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Speed Events Announcements, reports, results, photos, and discussions about all types of speed skating events.

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Old June 26th, 2019, 06:23 AM   #1
ese002
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If there ever was a year where racing was my primary focus, 2019 is clearly not it. This has been and continues to be a time of vexing questions, few answers, and a host of nuisance level distractions. Iíve been able to able to train in more or less the usual fashion but with little planning, purpose or attention paid to progress.

And so I found myself at the start line or Madeline Island. I was there not because I was excited. I wasnít there because I had plans, goals, or had something to prove. I was there because I put it on the calendar and bought the tickets months ago and I didnít have a compelling reason to back out.

The sky was clear. The air was just under 50 degrees, shocking after the Bay Area's triple digit heat wave. I knew my frames were not optimally aligned and my right navicular wasnít entirely happy but there wasnít much I could do about either. I stuffed my ear muffs into my bag, kept the air warmers, swallowed a gu and waited for launch.

When the horn blew I was already near the front but, unlike last year, did not pull away. I tucked in behind Duane and watched for the real lead pack to come by. When it did, I tapped my reserve and moved in. We soon passed an early flyer from our wave. I didnít see him again for the remainder of the race.

I stayed in the top six for most of first lap. I pulled a bit too much and too often. Starting with the third time in the wind, I capped my efforts at 40 seconds modulo turns and obstacles. Unlike prior years the tight right turns of the second half were slowed by wind. There were calls to take the turns wide but it just wasnít necessary. I clipped the corners with little concern. Being in the #1 or #2 slot helped. Maybe I should have even crossed over but since my crossovers generally stink, it is probably best that I didnít. The last turn confused me, as it always does. There was a crowd of spectators in the other lane and a diamond plate in the corner. The line isnít actually tight but it is difficult to identify in all the clutter. I turned too slow but not so slow that I could not recatch before stat/finish. Unlike last year.

I spent most of lap 2 about a dozen back. I didnít want to pull so much. The primordial leaders were not to be seen either, at least as a group. Duane, who was behind me since I joined the leaders early in lap 1 came up near the front and stayed there. The turns were more crowded as I was further back but they still werenít difficult. My navicular reminded me of its unhappiness but I surmised that it wasnít going to be a problem given the duration of the race. Right turn before start/finish was better than lap 1 but wouldnít win any awards for style.

Early lap 3 was chaos. Further back than I had ever been before, a gap and an awkward remerge forced me to surge around Veronica and link up with the leaders. Moments later came an attack uphill into the headwind. Unable to close the gap, I fell back, intending to merge behind the second group. They surged again and I fell back again. I survived the third surge and pulled in. I thought I was moments from dropping off permanently. Instead, the attacks ceased, and the pace became pleasant. I took my usual pulls. I wasnít sure what was going on. Had there been a break away? We had been mopping up stragglers from the elite waves since lap 1 but here in the second half the traffic ahead was getting thick. Who were these skaters? Were they us? Were they leftover elite? Were they trailers that were just now lapping? It didnít help that the pace line I occupied was losing cohesion as the pace quickened toward the finish and evasive manoeuvring overrode pack discipline. I suppose if I were really paying I would know the answers to these questions.

Surges, merges, and acceleration finally met the last turn which was as inelegant as before. I actually had to briefly slow and then surge to around one on the right in order to squeeze through the finish.

Was there a break away? Apparently, there was something like that in final chaos but it wasnít much. I was in the third grouping to cross finish but only three seconds separated each group. I didnít know this at the time. I had to wait until I returned to California to see the full results. Only the times of the top finishers were were posted on location. Among the surprises is that, by posted times, I actually tied the second place finisher. Iíve never had photo finish before. I would have liked to see that photo, if I had known to ask.

Next race is Rolliní on the River in August. The boot issues should be sorted out by then, one way or another. The non-skating issues, maybe not, but we can always hope.
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Old June 26th, 2019, 04:22 PM   #2
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Thank you for yet another fascinating read. I always look forward to your race reports, please keep it up! Best of luck in dealing with that problematic navicular.
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Old June 26th, 2019, 11:59 PM   #3
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thank you for sharing.

Which one are you in the photo?
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Old June 27th, 2019, 05:03 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by topcarbon View Post
thank you for sharing.

Which one are you in the photo?
In the middle with knee pads.
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Old June 28th, 2019, 02:40 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ese002 View Post
In the middle with knee pads.
cool
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Old June 29th, 2019, 12:31 PM   #6
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Good job!
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