Sunday, January 28, 2018

MWC: Day 3

Event: short distance classic races, 5k and 7.5k (which is actually 6.6k, so your time looks a lot better than it really is!)

Conditions: yeah, the blizzard hit, right on schedule.  A few little forerunner snowflakes when I woke up; full on snow by the time I got on the bus to the race venue; and howling cold wind and sideways whiteout snow that stings your face and blurs your eyes by the time the races started.  It blizzarded all day and news reports say downtown Minneapolis got 9-12 inches!

Waxing, of course, was all over the map.  Some people loved their skins or their zeroes, some were ready to throw them in the garbage.  Klister was pretty okay for some people, totally gripless for others.  I was so extremely nervous about just the race itself that I didn't want to add the mystery of waxing on such a day into the mix, so I went with my good old reliable (and slow) fishscales and was happy as could be all day long with both my grip and my glide.

In the morning classic race, Rune came in third in his age group -- the top four in his age group all double poled the whole race on blanks, and until you experience the hilliness of this course, I don't think you can appreciate what they did!  Suzanne was sixth in her age group but first American, so that was very cool; she and the Norwegian women have a little duel going on.  Per and Paul were both 7th in their age groups, and Pat was first in hers, and received a rousing round of applause from the volunteers and spectators at the finish line when she crossed, as the announcer told everyone she was the matriarch of the event!  As for me, I was dead last in my age group, as I expected, but not too far behind the next two women.  I was very happy with my race nonetheless, because I had skied the best I could and discovered that I really could manage those intimidating downhills.  The best part, though, was as I was crossing the finish line and the announcer said my name, then said, "Best smile of the day!"  If I can't be competitive, I can at least smile, and I truly did have a marvelous time.

The skating race was in the afternoon, as the blizzard raged on and the snow piled up.  As we classic skiers got off the bus back at the hotel, all snow-covered and bedraggled, the fresh new skaters in their dry puffy jackets were waiting to get on and take our places.  We wished them luck!  Kent did this race and found the conditions to be very soft; the course was regroomed after the classic race, but obviously hadn't had time to set up, and the snow continued to pile up.   No matter; Kent came in third in his age group and beat his arch-rival, Barry Makarewicz, by less than two seconds.

Overheard: the Russian team missed sending 100 skiers when they couldn't get their visas in time, and a group from British Columbia decided Minneapolis wasn't exotic enough, so they're all at Silver Star for the week instead, training for next year's World Masters in Norway.  Also, the bus driver, a cheerful fellow from Trinidad, said, "I don't know anything about skiing, but everyone I see is so healthy and so happy!"  Yes indeed.

Tomorrow: rest day!  Two days in, it feels like I've been here a month!

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