Spin/Second Sole hits the snow

 

Go Marty, Go!

Go Marty, Go!

The Spin / Second Sole team is more than meets the eye… This past weekend, four of our members raced in the Nordic Flurry Cross Country Ski Race at Chapin Forest, just east of Cleveland. It was cold and icy, making for arm-burning uphills and lightning fast downhills.

Mike Schaefer and Brian Stern are local hot-shots in both the skating and classical disciplines, and showed it on Sunday. Schaefer took first in the 5k Classical race, and second in the 10k Skate. Brian was forth in the 10k.

Just as importantly, XC racing rookies Kevin Krol and Marty Mason showed up to give this a shot, and it sounds like hilarity ensued. Both had a great time, and wrote about it below. Huge props to these guys for branching out and taking a chance on a difficult day. Well done!

Read reports from Kevin, Mike, and Marty below, plus more pictures from Kelly Mikolajczyk.  Thanks, Kelly!

 

Marty and Krol, ready to go

Marty and Krol, ready to go

 

 

Here’s Mike’s account:

Very icy and fast conditions – was incredibly challenging for anyone without good ski-handling skills, and a bit dangerous for all. It was my first classical win ever and perhaps a course record (thanks to the fast conditions). Jim Samuels (one of the best guys in PA) really pushed me. He had better grip on uphills than I did, and he was a downhill racer in college so really hard to chase and make up time – we did some crazy dangerous stuff on the turns! Luckily I had faster skis on the flats and a lot of “pop” left for the sprint. My new training regimen really is working for these shorter races – hope it holds true for the Marathons next month!

After the sprint finish in the classical race (30min earlier), Jim Samuels must have decided not to mess around in the skating race. He put the hammer down and dropped me on the first big climb – I chased a bit on lap one but couldn’t close the gap at all. Course was shortened due to ice, so time is misleading, but probably would have been another PR due to ice. Ice on uphills really slowed the climbing – basically was all upper body, and still feeling it in arms 3days later! My new training regimen and weight loss (thanks to Triathon!) really is working for these shorter races – again, I hope it holds true for the Marathons next month! Results, pictures of all of us, and more info about skiing is at

http://www.lakemetroparks.com/programs/activities/cross-country.shtml#pine

And a quick account from Marty:

This was my first XC ski race. Conditions were cold(17 degrees) and the snow was packed and icy at best. The uphills were difficult. My skis wouldn’t dig in so I had to use mostly upper body strength(I have none!)to pole up the slopes. Mike Schaeffer was just a blur in passing.

And Kevin’s:

Can’t say that I’ve been in a race experience like this in about 12 or 13 years – going back whenever I raced my first triathlon, duathlon or bike race. Never raced cross country sking, and while I can tell you how fast I can run a 5k running race, in this case, it doesn’t apply.

Pre-game kibitz with Marty Mason and we see Mike Shaeffer up at the front of the start area. Marty decided to move up in the start order, but since I’ve skied only sporadically, and only 3 times in the last two years, I decided to take my lumps and start at the back.

Double pole the first 200 yards – sort of a neutral start. I could see Shaeffer and the lead guys way off the front by the time I got to the ski grooves. The course was actually pretty cool – first time I’d ever been on a groomed course, so there were already grooves to ski in. First 1/2 mile was relatively flat with some gradual rolling uphills. I seemed to be gaining some ground and getting hitting the uphills OK – sweet. Well, remember all that goes up must come down. I was feeling pretty good about myself about that same time as I neared the crest of what was kind of the long rolling uphill when Shaeffer and another guy on his tail came screaming down the same hill. I felt like I had been out there all of about 5 minutes.

I hit the next part of the course and the downhills started coming. Now, I’ve tried downhill skiing twice in my life, with no formal ski lessons. Although these weren’t significant downhills even by my estimation, downhilling is just not my thing. First somewhat longer down hill I felt like I was losing control and eventually bit it about 3/4 of the way down. I hear some older lady with a Russian accent behind me saying something – I have no idea what – as she goes by me down the center of the path. I pick myself up relatively quickly, and get back on track and as I get to the bottom of the hill I see the lady in the brush off the other side of the couse. Ooops. I have at least one or two more of these incidents over the next 5 minutes. I guess I lost total confidence in my minimal downhill skills. Little kid goes by me. Another longer downhill and I purposely laid it down because I didn’t know what I was doing. Again this lady behind me and she goes down too. She’s over there yelling at me telling me I made her crash. Hey, who doesn’t know how to ski here?

I hadn’t seen Marty since the start and I had been out about 25 minutes so I thought maybe I had missed a turn. As I get to what would be the last long downhill I end up unclipping and running down part way, only to get back in – get passed by 2 more people – and have to put myself down again just before the bottom. At least I was going fast at that point. About all I can say for my speed at this race. Into the last several hundred yards and all I had to do was keep myself upright, right? The finish is pretty twisted until the last hundred yards or so, and trying to keep from getting passed by another lady who had her husband there yelling encouragement, I took a corner too wide and just came to a standing stop in some deeper snow. Just long enough for her ot get by my and only have enough left to clip her heels at the finish line. Woooooh boy.

Haven’t seen the official results posted yet, but I was very much near last place – 42:55.

Instead of skiing in the really icy 10k race, I ended up running the course and watched some with Marty as again Mike “the Shiv” Shaeffer and Brian Stern were kicking it in the top 10.

Thats all….from the frozen tundra…..

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One Response

  1. NICE!!!!! Way to go guys – sportin it Nortic Style – what’s next – the Iditerod? Polar Bear wrestleing? No pole/bar hands ice fishing??

    Go get ’em!!!!!

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