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 Feb 3, 2011: Volume 11, Number 39

Marathon Virgin

I am thinking of tackling my first 50k this weekend.  I have done a handful of other races up to 25k and have some idea of how to pace myself and eat and drink for those races.  If I was doing a 25k I would do the first half at ~165 bpm and the second half up around 175 and be totally spent at the end.  Looking at 3-3 1/2 hours is my guess for a 50 I don't know really where to "start".  It is unsupported so I need to carry my own water and fuel.......any ideas on how much I should haul?


Pacing in a 50km race is actually easier than for a 25km, at least in my book. There is more time to fall into a rhythm, and adapt your pacing as the race proceeds.  So don't stress too much, it seems to work out in the end.


At the start, be sure to keep your composure.  A lot of people become excited and charge out, quickly wearing themselves down.  Its better to start more mellow, and ski into the race.  That doesn't mean take the first bit super easy, it just means don't overdo it. 


It seems you know yourself pretty well for 25km races, so I'd use that as a base.  Start out at a similar pace, ~165 bpm, but hold onto it longer.  My guess is around the 40km marker or so you can start to ramp it up to ~175 bpm.  It sounds like you can ski half a 25km race, or 12 km, at that pace before the lactic acid overloads your body.  Keep that in mind.  In a 50km, there will be more residual fatigue and build up of lactic acid, so you probably cant keep the higher pace for as long, hence the 10km kick. I think the more important factor is just to assess your body during the race and go from there.


The easiest way to pace, however, is to simply fall in line with a group of people.  Marathons are much more fun, and actually faster, if you ski in a group of people.  You can rotate the leader and keep a draft line going to reduce wind resistance, as well as keep you mentally focused through such a long race. Its great to stay with them for long periods of time, but don't be afraid to jump in a new group if you are overtaken, or you're becoming fatigued, or whatever. Just try to stay with at least one other person for as long as you can.  The energy saved can be astounding!


Finally, there is the feeding conundrum. Certainly take something with you in an unsupported 50.  I'd recommend a diluted sports drink and a couple gels. Even if you don't like to eat food in a race (myself), the gel can be a wonderful life saver if you hit the wall. Its better to be safe than sorry.  As for the sports drink, you need the carbs and electrolytes in the sports drink, so its better than water.  I prefer a dilute mixture because its less shocking to the system, and in the end you need to be able to replace the lost sweat, which is mostly water.


Finally, there is the question of how much to bring.  If you are shooting for a 3-3.5 hour marathon, then ask yourself how much water you drink in a 3.5 hour ski? For the most part, you will drink less during a race, you'll need more, but you'll drink less.  However, you never know until you do a race, and again, if you bonk... 

To make it simple, I recommend one water bottle, and if you are a big drinker than take two. Try to keep them upside down in a water belt to keep them from freezing, or grab an insulated bottle.  A frozen water bottle is a painful discovery.


I hope that is helpful.  Remember that a 50km is a big undertaking, so be over-prepared.  But also remember that there is lots of time in the race to adjust and attack and feel the flow of the race.  Don't be afraid to go out of your comfort zones and really learn what your body can do. Fall in line with people, and most importantly, have fun!


Good luck,


Michael Sinnott

SVSEF -Salomon Complete

Boulder Mountain Tour Champion

2nd US Nationals Sprint 2011


Thank you both for the info before the race.  Here is my brief race report.  This is a relatively small race OSCR....maybe 50 skiers? I knew 2 people who had finished right at the 3 hr mark last year.  I went out in a group with them.  20 minutes into it I decided I was going too hard to sustain that pace so drifted out the back of 10-12 skiers at the start of the big slog.....roughly 1.5 hours and 2000 ft of climbing.  Half way up I passed one of my "pacers", 3/4 of the way up I passed the other as the group I had been in clearly came apart.  Snow conditions changed from very fast at the bottom to pretty slow.  The long descent I had to skate the whole way....tucking out of the question (darn it).  From dropping out of my group at 10k to the finish at 50k I probably passed 10-12 skiers and was only passed by 2 so I am guessing my pacing was pretty good for me.....though I believe I should have started slower yet, as soon as I dropped from the group and let my HR drop 5 beats (from low 170s to high 160s) I began to feel like I was skiing efficiently rather than whipping myself to death.  Think I did my best skiing between the 1 and 2 hour marks.  The last 10k it got fast again but I was well off into la-la land at that point and had a hard time accelerating.  There were 2 skiers in sight most of that time even into the last kilo and I couldn't find the will to try and shift up a gear and catch them, and was already feeling satisfied with my effort.  Michael, your comments helped me have the confidence to go out harder than I would have otherwise and to my surprise I could pull off that high of a sustained effort the whole way.  I don't have the base mileage to justify such a race so believe I used up most of my sugars pretty quickly, thank god i brought a fair amount of food and was diligent about choking it down.  I finished in about 3:05, winning time was somewhere around 2:35-2:40.  Thanks again.  MM 

 Ski Angles


It seems the angle of my skis relative to my line of direction is  noticeably less than others.  It is difficult for me to maintain a  similar angle for extended periods, especially going up hill, and not have my tails crossing. Is there an optimum range of angle that I should be doing? Are my skis the wrong length?


The first thing I thought of was, what sort of skis do some other people about your height use? Jessie Diggins from our team is 5'4", and Brooke Gosling is 5'5". Not sure about their inseams, but they ski on 182cm skate skis.


You are skiing with a more acute angle in V1 to avoid crossing ski tails, which makes it hard to kick very efficiently, right? My guess is that you might be:


a) Bringing/keeping your feet too close together while climbing.

Excuse the terrible text-based illustration, but if your skis look

like this: \ / rather than like this: \   /, you'll be clicking tails.

b) This might be caused/exacerbated by skiing with rather straight legs. If you are gliding on a straight leg, oftentimes you naturally bring your foot/ski in close to the other foot/ski. This gets you into a "high"/standing position. [If you know how to marathon skate, it's a good visual on how starting up high forces your kicking ski tail over the gliding ski.]

c) Frequently, starting in this position also leads to stepping uphill. If you're kicking more to the side, you end up with a more smooth transfer of energy -- and, even if your tails are crossing, it isn't as noticeable.


Skating with your feet a bit wider apart and [somewhat counter-intuitively, considering leg-length is the perceived issue] driving your knee over the foot (soft ankle with acute angle, femurs slightly out of vertical so your hips are over your ankles) will get you into a more efficient position to kick off to the side. I don't have a ton of videos to link to, but here is an example (Gus Kaeding, another CXC Team coach, skating in Yellowstone):


One thing to consider is that the faster you go, the more parallel and closer together your skis get. When things slow down (or you are accelerating), your skis' angle gets more obtuse and farther apart.


Hope that helps,


Jason Cork

CXC Team


Sleeping Giant Loppet Info


I'm a new skate skier this year and i'm competing in my first Loppet this weekend, the City of Lakes Loppet, in Minneapolis.  I have done most of my training in Theo Wirth Park where the race takes place so i'm very comfortable with the course and i'm looking forward to the race.

I want to continue to race and i'm interested in the Sleeping Giant Loppet.  Can any SkiPistr Readers tell us anything about the course and conditions of the race?  I'm considering doing the 50k as a prequalifier to the American Birkebiner, which is my goal for next year.  Do you think a first timer is up for the challenge or is the 35k more realistic?


Please send insight to


Turnover vs. Glide

Hi Andy: Your advice on glide and turnover rate has been extremely helpful. In my last email I said my rate was getting higher. After your advice I have slowed my rate a little to notice my glide and found I indeed have stopped transferring weight and compromised my glide. I believe as a result my skiing got less efficient and perhaps slower (hard to judge as I don't like timing myself - I tend to push too hard when going for time which actually further decreases glide and efficiency!). Your advice led to exactly what you recommend this week: I'm doing more gliding and not worrying about turnover rate, working on new glide muscles). Thank you D 

NCCSEF, USSA and its 10 JO divisions, are pleased to announce the 2011 J1 Scandinavian Cup Team blog


This "Scando Cup" trip is one of the premier steps of the elite junior athlete and coach development pipeline in the U.S.  The Scando Cup is most often the first exposure to international level racing and racing travel for U.S. athletes.  Traveling to Scandinavia and putting on a race bib is an eye opening experience. Most athletes come back with a new appreciation to the dedication and focus needed to succeed internationally. Coaches attending the trip also gain valuable experience in the trials and tribulations of international racing and coaching as well.


As Ian Harvey states, "I remember racing world juniors my first time and despite being the top American, I stopped on the side of the trail for a bit watching Russians and Norwegians race by me...I was blown away.  I couldn't believe it when I was our top finisher as I was so discouraged while out skiing.  Later that winter I had the opportunity to race polar cup (now Scando) and was competing in every race.  The next year at World Juniors I was a lot more competitive and even won a sprint in the relay against some other teams.  It was a great thing for me to have done (the polar cup trip). Tons of racing which gave me time to work things out and gain confidence. "


Share with your Team and Friends

Win with Swix at City of Lakes Loppet (COLL)


Get your skis race waxed just like the winners do by Swix Racing 

& win Swix Swag for You and Your Likable Friends.


a)     Visit SwixNordic in Facebook

 b)    Like the page

 c)     Write "I want Swix Racing Service for COLL" on the wall

d)    Share your comment with your friends and get them to like it

e)     Top three Like Getters by 1pm Saturday (CST):

i.    Have their Skis Race Waxed by Swix Racing Services for COLL 

ii.    Get 50-ski ties, scrapers, and other swag for their friends

 iii.    Most likable will also get Swix Iron and Cera, 2nd  likable gets Cera

 iv.    To win you must be registered for COLL and pick up your prizes and drop of your skis at Registration between 1-3pm Saturday.


COLL Swix Racing Service Wax Rec


Swix Boulder Mountain Tour Racers


a)     Visit SwixNordic in Facebook

b)    Like the BMT Wax Rec Link posted there

c)  you will be registered to win a Swix Iron and Cera F 


Swix Boulder Mountain Tour Wax Rec 


Toko Race Wax Tips


Saturday, Feb. 5: Boulder Mountain Tour, Ketchum, ID

Sunday, Feb. 6: City of Lakes Loppet Hoigaards Classic, Minneapolis, MN

Sunday, Feb. 6: City of Lakes Freestyle Loppet, Minneapolis, MN


Check out the other 20 Race Toko Wax Recs click here.

Swix Weekend Racing Wax Recs


New England Race Wax Recs

email Swix Tech Teamer Mike Innes

02/04/2011 UVM Carnival/TD Bank Eastern Cup Stowe, VT 


  Mid-Atlantic Race Wax Rec

email Swix Tech Teamer Bill Brooker


02/05 Mid-A JN Champs 2011 McCauley Mtn. Nordic

02/05/2011 Lake Placid Loppet Classical Lake Placid, New York

02/05/2011 Lake Placid Loppet Frestyle 2011 Lake Placid

2/06/2011 Dewey Mtn ESG Dewey Mtn. Nordic Center

02/06/2011 Art Roscoe Loppet 2011 Allegany State Park

   Great Lakes Race Wax Rec

email LP Swix Tech Teamer Pete Edwards  email UP SWIX tech teamer

02/05/2011 2011 White Pine Stampede 10/20/40K 

02/06/2011 2011 Traverse City Michigan Cup Sprints  


   Midwest Wax Recs

 02/05/2011 MoraLoppet Mora, MN

2/05/2011 Mt Ashwabay Summit Ski Race Washburn, WI

02/05/2011 Kamview Tour Thunder Bay, ON

02/05/2011 COLL Finn Sisu Sprints Minneapolis, MN

02/05/2011 Badger State Winter Games Wausau, WI

02/06/2011 Lumberjack Jaunt Brainerd, MN

02/06/2011 City of Lakes Loppet Minneapolis, MN

Minnesota High School Races

02/04/2011 Cook County Invite Grand Marais, MN - Pincushion Ski Trails  


 Rocky Mountain Wax Recs


Intermountain Race Wax Recs


Swix's complete wax matrix takes the guesswork out of waxing by creating a specific wax for each snow condition.  If you know the air temp, relative humidity you can select Swix's perfect wax no mixing, magic recipes, stressing or slow skis required.  Get Your Winning Margin Wax Rec at and SwixNordic on Facebook. Swix, your Winning Margin.

White Pine Touring X-C Masters Ski Clinic

With Dr. Max Testa, Dr. Eric Heiden, Marlene Hatch, Miles Minson and Ian Harvey- January 29-30, 2011 Park City, UT

A comprehensive two-day x-c ski clinic offering methods and application of exercise physiology, sport injury prevention and rehabilitation, sport nutrition and x-c skate technique methods and analysis and professional wax tips and application. Cost: $350.00 and will include all waxing and presentations, workouts with lunch daily.  Registration & Questions: White Pine Touring - (435) 649-6249

rudy 40% off helmets

Methow Valley Winter Festival Nordic Ski Camp


Presented by Olympians,

Leslie Hall and Laura McCabe

Monday, February 21 and Tuesday, February 22


click here for more info



SPONSORS virtual Tour De Skierg challenge

Month-Long Indoor Ski Challenge mimics European Nordic Ski Tour Race

February 1, 2011 - Concept2, manufacturer of the SkiErg, is hosting a virtual "Tour de SkiErg" that challenges Nordic skiers to complete different distances each week of February in the spirit of the classic European tour-style race.

The SkiErg is a Nordic ski ergometer that measures skiers' outputs through an on-board computer called a Performance Monitor.  The Performance Monitor gives skiers accurate, comparable feedback, allowing them to compare scores with others.  

Anyone with access to a SkiErg can participate in the month long challenge that runs from February 1-28 and features four different workouts of varying distances each week. Participants must complete each event and log them in Concept2's online logbook.

Here are the details:

    • Week 1, Feb. 1-7:  Ski 5000 meters
    • Week 2, Feb. 8-14: Ski 500 meters
    • Week 3, Feb. 15-21: Ski 2000 meters
    • Week 4, Feb. 22-28: Ski 10,000 meters

Participants who meet the challenge will enjoy inclusion on the Challenge Honor Board, a certificate of completion and various prizes (for purchase through our third-party vendor) .

Telemark Lodge
"Once and Again"
Telemark Lodge in Cable, WI
home of the American Birkebeiner
is taking reservations!

Tour de Meissner 15km Nordic Race and Tour

Bend Oregon - February 12, 2011

 The Tour de Meissner is a family-friendly Nordic ski event at Virginia Meissner Sno Park on Saturday, February 12th. Skiers may choose skate or classic technique and may either race or enjoy a non-competitive Tour on the groomed community ski trails. Youth under 12 race for free on a 3km course. Juniors may race the 3km or do the full 15km course. The adult course travels through the ponderosa and fir forest for 15km with 2 Aid Stations supplied with refreshments. visit 

Equinox Challange

24 minute to 24 hour relay

West Yellowstone MT March 19-20, 2011


 3-hour, 6-hour, 12-hour and 24-hour catagories. Racers may enter as soloists or as members of a relay team of up to 8 members. It is focused on camaraderie and commitment to the well-being of the local community.  Skiers of all abilities are welcome. Between March 1-March 15, the fee is $75/adult and $50/junior.Race-day registration is $90/adult and $60/junior.  Registration discounts are available for racers who also volunteer at the race or who bring someone along to volunteer for them.  Registration is free for kids under 12 participating in a 24-minute kids' race.

Free Rudy Gear


Todd Lodwick Camp

February 8th through 12th

Train and learn from with Nordic Combined Olympic Medalist


At the Home Ranch cross country ski resort in Clark, Colorado, just 18 miles north of Steamboat Spring.  Ski, train, dine and relax with an Olympian at one of the most luxurious cross country ski resorts in North America. This February 8th -12th, 2011, Nordic-combined Olympic medalist and world champion Todd Lodwick will host his first Luxury Nordic Ski Camp at The Home Ranch, the beloved Relais and Chateaux ski ranch in Clark, Colorado. Special Promotional Price For SkiPost Skiers: The Home Ranch is offering the Todd Lodwick Nordic Camp to Ski Post skiers for $295.00, per person, per day +tax and charges. 


SkiTrax Special Offer

SkiPost-SkiTrax Special Offer !!
SkiPost and SkiTrax Magazine, the largest cross-country ski magazine in North America, have teamed up to bring you great savings. SkiTrax keeps you up to date on all the latest Nordic news, Canadian, US and International race reports, ski gear, adventure and recreational skiing and much more - in the mag and on line - check out

Save 30% off regular subscription prices today and add more kick and more glide this season. Try a SkiTrax-Pedal Combo with 15% more savings and get Pedal Magazine, Canada's leading cycling magazine, as well - to order click here

Factory Team Skis for Sale

We have a few pair of classical skis

201 and 206 cm for skiers 150-210 lbs

left over from the Saab Salomon Factory Team 

Drop an email to


About SkiPost

Cross-Country skiing's community lodge. Where knowledge and stories are shared. The goal of SkiPost is to make the sport of Cross-Country skiing easier and more enjoyable for all who choose to participate. If you have questions on Cross-Country Skiing see or email us at

Enjoy Winter,
Andrew Gerlach
Director/Editor- SkiPost

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