Monday, February 9, 2015

Rune and the Nickel Plate Loppet

Somehow it makes me feel a tiny bit better to know that even someone as awesome as Rune Harkestad, who has more experience with classic ski racing than anyone, can totally miss the wax.  From blanks in the Methow Pursuit to a waxing nightmare at the Nickel Plate Loppet, every race is an adventure with Rune!  Forthwith, his report:

Photo from Nickel Loppet website

Well, a work-out it was…..

The Nickel Loppet is a 30 k classic race up in the mountains above Penticton, BC at 6,100’ level.  Normally, they have blue kick wax conditions through the winter, but not this year.  

Watching the temps leading up to Saturday’s race, it was well into the 30s two days straight and I figured this will be a klister race for sure and prepared a pair of skis for that.  The weather at 6,100 feet can be fickle and it sure threw us all for a loop today.  Temps dropped to upper 20s overnight, and by 8 am, it was snowing hard and 29 degrees.  In other words, typical Snoqualmie conditions!  Wet snow underneath, 2” of fresh snow on top, temps that are warming, but the fresh snow is cold, it is a classic skiers’ nightmare.  

Kick wax seemed to work, but with the warming temps and anticipation of glazed trails on the 2nd lap, I had a panic moment before the start and decided to put a layer of Rode Multigrade klister on top of some Toko yellow hard wax.  Really stupid, no other way to say it.  The fresh snow caught on to the klister and I was on ice stilts at the top of every hill.  Stepped out to scrape off, passed by skiers, back in, try to gain a few spots, then same drill over and over every uphill.  I don’t think I have ever worked harder for so little speed and placement in a race to show for.  

The second lap was glazed and considerably faster, which allowed for more double pole, but the scraping had taken its toll on the klister.  So now I had absolutely no kick so, by default, it ended up pretty much a 15k double pole finish.  In terms of results, I was able to pick up a few spots on the second lap, seventh overall and won my age group.  What was most aggravating was that I have the perfect pair for these kind of conditions, a no-wax pair of Rossignols, but they were left behind in Bellevue, unfortunately.  Like Augustina said after the race, “Wouldn’t it be good to have a back up plan/pair when you go to races!?!”  You’d think I would know better!!!  Total mess-up on my part.

And a follow-up from the next morning.  Doesn't it always work like this!

Just to add, this morning [Sunday] was 26 degrees, perfectly groomed and red Toko hard wax conditions, absolutely gorgeous with the sun coming up at 7 am and no wind!  The trails up there are just spectacular.  I just wish the race had been today, or on Friday for that matter, but that is how Mother Nature works!

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