|Counting the laps by myself was out of the question.|
Nevertheless I came into the race with a winning attitude. The lead pack never really solidified it's self for most of the race. It was basically a long train. Long enough to lap other athletes again and again. I hung around the top three or four and decided that I could relax a little more and dropped down to the top ten or so. Kris Freemen and Tad Elliot made a break for it with about eight laps to go. I was behind a group of skiers and was admittedly starting to feel it in my legs. It wasn't a lack of engine power or a glucose issue, but more so my legs were simple losing functional capacity. It was going to be a slow and painful death. Once Tad and Freemen were clearly in there own pack they hung out at about 30 seconds up on the rest of us. In retro spec I wished I had made the break with them, but with bad timing and a surmounting fear of hitting the wall I didn't go for it and stayed back with the pseudo pack.
The rest of the top ten took turns leading the last six laps. At one point I tried to make a break for it. I didn't know for sure how many laps I had left but I assumed it was very few. Turns out I still had five laps to go. I stood up and didn't hesitate to let someone else lead the way of my failed get away plan. Technique has come a long way this season and has played a big role in any increase in ski speed I've had. This was meaningless going up the climb for the last time. My legs and arms felt like they were going to detach themselves. I wouldn't have blamed them. The thought of dropping out crossed my mind. It would have been so easy to just stop on the side of the trail and take part in barbecue. In retro spec I might have been lacking glucose at that point. A few more racers pulled away from me and there was nothing I could do about it. When your done, your done. I had just enough room left to make a push into the finish for a seventh place. 1:23 down from the lead and only 20 seconds out of third.
The real shenanigans lie with in the effort to make it Russia. It was sounding more and more fun. It would have been the closest thing to a vacation I've been on. I've never gone through the process of getting a visa by myself and it's not that easy of a task even if you've done it before. I spent a lot of time sending emails and making calls on both sides of the project and with limited time it was't looking like I was going to make. Unexpectedly I ran into Catherine Collins. Catherine and I go way back in the day. Catherine was able to put into contact with some potential help. With some extra pressure the process my just go fast enough to make the trip happen after all. On Monday I spent all morning getting my bearings straight once and for all. I prepared all of the paperwork right down to last detail. I was positive that everything was in the right place. If it really was, there was a very good chance of me going to Russia.
Life was good until one particular email hit my inbox. This email was to inform me that there wasn't enough space left in my passport to stamp a Russian visa. "Seriously!" I said out loud. "that's the limiting factor, after all this, that's what it comes down to!" I made yet another phone call and learned that there was a slim chance still left. It would involve a lot of paper work, double my expenses, and all would have to be compiled and mailed over night before the post office in Caribou closed that mid afternoon. I hung up the phone, let out a few profanities, and thought it over. After weighing the pros and cons I decided not to risk it. My spring business / vacation trip was canceled. I was pretty bummed.
In other news the spring cleaning attempt is still a go. I don't see the end in sight, but in theory it should be there sooner or later. I started planing a small vacation with an old friend back in January. We were going to hang out while I was in the Vermont area last week. He called me to confirm plans as I was half way home. Maybe if I start now we can hang out the same time next year. I purchased a new computer. It's great, it really is, but it's going to take a while before I have all of the data from my old computer transferred and dialed in.
The marathon at US spring series was my best 50km ever. The placing wasn't what I wanted, but the overall performance was a good sign. The visa fail was a learning experience and it will make next years race in Kamchatski much smoother. The 50km and the visa flop are both good examples of how my lifestyle functions more often then not. Sometimes you can put off a job and an education and pour everything into one cause and get so close only to be shut down because of 20 seconds or one less blank page. I've grown "somewhat" tolerant of this shenanigan cycle over the years and that perspective makes me feel a little better about the situation.
Sorry for the lack of updates lately, but it's the off season so cut me some slack!!