Cortina - Dobbiaco. (x-country skiing)

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Re: Cortina - Dobbiaco. (x-country skiing)

Post  Shane P on Tue Feb 26, 2013 9:34 am

Excellent write up, really interesting, thanks.

Cross country skiing is something that I'd love to have a go at. Looks proper hard but just my cup of tea. Combine that with shooting, something I have done a lot of to a high level and biathlon is just about perfect.

We might give it a go on our next skiing hols, whenever that will be.

Shane P

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Cortina - Dobbiaco. (x-country skiing)

Post  iggy on Mon Feb 25, 2013 8:06 am

Cross Country skiing, (skating technique), a most beautiful sport but one to have a love hate relationship with. Being really rubbish at it and if in comparison to cycling I’d be a really lowly 4th Cat, there are however those rare occasions where technique comes together where polling strokes and feet work in unison producing a half descent glide forwards. It’s that beautiful glide, wobble free swoosh that’s so addictive in this sport and the elites dance it with ease propelling themselves twice as fast as we do.
In the 2 weeks of near perfect conditions we had before the event, we practised technique for hours and had the opportunity to intensely watch the national teams training who were based in the area at the time. The Russians, Ukraines, Americans, Canadians, Italians, all those we watch on the tele were all there dancing their stuff. Dam it they make it look so easy but have probably been on skis since they were 5 years old and continue roller skiing throughout the summer months. Here, we’ve tinkered with this sport for just 5 years, 1 or 2 weeks of the year.
The 36th “Gran Fondo Cortina–Dobbiaco” free technique, took place on Saturday, 2nd February 2013 with the start at 10.00 a.m. from Fiames (Sport Nordic Center) near Cortina and the arrival at the Nordic Arena in Dobbiaco, following a trail of 30 km. Event day came and it was snowing heavily. A good 4 inches had accumulated by time it was ready to start. About 800 competitors in this event, controlled by 3 different starting pens. The elites were set off first, then 5 min gap, the good club skaters, another 5 min gap then the rest of us ‘fun runners’ where let loose of which there were a couple of hundred or so. After a very gentle tour of the stadium and out onto the course proper, a very short but steep incline had to be climbed. This is why the pens were controlled with time breaks. By time we got there, an orderly queue had formed two abreast and there we stood until the person in front could move. This took several minutes before we moved forward again, but that we did and eventually we skated on our way. Thankfully, that was the last of the hold ups for the remaining event.
The next 12km or so was a gentle drag all uphill. Several groups of 20 or so formed, Liz was a couple of groups ahead as she mounted that starting hill ahead of me. It was still snowing hard, and the track we were skiing was battered and smashed from several hundred other skiers. Ridges and divots had formed; no longer could we push and glide like we had practised so hard in the two weeks previous. No, this was push, waddle and wobble whilst trying to keep upright. I fell twice en-route, once whilst passing another and stabbed the end of my ski into the bank, another time when someone skied over my pole from behind and the other time when I misplaced the pole and stabbed the front of my ski and did the splits.
First feed station was about 15km in, over the worst of it by now having climbed for 12km, so the remainder was more or less all downhill – with the odd uphill bit thrown in. After a couple of cups of hot lemon tea to wash down a Viper bar, I took the opportunity to clear the underside of my ski bindings under the boots as a bit of ‘heel of snow’ had built up. Had to take off the skis for this and Uh-Oh, one went sliding off down the track. Luckily it only slid 20 meters or so, nevertheless off I went chasing after it. Now this really becomes problematic because traipsing around on snow bungs up the cleats under the boots. The next few minutes were spent banging out compacted snow and ice before remounting on skis.
By this time, I was more or less on my own as previous groups had broken part leaving only the unworthy behind. Liz must have been a good 10 minutes up ahead by now. Continuing on I descended through into some fabulous woods occasionally catching and passing those that had completely shot their bolt. In parts, the snow was also better compacted and firmer here so a better glide was able to be deployed. Feed station 2 appeared, another cup of lemon tea with a gel this time and was soon off again ready for the finale with about 8km left.
On approaching the top of this little hill, was a short but very steep shoot we had to go down. Luckily I was familiar with this descent and knew what to expect. A guy led the way before me and I waited 20 seconds whilst listening to his yelps on the way down. Off I went, got in the groove and stayed in it swooping round the bend at the bottom. Phew it was mad, but then laughed as some other bloke from minutes previous clearly didn’t make it as he was climbing out of the ditch covered head to toe in snow.
With 5km still to go, the course was to wriggle around this extra 3km loop after the first pass through the stadium. With still 2km out from the stadium, an elite double poled up the track in the opposite direction probably as a cool down. This didn’t bode well as far as times were concerned in comparison with the winning time. At this point I grumbled to myself something like “you wanna try skating on this shit mate”. He would have had a near perfect surface to skate on with loads of speed instead of a battered old smashed to bits mess that had been left behind. Hey ho, onward I plodded. By time the stadium was reached, only few spectators and finished competitors were left milling around. Most had packed up and gone home. It’s a fabulous stadium though, as the track climbs on top of the HQ roof and down the other side. A quick tour of the stadium then back out the other side to complete the remaining 3km, and what a hard 3km they were. With 2 big hills and descents to tackle on knackered and buckled legs didn’t make for easy on the eye viewing. But completed they were in one fashion or another until the course took us back down into the stadium for the finish. Liz was already there and skated over to cheer in this sad old knackered git across the line whilst the commentator announced over the microphone; Ian Jones, Bayeux Cycle Racing Team. I was finished, well and truly.
Results
Me; 166th out of 180 in age group M40 in a time of 2:55.35.
Liz; 12th out of 22 in age group F50 in a time of 2:39.47.
The winning time was 1:25.45
http://www.dobbiacocortina.org/en/the-event/results/9-34.html

But love it and can’t wait to do it again. Roll on Finland in April.


iggy

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