Monday, February 18, 2008

Coast Cup #5 - Race Report

Callaghan Valley - Whistler, BC

The Coast Cup races are pretty small and kind of low-key.... they're enjoyable, good training races for the bigger ones like Nationals in March.

This race was a big one for me though.... It would be my first chance to compete against a National Para-Nordic Team athlete from my category. The National team is my mid-range goal - so this race offered an excellent chance to get a feel for how far I need to go to make it.

The prep for this race was odd to say the least due to some funny business that I really can't explain - 60 minutes out the race distance was changed from 5k to 10k, 30 minutes out I found out we would be starting in 15 minutes... These types of changes are not ideal when you have pre-race routines and visualizations let alone course preps that are now useless (since you are skiing a different course...)

My mind-set: I have nothing to lose. I SHOULD lose.... it was comforting actually, and I felt very relaxed and focused on doing my best - the competition was not a concern for me.

Interval start: I started 15 seconds behind my competition.

I had a great session with Tony on Thursday at Cypress and I was feeling far better on the hills and also on the flats - unleashing my new and much improved kick-double-pole featuring proper timing...ha ha - I used to do it "backward" but those days are over.

2km - I was gaining and skiing well.
3.2km - I passed.
3.6 km - I got caught on the downhill and then my competition inexplicably bailed into a snowdrift.

I was puzzled but continued on with the final 6.5k or so of the race...

After falling my counterpart DNF'ed and I never saw him again on the course. After the race he shook my hand and complemented me on my race - he regretted the DNF. I am sure he'll be looking for a better showing at Nationals on the same course in March.

My time for 10k was 38:40.... My pace was MUCH faster, even though the race was twice the distance of the BC Championships at 100 Mile (though that course was a bit tougher.) I felt pretty good the whole way - my grip was less than ideal at times but over-all I was delighted with this race. I finally had a wipeout/missed turn free race! This one was a real milestone for me - first 10k race, first GOOD race (just my opinion), and a first place against a direct competitor.

What I learned in this race:

- Relaxation and focus were KEY especially as the race was changed by others at the last moment
- Technique is more important than power (I finally FELT this)

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