Sunday, March 8, 2009
Rangeley Loppet 50K
Nat Steele, the director of the Rangeley Lakes Loppet switched me from the 25K to the 50K on Thursday and, despite having trained for the 25K, I did race the 50K. It's much harder for me to plan my times skiing than running, since the times are not only course dependent but conditions dependent. But I figured 3:30 if the conditions were good and 4:00 if they were bad. The temperature never dropped below freezing Friday night, and I was worried about slow conditions. I was surprised at how fast they were though. The 50K is two 25K laps. I finished the first lap in slightly less than 1:29 so was way ahead of where I thought I'd be. Conditions for the second lap deteriorated. The wind picked up and was in our face for a good part of the first 5K of the 2nd lap. The sun had also come out and was warming up the snow. The climbs were still great but the downhills were now much less fun and more work. This course has several very long downhills and we were screaming down these on lap one. On the second lap, it felt like I was trying to slide across rubber. Tom Page, who has run in some of the Bradbury and/or Pineland races, passed me very early in the first lap, but I caught up with him and passed him at about the 46K mark. Then on a downhill turn at 47K, I snowplowed a little too hard and he shot past me like a bullet and stayed ahead of me to the end. I had the energy to ski much harder over the last 3K, but not the will. The second lap was exactly 14 minutes slower and my finish time was 3:12:48, which is 17+ minutes faster than I thought my fastest time would be. So I'm pretty pumped about that. Sadly, I placed 8th out of 10 people in my age division! If you look at the results, you'll also see that someone named Jeff Walker got a DNS in the 25K.
My hydration and fuel management went much better than the GG300. I hydrated for 3 days prior to the race. I wore a camelbak with the Heed that I won in the raffle at Great Glen. The heed is pretty good but it wasn't quenching my thirst like water. Turned out I wasn't drinking enough, although I was drinking about every 20 minutes. On lap 2, I did stop at two aid stations for water and a gel pack because I needed something other than the heed.
**update** Ski races don't post overall results, just by age/sex divisions. So I took the results and exceled them. Very humbling. I finished 67th out of 86 racers.