Monday, March 16, 2009

Wasatch Powderkeg

The 'Keg this year was a super great event. I am especially appreciative of the people that picked it up when the corporate sponsors BD and patagonia dropped it. This race is much longer than Pebble's (about 9 miles and 5800' of ascent/descent). I particulalry enjoyed the fact that I was able to wear the race suit that I bought from Zahan in the fall, without feeling totally out of place. The race itself went pretty well for me, from the start I tried to go off fast and stay with the guys I knew would be on the podium. I did pretty good for a while but with the changes to the course this year there was a lot of pretty flat secitions during the first climb that forced you to keep the speed up really high. I don't really train on the flatter terrain so the lead pack slowly kept pulling away from me. I did find myself battling back and forth with Bart Gallespie as I tried to not lose too much ground on the leaders. I had a really fast transition and slid ahead of a racer before traversing into the gunsight notch. Bart started the descent before me, but I turned on a little bit of the aggro downhill and got to the transition a little ahead of him. My transition went quick and I tried to push to gain a little on him before the booter, I hit the booter and quickly quivered the skis and started hammering, Bart was not too far off. At the top of the boot section I caught site of the two racers ahead of me and I felt like I might be able to catch them if I pushed. I took off pretty near redline and was gaining on them pretty quickly until I blew a skin. Crap! I fiddled with it for a second and got it to kind of stick, I did my best to limp along to the top of Patsy Marley transition. The ground that I had gained was quickly lost with the skin bobble but I am an optimist so I set off in in a fury to try to catch them in the next transition. At the transition I pulled out one spare skin and kept on the other faster dynafit speedskin (kind of a mismatch but it made for the quickest transition since Bart pulled in as I was pulling out). I started catching lots of the rec class racers on the 3rd climb and it was good to be able to use them as something to chase to keep the speed up, although I did not see the race class guys that were ahead of me at all.
Part of the way up the climb I passed my friend Ryan who gave me a pat on the back and said that they weren't too far off and he thought I could catch them, it was enough to fire me back up so I shifted gears and pushed on. By this point in the race I was starting to suffer a little because I was pushing pretty hard, but more so because my water bottle froze on the first climb and I was starting to dry up. Just before I got to the top of the climb I caught a glimpse of Brian Harder who was ahead of me, but he was already on his descent so I knew he had 3 or 4 minutes on me. Regardless I pushed on through the transition and threw down some of the ugliest survival skiing through the death ice/crust/ cookies that I have ever done. At the last up transition I threw on my other back up skin so I would be appropriatly matched for the ascent and started to push through the hardest part of the race for me. Not more than a minute or two into the climb I saw Ben ski by on his way to win the race division. The last transition went well, the skiing was once again super ugly (mostly because of the conditions) and I passed a bunch more rec racers on the descent and on the cat track out to the finish. Overall I finished 5th which is 4 place better than last year. I am very happy with my results and I am getting super stoked for the US championships at Jackson Hole this weekend. Best of all I met a lot of really great people and had a wonderful time at Alta. On a side note felow Pocatello rando racer Kris Walker threw down an awesome performance and placed 3rd in the women's race class... Way to go Kris!!