Good morning Kirk,
I am writing you just as I received your email, how is that for syncronicity!
I won my 10k race in central park yesterday vs 30 other skaters!!!! It was a smaller race that I usually compete in, so it is a small victory, not a major one, but hey, I am not gonna complain, one of my season goals for the inline year was one win or 2 top 51s, so I am not gonna split hairs... most of the outdoor inline races do have almost 80 in them, and many of the best advanced skaters were doing the marathon, my knee preculded my particpation in that (and I did make the right choice, my knee started hurting after my 10k was done) but I had a damm good day physically today, and would have been in the running anyway...
After the usual swarming frantic salmon run start, I sat easily in the pack for the first 5k, it was pretty fast on rolling terrain, there was a big strong guy pulling at the front like an idiot, and I knew the climb would be decisive, so I just hung out with a HR in the lo 190's, keeping my stroke efficient and my back relaxed. The pack was a long snakey line of about 15. A few of the indoor kids swarmed to the front as we turned onto the base of the climb, I was in about 9th place, a little father back that I would have prefered. 2 of those skinny fast indoor kids blazed up the hill, and immeadiately gapped the pack..
I wound my way through traffic and bridged easily to them (on a climb even!) feeling my breathing under control, I crested the long hill at 197bpm feeling as if I had something still in reserve.. I knew then I was having an excellent physical day, I recovered to 184 by the bottom. No one was in sight behind us, the 3 of us were in a really solid breakaway...
At that moment I knew that if I played my cards right the race was mine, since all of my ice work in Calgary my sprinting on inlines has become quite nuclear, especially uphill. I felt like I could have attacked them at any time and possibly broken away, but I played it sprinter smart, and simply relaxed in their draft as they chugged along for a kilometer or so. A breakaway group from the marathon (the advanced marathon pack started 30 seconds behind the 10k pack) caught us at 7 or 8k into the race and we hopped in their wake and they towed us to the finish. This was good in that I hadn't taken a turn at the front yet, and I wanted to sit in the draft and save all my marbles for the final sprint. This group of 5 was really motoring along, and we had to work to stay with them, but I felt terrific still. I passed up in the line to be ahead of the skinny kids, so I could get a better draft from the 5 men that gave a much better draft than the kids.
From extensive pre-race investigation I knew the exact place to start the sprint, it was in a long gradual turn that once you came out of it, you saw the finish 300m away up a long shallow hill. Central park is all twists and turns, and they all look somewhat the same. But I had mentally marked this turn beforehand. The break powered along, and I waited and waited and waited. When the critical corner came I jumped with everything I had and the kids hesitated, I had almost 30 meters on them before the corner was over and they saw the finish line.
With the finish in view, a lead in hand, and just a power suffer-fest uphill sprint ahead, no on was gonna pass me. One of the really strange things about this race was that I had such a good day physically, and I was so focused, and I wanted it so bad, that I felt no pain the whole time, even though my heart rate monitor said that I avaraged 194bpm, for the race, and hit 206 bpm as I blazed up the finishing hill with all the pent up rage and longing and effort in my heart. It was all focus and no pain, a truly rare effort and day to celebrate..
Final 10k time was just under 18 minutes, I think a 17:45 or 17:50. That's fast for a rolling hilly course like that. I also won a transpack (I am giving it to my mom for her ice skates) and a new set of hyper wheels. So I am pretty damm joyous!!! to add to my happiness I did an ice session as a recovery workout to try my new van horns skate boots at lunch hour, and they are really quite nice, a somewhat different feel than an inline boot, closer fitting, harder (no padding inside essentially), and much lighter, I almost fell over my own feet doing a full power start since I can move my feet so quickly in them. They just feel good, and will feel even better as they break in a bit. I can get really low with them, somewhat lower than my bonts. The carbon mold was so exact you can feel the imprint of my toes in the ripple of carbon in the front of the skate. They even cup my toes! the heel support is also a little farther back on the boot than an inline skate, it makes sense because the weight balance for ice is through the back 1/3 of the blade, unlike the inline weight balance that is center or center front. It took me almost an hour of fiddling with my maple blades trying to get the balance point on them perfect... And I still don't quite have it yet on the right skate, but I am happy happy happy today!!!