There's little argument that fueling athletic efforts, whether it be outings in the mountains or competitive endurance events, has become increasingly simple over the last two decades. When I first started bike racing in the mid '80's, figuring out what to eat to get through a 4 hour race was tricky. In training, I was eating Pop Tarts and Sweet Tarts, the latter being mostly maltodextrin, a good source of complex carbohydrate which, at the time, was gaining some noteriety in endurance nutrition. But using this stuff while racing was not straight forward. Hell, I didn't even know how many calories I needed each hour to keep from bonking.
Entries in skimo racing (10)
Well, we made it. There were times during the first stage where I wasn't so sure we would. Nate was in a bad way that day and had to dig deep to finish. We hoped for something completely different on day two and that's what we got. Days three and, finally, four were more of the same with only slight variations in energy and motivation. One thing is for certain; there were no discussions of dropping out after the beginning of the second day.
It's good to be done with today as the last day, tomorrow, is typically the shortest. Today's menu involved long climbs, a few boot packs and enormous crowds. Although the dodgy weather prevented us from doing the super aesthetic ridge on the Grand Mont, we did a mini version of it nearby. Some easy rock scrambling with a fixed rope for a hand line in places. The final booter felt almost Alaskan with the French version of tundra underfoot for the final 100 vertical meters. Good variety.
What a difference a day makes. Things didn't go perfectly but it was so much more satisfying that it's easy to overlook some of the glitches today. Nate essentially felt close to normal, not perfect, but his speed and endurance were what we were hoping for. We spent the day picking off dozens of competitors. I love doing that, of course. Feeds the rat within, I guess. But more importantly, we raced well, transitioned mostly like pros and skied all the descents cleanly, save for my little knee tweaking tumble 5 minutes from the finish. More details later.
When I first started skimo racing several years ago, eye wear was a dilemna. Should I bring goggles? Do I need sun glasses? Should I go with nothing and keep it simple? Over several races I tried all those ideas. I also combed European race photos to see what the pros were doing.