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Waxing during the Midwest SuperTour races

Thu, Feb  11, 2010 - By Bryan Fish, CXC Head Coach

The last two weeks have been polar opposites in conditions.  The weekend of the 23rd included pouring rain and temperature in the mid-30's.  The overnight lows for last weekend (Jan 30th) plummeted to near 20 below zero. The temperature Thursday night sunk to 26 degrees below zero.  Cold is all relative - right?? 

This past weekend was clear, sunny, low humidity and no wind.  I'd like to consider last weekend a "warm-cold."  The sun beat down on us and resulted in conditions that seemed a lot warmer than the thermometer registered.  On the contrary, I spent the night of Saturday, January 23rd skiing through episodes of torrential downpours, which left me damp and cold to the core.  Good thing I brought rain gear.

Following are some recommendations in these more challenging situations:

Weekend of the 23rd:
The weekend of the 23rd included pouring rain and temperature in the mid-30's

We tested base glide and pure fluor.  The snow was wet, old and dirty.  We are alarmed to find that the warmest waxes were not the fastest.  Toko HF Grey (moly) outperformed the mixture of HF yellow and HF grey mixed 1:1.  HF Grey was utilized all weekend as our base.  We found the same in the top coats.  We had an identical tie in the speed trap between Jet Stream red and Jet Stream old snow when tested on Friday afternoon.  JS old is the product from years past.  The new Jet Stream yellow created for wet conditions was not in the ballpark, which goes to show that testing is always necessary.

I kept my fingers crossed for rain for the classic race.  It seems counter-intuitive to hope for rain, but one can find waxes that work in wet, dirty and old snow.  The waxes are few, but they do exist.  The forecast was for rain turning to snow, which presents the greatest waxing challenge.  Typically waxes can not be found in these scenarios and hence a good pair of zero skis are required.  We waxed both zero skis and klister skis for each athlete to cover our bases.  We typically only wax 1 pair of skis for each athlete.  We were "lucky" for the weather to remain wet and we were able to find kick.  Toko silver klister is excellent is these conditions.  We had to add orange and multiviola to silver to speed it up, but we had plenty of kick in these adverse conditions.

Weekend of the 30th:
The temperature Thursday night sunk to 26 degrees below zero.

Glide is the major concern in cold conditions - glide as it relates to both classic and skate events.  Kick is relatively easy to conquer, so the emphasis was to develop good glide.  I am often asked, "Is it a pure Fluoro day?"  My continual answer is, "It is ALWAYS a pure Fluoro day."  At least this is true for the past 4 years of coaching with CXC Elite/ CXC Team Vertical Limit.  We have found in testing that there exists pure fluorine that is faster than base paraffin regardless of temperature or humidity.  Therefore, our question is not IF, but WHICH fluorine will present optimal results.

We had received a foot of snow last week.  The snow set up firm and relatively fast for cold condition.  We tested bases and found that Toko HF blue alone was quite slow.  However, the blend of HF blue with a high percentage of Toko X Cold powder resulted in our top performer.  This is a common blend for us when temperatures plummet.  Jet Stream blue powder was the quickest powder on Saturday and we found that fluorine in a block form rotocorked atop the powder accelerated our skis.  We covered JS blue powder with JS blue block.  

Best wishes,