Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Super Tour Ski Race-Carboloading the hard way or no guts no glory 3/8/2008

So I decided to do the Super Tour this year (3/8/08). I was busy getting everything together for the race the night before so I could leave town before 6:30 to get to registration in Crested Butte (28 mi north) by 7:00. It was a little more planning as avalanche beakons, shovels, probe poles needed to be taken. I was also trying to decide which skins to use. My shorted ones or the full ones as there was a big hill climb of about 2000ft. It got to about 10:30 and I was a bit distracted and decided to test my sugar and give my self an injection of the long acting Lantus insulin. I gave myself a shot and then began putting my stuff away and noticed that I had my short acting Humalog insulin in my hand..... Hmm did I really just give myself 15 units of fast acting insulin????? Sheesh! In case you didn't read my previous posts, the insulin goes into the blood and rips the sugar out of your blood and into the cells causing the sugar level to drop. Normally for a meal like dinner I would take 5 units. If I really took all that and went to bed I may not wake up (ever see Momento?) or wake up in the hospital. So I decided I'd better eat something. So I ate a bowl of cereal and a bagel with peanut butter. Now I had to stay up and make to make sure..... So after about an hour and a half I tested my sugar and it had dropped to about 100. I must have taken the humalog.
So I ate some more. some yogurt and a power bar and some other stuff. I told Anne that I was setting my alarm on my watch and if I didn't get up to well you know....maybe call someone with a glucose IV or give my a shot of glucagon. I did wake up and ate another power bar and another bagel. When morning came around I must have eaten more than I needed as my sugar was quite high. I took some insulin, skipped breakfast, and headed out to Crested Butte. What a night-not much sleep!

The super tour ski race is a 22km race that starts above Crested Butte, CO just above the ski area. The race started off on level to slightly downhill terrain for the first few miles to the old mining town of Gothic. This particular day the trail was a bit icy with crusty snow on the sides. Most of the faster guys and gals had lightweight Nordic gear (I had pretty light stuff also) with no metal edges. I fell a few times and nearly ran a skier through when he tumbled on a hill in front of me. I just skied around him and lifted my ski over his flailing poles. I wasn't in a huge hurry here but was catching many people. It was hard to pass as the trail was very narrow with deep powder on the sides.
The trail passes the old mining town of Gothic turned into a alpine biology lab (Rocky mountain biological laboratory). Then it climbed a little up to the turn off to the 403 trail and climbs very steeply. I stopped here and put on my skins. I brought my full length ones. They climbed admirably if not a bit heavy. I was just ahead of Dave Wiens, mountain biker extraordinaire from Gunnison and all around nice guy. We chatted and I knew sooner or later he would probably pass me as he has quite a motor. I stayed in front of him until near the top and could see him as we climbed the last hill to the very top. So I must be doing pretty good. The guy at the check point said I was 7th or 8th place out of 70 or 80. Hmmm not bad. Especially as I wasn't exactly packing as light pack or skis as others.
Along the steep climb the organizers had set out chocolate bars, mini snickers bars, other candy and the ever important "shooters" or air plane bottles of various whiskeys and other fermented beverages. I probably should have grabbed a couple for the next part of the race.
No Guts-No Glory!
I got to the top and assumed (never assume) that the ski trail followed the bike route and took my skins off. I had mountain biked this trail many times--always in the opposite direction that we had skied. The guy at the start said it could be tricky in Nordic gear. It can't be so bad. Well it was so bad. The trail went straight down the mountain. It was comparable to a good blue run at a ski area. It was only about 5 ft wide in good spots and went down a long ways. I tried to snowplow a bit but my skis were so old that the plastic edges were pretty much not doing anything and I kept going faster and faster. OK I'll just ski in the powder off to the side as I began to pick up speed. Big mistake. It wasn't powder at all but sun crusted snow. I spectacularly crashed many times. Most of them would be on the most popular list on YouTube. I chickened out and put my skins back on as they would help slow me down. I later learned that the winner had left his on. So I lost a few minutes taking them off and putting them back on. I was passed here by a few guys barreling down in a snowplow and screaming as they passed. With my skins on I made good time the rest of the way on the steeps. Since I had full skins on I didn't have much glide on the less steep places down lower so I had to take them off losing more time and getting passed by a few more people. The rest of the trail was down hill with only some shorted steep sections and a few small hills. This went easily and I finished in one piece in 15th place. I was encouraged that I had climbed with out a ton of effort and stayed close to some really good skiers and had skied the flats faster than most. Now the downhill part was frustrating.... At least the down hill on the Grand Traverse would be on a ski area so it is much wider.


Matthew Tyler said...

Good story that is funny you used the wrong insulin I would have given you a hard time about that one. Good thing you pulled it together for that race unbelievable. Miserable trip down the mountain! You should have slid on your butt and self arrested with your ski poles it was probably too steep. Nice Job Later Matt

Jarral Ryter said...

Yeah it was really steep and I was a chicken-I gotta do the sit and glide down Aspen Mt next week. The insulin was silly but I may be loosing my mind! I wouldn't know ya know. Check out the crust skiing pic I just put up