My post (high school) season addiction continues as I decided on Tuesday or Wednesday to register for the Sugarloaf Ski Marathon. Nothing like long endurance races without training! Forecasted temperatures were Friday night lows in mid 30's, 40F at the start and 55F high. Roger Knight and Boulder Nordic Sport East were giving free top coats, which was a tremendous help. The course differed this year. Instead of the grinding climb and terrifying descents from previous years, the directors went with a 4-lap course with a shorter climb and a fast fun (and straight!) descent. It was basically trail 29 up, then 32/7 down then trail 10 on a roller coaster back to the start. Great course. Enough windiness and roller coasterness to challenge transition skills, a couple of very short steep walls, and the gradual climb on 29 became a mental challenge in the soft mashed potato snow over the last 2 laps. The lower sections were dirty and had a few very very small open patches. But overall, there was lots of snow. The course was short, I got 41K on my Garmin 305 (a little of 10K per lap). Five laps would have been closer to the advertised 50K but I'm glad we didn't have to do that.
NENSA posted the splits, which is great data for numeric stalkers like myself (thanks NENSA!). Everyone's splits dropped from lap one to four. The difference between first and last lap ranged between 5 and 10 minutes. My difference was 9 minutes and I suspect this reflected my lack of ski fitness going into marathon season. I was happy enough with my time. I've gained about 5% on the faster skiers since the 50K Rangeley Loppet last year (based on a subset of skiers racing both). Still a lot of room from improvement though.
Colby hosts the race and Colby skiers manned all the feed stations and they had heed, water, and gels. They also had excellent chocolate and blonde brownies at the finish. And bananas and oranges. Oranges are really, really, tasty after a long ski race. There was a massive pile of schwag for the raffle. I got another brick of ski-go LF wax for my wax box. Sweet.
AG place 9/11
Conditions: Sun, light wind, 45-50F, mashed potato snow, no open puddles.