Once again, I made the long solo pilgrimage to another race. The Whitefish Whiteout is always a good time, the resort and the community really stand behind the event, the fields are always deep and full of "wild cards", and I like the layout of the course with decreasing climb lengths, which makes it easy to mentally break the race down.
Thick fog...er "low cloud"...er "adverse visibility" blanketed the mountain, and lack of precipitation and warm temperatures in the weeks preceding the race meant more bootpacks and dodging glide cracks.
My last report was full of plenty of excuses, most of them not holding much water. In the days before this race, I would wake up with a sore throat, and I'm not sure my legs appreciated a day of inactivity + a long drive the day before the race. But, hey, why not try to throw down!
I started hard, making sure I was at the front of what was a long line of skiers on light gear. A couple of steep sections later, the pack was whittled down to just 3 with newbie Travis Brown (not to be confused with mountain biking legend Travis Brown) lurking behind. Everything was going well for me according to plan until we hit a flatter section near the top. My legs (noteably my right hip flexor) was screaming, and I watched Ben and Eric creep away from me.
I started the first descent cautiously to make sure I dropped into the crunchy chunder at the right spot. The hip flexor cramped up in the transition. Fortunately, maybe halfway up the climb, I was back in race mode engaged in a solid battle for 3rd place. In the end, I slid into 5th place pushing through the screaming legs.
After another night in the 2nd biggest house up at the mountian, which was packed full of young adults consuming adult beverages, I woke up early to go for a short tour just past the ski area boundary. Carl showed us the goods, which delivered some surfy snow, even on the race skis.
Pete Siudara's Pictures
Myke Hermsmeyer's pictures