The crash, right after the start. Until Peru Nordic’s Cookie Clash on Saturday, I’ve managed to avoid mass collisions at the start of mass start races.
It’s a no-frills, all business race on a technically demanding loop. Four 2.5 km laps, straight up, then straight down, followed by a twisty bit with funny sidehills and 110-degree turns. Not 200 meters into the race, Janet Findlay went down right in front of me as I was getting ready to make a move around her. Maybe she slipped – there were icy spots there – or maybe she lost concentration for a moment. Who knows. She fell, and there was no way to avoid her. I crashed into Janet and went into the ditch. Apologizing, she sprang up and away. But I had to unclip one of my skis to get back upright. By the time I was moving, Janet was outta sight up the Killer Hill.
Rubbin’ is racin’, and sooner or later, my number was gonna come up. No point in getting upset. I V2’ed up the false flat heading to the base of the Killer Hill, regaining momentum. Sure that I was DFL, I dug deep to get up and over, and tucked for the downhill.
With a touch of wet snow over an icy base, the track was greasy and fast, the temperature a little above freezing. Despite skiing two warmup laps, the descent from the Killer Hill had me skiing carefully. At the top it’s narrow with a couple of little bends, then it widens out and you catch your breath for a moment before a crankin’ lefthand corner.
The first couple of laps, I let it hang out as much as I dared on the downhill, but in the third and fourth laps, my legs filled with lactic acid, and I backed off on the downhill. Better to check speed than have another fall.
At some point, Mike Wynn lapped me, skiing away smoothly to the win. Later, I caught Emily Cormie and Kevin Prickett at the top of the Killer Hill.
In the end, my time wasn’t great, but I was satisfied with my race. It’s good to have multiple goals: the early tangle probably cost me two minutes, but I put in a stupid hard effort to recover from adversity. And I skied the place better than last year: Dewey Mountain is not an easy place to ski. There are plenty of places to go where you can blow yourself out skiing straight up, but finesse places are harder to find. Thanks to Peru Nordic for putting on a great race!