I usually enjoy DP-heavy classic races (as long as I don't get the kick wax too sticky and spoil the glide). I've not done this race before and was imagining it would be too hilly to be a DP-fest, but after reading you comment here and then seeing the final course map, it does look like there's a lot of flat-ish stuff in there.
Question for you about poles: Do you vary your pole length depending on terrain?
I have a pair that's about midway (chin) between my optimal skate length pole (upper lip) and optimal diagonal stride pole (top of shoulder). These I use for ski-O when I expect a fair amount of uphill DP, and also for hilly DP training sessions. I've found in the past that my classic poles feel too short when trying to hammer a lot of DP. I'm considering using the in-between poles tomorrow but don't want to be sorry about it on the climbs. Wondering what your pole strategy is for classic races.
Mitch, you're on to something there. Double poling is definitely more effective on longer poles. Luckily, the Craftsbury marathon is not an FIS-sanctioned race, so the 83% rule does not apply. 83% is actually fairly short, around armpit when in boots.
I would say that if you can stride comfortably on the longer poles, they'll help you a lot more in double poling. Do keep in mind that 50k is a long way, so if you're suddenly using poles that are a different length than what you've trained for, you may end up using muscles differently than they've been trained, leading to cramping/fatigue sooner. The one golden rule of racing is to not try anything new on race day...
If you're striding on poles that are a little too long, you can just plant your pole a little further back. However, that comes at a cost - less power from the upper body while striding, and this can lead to more slipping, especially as you get tired and are less sure in your kick.
Craftsbury marathon course looks relatively flat, but it's not a pancake - lots of rolling and gradual terrain.
See you up there!
Holy cow, yes I did just hear about that rule last week from the Lake Placid folks, but I ended up not going there, partly because they required USSA membership. And partly because the list of "who's registered" was pretty much devoid of masters. Maybe because of the USSA thing, I dunno. But I promptly forgot about the rule until Ken mentioned it.
And then I got in my boots and dug out a tape measure and calculator. And my normal classic poles come in only 1 cm under 83%. (And my height is over 2 inches less then it used to be!) The in-between poles are 3.5 cm over 83%, and only 2 inches longer than the shorter poles.
So... glad to hear 83% is not going to apply. This seems a bit drastic. The other thing I like about the mid-length poles is they have old-school straps, which makes them much easier for things like eating, drinking, and pin-punching.
But yes you're definitely right about last minute changes. That rule was proved out many times by folks in the club I used to bike race with. ;-) I think I will give the mid-length poles a try during wax test/warmup and make a decision then.
Oh, also... you didn't answer my question about what your pole strategy is...
Well, I brought one classic pole and one skate pole. So I'll be skiing on borrowed poles of roughly the same length as normal.