Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Vert 180 Report

Another Vert 180 in the bag. The final hour was as painful as it's ever been.

Bill with the Old English feed zone
The Vert 180 is likely the biggest contributor to the growth of ski mountaineering in Canada. With the race being in the middle of a city on a Saturday night, the sport gains massive exposure, with only Christmas parties to distract people. Ski boots and skis for "everyday" touring have approached the weight of race setups from 5 years ago. With that said, I was musing on the drive over about how the growth has been slow and I wasn't expecting much of a showing. MEC  has carried decent race skis and boots on and off for a couple of years, yet unsold skis always find their way to the clearance racks. As a weekend warrior, it can be a hard sport to train for, when the most effective way to train is to ski in the mountains, something only a dedicated few can do more than on the weekends.

But I was surprised to see a packed pre-race presentation theatre and a bunch of new race gear scattered about. Will there be a new challenger this year?

The usual suspects lined up on the front row, Travis having just finished marking the up-route. Melanie begged me not to take my usual speedy start, and I actually considered listening to her but the excitement of a fresh season, fast skins, and light gear took over. Off the line cadence was fast and speed felt effortless. The uproute was set at the perfect angle and quickly a gap was formed. Travis joined me after admiring the long line of racers behind, and took the lead with some fast transitions while I had some minor missteps.

Lap 2 with Melanie still nipping at my heels, I closed to within conversation distance of Travis, keeping the cadence lightning fast. The first 50 minutes flew by and I established my hold of 2nd place while keeping Travis in sight. My mind was somewhat impaired from the effort but I was able to maintain focus and improved my transitions.

The last hour was tough. My cadence dipped on the sidehill section and lap after lap I came into the bootpack almost blown.  Travis was disappearing from sight, and my gap over Melanie and Steve behind was no longer widening, in fact it dramatically decreased in the final 2 laps. Still those fast laps at the beginning make me think this was my best Vert 180 yet. 17 laps of the 150m hill.

Once again the hamburger and fries at the end brought me back to life.

No comments:

Post a Comment