Saturday, February 19, 2011

Transju, Swissloppet and Czech University Championship

Last week was full of cross country ski races. Actually, there were 4 in six days :)

Transjurasienne 2011

It all started with Transjurasienne classic race. Normally it was supposed
to be 50km race, but because of the lack of snow it was shortened to 42 km.
Well, the snow conditions were indeed very bad. I saw the guys bringing snow from different places
to make the race take place. Thanks to organizers, they did an enormous work to make us skiers happy.
At the start and at the finish there was only a white line
on greenish background. Looked like a crazy ski race during summer.

Lately, it is very warm during the day and quite cold during the night.
So snow (if we can call this thing snow) is kind of mix of ice and snow.
I put swix ice klister (0, 15) and warm swix klister (2, -7).
Well, the kick was quite good during the whole race, but at the end
of the race it started to be quite bad.
I found out after the race that klister area was shortened in front by 10-15 cm.

The new track was quite tough. It was 1000 meters of vertical elevation.
The race started with 350 meters vertical climb. I should say it was quite difficult,
but it was not too bad. Afterwards, there was some flat area and downhill. I managed to
pass 3-4 guys there. We were going two with another person. On one of the next uphills,
he ran away from me and I was passed by a second person going behind.

After a stupid fall on the small downhill, I was passed by two more people.
So all 3 guys I passed were now in front. I reached them and we went together for quite a while.
12 km before the finish line, I went forward and increased the tempo a little bit. I separated
from the group. Then there was some flat area where I was able to increase the gap. The people
around were shouting that I was 10th. I felt very good. Then few kilometers before the finish
line there was quite a long uphill, that was very hard for me: I was tired and quite
a lot of klister disappeared from my skis. I was passed again by number 3 from following behind group,
the other two guys did not reach me and at the end of this uphill I passed by and ran away from
the guy who ran away from me before. Then flat area: strong double poling. Nobody behind anymore.
Long downhill. Boom!! I fell down again (third time during this race, what a shame!).
This time it was quite a fall: I lost my ski glasses and my left contact lens was torn into two pieces
and one part was gone from the eye. Still guys behind did not catch me till the end.
I was 10th again.

Well, not really! It turned out one person from the bigger pack (not elite line) was faster then me.
Thus, I finally got 11th place with 6.5 minutes from the winner: Stanislav Rezac (it is his third win here in a row).

It was good race for me (except falling down of course). I am very satisfied.
Results can be found here.

Einsiedeln Swissloppet

Back from Transju and I take train to Baar (a place near Zurich where my friend Fabian lives).
This swissloppet race was shortened from 42km to 30km because of the same problem: not enough snow.
2 laps of 15km on quite a flat area. We were going in a big pack almost all the time.
Everything was quite good except that I missed the finish again. I knew that it was coming but I did
not know exactly how much it was left till the end. I was leading the pack and approximately 1 km to
the finish line I let the other guys go and turned out to be around 6-7 in the pack. Then I missed the
final acceleration and was fighting for the 9th place at the sprint, which I lost :)
Well, 11th! The same as at Transjurasienne but with rather disappointment than satisfaction.

Final results are here. 1h07min - very fast for 30km race!

Czech University Championship

Next day we (Fabian and I) left Baar at 4 in the morning targeting Nove Mesto na Morave (in Czech republic).
They have Czech University Championship there and skiers from SAS (swiss university skiers club)
traditionally go there (I was there last year as well). So we picked up Tobias (also from SAS) at Zurich and drove for 9 hours
there to Nove Mesto. Antti drove from Bern later, since he had an exam on Monday morning.

Next day (tuesday) we had a skating race (10km, individual start).
The same story, no snow at all. They had a lap of 3.3km of artificial snow
(probably left from junior championship in biathlon).
I won the race with 25 seconds ahead of a second person. I felt very good
during the race, was pushing hard and was happy to see myself on first line.

On wednesday there was a relay. Antti and Tobias participated together with a czech girl.
Fabian and I did not get a czech girl :(, so we skipped the relay and were cheering them and also
our austrian friends, who came to competitions.

On wednesday evening there was a party. I should say that last year I was very serious about classic
race next day, so I did not party much. But this year I did participate and it was one of the best parties
in the last few years. Sea of czech beer and the final culmination: the crazy discotheque!!!
That was GOOD! Everybody was infected by a virus of friendliness and happiness.
We left around three in the morning and had a classic 20km race next day at 10:45.

Well, that was my first (and hopefully last) race with hangover. I was in zombie state 30 minutes
before the start, then I finally managed to put klister (thanks to Fabian and Antti that were
trying to find a good mix) and went out. The start was ok. I still felt some pain in my head during the
first lap (we had 5x3.75km) but then it disappeared. (Funny, I was laughing at Sean last year
when he was in the same situation ...)

Well, despite my condition I was racing quite well.
The main problem was in skis. They were much slower on downhills than the skis of my concurrents.
I had to always catch with them. I do not know what it was exactly: either too much of klister
or the skis itself (Antti also said that his skis were quite bad), but at some point after downhill the gap was quite big and
I could not catch back to them anymore, even on the flat area where I am normally quite strong.
I was going fourth all the time seeing second and third in around 30-40 seconds in front.
The finish line did not change much.

Well, it was crazy, I know. That's the price I had to pay for the fun I had :) C'est la vie ..

But overall it was a super good trip. Fabian, thanks a lot for organizing it!
I'd be happy to go again next year, but now I am too old ...

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Video from Swiss Championship at les Mosses

Here you can see as well the people mentioned in the previous post :)

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Superb Swiss Championship at Col des Mosses

The weekend of 5/6 February we went to Col des Mosses for Swiss Championship in cross country skiing.

First of all, all swiss national team (four guys that won World Cup relay in La Clusaz this year: Dario Cologna, Curdin Perl, Remo Fischer and Toni Livers ) was present on Saturday, that was extremely cool, since we had a possibility to check our forces against them. Moreover, Dario Cologna is the olympic champion of last year and the best cross country skier in the world at the moment, so it was even cooler :)

And it was cool!

Saturday, 5 February, 15 km, time-trial
The hard 2x7.5km. As expected, Dario won the race with big advantage (almost 1 minute faster than second). I lost around 4.5 minutes to Dario. It is still 4.5 minutes, but I am quite satisfied. It's probably my best result at 15km on FIS track. "FIS track" means that there are heavy uphills and it is not at all flat :)

Winner Dario Cologna

In addition, I should say few words about competition itself. First, it was greatly organized. There is no snow anywhere, but at Les Mosses they managed to provide a super good track! I am amazed by their job. Secondly, the weather was superb, cold in the morning but later during the race a lot of sun. That was successfully repeated on Sunday! And last but not the least, I've never been supported by such a big amount of people during the race. It was indeed like a worldcup! It was almost like in La Clusaz World Cup, where we went as spectators and supporters: all the longest uphill had a live shouting fence from people. I heard my name several times on each lap. That was indeed amazing and helpful!

A big big thanks to all organizers and to all people that came to support us!

Saturday's results
My heart rate and elevation during this race

Sunday, 6 February, 10km (classic) + 10km (skating)
Classic part went quite good. I had good kick and my skis were very fast: I often had to pass guys on downhill. Skating skis were not that fast, but it was ok. I even managed to pass one person on skating part. Strangely ... uphill, I am normally not that good on uphill (quite heavy for it :))

Of course, Dario won again (who else?)! I lost 5 minutes to him. Actually, I am very satisfied. Because, first, it was a hard track (not a marathon's one) and second, he is the best skier :))

Winners of Sunday's race

I should say that both days I felt very good. On the uphills I went to fifth zone up to 185.
I was managed to recover properly on downhills, and I did not hit the wall.

Sunday's results
My heart rate and elevation for duathlon

It was a great race, great place and great weekend. I am looking forward to second part of Swiss Championship at Les Mosses (25-27 March).

Vive le ski de fond!