This past weekend I ran the Triple D and skied the Cumming Winter World Championships (aka. Iowa Winter Race #2). Triple D was to be my last race before the big one at Arrowhead and since it was "just" a training race I figured it wouldn't hurt to do a little ski event the day before.
I haven't been skiing much this winter so this was only my third time on skis and the first on this particular pair ever. I wasn't sure what to expect for the course or competition. It turned out to be about 10 skiers and approximately 5k of out and back on the Great Western Trail. There was about 4 inches of snow over asphalt bike path. Not ideal, but I don't think I've ever skied in ideal conditions. I started at the middle of the pack and pretty quickly moved up to the front. Once I took the lead I never gave it up. One woman followed me pretty close to the turnaround, but then I dropped her and put about a minute between us by the finish. It's my first contested win in a ski race and for that I'm happy, but I don't imagine that my competition was much. Hopefully I can make it to race #3 in the series and defend my title (such as it is).
After the ski race I had to book it back to Ames, pick up a car, pack my sled, and drive to Dubuque to give a seminar on winter racing with Lance Andre. I arrived a little late, but that didn't turn out to be a big deal. The seminar went well and several people commented that I had done a nice job. I'd say there were about 25 people there, most of them racing the Triple D the next day. For the most part we went over the mandatory gear for Arrowhead and Susitna. I don't mind talking in front of crowds about stuff I know something about so it was no trouble, but I was worried that there were people taking notes about the things that I said. No one should take anything I have to say on any subject that seriously.
The next morning I ran the Triple D. I've skied the race three times so it was fun to do something a little different. Since it was my last training race before Arrowhead I decided to run the whole thing without walking and see whether or not it would be feasible to run some of the AHU course. I was a little overdressed for the day and had to unzip my jersey and remove my gloves and hat from time to time. Conditions were exceptionally good with a hard trail and temperatures in the teens, the best of any Triple D thus far. While I didn't have any trouble running the 22 miles or so I was more sore than I wanted to be, probably in part because of the ski race the day before. I opted not to do the extra miles for a marathon or 50k. No need to hurt myself before the big race. I concluded that running at AHU probably wouldn't happen for me. There's just no way I can run any significant distance and still have it in me to do the whole 135 miles.
So, can I finish the Arrowhead in two weeks time? I honestly don't know. I think I probably can if all goes well, but there are a lot of variables. I'll be cutting it pretty close to the 60 hour time limit in any case.