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Racing Stories
JP's 1st Skate Race in Decade Report: 
White Pine 20k!!

February 12, 2003- By Jeff Potter

Well, I did my White Pine Stampede 20km skate race. The big race of the day was the 50km, but a couple hundred did the 20km citizen race as well--including John Goble, an ex-NMU skier, many-time winner of everything in Michigan.

It was my first skate race in a decade! First where I tried using clinic ideas from J Downing. First to use fluoro as a top coat! And first with heart rate monitor!

I had a blast.

At first my skis didn't have a top coat. They seemed OK. It was fresh, humid, 28F. Then an old guy who's a friend asked if we thought it would help his skis if he crayoned on some Vauhti pure fluoro. I said "Darn tootin! And I'll put it on for ya, if'n ya let me scribble a little on mine, too!" So I got a nice little top coat. I tried the skis again and they were rockets! I wanted to kiss him. But I think it made me go a little loco. Coz I lined up on the front line. Wearing my 1970's knickers and 1950's Swedish colors sweater with matching Swedish colors hat. The dudes gave me a funny look, acted superior.

OK, here's where the silliness starts. After the gun, I hopped into 2nd for awhile, then 4th for the first few km's, then 10th out to 5km. Ha ha. Joke's on me. I tried to ski easy and it never seemed like I was going hard, but I glanced at my HRM and saw 185 and this is on the flats, so I laughed and backed off. But darn that was already a big check to write.

The real humor then started for the rest of the race as I tried to not explode and never did come down from the heights of very serious dire straits and discomfort, teetering the ENTIRE time on the edge of not even being able to ski.

I held it together on nearly all the hills but one big one I had to stop and 3 guys went by. My skis were rockets tho! I was stalling near the tops of lots of the hills. Darn! I wish I coulda just lasted to the top THEN rested! Even so, I was the creature who wouldn't die for the skiers around me and I kept coming back. I was surprised, too. Hey, lookit that, I'm skiing again! And I'd hear the skis behind me get faint again. At the finish some guy in a northwoods team suit almost caught me. Ha! I bet he worked at it, too. When I went up to the guys who finished just ahead of me at the oranges station all they said was "You had fast skis." They were BITTER. They beat me and they were still bitter.

After my early mistake was only passed when I stopped on that hill, but I did some passing back. I totally dropped all my new skating skills and just milked those skis, often not using any poles on the flats. I used the marathon skate A LOT out of the tracks. Or something like it. When I was in survival mode on the uphills, though, I used every trick JD taught us. Those efficient methods really work for survival skiing. I'm sure they also work for the fastest speeds as well. But the whole time all I was trying to do was recover and NOT WORK. I couldn't V2 at all. I think one reason is that my skis are flexed for 160 lb skier. I like em soft and bought em when I was 165. I'm 190 now! Squirrely. Riding the tails was my only hope.

I was hitting 187 on the ups and 182 on the flats.

I ended up with an avg heart-rate of 182 with a high of 201! Hoo-doggie! What a nut! Kinda kooky for 41 yrs old, it seems.

I did 1:03 for 20km for 18th overall (Goble had :55). There were 5 rat bastards within :30's in front of me who woulda been mine if I hadn'ta done my stupid start. And 4 bitter pills within :30's behind me who musta really been peeved seeing all that yo-yo-ing going on in front of them. "Look, he's going to fall over! He's stopped! I'll get 'im now for sure! Darn, he's moving again! Crap!"

Anyway, that's my race story! : )

I swear I'm not going to go out hard at the Vasa next weekend. I'll start 2nd row. Easy first half THEN start skiing.

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