Originally Posted by Biowolf
Dean: Did you attend the MSRT clinic ?
No, I didn't make it to the clinic. (Family in tow, including two other racers, weather, and work schedules.) But I have to say I did put to use something Gary Dranow posted patiently just over a year ago in response to my ignorant babble on the Nastar forum, when he explained the advantages of "high tuck" turns on the Heckler and Payday courses over "hands down" turns when the course set is right for it.
Friday's course on Heckler was set in blowing wet heavy snow and--I guess to avoid giant semi-invisible ruts or to preserve a semblance of racing speed despite the slow snow conditions--the course setters responded with not very offset gates. It was, absolutely, the best possible course setting and conditions for me, in any race, ever, since:
1. The one thing I can do is make turns in a tuck.
2. The utterly goofy way I ski (hitting all the gates, but going too direct and not early enough on the line to make the impact at gate clear the back of the shoulder brushing at turn completion) isn't the fastest way to ski that course, but it's a LOT faster than a wider line favored by most of my competitors. And their ruts weren't in my line.
3. Wretched visibility meant that, for once, all you real ski racers who consistently look 3 gates ahead didn't have an advantage over me.
So I laid down two blistering runs, which put me .27 and .25 seconds behind the two fastest guys on the green course in my division (despite that I ran it in their ruts, on my second run) and gave me the fastest time, period, on the yellow course in my division.*
Reality set in Saturday, with a "real" GS course set and actual turns, when 8 guys in my division skied faster than me, and I (barely) stayed in the course. (Thank you, balance training.) So I hung on for third.
So while I didn't go to the MSRT clinic (and neither know where the illiopsoas is nor how to spell it) I definitely got a huge benefit from Gary Dranow's online contributions, even as dumbed down in application through my primitive technique.**
*Embarrasing full disclosure footnote: This was not the expert division. Sigh. But in those runs I beat most of the guys in the expert division--only 4 experts were faster than me that day on the yellow course.
**I've got an enthusiastic, yet cerebral, approach to ski racing. That tension leaves me with a painful awareness of some of the deficiencies in my current technique (as does the bruising on the front of the left shoulder today.) But when I get out there with the waxed skis and see the poles with flags, I get very caveman about it: There isn't much room for an internal monologue in the gates, so the default is a nonverbal, primal channeling for Biff: "Must...whack...gate..." Going to put a nice thick coat of travel/storage wax on the racing skis this week, but next year, I promise, I really am going to get this line thing figured out.