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 Cross-country ski racing
Rickshaw
Runworks 2005 5M Racer
San Francisco, CA
Joined: 26 Nov 2004
Posts: 1157

Cross-country ski racing Posted: Tue Jan 25, 2005 9:03 pm 

Anybody here ever compete in a cross-country ski race? A friend of mine is trying to set me up for a 15k cross-country ski race this weekend, despite the fact that I live 200 miles from snow and haven't cross-country skied in years. I might be able to do a basic job of it though-- I've done diagonal (skate) skiing a few times, and I certainly have the endurance to run 15k even if I can't ski it.

Has anyone had success going from running to cross-country skiing? Should I expect to be able to ski faster than I can run? What should I watch out for in a first-time cross-country ski race?


Rickshaw
Runworks 2005 5M Racer
San Francisco, CA
Joined: 26 Nov 2004
Posts: 1157

Re: Cross-country ski racing Posted: Wed Jan 26, 2005 11:15 am 

It looks like this race is "classic" cross-country only, not diagonal stride, which means I'm pretty sure I would have no hope. So I'm off the hook for the moment, but I'd still be interested in hearing about anyone else's cross-country ski racing experiences.

OldManRunner
Runworks 2005 5M Racer
Rochester, NY
Joined: 28 Nov 2004
Posts: 262

Re: Cross-country ski racing Posted: Wed Jan 26, 2005 3:19 pm 

Not diagonal stride, meaning you can't "skate" in flat areas? Hmm, that seems kind of weird.

I can tell you that when I went cross country skiing two weeks ago I found that my endurance was fine, but a) my arms were killing me by the end of the day, and b) the hills tired me out more than I would have expected, given my fairly good level of conditioning. We were out for about 3.5 hours, with a break for lunch in the middle. Towards the end it seemed like we were on an endless uphill, and it stopped being fun and just became another workout. Never raced, though.


Rickshaw
Runworks 2005 5M Racer
San Francisco, CA
Joined: 26 Nov 2004
Posts: 1157

Re: Cross-country ski racing Posted: Wed Jan 26, 2005 4:52 pm 

I guess I was confused on my terms. It is a "classic" cross-country race, as opposed to one using shorter skate skis where you travel the whole way like ice skating. I'm not sure what's meant by diagonal stride...

How fast would you say that you skied in relation to your running speed? I'm wondering if I could ski it fast enough to avoid coming in an hour behind the second to last finisher.


OldManRunner
Runworks 2005 5M Racer
Rochester, NY
Joined: 28 Nov 2004
Posts: 262

Re: Cross-country ski racing Posted: Fri Jan 28, 2005 4:01 pm 

I'd guess I could have definitely run the distance faster and with less effort...especially the uphills! Of course, that's more of a commentary on MY cross country skiing prowess than it is about cross country skiing in general.

Rickshaw
Runworks 2005 5M Racer
San Francisco, CA
Joined: 26 Nov 2004
Posts: 1157

Re: Cross-country ski racing Posted: Sat Jan 29, 2005 9:00 pm 

I actually did go cross-country skiing today, but not racing. After some debate, I decided to go with "classic" cross-country skis instead of the newer skate-style skis. It was a gorgeous day up in the Sierras, temperatures around 30 and sunny blue skies.

For not having been on skis in about a decade, I think it went pretty well. I was able to charge up the uphills fairly well, essentially I just ran up them and ignored the skis strapped to my feet. Downhills were a little tricky, and I wiped out a few times, but they were basically okay.

Where I struggled was on the flats. Although I thought I was making a decent pace with my left/right striding motion on the flats, my friend with cross-country racing experience told me I'd be much faster keeping my legs together and "double poling" to propel myself along. But while he was able to do it pretty easily, I struggled to get any speed from double poling, and found it about 10 times more exhausting than the basic striding motion.

Overall I held up pretty well, though. If I can get better at the double poling technique, I'm optimistic I could do a cross-country ski race of 10k to 20k and finish somewhere towards the back of the pack, but in a respectable position for someone with basically no experience. At least I think I could avoid finishing an hour behind anyone else, or having to take off the skis and walk out. :-)


ginger

Cambridge, MA
Joined: 08 Dec 2004
Posts: 46

Re: Cross-country ski racing Posted: Mon Jan 31, 2005 11:58 am 

I was a XC skier in high school - raced a lot for those 4 years, and then sporadically for the next 4 years in college. It's a blast if you live near enough the snow to train and race. It's cardiovascularly similar to running, and the leg muscles needed are similar, but I find that you need more core and upper body strength as a xc skier than you do as a runner. Stomach muscles are what drive your double-poling. If you don't xc ski that often, skiing without poles is a great drill (because you should be teaching yourself to use your legs much more than your arms while skiing, as they are much stronger) and will avoid you tiring out your arms so quickly.

As to the confusion with diagonal vs classic vs skating, diagonal skiing is the same thing as classical. There are two nordic skiing disciplines: classic (diagonal) and skating. The skis are different depending which technique you're using, so you can't switch back and forth between the two without changing skis.


Rickshaw
Runworks 2005 5M Racer
San Francisco, CA
Joined: 26 Nov 2004
Posts: 1157

Re: Cross-country ski racing Posted: Mon Jan 31, 2005 1:00 pm 

It could be that my difficulty with double-poling was due to lack of upper body and arm strength. My friend emphasized that it wasn't supposed to be pushing myself with poles and arm strength, but more "falling onto the poles" and letting gravity due the work. But it still seemed like most of force was coming from my arms, and I simply didn't have the strength for it. It actually took all my strength just to maintain any forward motion at all with double-poling, and I couldn't have sustained that effort for more than a minute. So either I was doing something wrong, or my upper body is seriously weak.

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