Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Off to the World Cup Races!!
Wow, what a crazy, busy week! I have been trying to get organized for leaving for Europe and beyond the usual packing, organizing and planning, I also had to contend with some minor hiccups such as new poles for Andrea and I getting stuck in Winnipeg and breaking a tooth, that were solved, but certainly took time away from just getting ready for travelling to Europe.
To add to the craziness, Andrea and I wanted to hot box our new Madshus skis. And no, that does not involve any amount of a specific green plant BC is infamous for! What makes a ski fast is getting the bases saturated with wax - the more, the better - and the best way to do that is to put a nice thick layer of wax on the skis and put them in a really warm environment so that the wax can be absorbed into the ski. Sounds simple right? Well, it is unless you are me and Andrea who just got a total of nine new pairs of skis that all needed to be hot boxed, plus four old pairs that would benefit too. So last week we borrowed our club's portable hot box (thanks Tony and Jamie!) and started waxing. Waxes for skis come in different formulas depending on how cold or warm the ambient temperature will be. The warmer the wax, the lower the temperature is needed to melt it, making warmer waxes better for hot boxing. So, step one is to put on a layer of yellow wax then put it in the hot box overnight. Three hours later, I was finished putting on that yellow wax.
Step two was to scrape off any of the wax that wasn't absorbed and then apply a harder wax called moly to protect the bases. Luckily for me, Andrea was able to come give me a hand so it only took about two hours to get this step done and then the skis went back into the hot box for another round of baking.
Step three was to scrape off any of the moly that wasn't absorbed and apply a layer of blue wax, which is designed for colder temperatures. This helps add another layer of wax, plus it acts as a travel wax to protect the bases from scratches and dings while they get thrown around by airport staff. I didn't get a chance before leaving, but I will try and post a picture of my ski bag once we get to Europe. Andrea and I have got a total of twelve pairs of skis in one bag - yes twelve! The security guy at the airport asked to check my ski bag because it looks completely full, but when he asked what was in it and I told him skis, I don't think he quite believed me until I opened it. "Wow, that is a lot of ski!" was all he could say.
Anyway, each pair has a specific condition they are good in. We have classic skis for when the weather is over 0 degrees, classic skis for when it is below 0 degrees, classic skis for when it is exactly 0 degrees and a pair of classic crowns which don't need any grip wax on them, but are good for warming up on or if the weather is around 0 degrees but is changing rapidly, making it hard to pick a good grip wax. Luckily, figuring out the right grip wax isn't my job - that responsibility belongs to our three team wax techs George, Harris and David, with guidance from the senior team wax tech Ian. Picking the right wax really is an art form mixed with a bit of science and experience of knowing different waxes and their properties. So, back to the skis...I've accounted for four pairs each for Andrea and i and the last two each are both skate skis. One pair we warm up on while the wax techs touch up our race pair. They have all sorts of tricks to make the skis faster, including using some flouro powders that cost about $100 for a small container so we warm up on one pair of skis to save the expensive powders for the race.
Okay, so that explains the skis. The picture I have posted here is of myself, Andrea and my teammate Mary up at Whistler Olympic Park. We got two days access to look at the race courses, which is always a good thing. The better we know a course, the better we can ski it. But I can't talk about what we did at WOP now - I have to board my flight to London then on to Zurich where our development team will rent cars and hopefully figure out how to drive ourselves from Zurich to Bessans in France. Wish us luck!