Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Castle Mountain Skimo 2017

A cold snap eased up on the weekend and allowed us to race the Castle Mountain ski mountaineering race in excellent conditions.

Once again, a sprint race took place on Saturday afternoon before the main event on Sunday. The sprints were action packed with upsets, misfortune, and glory thrown in there: blown skins, skis releasing, skis falling off backpacks, forgotten backpacks, crashes on the descent 😏, "photo" finishes, body contact, broken bindings, and a 14 year old knocking me off the podium!

Photos: Glenda Zamzow
Heading for a photo finish!

Skiing a little too aggressively on the descent, trying to set up for a pass further down.

I don't sprint nearly as much as I should. Honestly, it is the one discipline someone from Edmonton should practice more than anything else and will be a focus point leading up to worlds. I felt strong and raced without the major mistakes that have cost me in previous races (binding step in, fumbling with backpack straps). I was 99% there, but needed that extra 1% in what was quite a skilled heat in the finals. It  was cold so I raced with thicker gloves to keep my hands from going numb. Take the line that will allow you to execute cleanly, not necessarily the fastest.

 The next day we were greeted with an inversion up high so we would be racing into the warmth! I started off hard, lingering not far behind the leaders and skinned well once the course left the initial groomed run drag and into the freestyle skintrack up through the chopped moguls. I lost contact after my skins failed (I should have put them on inside) but was able to hop back in after Travis.

"Hey Nick, did you remember your backpack?"

from Castle Mountain Resort Facebook

from Castle Mountain Resort Facebook

The cold snap of December destroyed any cohesion that the snow had, and so the course skipped the rocky, descending bootpack along the ridgetop, and joined into the bootpack at the saddle. Travis passed me on the descent. Excellent ski conditions with some fresh snow on top of wind buff skied very well on the race skis. The second climb was as steep and relentless as I remembered and I was unable to chip away at my deficit to Travis. Skiing down through the cat ski terrain was a real leg burner lower down once the snow was deeper and less wind affected. I ended up 4th, but 9.5minutes back.

It is interesting to look back at the GPS files and check out the stats on the final climb up the cat road, which other than being a single skintrack set beside the road, with a bootpack in 2013, has remained a constant in this race. In 2014, we did this climb twice on a weather-altered course, so the times are taken from where the bottom transition normally goes.

YearElapsed TimeElevation Gain (Garmin, m)Ascent Rate (m/hr)
*Transitions look to be in the same place, but there is a ~25m difference in elevation gain. If only I had the paced myself to climb at the same rate as last year?

1 comment:

  1. Holy shit! The power is growing. You just need to learn to control it. Very interesting to see the comparative climb rates (a stat we don't have the luxury of collecting)