Boulder is one of my favorite races: flat and wide. I’m still pretty timid with downhills and am terrible at finding room to pass people, so this type of race suits me well :).
I started in the 2nd wave (of 3). I placed myself behind the first line of people. The gun went off – quick, double pole! Wait — not that quick :(. Of course I had started behind someone that wasn’t very quick. Bummer. As we funneled into the trail, I was about 1/2 way back in that wave. How do you get around someone like that at the start of the race? Passing is so much more complicated in a ski race.
Although I started too far back, I had trouble finding my tempo to be able to pass people. It honestly took about 8k before I felt like I was really moving. Before that I had several times where I thought I was going to fall backward (why is that?) and was fighting balance and very tired shin muscles. Note to self: Maybe I should try to warm up fast? It seems I always spend the first 1/4 of a race just re-learning how to ski/race.
After about 8k I felt much better. Nate had given me tips the night before on trying to race fast: be aggressive on the crests of hills, free skate the slight downhills. That’s all I’m thinking about when I’m skiing now: c’mon, Nichole — let’s go faster! Let’s actually try to race today!! I was also wearing a HR monitor so I could see where that’s at when I’m ski racing. During the first half of the race, I thought: gee, I’m hardly tired. More motivation to go faster: I want to get that HR up.
Problem is, I can’t really go faster. Hmm. So, I just cruise along at my pace, passing people here and there. On the third lap I catch Odd Osland. We’re usually very close in races, but today I pass him pretty quickly. I’m still trying to go faster, as I don’t really think I’m racing all-out. Wish I could get to that “can’t breathe any harder” point on skis. That’ll be a lot of fun 🙂
I finished the race in 1:48 (31k). I know you can’t compare ski times year over year, but I still want to note that Sunday was 20 minutes faster than last year. Yeah! At least I’m moving in the right direction! I finished about 4 minutes behind Katie Splan, one of the Vakava teammates, and 6 minutes behind Mel (another teammate). It’s the first time that I’ve been that close to them! I was encouraged by the results, but also can’t wait to improve. I know I can do much better!
What I learned:
I put over a minute on Odd Osland the last 6k or so. I know I’m a better finisher than most because I’m just generally strong & fit, but that seems a little skewed. I should change two things: 1. Learn how to get around people quickly at the start (or start farther up, one of the two) 2. Before next race, warm up fast (or do whatever I need to do so that I’m not struggling to stay on my skis the first part of the race). I’m honestly not “racing” until 25 minutes into a race.
Overall, a fun day. Helps to have temps in the low 30s! 🙂