Hey it’s Zach and today was the long race day at Junior Olympics in Truckee, California; a 10K for the OJ and J1 women (we have one of each) and 15K for the OJ and J1 men (the 14 dudes on the team.)
It was warm today, mid-30s and sunny. Thus we dressed lightly for the race; I didn’t wear a long underwear layer under my tights and only wore a short-sleeve shirt under my suit top. Anyway, the J1 and OJ male races went after both the J2 races and the OJ/J1 female races, so by the time all the guys got there Maria was just finishing and Christina was just about to start. By the time we were halfway through our warm-up, both girls were done. Christina had an especially good race and result: 9th in the OJ class. Maria was 63rd in the J1 race.
I warmed up on the stretch they have set up along the freeway. At about 10 minutes to go I went to get my race skis. They weren’t quite done yet, so I was jumping around and stressing out for a minute or two; the reality was that even when I got up to the start I had to wait a minute more to be let into the chevron start area. Apparently the new FIS rules dictate that the starter gives the racers a two minute warning, one minute warning and after 30 seconds is called, the starter can shoot the gun at anytime, and only does when the entire field is still and quiet. Like any mass start of 93 people with a trail that narrows to two skiers wide, the race was insane. There was the normal scramble with tons of people falling all over the place and breaking poles but the new mass start craziness was that there was a pile up at the bottom of a hill at about 3 or 4 kilometers, we had to wait to climb the steep slope while some Midwest coaches joked that they would have snacks for the next time we came around.
On the whole my race was decent, I went with the strategy to keep it more relaxed on the uphills so I would have enough lung capacity to speed up and V2 on the flats. The strategy worked on the first lap but found that I faded on the second lap and was unable to catch the group ahead of me or many more people for that matter, I lacked the little bit more that it took. The high points of my race were passing people on the flats V2-ing and also hammering the last hill like a madman. The result was lower than I wanted but I pushed to my limit, so it was all I could do, although I don’t think I’ve ever placed higher in a sprint than a distance race (58th vs. 66th.)
The results were mixed on the guys team; Jay had the best race of the GLD J1s with a great 32nd, most of the other J1 guys were back a ways with Ross in 60th, me in 66th, Tony in 70th, Kai in 71st, Greg in 79th, John in 85th, Brenden in 86th, Ben in 89th, Shayle in 92nd, and Kevin in 93rd. The race was tough for most of the team: Kevin had an asthma attack and couldn’t find his inhaler during the race and many of us faded or just had a bad day. I personally hope that the 10K classic will be better for me, this would go with the trend that I usually have had better races later in the week at JOs in the past.
The OJ guys finished as follows: Luke in 33rd, Jesse in 36th and Tom in 49th. From what I heard it was also pretty tough for those dudes too.
Tomorrow is another rest day. Then the Classic on Friday and the Classic relay on Saturday. We’ll try to get some pictures on here soon too.