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Old September 17th, 2007, 09:25 PM   #33
mobile chicane
buzzinghornet's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 819

OK, a more detail story of mine......

My plan was really simple, get as much warm-up as possible (a repeat of what I did in St. Paul), get on either of the first 3 packs and stays till the end. But the weather was making the race miserable for almost everyone.

In the morning, the temperature was in 30's, something I had never experienced before. My face, fingers and feet were numb before the race. I tried to get as much warm-up as possible, but I could hardly skate at all. My feet were so numb to the point that I could not feel the edges, nor keep the weight at the heel. I had to stop repeatedly during the warm-up to check whether my boots were too tight or not. It's definitely not easy to tie laces when the fingers were numb!

So, at the start line, I had the feeling that things might get really wrong during this race, as I didn't have enough warm-up plus the coldness. The start was fairly slow, and I decided not to push hard, just tried to find an easy paceline to get in. I stuck with one, but had to drop to another one, and the same thing repeatedly because I felt like I had no control over my own stability. Plus, the ankles started to get uncomfortable, so by mile 2, I had to give up and went into "damage-control" mode and skated by myself while pacelines after pacelines went by.

To make things worse, my eyes started to "fog" up, due to the dry and cold air. It's painful and irritating. I was practically skating half-blind for the whole race. When the sun finally came up, it's worse because of the glare. I could see where other skaters were, but I couldn't see any road hazards at all, and I had to trust the person ahead of me.

That was hard for me, after so much preperation for the race, and I was struck by something I wasn't (and couldn't) prepare for and there's absolutely nothing I can do about it. I limped for a while, and things started get a little bit better.

About mile 6, a small paceline came by. Despite the pain, I decided to jump on. Things started to get a little easier, by mile 8 I was almost recovered. Then a critical move, a very fast paceline came by, I said to myself this is a train I can't afford to miss. I took off and jumped on. That's the paceline I stayed with for the remainder of the race.

Most of the skaters in that paceline were from the wave behind. The momentum was pretty amazing, because it kept passing other pacelines with ease, and picking more and more skaters in the process. I was also surprised by how cooperative everyone was. Everyone did his fair share of pulling (it wasn't easy in the wind), and no sudden acceleration or deceleration. Basically everyone was trying to keep the paceline in a good shape. I pulled quite a lot towards the last 1/3 of the race. There're 2 instances when 2 or 3of the faster skaters starting to pull away, I managed to drag the whole paceline back to them. By the time we hit Lemon Drop Hill, my muscles were in huge pain (so was everyone).

I did not repeat my mistake from last year by jumping on a paceline too late going downhill. I was able to stay on, but not easliy. The last is the worst place to be, and I kept ending up there. A few times when I was able to slot into the middle of the paceline, it felt so nice because I didn't need to skate hard at all because I was almost "sucked" along by a vaccum ahead of me.

After coming out of the last tunnel, I was in the worst place again. Did an explosive breakaway going up the off-ramp, and passed the entire paceline. But my legs were in such a bad shape by the time I got to the top of the ramp, I couldn't squat down, crossover nor sprint at all. Lost 5 or 6 places before hitting the finish line. But still made up places from the attempt.

I am pretty happy with my result, even though I wasn't skating as good as I did in St. Paul. I was in pacelines for the most of the race, 22 out of 26 miles, more than the rest of the season combined! Almost everything went as planned except the first 6 miles of the race. I had 4 breakaways, all successful.

Some picture and video

JT and Lenny

Jessica vs JT on air hockey
All your base are belong to us.
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