Motivation to sign up for 2017 Sonot Kkaazoot

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Bad Bob skiing 45 km race–photo by Dave Edic

Having a heart attack (and medically dying) just 9 months ago hasn’t stopped Bad Bob Baker. In training for the 30th annual Sonot Kkaazoot, he’s in Switzerland at the World Masters where he’s raced in the 30 and 10 km classical events and the 45 km freestyle one. He is scheduled to ski in the M2 (age 35 to 39) relays today and do the Engadin Marathon (42 km) on Sunday.

Here are some excerpts from Bad Bob’s account of his 45 km freestyle race, in which he experienced the scary scenarios that keep skiers up at night.

We woke to beautiful  blue sunny skies and cooler temperatures, around  28 degrees.  I lined up with 59 others my age, but actually, many did not show up…but 59 had signed up to skate. 

We started our 3 X 15 km loops with a bang.  My skis felt great, but I would not know how I would feel until another 200 meters.  Sure enough, at around the 200 meter point, I had pushed too hard and found myself off to the side, allowing all except one other racer to go by.  At the top off the first little uphill, at about 1/2 km, I was ready to shoot downward on a straight easy tucking fast section for perhaps 1/4 of a km.  By the time we got down that hill and crossed the bridge out of the stadium area, I had moved up at least 6 or 7 places.  Ahead was a few kilometers of easy fast flat race trail.  I thought I should move up even more.  Instead..my physical state just would not allow it.  I felt very tired and winded, and found myself dropping most of the positions I had just gotten back. BUT..the weather was spectacular and took my mind off the race a bit and how I was feeling. 

Next up was the first big climb.   I did not fare well, still dropping in position. By the time I got to the top,  I was probably nearly last, and feeling the worse I have felt yet.  NO energy and stopping several times to catch my breath.  I even felt a little pain in my chest perhaps…So, I just took it easier.  As I made my way around that first  15 km lap, it became the same pattern as all the other races, fall behind on the uphills and catch back up on the downhills. By the end of the first lap, I had settled in to my pace, but with much more pain and effort than the previous races.  My first lap was one hour and 2 minutes….

My next lap got a little better as far as breathing went, but suddenly my left leg became sort of useless, hard to explain, it was not cramping, more like aching and uncoordinated.  I found myself starting to double pole instead of skate, trying to bring my left leg back to usefulness.  Somehow I was climbing better/stronger on this lap, and actually caught several other M6’s on the uphills???  AND, I still had my downhills to gain ground.  At the end of the 2nd lap, my time was about 2 hours and 5 minutes.  I had only lost about a minute from my first lap time, which surprised me, cause I felt like I had overall, slowed much more, even though some of my uphills we going better. 

The 3rd and final lap was one spent thinking a lot about how nice it was to be on the final lap, and that I could not wait to finish, as the effort was taking all of my experience to keep moving.  I never totally bonked, but I did feel very, very slow, but I was still gaining of my closest competitors. Also, the weather had gone from bright sun, blue skies and fast snow, to cloudy skies, mushy, slower snow and a lot less spectators on the course. I finally made it to the highest point on the course, on the 3rd lap, at the 39 kilometer point. From here it’s mostly downhill, with only 3 notable ups, none of which match the earlier ones. At the top of the last little uphill, I passed by Dave Edic, still out there cheering me on, and asking me if I needed anything.  From that point (42 km) on, the last 3 km included a full kilometer of a downhill tuck at 30+ mph  followed by a gradual downhill into the finish.

Believe it or not, several times in the last 2 km, I had trouble skating, mostly from fatigue. The final turn into the stadium had turned into 6 inches of sugar snow, but I managed to actually put on a little sprint in across the finish line. My time was 3 hour 9 minutes and 46 seconds.  My goal at the top of the hill back at the 42 km mark, was to beat 3 hour 10 min. I knew it would be close, and I would have to push hard… SO…overall, it was my toughest race, and the race I felt the worse, but, it was the most satisfying to finish. 

I was over an hour behind the best skiers in my division……that’s hard for me to imagine.  They almost lapped me.   The winner of the M6, was around 2 hours and 4 minutes.The thing that immediately came into my head was that 45 kilometers is about 28 miles, so I skied a sub 3 hour marathon pace, so if I were running, that sounds pretty fast to me.  MOST importantly, I know I can still do this, this racing thing, and I have no doubt, I’m only going to improve.

Fairbanks Sonot Kkaazoot skiers and volunteers,  Chris Puchner and Bruce Jamieson, who are M7 skiers, skied 2 laps in their  30 km World Masters freestyle race. They finished in 2:19.31 and 2:19.50 respectively, and will be in the 50 km Sonot Kkaazoot.

So what is keeping you from joining Bad Bob, Chris, and Bruce at the start line of the 30th annual Sonot Kkaazoot?

https://sonotkkaazoot.org/register/

(For more about Bad Bob’s amazing recovery, listen to part 1 of Robert Hannon’s Northern Soundings interview on KUAC-FM at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, 14 March 2017. Part 2 will air on March 28).

NSCF Skiers at Masters World Cup

The Travel Team SCUM are in Klosters, Switzerland for the 2017 Masters World Cup starting Saturday. NSCF President Bruce Jamieson will start off by skiing 15 km freestyle while Chris Puchner and Owen Hanley ski 15 km CL. Bad Bob Baker, being a young pup, will be skiing 30 km CL.

Here’s the URL to check for results:

http://www.mwc2017.com/en

Hopefully, we will get some photographs of our Sonot Kkaazoot volunteers in action.

Meanwhile for Fairbanks skiers not heading to Anchorage this weekend for full course Tour of Anchorage, this is what’s in store for us, temperature wise:

6-10-temp-outlook-march

So, no red glide or kick wax will needed for a week or two.

However, we have plenty of snow so spring skiing will be great and hopefully, last for well into April and maybe May!

Donate to the trail fund:

https://nordicskicluboffairbanks.wildapricot.org/Donate/

 

Sunday’s Distance Race #3 will start and end at the biathlon range

The Buetow Dental Distance Race #3 is scheduled for Sunday, 19 February 2017. The temperatures will be mild and trails will be groomed to perfection. Because cold weather caused the Conoco Phillips Winter Carnival scheduled for last Sunday to be delayed until this Sunday, the Distance Race #3 course will start at the Biathlon Range at 11 a.m. Bib pickup and race day registration will take place in the biathlon building NOT in Rikke’s Roadhouse.

The course map can be viewed here:

http://skiraces.sportalaska.com/2016-2017/distance_series.html

This would make a loop of about 10 km, so the 30 km skiers would do it three times. If you’re not ready to ski 30 km, you can ski just 10 km. Come and enjoy skiing the new Sunnyside Trail.

Perfect ski conditions at -23 deg F on Southside Classic trails

Although the inversion today was rather shallow so temperatures hovered between -23 and  -25 deg F, the sun was out on the Blackhawk and Chinook trails and the tracks were fresh and firm. With our ample snow pack, trail conditions were the best we’ve seen this early in the season for years.bob-on-chinook

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Glide was good, kick was adequate on all the uphills, and the switchback corners were slow enough that even SCUM could stay upright on their skis.

The 30th annual Sonot Kkaazoot is just 2 months away. The cold temperatures have made for solid river ice and our snow pack is setting up nicely. Make the commitment now to the ski the 2017 Sonot Kkaazoot while entry fees are the lowest. See the “Register” page at the top of this site.

NSCF offers Sonot Kkaazoot Training Class

If you need a little assistance in preparing for the 40 or 50 km Sonot Kkaazoot, the Nordic Ski Club of Fairbanks is once again offering a 10 week long Sonot Kkaazoot Training Class beginning this Tuesday.

The class involves at least one long ski of the Chena River and Sonot Connector to the Birch Hill Recreation Area and also includes video analysis of your skate technique.

To register or for more information email nscfadultlessons@gmail.com, or
call 371-9543.