Sunday, March 25, 2012

Ken Jones Classic - Hero weekend

The Ken Jones Classic at Lake Louise was the final Ski Mountaineering Competition Canada race of the season and boy was it a good'er!

Course: With avalanche conditions not being as stable as they were last year at this time, the course was different, with some descents down the brownshirt main and first gullies instead of the speed gully on Richardson's ridge, and the course climbed up through rock garden partway up elevator shaft instead of climbing up through wolverine and purple bowl. Last year's course was more scenic and I'm sure it might be easier to motivate some people to race with fun out of bounds descents. This year's course is probably way easier to run logistically and it works really well as a race course.

Technique: Being a city boy, I do not get to ski as much as the mountain folk, and I am definitely one of the slower descenders and I lost some time there. My transitions weren't that speedy either, except the last 2 were pretty dialed, just like my kick turns.

Engine: I took the week pretty easy, almost too easy and I was a little worried about not having enough snap in the legs. I've put in a solid block since the last race and was feeling fit. I got a real good start and felt like quite the hero as I was not too far behind Andrew McNab at the top of the first climb. I settled in and was able to drop the hammer at the top of the last climb to distance Eric Carter (who was absolutely killing it on "real skis": 176 BD drifts, not heavy, but definitely not race skis).

Gear: Skis were freshly waxed (aside from skiing at 2 weekends ago) as I knew there were some flat sections on the course, and the skins weren't sticking great, but I didn't have any failure issues (let's just say they came off a little too easy). Gear was pretty dialed.

TSN Turning Point: The turning point occurred pretty early in the race as I got caught and passed on the first downhill and skins-on transition by Ian Gale. Defs have to work on the descending!

So, a solid race and I rolled in 4th position as I was able to hold Eric off on the descent and the long skiout. This was probably my best race so far. Craig had a tough race, but is confident he will improve with more midweek training.

Some good pictures in the Lake Louise recent photos gallery.

In chronological order, you can view my slowly diminishing hero-ness.

The afternoon was fun as we knocked off some laps of paradise chair with pretty bomber coverage.

Eric Hjorleifson ripping Lake Louise on the Renegade from 4FRNT Skis on Vimeo.

I skied the first line in the video...with way better coverage, way less style, and way less flow. Then we crushed some pizza, nachos, and beer before the podium on the deck of the kokanee cabin.

Hammer Nutrition has been super generous with the prizing and giveaways, and I'm stoked to try some HEED. I would probably buy more though if they didn't have so much promotional material containing people riding bikes with high aspect ratios, aerobars, and seats slammed forward on their rails.

Sunday we got off on a fun tour in Kananaskis, probably my favourite area, but I've only been able to get in there 3 times before. We moved quickly with the sun bearing down on us, and dropped into a dry north facing line which provided some faceshots, even though there were already a bunch of tracks. Solid day.

Craig sporting his new backpack, acquired from draw prizes the day before.

A good reminder to take it easy, no matter how popular a zone is

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