Thursday, 31 January 2013

Edmonton Alberta Cup - Preliminary Wax Recommendation

Fast Trax - Preliminary Wax Recommendation

Edmonton Alberta Cups 5 & 6



Event information:
 
Saturday - interval start, skate
Sunday - interval start, classic
 
Race notice - ENSC race notice
 
 
Weather:
 
Saturday:
 
Forecast morning lows range from -4 to -7. Forecast daytime highs range from -1 to +5, but the consensus seems to be closer to +- 1 degree from zero. Skies are likely to be cloudy. 

Sunday:
 
Forecast morning lows range from -1 to -8. Forecast daytime highs range from 0 to +3, but the consensus seems to be closer to +3.
 
 
Recommendation:
 
Base layer - Swix CH4, Solda S30, or Ski*Go C380
 
Race paraffin - Holmenkol Matrix Red, Swix HF7, Ski*Go HFViolet/HF Yellow mixed 50/50
 
 
Discussion:
 
Although the daytime high temperatures are forecast to be quite warm for the weekend, it is important to remember that a large portion of the race course is in the woods and covered by shade. As a result, the snow will not be subject to the full force of the warming trend. In addition, exceptionally cold overnight lows during the early part of the week will have cooled the snowpack significantly.
 
Due to the shady trails and cold overnight lows leading up to the race, we have recommended a slightly colder glide wax. We have also suggested the application of an initial hardening layer. Given the cold overnight temperatures, this will make a big difference in ski speed for the duration of the race. 
 
 
Testing:

With the races just a few minutes away from our World Headquarters, Fast Trax has planned an in depth on snow testing schedule for the events.
 
Friday evening - testing based recommendation; glide wax

Saturday evening - testing based recommendation; glide wax, base binder, preliminary kickwax results
 
We will plan to post the results of our testing in the early evening each day to allow coaches, athletes, and wax techs ample time to make use of the information. The results will be posted here, on our Facebook page, and on Twitter.  

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Birkie Wax Recommendations - Preamble


Wax recommendations:
Fast Trax will begin on snow testing the week of February 4th, stay tuned to the Facebook page the shop blog for the most up to date wax recommendations.

  • The final recommendation will be posted at about 12:00PM on Friday, February 8
Overall thoughts:
There has been significant snow this year, the trails are in amazing shape. Likely to see a few days of above zero temperatures about 7 days before the race. The trails will probably not be exceptionally icy (think Birkie 2011), however the tracks may have a tendency to glaze in the latter parts of the race conditions should be excellent.

Glide thoughts:
A hard underlayer will almost certainly improve speed and keep your skis running faster, longer.

Consider “black” hardeners if the snow is icy, coarse grained, or dirty.
  • Ski*Go LF graphite, 
  • Rex RCF black, 
  • Toko black
Consider “white” hardeners if the snow is fine grained.
  • Swix CH4
  • Solda S30
  • Ski*Go C380
HF/LF waxes will unquestionably be faster than non-fluoro waxes

Kick thoughts:
  • Ensure your kick zone is marked
    • Easiest way to ensure your skis have enough kick AND are fast
  • Apply a base binder to ensure the wax lasts the entire race
    • Spray type binder is easy and quick to apply
    • Hardwax binder is more work but will result in better durability and speed
  • Apply the wax in thin, even layers and ensure corked smooth
  • Carry some extra wax and a cork with you in your drink belt
    • The wax you have applied
    • The next warmer option
Wax Manuals
Wax Videos

Monday, 28 January 2013

Edmonton Alberta Cup - Testing Plan and Schedule

Fast Trax Testing Plan and Schedule

Edmonton Alberta Cups 5 & 6

 
 
The Edmonton Alberta Cups are just a few days away. With the races just a few minutes away from our World Headquarters, Fast Trax has planned an in depth on snow testing schedule for the events.
 
Event information:
 
Saturday - interval start, skate
Sunday - interval start, classic
 
Online registration - Zone 4 registration
 
Race notice - ENSC race notice

Weather:
 
Environment Canada - Edmonton forecast
The Weather Network - Edmonton forecast

There is a massive amount of Arctic air moving into the Edmonton area Monday night. Temperatures are going to plummet with absolutely frigid highs on Tuesday and Wednesday; the outlook for Thursday isn't much better.

Luckily, things are expected to turn around just in time for the weekend with conditions improving drastically on Friday.


Testing plan:

Originally, we had planned to start testing and post a preliminary recommendation on Thursday night. However, due to the massive change in temperature expected for the weekend, that testing data will be of little to no use. Therefore, our planned schedule is as follows:

Thursday evening - forecast based recommendation; glide wax, base binder

Friday evening - testing based recommendation; glide wax

Saturday evening - testing based recommendation; glide wax, base binder, preliminary kickwax results

We will post more details on each of the days as to the specific times we will be posting our test results.

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Tawatinaw Loppet - Wax Recommendation

Fast Trax Wax Recommendation

Tawatinaw Loppet 

This really is a nice place to ski.

Event information:
 
Sunday, mass start classic
 
Online registration - Tawatinaw does online registration the old fashioned way, aka in person the morning of the race

Race notice -Tawatinaw Loppet
 
 
Weather:
 
Forecast morning lows range from -13 to -15. Forecast daytime highs range from -7 to -8. Conditions should be sunny with no precipitation in the forecast. 
 
 
Recommendation:
 
Base layer - Swix CH4, Solda S30, or Ski*Go C380
 
Race paraffin - Holmenkol Matrix Blue, Swix HF6, Ski*Go HF Blue
 
Binder - Rode Black Base (or Swix VG35) with a little Swix V40 Extra Blue mixed in. Iron in and smooth with a cork. 
 
 
Discussion:
 
This loppet is one of the good ones - old school trails, a chalet with character, and draw prizes consisting of dog food, motor oil, and hats from the local implement dealership. Not to mention a great lunch. The Tawatinaw loppet is worth the price of admission - you should go. 
 
It appears that conditions will be absolutley perfect for a classic loppet. Lots of new snow this week with minus degree temperatures that aren't too cold. It doesn't get any better than that. 
 
The application of a hard underlayer will ensure that the glide wax stays fast in the shady portions of the course. Kick wax should be a breeze with lots of good stuff in the blue range from Rode, Swix, Ski*Go, and Vauhti.

 

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Wax Recommendation - Beckie Scott Loppet

Fast Trax Wax Recommendation

Beckie Scott Loppet - Vermilion

The iconic Vermilion CN station.

 
Event information:
 
Saturday, mass start classic
Online registration - https://zone4.ca/register.asp?id=3862&lan=1&cartlevel=1
Race notice - http://www.xcountryab.net/dbfiles/349.pdf
 
 
Weather:
 
Forecast morning lows range from -14 to -16. Forecast daytime highs range from -5 to -13, but the consensus seems to be closer to -5. Areas in East-Central & NE Alberta look like they'll get the most snow today (Wednesday). The indications are 10-15cm for the Vermilion/Lloydminster/Wainwright regions.
 
 
Recommendation:
 
Base layer - Swix CH4, Solda S30, or Ski*Go C380
 
Race paraffin - Holmenkol Matrix Blue, Swix HF6, Ski*Go HF Green. If the overnight lows end up being slightly more moderate, Ski*Go HF Blue could be very good as well.
 
Binder - Rode Black Base (or Swix VG35) with a little Swix V40 Extra Blue mixed in. Iron in and smooth with a cork. 
 
 
Discussion:
 
There is a blast of warm air following in behind the snow that is expected to fall today, and temperatures will rise beginning on Friday. But don't be tricked into using a glide wax that is too warm! The overnight lows are still cold and the trails in Vermilion are North facing and spend the vast majority of the time in the shade.

Due to the shady trails and cold overnight lows, we have recommended a slightly colder glide wax. We have also suggested the application of an initial hardening layer. Given the fresh snow and cold overnight temperatures, this will make a big difference in ski speed for the duration of the race. 
 
If temperatures are warm on the morning of the race and there is some moisture in the snow, you might consider applying a fluoro-block topcoat such as Holmenkol Mid, Ski*Go C22, Vauhti Goldfox, etc.
 
In terms of kick wax, Vermilion is a tricky course. There is a massive amount of double poling on the 10km loop, but the hills at the far end of the trails are extreme. Ensure that you have enough kick to stride the climb from the Peninsula and the moderate Klar Cabin hill. Many people will find the hills at the back of the course too steep to stride, so don't stress too much about waxing for those. We would suggest testing a cover such as Guru green hardwax over your selected kickwax for the race to see if you can obtain a bit more speed without losing much in the way of kick.

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Camrose Loppet - wax recommendation

Fast Trax Wax Final Recommendation

Ole Ulffda Loppet - Camrose

 
Event information:
 
Sunda, mass start classic
Online registration - https://zone4.ca/register.asp?id=3928&lan=1&cartlevel=1
Race notice - http://www.camroseskiclub.com/ole-uffda-loppet/
 
 
Weather:
 
Forecast morning lows range from -21 to -22. Forecast daytime highs range from -17 to -18. So, the general consensus is that it's going to be cold!
 
 
Recommendation:
 
Base layer - Swix CH4, Solda S30, or Ski*Go C380
 
Race paraffin - Ski*Go HF green or Swix HF4, Holmenkol Matrix blue
 
Binder - Swix VG35 or Vauhti Super Base with a little Swix V40 (Extra Blue) mixed in. Iron in and smooth with a cork; alternative Rode Black Base
 
 
Discussion:
 
Due to the extremely cold conditions on race day, hardening the bases is going to be of primary importance and will make a dramatic difference in ski speed. Both the Ski*Go and Swix green waxes are safe and should run well. If possible, allow the race paraffin to stay on the skis overnight before scraping and brushing.
 
Ensure that the skis are brushed and polished extremely well to remove all traces of wax residue. We strongly recommend the use of an ultra fine metal brush in these conditions.
 
Lastly, remember that Camrose is an exceptionally hilly course. At the forecast temperatures, finding grip solutions that kick well shouldn't be an issue. That being said, remember that racers will always lose more time uphill due to bad grip than they will gain on the downhill with superior glide. Therefore, don't be afraid to trade a small amount of downhill speed for bomber kick during your testing.
 

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Athabasca Loppet - wax recommendation

Fast Trax Wax Recommendation 

Athabasca Loppet

Event information:

Saturday, mass start skate
Registration 10:00 - 11:30, start time 12:00
Race notice - http://www.xcountryab.net/dbfiles/346.pdf
Garmin Connect track from 2011 event - http://connect.garmin.com/player/64885055


Weather:

Forecast morning lows range from -14 to -21, however the consensus seems to be closer to -18. Forecast daytime highs range from -8 to -11. There is a high probability of rain and/or snow on Thursday, and snow on Friday and Saturday. Accumulations are likely to be somewhat significant (perhaps as much as 10cm). 


Recommendation:

Base layer (in order of preference) - Ski*Go LF graphite, Rex RCF black, Solda S30/Ski*Go C380/etc.

Race paraffin - Ski*Go HF green, Swix HF4, Holmenkol Matrix blue


Discussion:

Given the significant freeze/thaw cycle that has taken place over the past few days, the snow pack is likely to be aggressive and transformed. However, with the new snow that is likely to accumulate over the next few days, "black" waxes are risky as a final race wax without testing. Therefore, the key will be to get the base as hard as possible with the under layer to improve durability and speed.

We recommend watching the forecast carefully leading up to the race. If new snow accumulations are not significant and if the temperatures for Saturday look to be warmer than expected (say probable daytime highs of greater than -10), we would strongly consider the use of Ski*Go HF violet in place of the race paraffins noted above. This wax is amazing in medium temperature, aggressive snow. We have not recommended HF violet at this time due to the forecast probability of new snow.

Monday, 14 January 2013

Season Review with Nate Gerwing


Calforex Cup #1 Race Review 

This was a very hard race weekend. It started with a sprint, in which I came tenth. I started off with a 2 prone, with was not good, and discouraged me. I still p ushed hard throughout the race, and finished with a 4 standing. The next morning, I decided to push even though I may get discouraged from shooting.  I started with a 4, then two 1’s, and another 4. This proved that I could shoot well, and I just needed to work on being more consistent.
Nate in action!
Alberta Cup # 1 and 2 Race Review

Weekend two of racing was good for practicing and for learning to push harder. The first race was a skate mass start. I stayed with the pack for the first kilometer, but my ankles soon started bothering me, and I fell back of the pack. The rest of the race I focused on chasing down Mitch Fennel, but I crashed on the last corner and lost him. The second day of racing was a distance classic. I chose the wrong skis, and my grip did not work well. I focused on pushing hard up the hills, but it was hard with almost no wax.
Set it up, shoot!
Calforex Cup #2 Race Review 

This was one of my better races, both ski wise and shooting. On the first day, a sprint, I had a bad start, with some sight problems. This threw me off, and I shot 2 and 3. I skied very hard, and caught a lot of competitors. After this, I talked to my coach and talked about what to do mentally. The next day was a mass start, and I hung with the group more or less, and came into the range at the opposite end that I had checked my sights earlier. I shot a one, but my coach had a sight correction and stayed calm. I lost a lot of the pack in the penalty loops, but in my next shootings I shot 4,4,4, and made up a lot of time.. I finished the weekend 11th in Canada and 4th in the province.

Thanks for the updates Nate and good luck with your upcoming races!