Yesterday we did that crazy thing we do every fall: we took a day, dedicated it to massive food consumption, pavement-pounding and scenic hills, and roller skied 100 kilometers. It took us 6:15 hours, and we split that pretty evenly between skate and classic, starting with a lot of double-poling.
As official girls train Kilometer-keeper and self-proclaimed cheerleader of the event, I arrived on the scene appropriately caffeinated. Or not. Perhaps I overdid it. In all honesty, it was challenging to hit the right balance between my usual peppy self to keep spirits up, and knowing when to shut it because nobody wants to chit-chat when they’re skiing into a headwind after already skiing for 5 hours.
We had an awesome support crew with us, and I was so grateful to have them! Sverre, Cork and Pat drove the vans, although Pat biked the last half with us, which was awesome. We also had Annie Pokorny’s Dad bike the whole darn thing with us! In cars taking photos and cheering we had Annie P.s Mom and boyfriend, Simi’s Mom, Aunt and Uncle!
Here are my big
mile markers kilometer markers from the event. Some of the kilometers are, quite honestly, wiped from my memory, but the notable ones are still there.
1km: this actually didn’t happen, since we didn’t look at our watches for the better part of an hour. Patience is a virtue.
20km: me excitedly announcing that, at this rate, we would be done in only 5 hours! (sigh). If only. Curse of the eternally optimistic, I guess.
33.3km: Me: “you guys! We are already 1/3 done!” Everyone: “yeeeeeeeeeaaaaah! We got this! We sooooooooo got this!”
33.4km: sooooo….how far are we? are we there yet?
48km: this was when I was convinced I was having hallucinations. I saw 3 big piles of what might have been salt in a farmer’s field. Me: “uh, guys? does anyone else see those snowbanks?” Everyone: “it’s not snow, Jessie”. Me: “uh…..guys? I think it’s snow”. (insert giggles) “you guys, I’m hallucinating. Let’s go make snowballs”. Everyone: “it’s not snow! keep skiing”!
52km: switch techniques! Finally…clean socks, skate wheels, and a mighty quick lunch break! This was also when we did our mental re-set. We just finished a typical weekend over-distance workout. Time to start another, only we pretended we were starting from scratch.
53km: our first skate uphill, where it became shockingly clear that just pretending we were starting a skate OD fresh wasn’t going to work. Tired legs don’t lie, folks.
55km: I rapped Iggy Azalea’s “Fancy” in my head. It sounded good.
60km: I took down some more caffeine. Good idea? Depends on who you ask…but in addition to the wonderful ratio of about 1 PowerBar per hour I was doing pretty well in the energy department!
63km: dead skunk roadkill in the middle of a downhill. Masterful dodging by Sophie.
65-83km: this was, as the Annie’s described it, “the dark hour”. This was a time of very little spoken words. This was also the time frame when I was a.) most bored, b.) really starting to regret my bad posture and c.) absolutely tired and sick of eating food. True to form, I tried to spark up some conversation in a last-ditch attempt to restore the good mood. When I was answered in single-syllable, single-word answers, I decided to stop speaking. When you’re in a bad place, you just kind of want to be left alone sometimes. Am I right?
84km: we were using “open field technique” IN AN OPEN FIELD. I was very, very happy at this time. Finally, the midwest term for V2-alternate made sense to absolutely everyone.
89km: the boys finished. This was in no small way a total slap to the face as we skied by them and watched them drink their recovery beverages, sitting in the sun on the grass. Andy had mapped out a route slightly short of 100km, figuring that since boys are blessed with testosterone and always finish before the girls, they could ski a little over 100 and the girls could ski a little under and we’d all be cool. I was not cool. I was like: “(insert expletive here) no! I am a strong, independent woman and if I am going to ski for over 6 hours I will darn well finish all 100km!” So. The boys finished their 100km and we still had 30 minutes left, and 89 km was the only time I regretted my earlier tirade about finishing the whole thing.
90km: the boys came to the rescue. They leapfrogged us in the cars and along with our support crew they were cheering us on, giving us high-fives and offering up creative feed zone foods and drinks. They were awesome.
99km: this is when I got into my full-on cheerleader mode, and every .10 km we came closer to our goal, I would shout it out. There was a lot of shouting and cheering and whooping as we skied out that last km, which also happened to be on a downhill section so it went by pretty quickly!
100km: we almost got hit by a truck. This was most likely my bad since we were all over the road and I was busy looking at my Polar watch making sure we actually hit 100km (stubborn streak, much?)
100.02km: skis came off, pronto. Food and water were consumed, hugs and high fives were exchanged, photos were taken, and then I laid my head down on my backpack in the van and proceeded to pass out.
20 minutes from home: we get a flat tire. Luckily for us, the coaches still had their wits about them, and Pat, Cork and Ben changed the flat tire in under 10 minutes.
9 hours after we left the house: we returned! What a day! It was a big, successful and tiring event and I’m very glad we did it. It really helps to put things into perspective as well. When you ski three times the longest World Cup race Women get to do, it suddenly makes racing only 30km seem less daunting!