By this evening, the Aussie team should be complete in the World Masters Cross Country held in McCall Idaho and pawing the snow, waiting for our first race on Sunday 2nd March. We made the local papers big time as the national team that has travelled the greatest distance to compete. Camille Melvey got a ½ page photo waxing her skis and I got a small photo cuddling a bottle of Bundaberg OP Training Liquid. (doubles as wax remover of course).
We have now had 5 days skiing on the race courses. The first few days were painful as the snow was falling continuously and the grooming couldn’t keep up. Conditions over the past couple of days have been warmer and the snow has settled. The tracks are lightning fast !! There is a beautiful 15 km circuit which is rolling terrain through mixed pine forest liberally sprinkled with 300 year old Ponderosa pines.
The race area is all on a peninsula on Payette Lake which is the Ponderosa State Park. Skiing is generally in view of the huge frozen lake. A Google Earth search on McCall Idaho will give you a great aerial view of the park, immediately to the North East of the town. You can even see the ski trails. We feel at home here as the altitude is about 1600 to 1700 metres.
We have only had one disaster so far, Rob Dunn from Adelaide arrived but the skis and poles didn’t. A few days later and they have turned up, despite instructions, delivered to a random McCall address. This is substantially less of a situation than the Slovenian who opened his ski bag in McCall yesterday to find three pairs of Fischer Carbon Lites snapped in two.
The Russians are here…all 130 of them. The US has a huge contingent (naturally) as do the Canadians. Most of these are unknown quantities so we cannot predict any results. Of course we remain casual and just hope to get somewhere close to 20% behind in each race.
One of the most exciting runs here is a diversion called “down under” and I brought a couple of large “Kangaroos next 25 km” road signs over which now grace each end of this roller coaster section of the course.
One day of practice left and the opening ceremony is on Friday Night……All McCall is behind this event.
Ok, that’s all for now..I will try to update with team photos during the week.