Thursday, August 30, 2012

Skate the Ring in Austria (Rollerski)

Finally found time to write about the rollerski race in Austria! Skate the Ring and Climb the Goas - that's the name of the competition!

The races were on 18th and 19th of August in Salzburg. I've been staying with my friends from Germany (Tina, Sarah, Christian, Eric and Martin) in an Austrian guest house. It was super hot (more than 30 degrees), I had super time and liked a lot the competition, even though the races were not very fortunate for me.
My housemates!
Climb the Goas

On the first day we had 9 km classic uphill race. The race was going well, I was doing very good the first 6.5km (in the leading group, in the first 10), but then I suddenly had a pain in my left side, and actually had to stop for a few times and go very slow afterwards. Thus I finished only 29th with 7.5 minutes after the winner.

The start of the Climb the Goas
Skate the Ring

Thus, the next day (50km skating pursuit race, 12 laps on the car racing track) I had to start from
the wave (3 minutes after the first day winner). I felt very good, passed many people and almost
brought our second group to the leading group. But I stupidly fell down 1km before the finish and
thus was the last in our group. Well, at least I made a new record: the faster lap time ever :)
My first lap of 4225 meters was done in 6 min 57 sec (the average speed was 36.5km/h).
So now with my record I am in the Hall of Fame :)

I am running away (number 29 on the right)

I am definitely going next year again!!!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Marathøl in Davos - last season race

After a heavy rain everywhere in Switzerland, it was great to find snow in Davos. Though the conditions on Saturday were not the best: it was snowing but wet snow, Sunday was a real winter. You open your eyes in the morning and watch how white snow is coming from the sky and slowly landing on the ground, on the cars, on the roofs of the houses. It is a slight minus outside. For the moment, you forget that it is 8th of April, you are filled with a joy of the first snow that has just arrived and the winter has just started. Nirvana... but you wake up from the dreams to realize that you it is the last race of the skiing season. Marathøl is waiting for you and this day is going to rock!

All serious races are finished by now, this one is all about fun, fun and fun. Mauro Gruber took over the organization of this 18th Marathøl edition and we all should tell him "BIG THANKS!!!". We were four SASlers at the start (Mauro, Evgeny, Pascal and Fabian) and with other joining us skiers we counted around 40 people.

Traditionally, Marathøl - Marathon + øl (a bier in Skandinavia) - is a bier race, where at the start and after each lap of around 400 meters on skis you have to drink a bottle of bier. Four laps, 5 bottles, but that's not all: everybody is wearing a costume which turns the race into a cartoon. You can find all kind of personages here: Super Mario, his brother Luigi, a Plane, a Duracel Rabbit, African Kozak, Mummies, and many others.

The Swiss Air Force pilot-plane (Mauro) was training very hard during the whole year to win the Marathøl. He was so desperate to be first, so that he came up with a very secret plan to introduce a sprint into Marathøl program. 100 meters all together: a shot of a strong drink at the start, 20 meters running to skis, another shot, putting the skis on, 30 meters on skis, last 3rd shot, 180 degrees turn and go back as fast as you can. Since Mauro is a very good sprinter, the plan was ideal and the victory was garanteed... But of course a bunch of russian hackers broke into the highly secure Marathøl system, stole the program and sold it for a huge sum of money to Super Mario (Ueli), who got his magic super-speed and won the main prize. We will see what strategies the others can offer to beat Super Mario next year.

The female NHL player (Tanja) came up with an icy winning strategy. During the night she secretly put water on the ski bindings of her hockey teammates - Gasparin sisters Elisa and Aita. When during the sprint they came to put their skis on, it took them so long to get rid of ice that she could finish first without any effort.

The winner of the traditional Marathøl naturally comes from the french part of Switzerland. Being a good skier and the descendant of professional russian warriors and drinkers who visited France in 1812, Sylvan left no chance to others. Tanja felt extremely guilty about her mis-behavior in the sprint, so she went all the race together with her teammates and they made a peaceful group finish.

Certainly, the party did not stop here and went on with pizzas, disco in the bars of Davos, and, of course, with the 18 candles cake for the Marathøl anniversary.

Skiing, having fun, meeting new people, making the existing relationships stronger - that is what it is all about! Next year - again. Thanks for coming!

Four SASlers in Action
Sprint Start
The Ski Fight
Pilot-plane in action
Super Mauro towards his victory
Tanja the Sprint Winner
Elisa and Aita are removing the evil ice
Who said rabbits can't climb? Just give them DURACEL!

Monday, March 5, 2012

With 2nd place at MARA, I won the SwissLoppet Cup

Well, the races in the SwissLoppet Cup are not finished yet: still Engadin to go next weekend, but I have enough points now to say that I won that thing. The main goal of the season (top 3 in the overall SwissLoppet Cup) is achieved with the highest first place! It's super cool to realize that all the work I did has finally materialized into very good performance that I can be proud of!

So short overview of the last two weekends.

The previous weekend was a weekend of Gommerlauf. I did both races on saturday and sunday.
Saturday, Classic 21 km.
A group of 5 people including me separated from the others. We all were double poling on skating skis, except italien Paredi who went on classic skis without the grip wax. I managed to finish third by passing two very strong suisse sprinters.

Sunday, Skating 30 km (SwissLoppet).
Remo Fischer (swiss national team) started to break the group from the beginning. I was kinda suffering, but then recovered and race continued all right. I was 9th, but then slowly managed to pass other guys and managed to reach italian Simone Paredi and swiss Marko Mullematter. We went three of us together till the finish line. On the finish line to fight for third place we came in this order: Simone, Mark and I, and actually it was hard to fight there because of new fresh and slow snow so we finished in the same order. I got my fifth place an some raclette cheese >)

Our peloton, 8th here

Was hard here

I m fifth

Last weekend.
Saturday, 10km skating, U-Games&FIS race.
Well, the wet snow. +14 or even warmer. Running in T-Shirt. I did not expect big results from this race, since my main goal was MARA next day, but it turned out to be a very good race for me where I first broke 100points in FIS races. I finished 6th with 76.39 FIS points.

Sunday, 42km classic MARA (SwissLoppet). The second place that gave me the final points to win the SwissLoppet Cup. An interesting race, got some new experience. I ran on brand new Atomic classic skis. Very good skis indeed!! But I had big issues with kick wax. I put base klister the day before and put yellow and red clister (toko) before the race. The snow was harsh and icy, thus after double poling the first 6 km on the first climb I realized that the klister is gone and I have no kick whatsoever, what a pity!! The shape was perfect, skis were gliding perfectly but no kick. Guillaume LALEVEE, a very strong french classic skier (5th classic Transju this year and 12th last year), ran away from me on that climb (he had very good grip). I managed to get back to him on the following after relatively flat part and then we went together with him until the last 6 km with 3 climbs. He got some gap on the first not very long hill, later I managed to come closer (10-20 meters) before the last two long steep uphills and there I had no chance. I knew it even before. I wanted to fight but I realized that I have no chance without the kick wax. Mara is too challenging to go double poling :). But anyways, it was interesting and I enjoyed the race.

Now Engadin next week, and I will try to get a good shape for 50km Swiss Championship on the 31st of March.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Crazy WE: Transju (50km classic) + Einsiedeln (42km skating)

It was a hard weekend.

La Transjurasienne (50km classic) was planned to be hard but it was even worse because of weather conditions: -12 and strong wind to the face at the start. Track is covered with snow brought by the wind. I put wind protection everywhere, so it was kind of OK. It was slow, my time was 2h45min54. Lost 3 minutes to the winner. After the first long uphill I had a crumb in my stomach muscles so I had to stop completely for a minute or so. But then I managed to get back to the big leading group and then we went all together until the second and final long uphill.

I put Toko LF -10 and below on my skis and it did not glide very well. I think I should've used powder or maybe I put too much kick wax :). The attack on the last uphill broke the group of 16 people. I was 12th on the uphill. Then we had around 13-15 km to go. I had crumbs in my biceps, but it started to get better and I even passed two guys 5km before the end and crossed the finish line with 10th result. Not bad after all.

My race stats

Einsiedeln Swissloppet (42km skating).
Just right after Transju I went to Einsiedeln and next day did a race there. First, I put only Toko LF-10 on my cold skis and it was -14 the snow temperature. I tried the cold skis and it did not glide well (they needed powder). So I decided to run on warm skis that had toko hf+powder (-4-0). Wasn't the best choice but that's all I had. On downhills I was loosing to the other guys :(. During the race I felt that I did Transju before, I felt tired: even though my heart rate did not go high, I could not accelerate, my biceps were not that powerful ... By the end of 21km (first lap), we were 5 people in the pack and went like this till the end. On the downhill close to the finish the four guys went away and I thought the race was finished for me. But then I manage to get back to them and the strong acceleration on the last 1.5km gave me the third place in the race. Could not be happier :)

My race stats
Photoes (my number is 80)

Funny picture: several minutes after the start, but the finishing time is exactly in the same order for the top 5 

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

3rd at Planoiras Swissloppet. Super shape this year!

3rd at Planoiras Swissloppet. I could not even expect a better result taking into account the very high level of participants including the current suisse national team Toni Livers and former suisse national team Gion Andrea Bundi plus all the best racers in Suisseloppet. But it seems as this year I should have bigger expectations than last year, since my level became a lot higher (I hope it's not just a temporal shape).
Fortunately, I did not loose anything this time :)

I am number 35
When we came to Lenzerheide, the air temperature was -16. Like back in Russia :) I picked up Atomic hard track skis, because the track was hard and cold. When we came to the start, the sun went out and the sky was blue without any cloud. It was a super pleasant and beautiful race in the full of sun valley surrounded by snowy mountains! I even got some suntan on my face :)
The start of the 25km race was quite fast and the speed was high from the beginning. The group started to break from the first kilometer due to the high tempo of Toni Livers. So after few kilometers we left four people in a leading group. But in few kms, the tempo was too high for us as well and Toni went forward and we went in a group of three: Gion Andrea, Matthias Inniger and me. We went together untill 10km before the finish. Then I went forward before the downhill. By the way, the Atomic skis were quite good. Not faster then those of other people, but at least not slower. So once again, I am very happy with Atomic skis this year!!! After the downhill we had not very steep uphills followed by downhills. I felt strong there and Matthias and Gion Andrea could not keep up. I think I had 10-15 seconds of advantage in front of Gion Andrea before the last uphill (the second hump at the elevation graph here), Matthias stayed even further. However, on this last uphill which was quite long I ran out of gas and Gion Andrea reached me by the end of it and attacked. I could not keep up and lost the contact. On the final part he increased the advantage to 22 seconds. So I finally reached the finish line third and was actually very happy and proud!

My race info, including a warmup and a cooldown.

Full results list

Some photos from news
Other news 

Monday, January 9, 2012

My first ever Swissloppet win: Attraverso Campra

First of all, this is probably my best personal skiing achievement.

Swissloppet Cup consists of 10 races. Campra opens the season: it is the first race in the series. I am actually very happy and super satisfied with my result. Especially, with 2 minutes of advantage to the best guys in the Swissloppet Cup 2011.

Well, before the race my perspectives were not that good. So let's start from the beginning.

I won 3 regional races in Switzerland in a row. Then did a very good race in La Clusaz. Then we had a skiing camp with friends in Praz de Lys (France) from 24-dec to 7-jan. We trained a lot, it was cool, and the plan was to go to Campra on 7th. My friend Reto was supposed to pick me up at the train station. We skied in the morning in Praz de Lys and went to Lausanne to get the train to Luzern. I had around 1h-1h30min, but because of the traffic jams in France the drive back home took longer and I had 25 minutes to prepare some food and get to the train station. With the help of Pernilla I managed to get on time to the train station and ate my lunch (pasta) already on the train.

Then the adventures started. In Luzern I had to change the train to the platform 11B. I found the platform 11 and went to the train. It turned out there are two trains on that platform: one in front of the other and I had to take the one in front. I did not have a clue that there is another train in front, so the one I took was wrong. I realized that I m in the wrong train after few stops. I quickly went out and jumped into train going back to Luzern. Then called Reto to arrange new meeting location. He suggested to go to another place by bus. That was I did. In the bus I realized that I don't have my bug (with skiing shoes, racing suit, gloves, glasses, everything ...). Once I arrived at the meeting point, I gave skis to Reto and went back to Luzern (1h on bus) to try to find my bag. Nobody saw it in Luzern. I waited for few trains coming from the direction where I lost my bag. None of them had my bag. I went to the destination of my train (1h from Luzern) to check if somebody found the bag there. Everything was closed there already. So I went back to Luzern and went to Olivone (which is in 15min drive from the race start). I departed from Luzern at 22:15 and arrived to hotel in Olivone at 1:10. I called at 22:00 to the hotel to reserve a room, since it was too late for my friends to pick me up in Olivone. Reto (thanks a lot for you help) sent me thousands of sms to help with hotel, found his friend who could pick me up in Olivone on Sunday morning before the race.

So I finally went to sleep around 1:20 and got up next morning at 7:20, had a breakfast and went with Reto's friend to the race start. All I had was my skis and poles, that I managed not to loose. Reto gave me his spare pair of boots and Fabian gave me his old racing suit. A hat I got as a present to all registered for the race people.  This way I was able to race.

The race I started from the second line. Felt very sleepy just before the start and managed to fall down on the first uphill. But then I went back to the leading group and 9 of us separated from the others. The race consisted of 3 laps, each - 7km. I noticed a very good ski glide on the first lap. Then the first lap we went together. The speed was very slow for me and I decided to attack in the beginning of the second lap (the lap had several uphills in the beginning and then relatively flat). Some other guys decided to attack as well :) So on the top of the hill we were 4-5 people and lost others. On the downhill, I was third in the beginning but then I passed everybody (my Atomic skis were super fast). On the flat area I continued to have a rather high tempo, and, to my surprise nobody was able to keep up. One pursuer reached me and when I suggested to change he let me know that it was hard for him. So I continued to go in front and soon he stayed behind. The gap was increasing and soon I was not able to see them anymore. The second half of the second lap and the whole third lap I was going alone and finished first in isolation. The second skier lost 1min55seconds to me.

Again, I did not expect such a result and I am very happy. Last year, in the same race I was 6th and I lost 2 minutes to two of the guys that participated this year again. The last year's winners of Swissloppet Cup were left behind with a large margin. I should really thank the Atomic guys. I run for Atomic team and I am really happy with Atomic skis this year. In 4 races out of 7, I was very satisfied with skis performance. In this race, even though I felt very strong, the skis were a big part of my winning. The other competitors were asking after the race what skis did I run on and how did I prepare them. Well, it was the new Atomic skis (soft track). I used hard track in another race before and was also very satisfied.

Here are full results

My lost bag was found by SBB. Now I am completely happy!