Just completed my 2nd official ski at the Lappe trails along with my 1st race. The Lappe Night Sprints at O Cup 2 ended up being more like Mid-afternoon sprints for us Junior men as night had not yet fallen over the winding skate sprint course.
There was a lot of hype leading into this race as it was going to be a head to head battle in a somewhat less serious setting than the other races that us NTDCers have done over the past few months. Somppi and I were chirping each other all week (well at least I know I was...).
For my qualifier I just wanted to unleash and test my boundaries without holding back. Turned out it was a bad idea. I lost tons of time in the last .5km of the course as my focus and discipline quickly slipped away from me and had to settle with 2nd fastest qualifier in Open. I was a bit ahead of my fellow Junior men though, so heading into the heats I knew I was skiing at or above the level of everyone else. My quarter and semi both turned out to be quite a bit tougher than my final however, because as it turned out, following someone around the course considerably reduced the hurt. When Somppi insisted on leading at around the 200m point, I gladly relegated the lead and decided I would stalk his every move for the rest of the race. I ended up tucking the next half of the course since I was getting a huge draft off the hulking Lappe boy. There weren't many opportunities to make a pass so I waited for till the last minute in the finish lane whiskers to make my move. I busted out the big flailing-arm freeskate to pull up next to Mike, and tried to hold together a high speed 1-skate to the line but it turned out that either the finishing stretch was too short, or my kick was a bit sub-par (a bad sub-par. shouldn't it mean good though?). We did a giant lunge for the line but Somppi got me by about a boot. Luke V. was closing pretty hard on us and finished right behind us, with Sulli shortly after him.
Overall a pretty sweet experience out at Lappe. Good to have some sharp race organizers after some of the fiasco that went down at Highlands. I'm looking forward to more Lappe races, especially the short 200m diagonal stride races I've heard of. I'd like to take this opportunity to extend an official challenge to reigning champion (don't quote me on this) Timo Puiras.
Keep it real.
ps - check back for pics - i'm hoping to get some soon.