One of the features of the Otepaa World Cup weekend is the annual wax-tech relay. Many of the service guys are former World Cup racers (like the USST’s Larry Poromaa) and many others still regret that they weren’t. By and large it’s a crew of out of shape guys who go out and ski really hard a couple of K at a time all winter long. Usually several techs will go out together to test, and ski in a group. The drill seems to be this: go like hell to get to the front, and when you can’t go another step, stop and swap your skis. Then everybody is thankful for the break, and nobody loses face. In any case, if there’s one thing these guys CAN do it’s go like hell for a relatively short amount of time. So a 3X2K (or something like that) relay is right up their alley.
It should be noted that this event is pretty much a joke. Yeah, they go out and go hard, but it’s not so terribly serious. Except for the Norwegians. As Kris put it, they recruited the 1984 Olympic team to race the relay, and these guys are still training hard. This year the Norwegians had wax techs for the wax techs, with benches set-up out by the course. They won (of course), and the anchor leg guy came across the line carrying two Norwegian flags, with his teammates running alongside him. How can you not love the Norwegians? Andy Newell put some video of the event (relatively little airtime given to the Norwegians) on his Fasterskier blog:
Final shot of some hardcore Estonian fans. I know that they’re standing in some kind of a hottub because I saw the shot of them from behind. But I’m going to spare you that one…
Reprinted with permission from the Kris Freeman website at http://www.krisfreeman.net/. Copyright © Zach Caldwell and Kris Freeman