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Milan Baic's Pre-Vasa Clinic: Session 2

What I Learned

Sun, Feb  8, 2004 - By Bob Eifler

The Milan Baic Clinic Series

Milan Baic's Pre-Vasa Clinic: Session 1

February 3, 2004

December 29 was the first of three Monday night pre-Vasa clinics given by Milan Baic at Timber Ridge in Traverse City. The audience was as targeted – mostly inexperienced racers, with a few grizzled veterans. The tone was easy going and supportive. Milan is a terrific ambassador of health in general, and Nordic ski racing in particular.

Milan Baic's Pre-Vasa Clinic: Session 2

February 8, 2004

Milan Baic's eagerly anticipated clinic #2 happened Monday night, January 2. We spent about 45 minutes on a hands-on waxing session, with Milan demonstrating and each of us prepping our skis. Then it was snow time.

Milan Baic's Pre-Vasa Clinic: Session 3

March 6, 2004 - By Bob Eifler

Milan Baic's racers spend the clinic learning about what to do in the days leading up to the race, race day preparation, and how to have a good start...

Milan Baic's eagerly anticipated clinic #2 happened Monday night, January 2. It started with some administrative bits. Then Milan passed out a handout, including "Milan's Guide to Waxing" (more on that later).

As expected, Milan asked how many students were keeping a training log...and was delighted that most attendees were now keeping one. He is now in a high volume phase, with a weekly total 14.5 hours and 187km. He explained that now is the time for big miles and quality training - probably leaving you feeling a little dogged and ragged before races set in again.;

We spent about 45 minutes on a hands-on waxing session, with Milan demonstrating and each of us prepping our skis, although only one of us had never done it before. Here are some waxing highlights:

  • Keep it simple: "Everyone has time issues."
  • Keep them waxed and they will last. Waxed skis prevent oxidation, which slows skis.
  • A wax job lasts about 4 hours running time.
  • Your wax box includes waxes, plastic scrapers, nylon brush, and an iron.
  • Waxes - Milan wax box includes only seven waxes.
  • Fluorocarbon content resists water and dirt. It's very durable and very expensive. Low Fluorocarbon waxes are great for training.
  • Graphite waxes probably help some to repel dirty and static, and to rejuvenate bases.
  • Cheap cold wax works well. Good warm/wet wax gets very expensive.
  • Plastic scrapers - thick is better. "Not too sharp."
  • Pencil-type groove scrapers are handy.
  • Use a nylon brush; brass is probably too aggressive.
  • Iron - invest in a real ski iron. A good one cost $100 or more. Brick wheels has a good looking one for $45.

Let's Wax!

  • Work tip-to-tail - ironing back and forth causes hot spots.
  • Melt wax on the iron and dribble a line of wax on either side of the groove as you gently drag the iron down the ski.
  • "A little smoke is OK," but too much heat or hot spots melts the base and structure.
  • You want a smooth covering of wax.
  • Cooling slowly reduces the chance of the wax chipping off when you scrape.
  • Use two or three coats of wax for a long session or in abrasive snow (cold or ice).
  • Use solvents (wax remover) as a last resort! Use hot soapy water instead. It is often needed for the kick wax.
  • When you use a plastic scraper, put your thumbs up against one another on the bottom edge, angle the scraper away from you, and use long strokes (except the the very end of the tip and tail).
  • After the ski cools and you scrap, nylon brush lots with firm pressure. Scarp and brush between each layer of wax.

Ski Time

I was the last one out on the trail. Conditions were super: a little below freezing, firm, and fast. Milan gave some spot corrections and insisted (again) that we all practice the Open Field Skate.

Getting back to the training log, Milan admonished us to incorporate speed and power to our workouts. "Don't just put miles in. That makes you just a tourist." Milan reminded us about racing in the Tuesday night sprints at Timber Ridge and Hardwood Hills. (See the Calendar). The sprints are a good way to practice speed and power!

Next week, the grand finale: Strategy, pack for a race, AND A TIME TRIAL!