Do it before you're ready
When I first started skimo racing, I planned on easing myself into it. I planned on doing things only when I felt ready. Caution has its advantages, but perhaps not with learning.
At the beginning of December, I raced in the Vert 180 for the first time, a lapped race at Canada Olympic Park in Calgary. I hadn’t done the race before because I thought that I wouldn’t like the format. But I was dead wrong. It’s the most fun race that I’ve done.
And not doing the race a long time ago was a tactical error that cost me this year.
The format of the race is as many laps as possible in three hours. I held back for the first half hour because I wanted to finish strong. The race went well, but I held back too much in the beginning, and it cost me an extra lap.
When I got home, I looked at my splits. They were gratifyingly negative, with the average lap time trending lower and lower throughout the race.
But the second two laps were way above the average. I had missed the cut off for another lap by only two minutes, but holding back had cost me three.
I didn’t do as well as I could have because of ignorance. If I had done the race years earlier, I would have been familiar with the format and could have raced a lot smarter this season.
By waiting until I felt ready, I missed out on a tactical opportunity.
My caution cost me.