Family, friends and racing make for a perfect weekend.
Instead of driving the four+ hours to Crested Butte this weekend, we came up with a creative alternative. The Kebler Pass road is only an hour from our house and from the Paonia side, it’s only about 30 miles to the Butte. Of course, the Kebler Pass road is closed in the winter, but we have both a snowmobile AND good friends who own a beautiful cabin on Kebler. Giddy up.
The cabin is about 20 miles outside of Crested Butte, so Ian, Curt and I loaded up on the snowmobiles early Saturday morning for the 40-minute ride. I had secured a ride from the trailhead to the ski area for the race and arrived with enough time to register, down some caffeine and do a quick warm-up.
The race went well despite not feeling stellar. Monique Merrill and I swapped the lead a few times on the first climb but remained within a few seconds of eachother. Mona’s experience shined at the first transition when she easily peeled skins and skied away ahead of me. I tried some 1st Endurance Liquid Shot for the first time, hoping it would help me make up the seconds I lost. It seemed to work pretty well and I caught back up to Mona. We continued to battle until the last climb where I had to stop and swap my skins while Mona was able to keep going. Again, this has a lot to do with her experience. At all of the transitions, Mona was able to remove her skins and fold them carefully while mine always end up rat-nested and stuffed into my suit. Taking good care of your skins allows them to stick better on the next climb and prevent slipping.
Despite having to swap skins, I did learn a lot from last year when I tried to suffer through slipping and peeling skins on the last ascent. This year I swapped my skins with the extra pair I was carrying in my suit as soon as they started to fail and only lost 2 minutes instead of 15 like last year. I’m also finally getting a little better on the descents and managed to only stop once or twice so the burning in my legs could subside.
I am looking forward to a weekend without any racing and spending time with Ian and Juniper. The next COSMIC race is back here in Aspen on February 21st for my favorite race – Snowmass to Buttermilk. This is a classic race with true out of bounds skiing and spectacular views. Come check it out!