Sunday, March 3, 2013

3rd in MARA with double poling

I never planned to do MARA with only double poling because it is a hard race with many uphills and it is 42km (you can see the race profile here). But this year I actually did not have a choice! Why? Well, here is the story...

I recovered well after Gommerlauf last weekend, did several classic skiing sessions this week and was ready to rock the world!  On Thursday we went with friends to Disco on Ice. Normally, I am very comfortable on ice skates and even do simple jumps, but this time I was unlucky and badly twisted my ankle :( The doctor said, I should not do any sports for 10 days.

I couldn't skip la MARA because of the Swiss Loppet Cup classification. So the plan was to do it anyways.  On Saturday, I prepared two pairs of skis: one with klister and another pair with only glide wax (for double poling).  I was still hoping that by Sunday my leg will be fine and I will be able to do the normal classic race with klister.

On Sunday before the race, I managed to put my painful leg into the ski shoes and tried the skis. I realized that I was not able to go with normal classic technic and use my legs in the race. So I finally decided to go with double poling: only pushing with arms and not using my legs.  I knew it's gonna be hard, but well...

The race went actually super good. I was pushing hard in the beginning when the track was not yet too demanding. We managed to run away from the others and were four in the group. I was suffering on uphills because double poling is not too efficient on steep climbs: I was loosing contact and then was coming back. Later, Remo Fischer, who came back from the World Championship on Saturday, left the group and went forward alone.  With the last year winner Guillaume Lalevee we ran away from the fourth person.  The last 6-7 kms of La MARA have 5 hard uphills, where I was suffering a lot. However, I managed to finish third (on the podium!!!) and got +20 points over my main competitor for the SwissLoppet Cup - Bruno Joller.

In the end, I am extremely happy with this race, but I do not advice anyone to do la MARA with only double poling :)

Race stats

Photos and videos are from

Monday, February 25, 2013

2nd and 6th at Gommerlauf 2013

Well, I did not write for a long time on the blog! Seems as it is the first skiing report this year. I had too much writing with my PhD thesis. Already 135 pages, so it's coming to its end!!!

First race after the New Year was super. I was second in Campra Swissloppet and felt very strong during the race. Then I got sick for a week, and the results were not super good. However, I managed to recover and get back in shape. I was second in Kandersteg, third in Einsiedeln, again third in Franco-Suisse.

This weekend (23-24 February, I went to Goms for Gommerlauf). The plan was to do 21km classic race on Saturday and 30km skating race on Sunday (Swissloppet race).

The other pictures

21km classic

First of all, the weather was simply awesome! Cold (-10-12), sunny and classic ;) As last year (this year without any hesitation!), I went with no "kick" wax on skis (only double poling). I took skating skis for this matter, even though I heard several opinions after the race that it is still better to use classic skis ...

Soon after the start we were only three people. I and two Italian guys.  We were going like this for some time leading in turn from time to time.  My atomic skis were gliding not slower than theirs.  Then when I was going third I missed an attack of Simone Paredi. I passed the second Italian, but could not reach Paredi. We had several seconds between us, maybe 30-50 meters and I couldn't reach him.  For several kilometers we were going like this, but then on the long uphill I started to loose more and more. In the end, once I realized that it becomes hard to get back to him, I went in the normal tempo. The second Italian was quite far behind by that time. I guess Paredi also did not work super hard afterwards, since we both had a race next day.

Finally, I finished the race on the second place and was quite happy about it :) Good preparation for Mara and the classic Swiss Championship!  Since my upper body muscles were quite tired I went to get free after-the-race-massage. It was awesome!

Classic results
Race stats

30km skating

The next day was the longer 30km skating race. The field was filled (in addition to Swiss guys) with strong French, Italian and German skiers.  Several centimeters of new snow, still quite cold conditions, skis are gliding not bad!

The start of the race was quite slow, nobody was pushing too hard in the beginning and we were going in a very big group. Bam, a ski is on my pole and I loose the tip. We are not going very fast, so I do not loose anything and a nice lady gives me an exel pole. The length of the pole is ok, but the handle is too small, so I can't fix it very well. I continue the race like this.

An attack after several kilometers! The French skier Christophe Perrillat runs away alone, then the other 5 skiers, and then my group of 3 people (two Fischer skier and I). There is quite a distance between our and second group, but we slowly got back to them, since they did not go very fast. So we go very slow all 8 people. The chasing group behind was too far, so we were going really slow. I got too tired during the attack, so I didn't even go in front.  Bam, again a ski is on the pole and I completely loose it, because it's not fixed well on the wrist, no time to come back. We go slow, so until the next people I go with only one pole. Happily, they give me another pole which is heavy and bigger than the one I have, but it's better than no pole at all ;)

We continue to go very slow untill 1km before the finish, where we start to sprint. In the end, I was fifth in our 8-people group and 6th overall. Not bad, taking into account the strong field.

Skating results

As a combi of two days (classic + skating) I was second and got a prize, yahoooo! :) That was it. Mara is next!