I had low expectations for Jackson this year, especially after last year’s race. I hadn’t made much of my distance training this fall. I had missed all the early season races. I was having confidence issues. The temperature didn’t help — 0 F that morning with wind chill minus 15. The warm-up didn’t help — my skis were slipping like mad up Yodel, despite thinking I had nailed the wax job. And the start snuck on me — I was still stripping off clothing with 2 minutes to go.
As a result, I started out easy, especially up Yodel. I found a rhythm on the hill. I was getting my wax to work. I was passing people. And I wasn’t blowing up, like I usually do. By the top, I had the lead group in sight. By the foot of the Wave, I was on their tail. I was suffering. Instead of trying to close the gap, I backed off. And I didn’t blow up and was able to stay there, tailing off the back of the group.
Eventually, I ended up in a small group, off the front of the race, but still moving along. I was skiing with guys I had never been able to keep up with before. I had a few mishaps. I caught a ski going over a foot bridge and had to untangle myself. I got blown over by the wind in the fields, coming through the last feed. But I closed back each time. Coming down Yodel, into the finale, I caught my kick zone on some of the frozen corduroy and did a Superman. I got back up, but lost a place because of it. And I lost my hat on the final descent. I was not going to stop for it (though I did ski back after to try to find it).
I finished 14th overall and 2nd in my age group. It was my best classic race ever. Full results here.
Unfortunately, due to illnesses and some missing skiers, CSU men were unable to keep the title. The women delivered, however, with a tie.
Swix KR 30, ironed in, super thin.
Swix VR 40, ironed in.
Swix VR 30, 5-6 layers.
SkiGo Blue top layer, to prevent icing.