Course: On paper, this one looked to be easy. With really only 2 long climbs and descents, it was easy to mentally break down the race to keep the throttle pinned! The climbing was more technical and I tried to capitalize on that. The descents had good snow and they were awesome. It was a real ski mountaineering race, not a nordic race with metal edges and skins. The course was explained pretty well in the pre-race meeting and even with it being my first time at Castle, it was easy to follow, at least on a macro scale.
Gear: Skins were feeling grippy and fast, skis were skiing well, I could focus on the suffering in the cold!
Technique: My change-overs were feeling good and my skiing, skinning, and scrambling was feeling dialed. I've been able to get out into some fun terrain "training" this year!
Engine: I wasn't sure how I would feel during the warmup, but I was able to get into the zone and ahead going into the switchbacks so I could race my own race. Coming up on Stano, who had to break some trail, I wasn't feeling the killer instinct and got dropped again near the top of the last climb. Racing a little too conservatively near the end of the race.
TSN Turning point: I was placed well on the first climb and did not get held up by others kick turning and sliding backwards ;) and so I was able to race my own race.
I ended up finishing 2nd, was in the change-over zone before the last descent with Stano, but I lost a bit of time on the descent.
Overall, I enjoyed the race, and the organizers did a good job, especially with the food afterwards and securing sponsors to provide good prizes. My only comment would be that some of the volunteers did not have enough time to get to their positions and as a result, some trailbreaking had to be done, and there was some confusion. The course was explained well in the meetings and this Castle rookie was able to follow it well. I guess some people just get tunnel vision... Thanks to the organizers, volunteers, sponsors, and other racers for making this one a good one.
After the race, and on Sunday, I got to check out Castle. Quite the hidden gem in Alberta with some great fall line terrain, good snow. But it must get slayed hard on a powder day!
|The word SKIMO is getting a little out of hand...|
|Nothing to see here...|