Thursday, February 23, 2012

WISSA 2012: Day 3

This morning brought a trace of new snow and stronger wind than yesterday. Wings and sleds ran 3 course races successfully before breaking for lunch.The new snow was on the sticky side and the wind never really filled in and since these conditions favor lighter riders I was once again fast among slow. By expending serious amounts of sweat equity (and the occasional colorful metaphor) I was actually able to complete all three races and several riders DNF'd. Course racing is like that. You don't have to be the fastest but if you're faster than someone else you move up in the standings. Even a DNF (did not finish) is better than a DNS (did not start) so it even pays to show up. It was a workout and once again I was soaked.

After lunch I changed my two inner layers of clothes and switched back to skates for some short-track slalom racing. Here at last is an arena in which I can actually give the others a race. Everyone but the Swedish team, of course...they sail on their tall blades with a precise smoothness that is awe inspiring to witness. One of them doesn't sail a wing at all but a draksegl, or dragon sail, a type of skate sail. It's roughly trapezoidal in shape and supported by aluminum spars. This particular one is 9 square meters in area. Unlike a wing, the rider holds it on his upwind side and leans into it. Not an easy thing to sail at all, let alone race competitively. For my part, I actually won several heats by capitalizing on other rider's mistakes or by simply grabbing the gusts with the 4.8 and outsailing them. Then I would be moved to the next higher bracket and take the starting position at the downwind end of the line and come in last because the others would block my wind.By that time I was having way too much fun to care. We ran 9 races all told in this format. Short-track is the BOMB. I will post more about this in times to come as I learn more about it.

By the way, guess who got his picture on the front page of the St. Ignace news today?

More tomorrow. Rick 

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