As you’ve probably seen from Spencer’s posts, the weather in Bozeman was a bit cold this past week! We had already decided to skip the sprint to focus on the 15km Classic Mass Start, which was fortunate because with a high of -12F, there was no chance of the sprint getting off. Though the weather was supposed to be slightly warmer on Sunday, we woke up to a temperature of -20 and we were once again questioning if the weather would get to the legal race temperature of -4F.
We made the drive up to the venue at 11:30, in preparation for the already-delayed 1:00pm start. However, when we arrived it was clearly still too cold to race, and we quickly learned that the start had been delayed even further. After sitting through several more delays, we suddenly got the call and learned we’d be starting in 45 minutes. Though the temperature had reached -4F, with wind chill it was probably about -25, so we bundled up in our puffys for a quick warmup, grabbed our race skis from our wax tech Tim, and made our way to the start.
I started the race off conservatively and settled into the middle of the lead pack, probably around 15th place. With the cold temperatures and the challenging hills of the Bozeman course, I knew it’d be important to have lots of energy for the second half of the race. Luckily my Rossignols had great glide and kick, with Toko HF Blue and Cold Powder for glide, and a mix of Toko green binder, blue and xtra cold for our kick. By the end of the first 5km lap I had moved up into the top 10, and 2km later I made my way into the lead for the first time on the day.
For the rest of the race I stayed in the top 6, and took turns in the lead with a number of other skiers, including Miles Havlick, Reese Hanneman and Truckee’s one and only Matt Gelso, now skiing for Sun Valley. With about 2km to go, I moved into the lead which I shared with Miles Havlick, until CXC’s Russian Dimitri Ozerskiy made a move up the middle between the two tracks, which was hard to counter, unless we wanted to break our poles. The pack was still probably around eight or nine skiers, so the sprint up the last two hills was on!
By this time, the cold I had really started to get to me, freezing my eyes open and making my mind a bit delirious. After loosing a couple places on the first uphill, a steep wall barely wide enough for two skiers to herring bone up, I found myself falling back into fifth place. But with one more hill to go, I put my head down and powered up, passing two skiers and making my way back onto the podium, which I held onto until the finish!
Now it’s back to Truckee for some focused training before Christmas, and then it is on to the National Championships in Soldier Hollow!
Today’s race was a tough one. First off it was debatable whether or not temperatures were warm enough to hold the race, which is -4F….
Maybe if we all huddle around the thermometer it might warm up enough to race.
Despite ambiguous temperature legality, the crew at Bohart did a great job taking care of some very cold skiers and spending long hours outside themselves. Someone from the race crew checked me for frostbite mid-race today. As ridiculous as that is, I was impressed on how hard everyone was working to pull off the races.
I still can’t quite feel some of my toes.
That being said we had some great skis thanks to Tim Whiton, former Bates skier and Bowdoin Coach. Who bravely stood around in the cold waxing our skis.
If Tim looks cold, that’s because he is.
The race itself went alright for me. I was glad to be back racing post-concussion, but have some catch up training to do before the next Supertours.
Today we tried to wax some skis in order to test waxes for the race Sunday, but it was so cold the iron wouldn’t turn on, which for reference happens around -12 F. We almost always do some intervals the day before a race, as this has been shown to boost performance. Although when the air is this cold, breathing hard can do some serious damage to your lungs. With a High of -10F today, we got a little creative to do a pre-race workout.
Got in some rare Reno skiing around Ranch San Rafael Park near my house. Actually decided to ski the road on the way to the park. Then, because I liked stone grinding my skis on asphalt, I took the Tahoe XC kids up to Brockway summit to ski the road in the late afternoon. Nice sunset up there but wicked cold.
Patrick and I are here in Bozeman getting ready for the races this weekend and it’s really cold.
We’re planning to do some harder level 4 intervals today and are going to wait until noon (when it’s hopefully warmest) so we don’t turn our lungs into icicles. Both of us will be racing the 15km Classic at Bohart Ranch Sunday.
With some extra down time, watching world cup races can be a lot of fun and great visualization for your skiing. This site (http://crosscountryski.us/) has all of the world cup races in their entirety you can watch for free.