Sunday, March 21, 2010

Fox Trail Marathon at Les Mosses

This year in Les Mosses took place a first edition of a marathon Fox Trail. 42 km with a rather hard ski track. Two laps of 15km and one of 12km. Well, my GPS-navigator showed 38km :)

We went to this race with Sean and Remi. Eric was also planning to go but he couldn't make it.
The level of the race turned out to be very high. Olympic participants from France Jonnier Emmanuel, Cyril Miranda joined the race. Alexander Rousselet (from French national ski team) was also there.
Switzerland was also represented by their very strong skiers (at least three of them were in 100 at Engadin)

Misha came all the way from Paris to do this race. Great-great respect to him for this!!!

The conditions were quite warm - +6+8, sometimes with a small rain. It is more or less clear from all my previous races, that I have some problems with skis :). I am sure that it is either skis or their structure, because when my friends had the same wax as me, I was still loosing to them in ski glide.

In this race I decided to make an experiment, that I was planning to do for a long time already. I didn't put any wax on my skis. I used a Kuzmin "plus" scraper to get the warm structure on skis. Then I applied toko riller for wet conditions. When we started the race, my skis (as usual) were much slower than those of elite guys. At some point everybody overpassed me, but then I noticed that my skis became faster, which goes along with Kuzmin's theory that skis without wax don't take dirt and can be better than skis with wax at a later stage of the race even though they loose at the beginning. This is exactly what happened: on the second lap I was able to ski downhill just behind a person who went much faster than me on the first lap.
Of course, I can't be 100% sure, maybe he didn't push strongly enough or something else on the second lap, but I had a feeling, that his skis became slower and mine stayed the same.

To sum up my ski glide conclusions.
1) My skis are slow normally not because of the wax but because of structure on ski surface or because of skis themselves (still to find out)
2) The wax does take dirt and becomes slower, though integral influence on the speed in a race is unclear.

Concerning the race results, Jonnier won the 42 km race.
Our results:

1 101 Jonnier Emmanuel 1975  01:41:44.5 00:00.0
5 106 Bogdanov Evgeny 1983  01:52:21.4 10:36.9
11 108 Laurent Remi 1982  02:14:55.8 33:11.3
12 111 Thompson Sean 1988  02:15:36.7 33:52.2

in a different category
31 224 Velikanov Mikhail 1969  02:42:21.4

All results can be found here

Next year the Fox Trail will host Swiss Championship in long distances.

For the majority of skiers the ski season is closed now.
Thanks a lot for your passion and participation!
Cycling, Running, Triathlons, Rollerskiing is next in the menu!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Engadin Marathon 2010

I didn't plan to do Engadin this year (I heard that it is too crowded!), but my friend Valentin changed my mind :) He said that if I can start from elite I should do definitely do it. So I found out if I am allowed to start from elite and I signed up ...

Well, it is a very crowded marathon. This year at start were about 10000 people.Eric and I went to Engadin the day before, on 13th. We prepared skis (only one pair) on 12th. It seemed as the weather was going to be quite cold. So we applied Swix HF molybden -2-8, and swix cera powder on top -2-30. We left Lausanne around 14 hours and it took us around 5:30 to get to the place where we stayed for the night (La Punt). It is one of the school were Engadin racers spend their last night before the important event. For most of people here it is the most important race of the year, like Vasaloppet for swedish people. We went for a small run/walk. The weather was super: around -5, with a lot of stars, mountains that are barely visible in the darkness. With this small energetic recharge and fresh air we went back to our stinky bunker in school.

The race started at 8:40 and the school where we stayed was around 50 minutes from the start. If you have place in elite you could come to the race 20 minutes before the start, but if you are not in elite it is better to go with the first train to get a spot on the start. So we decided to go with a train at 5:30.

We got up at 5:00, packed and headed to the train station, we had a breakfast on a train, then at St Moritz we changed the train for the Marathon bus and arrived to starting point around 6:20. We received our bib numbers and Eric went to put the skis to his Elite A line. His skis were already in the second row, first one was busy. I put my skis in elite line. I was alone at that time.

At the start it was windy and quite cold (also because of the wind). We had to wait around two hours, people were arriving all the time. It was getting more and more crowded. 30 minutes before the start I took off the clothes, and ran to elite line for the start. From the place were you give bags to the cars (to transport them from start to finish) until elite line is around 1km, o I had a small run to warm up a bit, and was at the start 10 minutes before the beginning of the race. Some small gym and stretching. I wished good luck to the russians I saw next to me (you could recognize them by russian national team suit) and prepared for the start.

In several seconds the starting signal was given and we began the race. It was indeed crowded: it was very wide but people were moving everywhere. In elite line there were around 150 people and first of the next line guys reached us quickly too. I don't want to imagine what was happening in the second pack. Eric said that there were a lot of broken poles ... First 10 km people were changing lines all the time, jumping right and left. I got several hits to the poles, to skis. Around 10-12km after the start one of the races fell down and his pole hit my leg (well, not too bad, but I had some blood and now it is swollen). Before the first uphill I started to feel that my body is not ready for this race. Strange, but I had cramps in my calves. Normally I don't have it, probably it happened because of the technique specific to the flat part of the race. Though the uphills were not very steep and long, I felt like I can't move, like I am dying. Big groups of people were passing me. At some point in the race I was 130 or event further, the leaders were already far ahead.

When the first girls went by I thought it was a deadly bad race. In addition, my drink in the bottle was frozen, too bad! Then I saw the russian guy behind the girls who started almost next to me and I decided to try to stay behind them. I ate a powergel, get some force back. Then I started to feel a bit better. We went on the flat area and I saw a long line of people. My estimation was 40 people. So we went for some time in this "train", then we got closer to another group of 10 people. I was slowly moving from the tail of this "train" to its head. On the first uphill, it was not a very long and steep uphill, but group of 5-6 people went forward. On the downhill they joined again. Then at some point one guy was before this "train" in 50-60 meters (I am not sure if we caught him or if he tried to run away from the "train"). Another guy in our train went in front and started to accelerate, I was second. On the next uphill we got separated. One more uphill, we got to the guy in front an passed by two more people. The distance from the "train" increased. We went three of us together. On the downhill I noticed that my skis were a lot worse than the skis of the other two guys (I am sure now that I will invest into skis next season!). I looked back and I noticed that first people in the "train" were not far behind. My task was not to let them pass me!! And I didn't! At the finish, I even won between three of us and we almost caught two more people in front (1 and 2 seconds).

To sum up, it was not a good race for me in general, though there were some good points. First of all, I was 80th and classified automatically for elite line for next year, which is good! The second point, after I thought the race was a complete disaster for me I managed to finish it with honor by moving from 130 place to 80 and winning the sprint at the finish line:) The third point is I am angry now, I want to be better, stronger and I will. And last but not least, I enjoyed the weather, the mountains and sunny valley after the race! The views are superb there! Just as on a picture! :)

1. Cologna Dario 1986 Müstair 1:36.58,1 -----
80. Bogdanov Evgeny 1983 Ecublens VD 1:42.53,1 5.55,0
797. Pardyjak Eric 1972 Préverenges 2:05.32,6 28.34,5
(Eric also did a bad race in his opinion, bad skis, too many people, etc. But he also enjoyed the nature a lot!)

1) Engadin marathon
2) All Results
3) Slide show

UPDATE: As Valentin told me, the marathon starts very high (around 1800 meters), probably I died because of the height :)
our photoes (Evgeny, Eric)
our video (Evgeny - number 300, Eric - number 1258)
Engadin on TV

Saturday, March 13, 2010

U-Games 2010

U-Games took place this year again in Evolene.
Not too many people for cross-country ski part this year. Norwegians didn't come, no czech guys, but we had some people from Austria, Canada, which is not bad!!
It was very nice (like a big family) and the second day we had a lot of sun.

From Lausanne unis participated.
Sean Thompson (EPFL)
Evgeny Bogdanov (EPFL)
Dominique Schwab (UNIL)
Florian Chevrier (UNIL)

Here is the results of the first day!

Here is the results of the second day!

Here are the photoes.

Next year U-Games will take part in canton Bern. Be ready and don't miss it!