Saturday, December 18, 2010

Season opener: Kirkwood 10km Freestyle

Kirkwood 10K, Sunday Dec. 5, 2010.

Laura Stern

Always a good sign when there's enough snow for this early season race! For this year's edition, we awoke to fresh snow, blue sky, and very windy conditions. A small but psyched group of 32 racers lined up at the start, including a number of juniors from the South Lake Tahoe high school team for the 5 km race. Mass start for both distances combined. For the 10K, the course was twice around the Kirkwood meadow (1 lap for 5K), and super fun to ski with a number of quick turns and continual buffeting by the wind. The crazy-strong tailwind had us literally sailing into the lap/finish zone! Some sections of the track were quite hard, fast, and wind-blown, while other sections were covered by powdery drifts. My Rossi's ran very well with a mix of Toko Dibloc LF red and blue (about 2:1 red:blue) with some solid blue Jetstream rubbed in on top. I skied a bit conservatively due to it being my first hard effort of the ski season at altitude, but was happy to finish 1st in the womens race. Across the meadow I could see Truckee XC teammate Rick Reynolds skiing in the lead group with 2 visiting Australians who were training in the area for a month before heading over to Europe. Rick finished an impressive 2nd in the mens race, only seconds behind the winner. Way to go Rick! A big thanks to Debbi Waldear and the Kirkwood cross country staff for putting on this race. It was a great way to start the season!

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