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Spring Fling 12km skate race

Race: Spring Fling 12km Nordic Ski Race
Date: March 4, 2007
Location: Kawartha Nordic Ski Club

Well, this isn’t a running race report…..but skiing is great winter cross training for runners and multisport athletes….I’m not the only one out there who straps on the skis when the snow flies….am I?!?

It has been a slow start to the racing season for me this year. Since participating in a fun 10km Boxing Day Run at home in Sault Ste. Marie (which is traditionally done as a social event and as a means of enjoying the buffet-style breakfast available afterwards….), I have done nothing but train! Usually my husband Chris and I will have done at least one or two running races by this point in the year. However, the traditional Valentine’s Day run was skipped this year as I was busy babying an injured toe (one of those mysterious injuries that appear one day, last a few days, and then just as suddenly and mysteriously, disappear!).

And so it happened that my first race of the year was on the ski trail instead of the road. This was my second year participating in the Spring Fling 12km Skate Race held at Kawartha Nordic Ski Club near Apsley. This is a small, but well-organized and fun event suitable for skiers of all levels and abilities. While the trails are groomed for both classic and skate ski technique, most racers opt to skate in order to be competitive in the event, which does not separate the techniques for awards. The conditions this year were absolutely beautiful…about minus 6 degrees and sunny with freshly groomed ski trails. Unlike last year, which featured 2 laps around a 6km loop with an interval start, this year it was a mass start around one big 12km loop.

I arrived an hour before the race which was the perfect amount of time to register, do a 30min warm up on the trails, visit the outhouse, strip down to racing gear, and GO! It was a fast start with the more competitive skiers vying for position on the trail. I was worried that I had started too fast not wanting to get caught up behind anyone and lose contact with those ahead, but I was able to hold the pace and settle into a strong and comfortable rhythm on the trail. I much prefer classic skiing over skating and my technique reflects my preference, however I remembered from last year that the terrain was mostly flat to rolling and that focusing on technique had been very effective, so I did the same this year. I like to have a mantra when I’m racing and when I’m skate skiing my mantra is to “glide” and “drive” with my legs…really use my quads and glutes to drive the skis instead of just skiing on straight stick legs. This focus kept my skiing powerful throughout the race. In the end I finished as the top female, and the 5th skier overall in a field of 29 (up from 19 the year before)

Runner’s Life, the Peterborough Multisport store that runs the event, had wine and flowers for the awards, along with various draw prizes and food including hot drinks, sandwiches, and fruit. I heard only positive reviews from all the skiers after the race.
Afterwards, many racers chose to head back out onto the trails to enjoy the beautiful weather and skiing conditions.

All in all a great experience and a positive first race of the year….now if only I could find an actual RUNNING race to do……

Summary: A small, fun, local event geared to skiers of all ages and abilities. Good food, awards/prizes, and a friendly atmosphere. Definately a repeater and highly recommended!

Melissa Anthony

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