Lead group under the lights in Schwangau
Sandi & I decided to jump into the 2 annaul Skate Night, a night skate skiing race on the lighted loop in Schwangau, at the base of the famous Neuschwanstein Castle. The local sport club puts it on as a fundraiser for local charity, donating 1 EUR per lap from each participant who try turn as many as they can in one hour. This year's edition drew out 122 skiers from ultra-fast to the average hobby skier.
With our first ski-marathon just two weeks out, this would be a great tune up for that along with being a good time racing at night. The 1.5km loop starts off flat for about 100m before going up for short bit and then dropping down into the valley. A ninety-degree bend at speed at the bottom of the first descent has you dancing the skis around the apex and pushing you back to the outside of the track, milking the speed on the next short rise before dropping all the way down into the valley. Through the flats there are some small rises and rollers as you wind around the valley back towards the start/ finish area. A long climb with a a steep section at the end is the last bit on the lap before leveling off and heading back into the start/ finish chute.
The tempo started out easy enough, I was sloughing off not too be out front at the start, but suddenly the pack started to swallow me from behind, so throttling it it I started to try to move up before the first descent and be in a good spot for the fast sharp first corner. Tucked in around eighth, I drafted the first half a lap comfortably, but then daylight started to open a few skiers ahead, and not wanting to be left behind, I jumped out of line and bridged up. We hit the final climb for the first time, it quickly sorted out the contenders from the pretenders, and people were quickly shelled. I made it over the top in fifth and in contact with the lead group.
Things stayed this way for the next couple of laps, before some attacks went off the front. A group of three went, and I was not closing this one. Rather was settled into my pace and would wait and see if they would come back to us. A couple of laps later, one of the three did come back, and we formed a group of three in the chase group with the two about :30sec up on us.
We were making good pace lap after lap, I would pull on the climbs and one other guy pulled on the flats, the third I honestly don't think he could do much and was just hanging on. The climbs was becoming more and more difficult to navigate with the back markers clogging up the lines, and with two to go one moved over right into my line, hanging me up long enough the other two got away. The chase was on. The next two laps I was drilling it to get back on, and I made it at the base of the final climb before the finish sprint. I knew if I wanted 3rd, i had to go and not wait to recover, because there was not going to be enough time. So I tried blowing by them but they both sat right on my heels and went back by at the top.
I would come in 5th, which was awesome for me. I skied exactly how I planned to, up front all race and finished in the top five as I had wished. It was also a super result considering the level of skiers there, former Olympians and National skiers. Best of all it was a fun course, tactical race and some great racing. At the end my HRM read avg = 176 max = 190.
Next weekend - Ski Trail 55k Marathon...