The Amabilis time trial, put on by the Lakeside cross country team as a fundraiser, was this weekend, and plenty of snow fell just in time for the race! At 5k straight uphill, with essentially no flat spots, this race is either a good way to gauge your early season fitness or a good way to find new depths of lactic hell. Either way, here are this year's finishers and their times, thanks to the smart people at Webscorer. You will notice that this is not a race for the youngsters, particularly in the women's race; this one requires seasoning and pacing and some years on your skis to pull off well.
These are Ida Ottesen's photos, and this is Tim Billo's awesome, you-are-there report:
With about 1000 ft. of elevation gain over about 4km, the Amabalis time trial is a brutal way to start the racing season. My race began this morning with a late start out of Seattle, a hasty stop at Hyak to buy a Snow-park Pass, and quick session of scraping summer wax off of my skis. I got to the line with 5 minutes to spare, stretched out, and we were off.
The first few strides were a little shaky, as my under-used skiing muscles struggled to dial in. Kent Murdoch sprinted ahead, and Jeff Hashimoto followed. Rune Harkestad settled in behind Jeff and about 1 km later, Rune overtook Jeff. Meanwhile, I had settled in behind Peter Boveng and John Outterson, 2 seasoned veterans who ski smoothly and pace well. I should have been content to ski with these two stronger skiers, learning from their technique, but I wanted to stride out at my own pace. In my last Amabalis time trial I felt boxed in and never really hit my stride, feeling like I had a bit more to give at the finish. So, I made a move around 1.5 km in, and struck out on my own. I looked ahead at Jeff Hashimoto who seemed to be getting closer to me at one point, but soon disappeared behind the twists and turns of the trail. In my own rhythm, I focused on maintaining my momentum--surprisingly difficult without anyone to focus on and pull me along. As my pace waned, so did my technique, and suddenly I found myself flat on my face in the soft new snow. I had hooked a tip on a twig sticking up through the trail, and went down hard. As I untangled myself, Peter and John promptly passed me, and that was it. I spent the rest of the race doing my best to catch up and stay with them.
They both skied smoothly and in control, until Peter made a move and opened up a few seconds on John, and 20 seconds on me, as he scooted across the line in a well-paced and well-executed race. Jim Cahill made his way in a few minutes behind me, and Jim Slyfield came through with a strong effort in Wave 2. In the women's race, Carey Gazis skied through the finish powerfully, in a convincing win. Amabalis had an ample base of packed powder, but with soft conditions and rough grooming in spots, making the times a little slower than previous years. The soft snow even snagged the snowmobile, dragging it along with the course timers, into a ditch, as Kent overtook them. Apparently, they dug out in time to re-pass Kent and get the official times!
Thanks to the Lakeside School for putting on a fun and well-managed event, complete with excellent post-race food.
By the way, I heard from a number of people that the grooming left a lot, a LOT, to be desired. Rune is on it; he's talking to the contract groomers to find out what went wrong and how things can be improved. There is plenty of snow up there, and we all want to be skiing on it!