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Waxing at US Senior Nationals

Fri, Jan  4, 2008 - By Ian Harvey

Waxing for the 10km and 15km classic races... 

I didn't see any air temperatures overnight go below 10F, but it must have because the snow temperature this morning was about 6F.  Despite the extreme high humidity and easily glazing snow that this area is known for, the snow was surprisingly dry.  You had to be especially careful this morning regarding kick wax drag and how to apply it (keep it off the snow), especially as kick was easy to get.  For most of the morning, our best kick and glide wax coming from Carbon Gripwax White which is interesting because the snow and air was quite a bit warmer than where White usually works.  There was also a glaze in the tracks on most of the course, but the White was kicking really well, better than Blue and gliding very well (also better than Blue). 

For glide on the men's and women's race, we went with LF Moly, followed by HF Blue (Blue/Red mix for the girls), followed by JetStream Moly rotocorked, brushed out, and polished.  We then sprayed a very light layer of HelX Cold on top.  The JS Moly does well everywhere, especially in the more dry areas.  The HelX really makes the skis take off in the glazed stuff, but doesn't snow the skis down in the dry.

For the women, we went with layers of Red with some Yellow or even Silver under the toe for some.  The snow changed quite a bit for the women's race and the snow wasn't so sensitive to dragging kick wax and was also faster.  Kick was still easy to come by though.

Today, there were great disparities between skiers in many respects.  Some hadn't done enough speed work on the classic skis and just couldn't get up to a high speed (efficiently at least) despite having the fitness or capability to do so.  This is just subpar preparation and should be easily corrected on for the future.  It doesn't make much sense to do all the hard work (building the capacity to be able to go fast) and then not do the finishing work which enables one to actually go fast which is the easy and fun part.  There were others who already seemed they had been through a long season and were not mentally sharp.  Some were super focused and others were looking around like they were bored or at least looking for a distraction - looking around (looking for wild life or something?)  You need to bring the best out of your body and find every second out there that you can.  You'd like to think that a person could get "up" for Nationals, bring the entire tool box, and risk some commitment.  Heck, that's the easy part, I think. The hard part is doing all the work that gets you in a position to kick some butt come race day.  Racing is tough.  I don't recommend trying to do it at the elite level at least unless you are prepared to dig deep.

Katerina Hanusova (now Nash) is a perfect example of this.  At the 2002 Olympic Games, the Czech team totally blew her skis in the 30k Classic race.  She was really ticked off (understandably!).  During the race, her equipment gave her a situation where most would have simply quit because it was "stupid" or "not reasonable" or "senseless".  Not Katerina though, she had a whole pack of dogs fight in her and despite having no kick and icing up (slow skis to boot!), she never stopped fighting (even with her coach during the race - she was ticked!).  This girl didn't want any excuses and didn't leave anything on the course.  No wonder she's become one of the world's best mountain bikers in the meantime.  She's not just physically tough, but she's super tough where it matters most for such an athlete - between the ears and in the heart.  That said, she's also a sweetheart.

This is the most straightforward waxing at a National Championships for the past 9 years.  Sunday's Classic Sprint Relay looks like it will be a challenge though, so there will still be plenty of excitement in the wax room.