Monday, February 01, 2016

Kelowna Apple Skiathlon!

Finally took opportunity to use my new pre-owned skiathlon boots at the Kelowna Apple Loppet held at Telemark nordic trails.
After a few days of rain and melt in the lower levels, 11 cm fresh snow fell overnight at the nordic venue at 1000m. Light flakes fell during part of the event with the sun poking out mid-way. Concerned about grip at the mild, just below 0C temps.

I set up my skate gear on a rug at my numbered spot in transition. A time chip was strapped to my ankle as I lined up for the classic start.

Classic course was 2 loops of 7.5 km before switching to a 13k skate loop.
In there somewhere… photo Telemark Facebook
The pack broke apart within the first 3 km of climbing. With the twisty trails, I felt distanced from the skier in front. On a straight-away, I gained optimism when I saw I was only 50m back of a pack of skiers. I pushed on alone.

Course followed Telemark loop merging onto Rabbit trail with its twists and turns.

Had ok grip, not stellar. On the few steeper sections, I skimmied in between the tracks on the fresh snow with better traction and speed. Glide was decent. Double-poled single-kicked whenever possible.

Managed to grab a date I had tucked under my Camelbak straps, now having gopher cheeks and breathing hard at the same time. Was glad I used the Camelbak as I drank a lot more than a little cup could provide from the feed zones.

Finishing my 2nd loop, I stopped at my race number spot in transition. Quick and easy to clip out of classic gear, step into skate gear, and I was off. The skiathlon boots finally came to good use!

Fortunately, the first part of the 13k skate loop was mostly descending down Fern Creek trail. Gave time to chill. I found double-poling was quicker in the tracks than skating in the soft trails. The long hill climbs on the soft track took forever.

First time on "Carol's Trail" which has 4 boomerang type steep descents and ascents. With the soft snow, I could barely one-pole ski or herringbone up a couple of them. Caught a few skiers towards the latter half.

The descending final trails on Fern Creek to Rollercoaster (appropriately named!) were a gong show with consecutive sharp corners. I had a skier in sight that helped me gauge the turns. A little icy underneath the snow had me shuffling my skis in quick micro step turns. I can not believe I stayed upright!

Coming into the finish area I double-poled hard past this skier only to find out there was still another 400m loop of Forest Trail before crossing the line. Worked it and held my spot.

Good effort, liked the switch-up of disciplines.

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