Scenic Caves Ski-Orienteering
Day 2 Long
We had a great time last night catching up with Funderstorm, Amber, Arthurd and Katie.
Today there was a choice of Medium or Long courses, where the Medium course was the first of two maps that made up the Long course. The Long was advertised as 15 km point-to-point, estimated to be about 20 km of skiing.
It was another bluebird day but the temperature had been above zero overnight and was forecast to soar this afternoon. The snow was slower and I felt awkward - like I'd never skate skied in my life. I think I may have been a bit dehydrated. I should have carried water - duh! Thanks to Funderstorm for the awesome scenery photos.
We started with a few long legs today so I had lots of time to think about my poor skiing. It was fun to get into the southwest part of the trail network that we didn't see yesterday and do some bushwhacking down there.
Between 12 and 13, I thought it would be fun to take a shortcut by removing my skis and running down a snowshoe trail to a lower ski trail. Two young women followed me. They got their skis on faster and left. My boots were jammed with rock-hard snow so it would have been faster to just stay on my skis and go around on trails. I was bent over for at least 90 seconds, using the tip of my pole to gouge snow out of my boots and trying not to slide after I put on my first ski. When I stood up, it felt like something triggered my heart to start racing and I felt lightheaded. I'm not sure what it was - maybe a combination of mild dehydration, stopping in the middle of a hard effort and standing up after bending over. It only lasted a few seconds but it scared me into taking it pretty easy for the rest of the race - at least as easy as possible, given that I was on skate skis.
I stopped at the map exchange and waited for my heart rate to get close to its resting level. I was ready to turn around if I didn't feel right. I kept my heart rate moderate and just did herringbone up some of the hills instead of skating. Ugh. I was tired after the race but actually not as exhausted as last year's Long Ski-O race. Looking back at my log, I was so thirsty after that one that I bought a big drink at the chalet before downloading my SI card, and I felt like I'd been hit by a truck for several hours. The aftermath wasn't nearly as bad today even though I skied a little farther in warmer weather. This was the 2nd longest skate ski of my life; the longest was a 3-hour ski-O practice session at Sovereign Lake in Feb. 2006.
Map 2 was different enough from Map 1 to keep things interesting. I saw almost no one since most skiers stopped after Map 1, and the rest of us had spread out. The temperature rose to the point where my skis stopped sliding reliably. It happened very suddenly - glide, glide, glide, glide, stick, stick, stick, glide, stick, stick, stick, glide. For the last half hour of racing, my skis decided to surprise me constantly. This was especially fun on downhills if one ski slid while the other hit the brakes.
I was grateful to learn that I'd visited all 32 controls in order. What an immense amount of work to organize this race! Big thanks to Mark and Jackie Tarno, Hammer, Etoile and Anvil for a super fun weekend.