Just one week out from last Saturday’s cold Sonot Kkaazoot, and temperatures yesterday were near 50 deg F!
Below are skiers’ choices on glide and kick waxes last Saturday and their observations on the results. Thanks to all who contributed their efforts.
50 FS skiers
GK: I don’t have a good wax rec, but I just have to say that last year the 30 k at Birch Hill took me 1:41, my training log says. And I skied a better race this year, and that time the middle section took me a full 15 minutes longer, 1:56. So that’s a really long time
re: wax, I had: – cold powder mixed with Toko LF Blue, left on to harden for 24+ hours before scraping; then: Toko LF Black; Swix HF4BW; Toko Jetstream Blue block [this ran better than Rex TK-72 in my Friday testing]. No great insights there – just cold, cold cold – but if that helps, there you have it.
NC: On the topic of waxes, I used green glide wax and found it great in the morning on the river and very slow on the shady sections of the course (black hole, outhouse, and tower.) It was also pretty good coming back down the river in the afternoon. I don’t know if there is any way you can control for the temps and shade of the course.
SS: Fred Raymond of Raven XC prepped my skis. He used LF3/HA8 covered with C7 and Jetstream Blue. My skis were moving faster than my body was for most of my tour around the 50 km course. Like BM (below), I found the glide on the bottom of the Black Hole much better than the the upper black loops that were still in the shade. The sun/shade differences were very noticeable. I was faster returning on the river (and my HR was lower) than heading out in the morning even though I took a 3 min break at the Trainor Gate feed station coming home.
50 CL skiers
BM: Here are my observations:1: The snow was indeed quite slow. The river took me about 36 minutes to do starting and about 42 finishing. I have done the same stretch in 31 and 34 in faster conditions. I knew it was going to be a grind by the fact that I did very little double poling on the river. Normally that is about all I do starting, this year I diagonaled pretty much the whole river. I did very little double poling coming back because I was so tired from the rest of the race. Thankfully my back held up and I was able to shuffle along in decent fashion.
2: My wax setup worked beautifully, I was even able to keep about 90% of the wax at the end on skis notorious for stripping. I ironed in a light layer of Chola binder and then while the bases were hot put on a liberal amount of Toko Blue kick. I let them fully cool and then added 3 layers of Toko green over. I had very solid kick all the way to the finish. The limiting factor was my fatigue rather than loss of kick wax. For glide I opted for Start HF8. I decided not to go with Swix wax because the snow was so dry and had been so cold with no time to warmup before the race. Typically I wax for the finish but this year I felt that it would not warm up as fast and the cold snow would buy time to complete more of the race before I was out of temp range. I felt that it worked. I had dry spots in the usual spots behind my heels and a little ahead of the kick zone.
3: The tracks were sublime but slow. I love a firm track, it really gives confidence on the descents. The trouble was that they were decidedly slow. Two areas stand out as having outstanding track speed: The lower section of the Black Cross that was not groomed and had old tracks (blistering fast) and the sweetest section of the whole day belonged to the descent on the blue loop. Rocket fast and I was able to glide all the way to the corner as you start to climb back up. It was refreshing to have that familiar rush of acceleration going down that hill (something missing from several hills that should have matched or exceeded that speed). The common denominator for both of these sections was that they were set 48 hours ahead rather than 24. I think what was telling was that after the comp loops I started to get out of the tracks more and more to not only go best line through turns but also to pick up more speed in the skate lane than the tracks had to offer. This option is somewhat limited by the nature of the trails but it was telling that I was going that route to try and glean more speed from the trail.
JJ: Used two pairs of skiis The stiffer camber pair to prevent loss of kickwax on the way out. The lighter camber for the last half hoping to have as little kickwax as possible when returning on River.
My initial pair had took green binder with the first of three layers of rode multigrade b/g ironed in. Cover for the outbound trip was One layer of Nordic. Great kick all the way to the stadium. Changed out skis before warmup loop. Good kick for the duration with same kickwax as first pair except for the Nordic cover layer
FS: 1) start binder. This is nasty stuff to work with, but I find it is almost fool-proof (speaking as a foolish person). I put it on by running my heat gun up and down the kick zone for a short while, then pointing the heat gun right into the wax can, get the wax warm, scoot it onto the ski—not much is needed and that’s the key to using this binder regularly, not to get it too thick. Then I cork it in with cork in one hand, heat gun in the other to keep the binder moving. 2) Star/Target Top Blue over that. 3) Some Star/target Green on top since it was cold on the river at the start. Easy, effective. I finished with plenty of kick wax. Cheap and effective.