Finlay Wild

Finlay Wild
Hill runner, mountaineer, skier
Supported by Norman Walsh Footwear and Mountain Equipment

Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Lecht Skimo

After some more wet and windy mild weather we did finally get some snow, and pictures of the snow conditions looked great at the Lecht on the 27th Dec. I missed the chance to get out as I was on a cyclocross mission with Gary Mac - linking Glen Creran to Glencoe via a route I've wanted to do for a while.

Unfortunately the mega thaw was set to come in on race day for the Lecht 2090 Skimo race - the first of the 2015/16 season.

And thaw it certainly did. Arriving at the Lecht there were two immediately obvious issues - a) there really wasn't very much snow and b) it was really very windy. Despite these fairly major issues Di and the Skimo Scotland team battled through Plan A, B and C to come up with a race course.

All pictures: Mr Drew Photography

Around 29 racers set off on the muddy soggy bootpack across towards the Buzzard tow, then skis on and up a short and steep climb to another transition. Then it was down a dwindling-before-our-eyes piste to the bottom of the bootpack again. The race was in a laps format over 90 minutes - I did 12 laps in total, although I had lost count after the first few. Because they were such short laps (between 7 and 8 minutes for myself) there were only a few minutes between each transition and I was drawn into working really hard as I knew I was getting a (brief) rest each downhill, which was never far away. Skins got soaked, as did boots. Despite real worries about catastrophic skin failure, I raced the whole thing on one pair which thankfully held out - although I had another 2 sets spare, and emergency tape too.

The downhill was pretty comedy. You had to skate against the howling wind to get going, then basically straight line it until you started to slow as the heather patches got bigger and the snow receded. By the end it was pretty muddy and grassy down at the bottom! The marshals were amazing as it must have been pretty cold and grim watching us all loop around forever.

We had managed to start a little early so got finished just before dark. Then it was straight in for some much needed food and a generous prizegiving. Everyone seemed to still be smiling.

So, the race conditions were certainly extremely Scottish! I would love to have seen the look on a French or Italian Skimo racer's face if they had turned up. A few things that were highlighted however were that light race kit and skins are fairly adaptable and resiliant even in pseudo conditions, and that it doesn't take much actual snow to have an enjoyable and successful skimo race!

Hopefully we will get some more of the white stuff for some touring and adventures before the next race in January at Glenshee.

1 comment:

  1. :-) haha would love to see faces of French/Italian or any continental racers ,too...:D hopefully will see mine soon on some pics from Glenshee, haha....Snow and weather conditions in Scotland are exceptional ,indeed.