Equal playing field

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brettu
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Equal playing field

Postby brettu » Sun Nov 27, 2011 8:33 am

I know it will never happen but, some friends and I were sitting around the chalet yesterday after doing some work on the trails and having a conversation with some cold ones. We got talking about the fact that the sport has become so much about the waxing and the technique and the secrecy that goes with it.
We felt that it became less about the athlete.
Just a fun side story one guy had a son years back, and he did not do well in any other sport, (team based) but became good at xc skiing really quickly, so they started taking him to races. Well, they didn't know anything about waxing and got his skis waxed once a year. Well they made friends with other families, and skiers and in particular this one girl who was at the top of her class, she would win by minutes on her competitors. Her dad happened to be a really good wax technician. Well, anyway, they were at a race, and the two kids decided to swap skis, in her words "I'm going to win anyway, I might as well get some training out of the deal". So that is what they did. The new kid skied his best race of the year, finishing 30 seconds behind a kid he was consistently 3-5 minutes behind all year. She did quite a bit poorer than she normally did (naturally) but still won, oh yeah her dad wasn't too happy either.
Anyway, what we discussed was what if in certain leagues, it was decided as to what waxes you could use? That way all the athletes would be skiing on the same wax. So it might be a meeting between coaches and officials, and a chart would be posted as to the types and brands that would be allowed for that race? Maybe you would have an athletes race, rather than a waxers race.
Again, I know that it will never happen, what with all the waxing and equipment makers out there, but it was an interesting discussion. We felt that especially at a high school level, it was rediculous for teams to be as secretive as they are, and not share info, when we should be growing the sport and helping out those teams that maybe aren't as well developed.
Anyway, just a fun topic.

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Biffbradford
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Re: Equal playing field

Postby Biffbradford » Sun Nov 27, 2011 9:49 am

It's just the nature of the beast. I think that any youngster with talent and determination will float high enough in the ranks to get noticed and get access to better equipment, wax, and coaching. Probably not in one fell swoop, but in baby steps.
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Re: Equal playing field

Postby MN Hoser » Sun Nov 27, 2011 1:35 pm

In a 10 km, I'd say the difference between totally blowing the wax and totally nailing it is probably 30 seconds. Waxing your skis once a year is basically "refusing to play the game." That's like riding a road race on a mt bike or playing a golf tournanment with 1960 Arnie Palmer clubs, etc. I actually like that skiing requires some ability to pick skis and wax based on the course. It mixes things up a bit. Also, I think skiing requires some study of training to compete at high levels. That being said, the athlete is by far the major factor in where you finish. Just take a look at age group results and you'll see the same guys finishing in basically the same order week after week. Where the skis and wax make a difference is when things are close. Not only does it affect speed, it can change the athlete's mental attitude.

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Cloxxki
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Re: Equal playing field

Postby Cloxxki » Mon Nov 28, 2011 10:57 am

In this weekend's Kuusamo races, the difference between 2 pairs of pro-prepared skis seemed to be signicant. let alone betweeen the best pair of skis of the day, and a box stock pair from the shop with outdated wrong prep.

For skating, I'd say rule out wax altogether. Skis work just fine without. That takes needless costs out of it. Fanatic dads will use jetstream for their kids regardless how low-profile the racing is.
Classic, why not do the same? Wexless skis work fine, and in a greater variety of condition than waxed. Slower in condition where wax does work, but useful where waxed ones are useless. I won a national medal on borrowed underflexed old no-wax skis, because the pro's didn't make it around the first lap on their waxed pairs. heck, my grip tape pair was useless too. Pack up like a snowmanmachine.

With waxing out of it, ski selection is left over. So allow a maximum of 2 pairs classic and skate each to be used over a season. A matter of a sticker on the skis. Having just one pair won't hurt as badly, especially if no pro waing skills can be used against you.

Skiing is a high-threshold sport because of the waxing. I know. No-one in my family of friends skis, it's all my thing. Terribly frustrating to see how much faster other's skis are. And I know what they invested in it, apart from time. I don't have that kind of money. No even to buy the skis I KNOW are good for me, because I tried them a few times. Having sub-par non-numbered skis is bad enough, please don't use pro wax against me? I doesn't motivate to train full-on if you know you've got such a deficit to overcome.
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Re: Equal playing field

Postby Chris » Mon Nov 28, 2011 1:05 pm

I suspect in the example cited in the first post, the skis (flex, structure) were much more of the difference then the wax on the skis.

brettu
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Re: Equal playing field

Postby brettu » Mon Nov 28, 2011 2:49 pm

regardless of what the difference was specifically, what it shows is that it is a money sport, and it is more about who can buy the best instead of who is the best.

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Askel
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Re: Equal playing field

Postby Askel » Tue Nov 29, 2011 12:23 pm

Also, It's unfair that some people have more time to train than me.

And it's also unfair that some people have a better VO2 max than me.

And it's also unfair that some people can afford better equipment than me.

As my father is fond of saying, "Life's unfair." It's a good lesson to be learned early on in high school. :D

brettu wrote:regardless of what the difference was specifically, what it shows is that it is a money sport, and it is more about who can buy the best instead of who is the best.


I kind of doubt that. Spend as much money as you want on my gear, I'm pretty sure I'll still suck. :lol:

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Re: Equal playing field

Postby MN Hoser » Wed Nov 30, 2011 6:00 pm

If you want a cheap sport, take up hockey. All you need is a pair of skates. Pads are for sissies. Or cycling, all you need is a simple $300 bike. Same thing with running. You can buy a set of shoes and run for years. How about motor sports...snowmobiling, motorcycle racing, car racing....just pick up vehicles that are 20 years old. They're cheap. Same thing with scuba diving. Old gear is cheap.

BTW, i just sold two pair of races skis for $400. Both pair are very raceable and pretty quick.

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Re: Equal playing field

Postby kuan » Wed Nov 30, 2011 7:34 pm

Isn't everything a money sport at the highest level?

At the citizen level you really don't need much more than a good pair of race skis and a couple good waxes. That'll get you 98% of the speed. Also know that your skis will be about as good as anyone's out there unless you are me.
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Re: Equal playing field

Postby PortlandORXCER » Wed Nov 30, 2011 11:24 pm

Or triathlon for that matter. Man, people throw money at that sport like it's going out of style with marginal return on investment at best. I love the looks on the faces of the bionicle helmet wearing folks riding $5000.00 time trial bikes when I roll past on my old steel road bike. :-P

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Re: Equal playing field

Postby JeffOYB » Sat Dec 10, 2011 1:28 pm

I whine about the tech complexity all the time. But really at the mid-range it doesn't matter.

Once you start putting lots of hours and time into it and are up there where a tiny bit matters then go for it, complete the circle, cover your bases. Waxing is actually a relaxing and social thing to do. Teammates usually don't get secret on each other. Everyone in the garage before a race is a pal. Enjoy it. I liked the waxing. But I did also resent it. It definitely made a difference in the top 10 but until then who cares.

Another angle to take on the whole thing is to do Adventure Ski Races or Trail Races. Since it's a sport that my friends and I are just starting (I'm sure others are, too) it might not exist in your area (yet) but it's what I've been promoting and posting about in recent years. Do a ski race on a real trail. On some interesting, big, challenging trail. Not a ski trail but a trail-trail. A hiking trail, a mtbiking trail, whatever. Wait until you get a base and have some cushion on top and ideally some hikers or even snowmobiles have gone thru a few times. Then say "Go!" Such trails result in a kind of racing where SKILL is king! If your wax is kinda close, you're golden. But even then you'd want to have a waxable pair and a nowax pair. Other than that difference, anything goes. Some dudes, though, if the trail is somewhat moderate, will try to use racing skis. They can help if the skilz are strong enough. Still, it does tend to make the base-grind and wax fussiness into a non-issue. Heck, on a very common hilly type of trail you might want MORE friction to help you survive the descents. Nowax is usually the ticket then -- grip for the ups and a bit slower on the downs. Still, when it's cold then Blue wax gives best grip for the ups, too. And one can usually figure out how to survive the downs. Anyway, such races have nil overhead and don't need any fees or rules. "Go!"
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