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Minnesota Marathoners - Fourth Race Weekend

February 16, 2004


Minnesota Finlandia

By Justin Pavlish

I am starting to think the American Ski Marathon Series should have its name changed to the Frigid Ski Marathon Series. For the fourth weekend in a row, the race day temperature dropped to below 10°F. This time the forecasted temperature for the start of the Minnesota Finlandia in Bemidji was -4°F with a wind chill of -22°F. Four weeks ago, the forecasted race-time temperature for the Lake Placid Loppet was -5°F and as a result the race was postponed two weeks. With this in mind, I had a strong feeling that the Finlandia would also be postponed. After discussing this idea with Dan on the way to Bemidji on Friday, we decided to bet on it. I bet that the race would be postponed to another weekend, while Dan bet that the start would merely be delayed an hour or two. What were the stakes? A double cheeseburger from McDonald's.

Friday's afternoon temperature was in the 20's, which meant that we were unable to test our Madshus skate skis and Swix wax combinations prior to the morning of the race. I guess you could say that the subzero forecasted race-time temperature was a small blessing in disguise because you can then usually correctly guess that your stiffest skis along with your coldest glide wax will give you the fastest ski combination. That night, Pat, Evan, and I ironed Swix CH4 into our stiffest skis that have cold weather base structures and then proceeded to lie back and relax for the rest of the evening. One small note about waxing in hotel rooms: don't setup your wax bench next to the television. Virtually all of the wax particles generated while brushing seem to be statically attracted to the screen, creating quite a cleaning mess.

We woke up Saturday morning and discovered that the weather forecast from Friday was incorrect. The actual temperature was -9°F and the wind chill was -24°F! As we drove to the site of the race, I started to think about my bet with Dan and how good that double cheeseburger was going to taste. As luck would have it, neither of us won the bet. The Finlandia went off without a problem and I had my best finish of the season! Shortly after the start, I found myself in a group with three other skiers a short distance behind the two leaders (Cory Wubbels and Skinnyski.com's very own Brian May). By the 15km marker, our group had fallen apart and I was left to ski alone in 4th place. From that point on, the only other skiers I saw were those who were doing the touring race. I believe this was the first time I have skied in a race by myself for 35km. Luckily my glide held out for the full 50km and I was therefore able to hold a respectable pace.

* Just a quick reminder that this Thursday and Friday we will be helping Alpina and Madshus at their demo booths before the American Birkebeiner on Saturday. Stop by and say Hi to us if you are planning on skiing in the race.

Justin Pavlish: 4th, 2:45 (50km)
Pat Lorentz: 8th, 2:53 (50km)
Evan Pengelly: DNF (Was not feeling well.)
Dan Campbell: Took the weekend off from racing.

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