Stealth Racer

Though regionals in Truckee were my last college races, the spring race season wasn't over for me until a month later at the end of March. Distance Nationals were in my hometown this year, and I was stoked to race the best skiers around on my own trails. The weather at birch hill was perfect, and we dodged some ash fall from Redoubt volcano by being out of Anchorage.

Unfortunately, since the Tour of Anchorage, my focus on ski racing had waned. We train full-time starting May 1st, and race from mid November through March. By the time spring rolls around, I'm ready to be doing something else for fun. I did a lot of climbing and a little back country skiing this year to get my kicks, so I'll admit that I wasn't in perfect racing shape when I showed up in Fairbanks.

Though I didn't have spectacular races, I did have a lot of fun. It's cool for me to return to my home trails a couple times each year. I feel like a different skier than I was when I skied them in high school. I had fun racing hard in good weather with all of my Alaskan racing friends. We've all been racing each other since I was cruising around at Weller Elementary ski club.

Because it is out of season according to NCAA, we weren't allowed to wear our UAA ski team suits. So I wore the Stealth Suit. I acquired this legendary garment from Brett Broda when I was racing at Lathrop High School. I've been told that it is a 1990 Swiss team suit. I have no idea if that is the case. All I know is that it's rad.

The idea behind the Stealth Suit is pretty simple. When you show up at a race start wearing this ridiculous outfit, people that don't know you immediately dismiss you as a loser. Because you look like one. You then blow past them after cruising in their draft for a few k, and fly into the finish in first place to the awe and amazement of all. Thus you are stealthy. Thus it is the Stealth Suit.

I found a new application for the stealth suit at nationals. I was a little worried about racing all of the fastest guys in the nation (and very few of the mediocre or second-tier types like myself), and getting my butt kicked in my home town. Though I initially wore the stealth suit because I think its style is awesome, I ended up being grateful that few of the Fairbanks spectators that knew me, recognized me. I did get my butt kicked after a several week hiatus from race training.

In the 30k pursuit race, we did 4 laps of one course and 4 of another. It took 6 laps before all of my highschool buddies standing at the top of the hill recognized who this goofy-looking straggler was. Stealthy indeed...

Nothing like checkered spandex!

Update: Here is a shot of the legendary Gunde Svan being very stealthy. I guess it was Swedish...

1 comment:

John said...

It's Swedish, sure ja! ( not Swiss ) ;) .. Looking forward to seein' ya soon.