Black Mountain 30k CL Race Report
In summary, while the Lord giveth us sun & snow, the Lord taketh away our kick and our glide. Surprising snow conditions met Michigan Cup ski racers at the Black Mountain (Onaway, MI) 30k classic race yesterday. All week the humidity levels had been low, with plentiful fluffy snow being the rule (sounding like a recipe for low fluor glide wax). The afternoon before the race, temps went up, and humidity seemed to find it’s way into the snow. Friday night, temps dropped quite low, with local reports hovering around zero under calm and clear conditions. This made for bomb-proof tracks, and very easy kick in testing, under clear skies. I actually had adequate kick on two pair of skis with merely a single layer of binder wax ! However, by the time I tried out some real kick wax, I seemed to be doing worse. The only explanation is that this is how rapidly the warm up was taking place, under the powerful late season sun. If we started the race in warm sun with temps deceivingly low, in the low 20’s, we finished with temps easily in the middle 30’s, possibly higher in the bright sun, which felt positively hot.
Everyone seemed to be singing out of the same hymn book by the time they finished !
“My kick was great for 10 k !”
“My kick was nonexistent on all the sunny climbs !”
“The glide for the last 10 k was REALLY SLOW ! I was double poling down the hills !”
“It sure was a beautiful course today though”
Race Chief / Organizer Denny Paull delivered the goods; a great t-shirt design, creative & unique awards & an ideal recovery buffet with precisely what you need afterwards (or beer), and a professional start area on the lake with many sets of tracks, winding around the start / lake for about 500 meters before spilling off onto the double set trail, which allowed a perfect amount of room for two rows of skiers to eventually organize themselves. Denny also found the time & energy to take a 4th place !
Speed machine Milan Baic showed his incredible skills in the “varied” conditions finding a way to pull of the men’s win. Daniella Gebhart absolutely powered her way to the women’s win by a commanding margin, even finishing well up in the men’s field.
If I can put in a bit about my own race, I observed that I seemed to be less able to kick up the later sunny hills, even as compared to my also-suffering fellow racers. What had been acceptable, but not great kick in the early stages, reverted to an absolute treadmill in the sun. I calculated a 30 second loss on a single two minute climb, which I’d begun together with Michael Seaman & Detlef Berndt.
With just over 10k left in the race, I figured I needed to act soon if I was to reap any benefits of a rewax pit stop. So I invested 30 seconds, swiped on some emergency yellow kick wax, which I didn’t even cork in. I was at last able to kick ! This allowed me to be able to relax and ski much better, more quickly. I was able to regain my time on my fellow Sunny Hill climbers, and I even was able to find a little extra for a satisfying close to the race.
The other guy who skied up to us on that sunny climb was Dave Fanslow muttering something about a wrong turn, skiing like he’d stolen some fast skis without any kick, actually Kick Double Poling his way up this very steep beast after 18k of racing. Next time I saw him was at lunch ! Amazing. Denny’s Race always gives us great stories !