From Bill Holland:
In vain did I put in those two four-hour workouts intermingled with fairly numerous two- and three-hour workouts. One of the four-hour workouts even involved skiing twice around the intended course for this year's marathon--minus the second trip back to the Common.
In vain did I set a super-modest goal: merely to ski 50K at a pace leisurely enough to avoid the dreaded bonk.
In vain did I super-conscientiously follow Rob's wax tip and cork 8 layers of VR40 on top of room-temperature green klister binder.
In vain did I take feed at every feed station, including the frequent ingestion of gel packs of Heed.
What happened? Why did I nonetheless bonk at roughly the same point--35K--as other years
1) I think it had something to do with being relentlessly tracked starting partway into Lap 2. Skiing relaxed means skiing at a steady rhythm, and I never could quite get into a rhythm once the trains started roaring past.
2) It was highly demoralizing to see the young bucks barreling along up Ruthie's Run like they were on motorized rollerskis. I began wondering if I was engaged in the same sport.
3) My fatigue may have had something to do with the big effort I put forth in the 10K skate on Thursday. Though I barely lost any wax during the course of the race, by midway through the third lap I no longer had the oomph requisite to make the decent kick work and ended up herringboning nearly all of Ruthie's Run.
4) A definite downside of this race is that I have a long personal history with the rest of the field. Having Gina Campoli zip past me at the beginning of the third lap felt like a visitation from the all-too-familiar Angel of Death that had announced the death-knell of other C'bury marathons.
Resolved: I will no longer sign up for the 50K version of this race. At the risk of feeling slightly wimpy, I will henceforth do only the 25K. With the 25K, I know I can actually race the entire distance, not kinda race, kinda tour. From now on I will save my 3-4 hour endeavors for triathlons that include a kayak leg. It's a lot more varied and fun. Plus, you don't get frostbit. I don't know about the rest of you, but I literally lost face as a result of this race. Despite the application of duct tape to my cheeks minutes before the start, I just finished peeling a solid layer of skin.
From Victor Golovkin:
My condolences about the bad Cbry experience.
I think, the fact that you've been forced to h-bone on the Ruthie's hill is the reason of bonking.
I can't imagine, that I do the h-boning 2 times there and being alive. I remember couple Cbrys in the past, when it happened to me ( just once at this hill + maybe some other such parts) and the outcome was the same as yours.
My guess, with solid kick you'd pass the distance in a decent shape.
I had about the same kick waxing - green Swix klister + extra blue + VR30 (sometimes, it seems to me, that shifting to a warmer Swix wax makes kick worse). The 1-st and 2-d Ruthies were Ok but on 3-d and 4-th passes I was forcing myself to stay in track at some steeper parts by dancing in track. No h-boning after all.
...And work on your mental strengh - no attention to passing "young bucks": "The one, who understands the life, doesn't hurry" (folk wisdom).
From Jamie Doucett:
My situation at the Craftsbury marathon was simple – I had an awesome day! The confluence of all relevant forces aligned almost perfectly – good clothing decisions for the cold weather, great kick from start to finish, losing only about 1.5 inches of it under my heel, fast skis (Toko HF Blue with cold powder and blue Jetstream), and my aging body held together. And, after a long time in hibernation, the Vulture returned!
Friday was a nice, relaxed day, in large part because it was damn cold and windy outside and so we hemmed and hawed and took our sweet time (Rob, Joe, Jud and I) getting out the door to test wax. Well, Joe got a little maniacal (see photo below), but that’s pretty normal for him. The testing was key though for my wax prep for the race. Unlike Rob, I actually paid attention to what I’d figured out and went with it. It was totally awesome to wax the night before the race and not run around like a chicken with my head cut off in the morning trying to dial the wax in. That is the one good thing with wicked cold, wicked dry weather, the wax doesn’t change much. So, what I went with was a very thin layer of Toko spray green klister heated thoroughly into my skis and worked in with my thumb followed by a thin layer of green stick binder on top, then a couple layers of Toko mint corked in, all applied indoors. During my warmup I decided to apply a layer of white under my foot for some added security and I was ready to rock and roll!
Given my wealth of experience at Craftsbury and bonks past (see little white crosses on the side of the trail discussed by Bill Holland in last year’s story) I decided that going out relaxed and a bit cautious would be good. I had the good fortune of immediately hooking up with Ron Newbury and Chris Osgood and we started working as a team, wending our way through the backmarkers from the 25km wave that started before us. I was a little disappointed to see Peter Harris, Bob Burnham and Robert Faltus disappear in front, but I decided that patience was a virtue…..Ron took had a wild wipeout at one point, but eventually caught back up to us. Chris led it out and it was a delight to ski behind him on the big downhill because those Putney guys are about as relaxed and flowing as you can be as they fly around the corners. Perfect! Going up Ruthies I felt great! I had it all under control today and no one was running away from me. In fact, things were going so well on the 2nd lap and I was getting so excited and having so much fun that I had to hold myself back and not bust it loose. (See bonks past…) The 3 of us settled into a nice rhythm of Chris leading the downhills, me taking over on the flatter stuff and Ron on the steeper stuff. I would yell ahead to a backmarker that we were passing on the left and Chris would say thank you as we passed. Teamwork!
At some point going through the center around 35 km we lost Chris to a cramp. Now it was down to Ron and I on lap 4. As we went through the feed to start the lap there was a nice surprise, Peter Harris and Rick Powell stopped for a feed. I kicked it up a notch as I went by. Now, similar to the Tour de France, I was trying to figure out how and when to break Ron after working together so well for 36 km. Were Rick and Peter hanging in there?? I didn’t dare look, just go….. Of course, Ron was thinking the same thing. I took over pulling at the front, passing people everywhere and Ron was pretty much glued to the backs of my skis around the pond, down the hill and starting up Ruthies. Half way up he finally dropped the hammer and got a gap on me. No panic though, knowing I had faster skis and a better double pole. I got a brief lift from the cheering of Sarah Holton near the top of Ruthies. I was still in the zone. I figured I could haul him back down on the flats after Ruthies. But, the gap grew….clearly he was putting in a big charge and I lost more ground when I took a last feed and he didn’t. Hmmmmmm, this wasn’t looking so peachy any more! Time to get after it! On the flats I got a good ride from a couple guys from wave 1 that gave me a bit of a rest and finally, Ron started coming back, slowly, but surely. The rubber band had stretched, but not snapped and I got back on his skis at the start of the climb back to the center and the finish. Now, just stay there. My focus narrowed to a pair of Fishers and a green racing suit. Up the first hill, up the next and the next, just focused on those damned Fischers…up the final striding hill, through the crowd on the last little herringbone and out into the field by the road. Finally, over the last bump I ran between Ron and some other guy and started a double pole frenzy, unleashing all I had left to the finish, Ron in arrears.
Damn, what a great day!
From Anna McLoon:
Well, I suppose I'll give my own race report. For wax, I showed quite convincingly I am not sponsored by any wax company, putting holmenkol blue fluoro over toko lf moly for glide and swix blue extra stick over rode chola klister binder. And the choices were largely dictated by what I had on hand, not any true rational process.
Alex and I didn't manage to actually get to the starting area with our skis and without the car and all that until maybe 40 minutes to race start and spent most of that time putting our kickwax on (we had binder on, but not kickwax) so warm-up was about 5 minutes. But that's OK, I knew 3hrs or so of classic would be more than I'd done all year, so why add to that with a warmup?
I was a bit late lining up, but luckily a woman was willing to give me her spot on the front line. After a km or so, I decided I wanted to go a slightly faster pace so moved to the front to string things out a bit and to settle into the pace I wanted to hold. We were already starting to catch the master's men at that point, so dodging and weaving became increasingly important. In fact, as I was trying madly not to run into a snowplowing master and a tree, Alex ran into me and I strained something in my thumb/wrist. I'll blame it on the race organizers for starting us close behind slower folks!! Ah well, no pain, no gain. Or something.
After the first lap, our lead pack was down to 5 or so skiers, me, Alex, Dorcas, Susan Dunklee, and one of the Craftsbury green women. The lead was traded off a bit over that lap, the pace was a bit mellower than the first lap, and then through the final hill/stadium/feedzone going into the 3rd lap, Susan got a bit of a gap (I needed to grab a gel, needed to avoid hitting some men, etc.) I ramped up my pace a bit but it quickly became clear that 1. the gap was not closing 2. the gap was growing. SO I just settled into my own pace (and all the other women except Susan were behind me at this point) and skied in the rest of the race basically just doing my own thing. About 4 of the first seed of men passed me as I was about to start my final lap, which seemed about right. The final 3 or so km of the race were pretty uncomfortable since my wimpy back and arm muscles aren't used to as much double-pole as that course required, but luckily I have the technique and general fitness to fake it. As long as I don't mind being sore for over a week afterwards.
SO, I finished 2nd and this year, they decided to give prizes to the top 3 overall, and I won a big thing of maple syrup! Most Excellent!
The next day was women's day, and since I was trying not to further damage my wrist, did a lot of no-pole skating, and succeeded in making the few muscles that weren't sore from Craftsbury sore. Word of warning: no-pole skating up Tripoli road is not such a good idea if you don't ski very much, unless you don't mind having sore adductors for a week and a half or so!
For any women on the list, I'd highly recommend going to women's day if you haven't had the opportunity. It's a great day of skiing and hanging out with female skiers from all over the region, and who knows, you may get coached by yours truly (it's up to you whether that's a good or bad thing).