Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Nationals - Race Report #1

Today was a 5km, Interval Start, Classic Race.

Knowing that many readers may not know what all that means, I provide the following mini-glossary:

- 5km... this is a dist... just kidding...
- Interval Start - Skiers start every 15 or 30 seconds instead of all at once (Mass Start)
- Classic Technique - This is the older form of x-c skiing - looks kind of like an elongated gliding run....  Skiers use skis with a "grip zone" under the boot to allow "grip" to go uphill.  The "grip zone" is waxed differently to grip instead of glide...

Going in I felt pretty good...  No aches and pains, ready to go.  So, after a couple of warm-up loops I entered the starting pen.  A few minutes later I toed the line and headed off...

Two laps of 2.5km.  The first lap felt a lot better than the second...  I am definitely not negative splitting these courses yet.  I found I had some grip difficulties but was able to handle the uphills using a herringbone run.  I had good power on the flats using my double poling and kick-double-poling techniques...  I only got passed by one skier (a Japanese skier named Nitta - the eventual winner and the second ranked skier on the IPC World Cup circuit), and I passed several.

The second lap proved a bit more challenging as I started to have a lot of moisture build-up inside my leg's socket - the warm weather and high humidity I figure...  Also I was getting tired.  I am still blown away by how fatiguing a 5km ski race can be - I am used to thinking of 5km as next to nothing - but it can definitely leave you absolutely exhausted.

The main challenge on this course is the fast winding downhill sections...  it is easy to lose control on these.  Fortunately, I managed to remain upright despite my best efforts to fall (it was close).

At the end of the day I placed 3rd.  Bronze medal baby...  I'll take it.  To be honest I really didn't know where I'd end up against all these guys - I have never raced in a field this big (not sure exactly how many there were, but around 14 0r 15 Para-Nordic racers.)  

Lessons learned:  
- Take it easy in treacherous corners - falling takes a lot longer than slowing down
- Be ready for sweat in the socket - even when temp is low

Tomorrow's race is a 7.5km, Interval Start, Free technique (this means skate skiing).

                     That's me on the podium - check out the sweet medal - nicest I've ever seen...

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James Greenwood said...

Great job MJ - Good luck tomorrow buddy.


Meyrick Jones said...

Thanks James!

Susan Knight said...

Congratulation! :)

Dustin Ellworth said...

Nice work bro. The "Warrior Within" is emerging and ready to conquer all that come before him.

Keep it up!

Meyrick Jones said...

thanks guys!