Sunday, March 11, 2012

Wasatch Powderkeg -- How it Actually Went Down

Congratulations on the race, its organizers, volunteers, Brighton, and its participants for a great 10th annual Powderkeg. I'm always amazed at the great people that this race brings out and together.

In the Women's event, Gemma won, followed by Kim Young from Jackson. Can't remember who rounded out the podium.

In the Men's heavy metal, Chad Ambrose took the honors, and brother Aaron got 3rd.

Andrew McLean won the Masters men division. In talking with him, I learned that the first unofficial Powderkeg occurred before 2003 when Andrew and a couple others decided to race a course from Alta to Cardiff, hitting designated checkpoints. Soon thereafter, the Powderkeg went official.

In the Men's race, top 12 were as follows:

Jason Dorais
Luke Nelson
Bryan Wickenhauser
John Gaston
Tom Goth
Jon Brown
Tom Diegel
Andrew Dorais
Teague Holmes
Jared Inouye
Nathan Brown
Courtney Phillips

Sorry to stop there, but that's all I personally witnessed.

Jason Dorais had a really really great race. He led everyone out at the gun, dropped everyone on the first technical climb, and then proceeded to distance himself. Through his efforts, he was able to relax and be conservative on the downhill, and easily cruised to the win. It was a dominant performance.

As usual, Wick did not disappoint, and lost the second place spot by about 1 second. He passed Luke on the last descent, but had to scrub some speed on a big rollover. Or so he says. Like I said, I think he like the drama and to put on a good show. :)

As I predicted, Ambrose took the heavy metal division. Congrats to him on his first rando race. And congrats to Aaron for getting on the podium.

Throughout most of the race, I participated in the race for 4th place with John Gaston and Tom Goth. In the end,although Gaston went off course, and had to boot back on course, he was able to catch and pass me, Goth and Brown to take 4th place.

I witnessed huge growth from Tom Goth. This is first year rando racing, and I didn't expect such strong competition from him. Until he dropped me for good, he and I traded spots several times. In the beginning, right after I stuffed myself into a tree, I passed and got the jump on him on the first descent. I led till the 4th climb. There Gaston, me and Tom had all come together. I dropped a skin and had a really slow transition and let Gaston and Goth get a gap. Gaston held the gap until the Milly booter. I caught Goth on the 4th descent, but he passed me on the 5th climb and I struggled to keep his tails. I finally bridged the gap to both Goth and Gaston on the booter. Then I passed them on the ski off the top of Milly.

I desperately wanted to hold off Gaston and Goth, but on the final climb, I started to cramp. In fact, I'm pretty sure we all were hurting because although the battle was intense, we were all moving in slow motion. I had to stop and shake out cramps. Goth and Gaston continued on. Soon Jon Brown had joined us and the battle. As he passed, I hoped that I wouldn't let him down on the upcoming Elk Mountain Traverse.

On the last descent, I launched into it, having hopes of regaining 4th. I went straight off of Wolverine Bowl, and as I tried to scrub speed in the valley below, my left boot felt squishy. Then I felt a pop and my whole foot came out of my boot. That's the first time I actually blew my boot off my foot. Standing in the snow in my sock, I picked up a piece of carbon, and jammed my foot back in. But despite my best effort, I couldn't ski the most challenging part of the course in the way I wanted. I crashed two more times, and then I gave it up. At that point, the parade had begun. First, it was Gaston, getting back on course. Then Diegel, Andy and several others. At the final checkpoint, I scrounged a Voile strap, and that assisted me to the finish line. After the race, as I thought about it, I think that I damaged my boot in the ski off of Milly. I skied that section with my skins on and heels unlocked and remember torquing the boot pretty hard.

In Japanese, there's a saying: mo shoganai. Roughly translated, it means, there's nothing to be done or it can't be helped. In a way, I feel that way, but in another way, I have only myself to blame for my travails. What I'm mean by that is that I've noticed that I seem to always have trouble at the Powderkeg. Even the year I won, I broke my boot and skied Stupid chute floppy. I've been DQed for going off course. Last year, I crashed, lost my contact, and DNFed. In fact, I lost my contact this year skiing fast off Brown Spot, but luckily, at the bottom, I found it stuck to my sunglasses lense. The PKeg is important to me. But I have to stop skiing it in a frenzy. I need to just relax and race as cleanly as possible. That's my goal for next year.


Chuck said...

Great race! Thanks for lending me a spare helmet so I could give it all I had.

Chad said...

Jared- Thanks to your influence so many of us were there for the first time. Or if not the first then returning because of the spark you ignited in their past. The Wasatch is definitely a faster world than it has ever been because of your leadership.

jimkusa said...

Your adaptation skills and endurance have always inspired me. I'm sure there is a Japanese phrase or words for such. Keep it going.

Tendon said...

Thanks for the story Jared. And thanks for the psych! Although it may not always work, skiing in a frenzy sure is more fun than takin' it easy. I like how you really Giv'er!

Jared said...

JimK, Congrats on 10 Kegs. Outstanding. Keep the record alive.

Jared said...


It's all fun until you break your boot, and are left standing in the snow in your sock, wondering where your boot and ski went. Nice job yesterday!

Team Crested Butte said...

Anyone find my lost "2 seconds" out on course?!?! Great job putting on the event Team Wasatch!

CB Mafia