
experience for me as it was my first classic Birkie after many years
skating. I applied what I learned last year to have better grip on my
skis. Overall I did a much better job on the trail too.
Classic wave five group spread out quickly. Skiing and passing was
easier this year. There was one little downhill around 15 k, I think,
where I was gliding nicely but came to a pretty big group of folks
barely moving and blocking the trail. I skied in the powder on their
right and discovered the hill dropped down a short straight steep pitch.
I couldn't understand why they were all standing there because no one
was on the downhill. I let my skis continue to glide around the group
and aimed them straight down the hill.
made up my mind then and there to be more aggressive on the hills. I
planned to ski them as I know how to do and not shy away from the
steeper, curvy sections of trail.
of my race was a pleasant ski outing only a little longer. The bottom of
the tracks were firm but the sidewalls gave way easily creating a kind
of snaking sort of feeling. Downhills felt silky and smooth and my skis
glided nicely allowing me to keep up with or pass many skiers. My grip
was good too and I was able to ski up many more hills than I did last
year. I never tired of herringboning this year because I did so little
managed to avoid any crashes but did see a few others who were not so
lucky. The worst one was on the second to last downhill. This is after
the 77 uphill and following downhill. The trail breaks out into the
open, passes a little cabin on the right then goes down with a sharp
right turn at the bottom. While I didn't see the guy crash, he must have
had a good one. His glasses, hat, poles, gloves and other stuff were
scattered all over the turn. I asked if he was all right as I went by
and he said yes. But he definitely did the yard sale thing.
skied up the last uphill before Wheeler Road I passed a gal who was
totally covered in snow. She also said she was ok. I wondered if the two
skiers might have met on that turn?
then on it was double pole and stride. First through a wide aisle
between rows of trees, over a bridge, and onto Lake Hayward. The lake
seems to go on forever but the time went by quickly. Before I knew it I
was making the turn onto Main Street and skiing between huge crowds on
the sidewalks on either side of the street.
Waxing Wrap Up:
I definitely improved my grip waxing this
year. Last year I used the Toko Nordic Grip waxes with poor success.
This ski season, I have focused on the more traditional waxes that I'm
very familiar with. I'm sure you've ready some of my comments on Swix
Blue Extra and Rode Super Blue. Also this year I relearned about Rex
I put everything I learned into play but also added some new stuff at he last minute.
forecast for race day was a low around 20 at the start (Blue Extra?) and
temperatures reaching 30 by the time I would most likely finish. It's a
long 33.5 mile classic ski so I knew I'd need plenty of wax to maintain
grip through out the race. Here's how I waxed my skis:
cleaning them thoroughly and glide waxing the tips and tails withe Toko
HF Red over Toko LF Gray, I lightly sanded my kick zone. As a binder I
applied a thin layer of Rex Violet Power Grip. Since temperatures late
in the race were forecast to be warm I put on three thin layers of Swix
VR 45 (Violet). On top of that I warmed in and corked 6 layers of Swix
VR40 (Blue Extra).
to Telemark long before by scheduled start time. So I was able to go
over to the finish area of the Korte trail and test my wax. I liked what
I felt. Nice smooth glide and plenty of grip even on the steeper hill.
So I made no changes to my skis before starting.
skis continued to work well until around 35 km. After skiing uphills on
soft snow I was getting some ice buildup on my left ski. I tried to
ignore this but after a while it got worse. So I stopped, scraped the
stuck on snow off my skis and added more Swix VR 40. No more ice! The
rest of the race went well.
retrospect the VR 45 might have been unnecessary. I might even have used
Blue Power Grip instead of Violet. I guess the snow didn't warm as much
as I expected. If it had gotten warmer, though, I was prepared. All in
all I was very pleased with how well my skis gripped and glided
throughout most of the race.