Wednesday, January 30, 2002 - Perspective
X-C.com Team Update

- By: Werner Schwar

This past weekend the Crusty Old Guy pulled a G-man.  Not full fledged, but close enough. 

For those of you that have not a clue what I am talking about, a G-man is Thunder Bay vernacular for the bonk, or a running out of gas, in honour of former training center athlete Dr. Gareth Jones, who always pushed himself so hard, both in life and training that he probably holds the record for bonking.  He even comes back to visit us here in Thunder Bay annually, where we enjoy seeing how many times he can bonk in one weekend.  He measures the success of his visit by how tired he is afterwards.

You are probably wondering what is Wernerís point today.  Well, it was to honour a friend and fellow skier who applied the same work ethic one needs to be a ski racer into life and has just recently completed a P.h.D., but also to divulge another training secret of us here in Thunder Bay.

No scheduled races this past weekend in Thunder Bay, no problem, letís have a time trial.  Great idea, I need all the racing I can get.  Letís make it a 50 km skate with individual starts 1 minute apart, spreading out the girls and guys, so you ski the race by yourself.  Wait, it gets even better, letís make it 5 laps of a 10 km loop of all the hills at Lappe, make the temperature Ė11C with snow and wind and nice dry blowing snow, sport drink that went to a thick slushy and you get the recipe for a good long test of endurance.  Iím sure that many of you out there on first reaction are probably saying whatís the point of 50 km time trial, you guys from Thunder Bay are nuts.

The Crusty Old Guy loved it.  Not that mass start stuff where the pack rules, just you alone with your own thoughts and feelings to guide you.  I had a great 40 km, starting off slow, and actually increasing my lap times over the first three laps.  All things were going great.  My plan was to ski conservatively for the beginning and then ski the last lap hard.  The best analogy I can make as to what happened next was when I tried to step on the gas, the tank turned out to be empty.  For me I know it when I start to see stars in my eyes.  Having had enough experience with the bonk I knew it was coming and I still had another 10 km to go. This is where you really have to try to block the thoughts coming in your head that are saying my legs and head ache and just focus on getting up the next hill.  In this way I was able to finish with some dignity, all be it some 4 minutes slower in my last lap time.  It was a long 50 km time wise at 2:43.  The chocolate bar in my bag after the race never tasted so good.

Even an old guy like me can learn from these kind of experiences. Maybe I should have tried to get more liquid down in the beginning when it still was liquid and not slush, maybe skiing more than 30 km and teaching racing rabbits the day before was too much, maybe I should not have increased my lap speed in the middle of the race.  Time trials like this are a good way to answer those questions.  Having a 50 km under my belt for this season now, I feel more confident and prepared for the Keskinada in 2 weeks time.

We on the X-Com Racing team are looking forward to the Keskinada, as it will be the first time we are all together in one place as a true team.  Look for us out there in our flashy blue, yellow and black suits.  Feel free to come talk to us or ask questions while at the Keskinada.  We are always happy to speak to everyone (just not in the middle of the race please!).


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