After Saturday's competitive disappointment, I was thrilled to drive up Mt. Spokane Sunday morning for my first ever Langlauf 10 km classic ski race. Again, underpreparedness ruled, and I found myself scraping, brushing and base-binding my classic skis at the last minute. The process wasn't made any easier by the severe wax box deficits that resulted from Aaron's trip to Colorado. I can't blame him though, they're his brushes and waxes after all. Regardless, I showed up at the Fitness Fanatics tent and let John and Uli advise me as to what the heck to do in the wax department. I should have realized that the reason all of the good skiiers were being so deliberate is that there is a science to classic ski waxing, but I had had enough of science during the previous week's chemistry classes. So I put on some red, then yellow, and then left a layer of gloppy silver on for good measure. In my limited classic skiing experience, it's better to have too much kick than too little.
So it was off to the start, and with no real concept of how to seed myself, I settled into the corral behind the "fast" corral. There were some speedy looking 8 year olds in front of me, and I figured they probably had a better grasp of classic skiing than I. It wasn't the most brilliant of plans from a competitive standpoint, but the beauty was that I couldn't have cared less. Seeding myself so badly just gave me the opportunity to pass lots of people. It turns out that when you have gobs of gooey kick wax on, classic skiing is EASY. It's certainly easier than skating cardiovascularly. The conditions were very disorienting though. I had no idea where I was for most of the race. I know the Mt. Spokane trail system extremely well, but we started on the snowmobile road, and it was so foggy that I never noticed when we merged back onto the regular trails. Suddenly, there were cow-bell ringers saying that we were 1/2 done, and I couldn't even remember having been on Shadow Mt. On skate skis, Shadow is a pretty tough climb, but I was able to jog up it easily on my overwaxed classics. I certainly paid the price for my exessive wax on the flats when my skis would stick solidly to the snow, but since I wasn't in the race to compete, it was funny more than anything.
I recommend Langlauf to anyone. Even I (who had only classic skiied 3 times previously) had a great time and was tickled to be a part of so much xc ski enthusiam. The thick fog starkly contrasted with the brilliant sunshine of Mt. Bachelor, and my approaches to the two events couldn't have been more different, but it was undoubtedly one of my most memorable winter weekends of my life.