This report is a wee bit late due to real life distracting me from skating/blogging.
Back on July 1st, also known as Canada day here in the northern realm, I skated the annual Canada Day marathon in Cambridge. This event is kind of in the middle of nowhere, and not so easy to get to, but its worth drive (special thanks to Kaye for the drive!). The pavement is pretty good throughout, and the entire back stretch is clean relatively new pavement, where you can easily cruise in the mid-30′s (kph). There is always BBQ hot dogs afterwords and lots of catching up with skating friends, from both sides of the border actually.
Along with driving duties Kaye took some video, I did a quick edit of it, and you can watch the race from start to finish as captured at the finish area.
For me, this race was a wash out. It started out great, but my legs/boots caved on me. The start was actually very comfortable, I was surprised that it wasn’t faster, but I guess everyone was waiting until after the first turn. Off the line I was able to easily slot in behind Morgane who was the first to the front. She doesn’t provide a lot of draft (much smaller), but we weren’t skating hard either.
We cruised down the big hill leading into the finish area, and started climbing up the hill out of the finish area. The pack started accelerating, split into a couple of pace lines and I tried to accelerate as well…but couldn’t. Yet again, my feet were squirrley in my 110mm Bont boots which had been made slightly too short for my feet. All summer I’ve been training on my 100mm Bont Vapors, since none of the 110mm mountable boots I have fit my feet. The Bont 3 points I have are close but still too short, so I only where them at race time.
This though doesn’t really work out For some reason last year I was able to pull off this big switch on race day. This year though its impossible. Over the winter I gained 30lbs (since April I’ve lost 20lbs again) and suspect that what happened is through loss of brute strength (no weight lifting this past winter), and my arch falling a bit under the increased weight, my feet spread out a little longer and it made the slightly too short Bont boots from last year, too short this year.
At any rate, after the first hill I pushed hard to stay on with the pack (anywhere in the group), but within the next few klicks I got flushed out the back after not paying enough attention to the slinky. I tried to bridge up, but it was not use, my legs and the 110′s just weren’t co-operating.
Its extremely frustrating…in training on my 100s, I’ve got plenty of pick up and go, and can comfortably cruise at high speed. But for whatever reason, this year I haven’t been able to translate that onto my 110mm boots on race day.
So, the plan going forward for this summer is just stay on my 100mm boots and race clean and solid. Forget about trying to use the 110s for now. I am in contact with the Jen Simmons, and I’m getting a new pair of boots from them. I have high hopes for that. Basically, now the focus turns to 2011, get the new boots over the winter, train hard in off-sesaon, and in the sprint train and and race on 110s.
So after getting flushed, I settled down into cruising mode, with the aim of picking up stragglers and building a pack I could work with. Not long after I picked up Candy, and we then swept up Jackie and Herb. As always, Herb was an awesome bundle of positive energy Just as the year before, I know I would be sprinting with Herb for the line, and still knew that he was a sprinter and I…am not. Still though, I started planning for the finish.
We did the remaining laps (its a 3 lap course), and remembering the advice of Aaron Arndt – “Never lead at 100%”, I didn’t and saved some juice for the end We rotated pulling right up until the last stretch of the loop, which comes back to the start line at the top of the big hill that leads down into the finish area. At that point Jackie was in front pulling, and its seemed like ideal positioning, I had draft, but was still in front of Herb and could make a move when it was good for me.
I waited until we had already started down the hill, to make sure the sprint would be 500m or less (hopefully), stepped out of the pack and jammed it! I was doing pretty well at holding big Herb off, but towards the bottom, there were a couple of rec skaters straddling the road, and the only way through was between them. If I switched lanes I thought I was going to give Herb grief who was likely trying to pass on that side as well. So I slowed to scootch past the rec skaters, Herb went by cleanly in the other lane and at that point I just finished out the sprint kind of half halfheartedly.
Once Herb was in front I didn’t really hold any hope of being able to catch him, I’m just not a sprinter at least not yet.
Looking back, I guess I should have been a little more aggressive about moving into the other lane, it feels like I kind of gave up the position, just to avoid a little bit of risk that wouldn’t been that bad. But, thats racin’ – lots can happen on race day, and its easy to armchair quarterback it once your back home
While I’m disappointed with my own results, the race overall went off really well. I got to catch up with friends, and I kept the shiny side up (always good). Next race is Chicagoland – now called the Fitness for America Sports Festival. Really looking forward to that. I’ll be wearing skates I’m comfortable with, its a great course to skate, and the event is really well done.
Bigger news though: For 24hrs (Montreal) this year I’m doing a two man team with Ed Leung. My basic goal will be to skate 500km within the 24 hours. The most I’ve ever skated in a day is 200km, so I’m really not sure if I’ll be able to do it. I’m sure I’ll make 300-400km, but beyond that I just don’t know. I’m going to find out though!