Great Ski Race 2008: Technique > Physique

3:01:29!

That’s how long it took me to cross country ski for a little bit over 18 miles (30 Km). It was long. It was hard. It was cold, and then hot, and then cold again. But it was above all, worth it and inmensely gratifying.

As opposed to last year’s experience, I felt much more qualified to take part of this event. I’ve definitely learned how to XC ski better. I was able to climb the uphill section of the race without having to stop to catch my breath. I actually had a nice rythm going, and was passing people on the way up!
I’m guessing it took me about 90 minutes of non-stop skiing to reach the first soup station, at the end of the main climb. I was surprised at how much fun I’d had climbing, and I coudln’t believe how much less effort it had taken me. I was stoked, and as such, I grabbed a couple of cookies at the soup station, drank some water, and headed down the hill.

The fucking hill. I was going down the hill so fast, I had to stop a couple of times so that I would be able to start going down again from 0mph. My legs were shaking, ready to give up and make me land on my face.

2nd soup stationBut I made it. And soon enough, I was cruising through the flat terrain that makes up a nice chunk of the race. I came up on the 2nd soup station (pictured), which featured more water, gatorade, Red Bull, cookies, chocolates, fruits and jagermeister. I took a shot, had some sweets, and kept on keepin’ on!

About 5Kms away from the finish line, my triceps started cramping. A sharp yet delicate pain told my arms to stop pushing, and I tried to strech them while I skated with nothing but my legs.
After a couple of minutes, I started using my arms again, but as soon as I had to go up a gentle hill, and I really needed my arms, the pain took over again, and I couldn’t move my arms. So, slowly again, I made it up the hill until I could just skate forward.

This cycle repeated for 4 or 5 times, which were just enough to get me through the finish line, a whole 50 minutes faster than last year.

I “stole” the map profile from here, and modified for better illustration of my race experience, and so you can have a better idea of what the race profile is like: