The only cross-country ski races that will be held in this area this year will be this weekend. The Maryland Department of Natural Resources is sponsoring its second annual series of races Saturday, in New Germany State Park. Last year several hundred racing enthusiasts participated.
According to Bill Jabine, the department's director of public information, advance registration is not necessary; participants may register when they get there and there's no entrance fee.
"The races are an infaormal affaira. Most people who come are more interested in haaving a gaood time thanthey are in real competition amonga experienced racers."
There will be two courses. At 11 o'clock children under 11 will start off on a 3.1-kilometer marked course. Everyone else will ski a 7.5-kilometer marked course, with races for various age garoups.
Awards will be given to the youngest finisher, the oldest finisher, the fastest overall time on the longer course, and the first female and male finishers among the under-11-year-olds, the 11 to 17-year-olds, the 18 to 34-year-olds, and the over-35-year-olds.
For two reasons the course is ideal for beginning racers.
First, at 7.5 kilometers the race will be among the shortest scheduled in the countary this year. Most races are 10 to 50 kilometers, with the longest being the grueling 60-kilometer Hennessy Congnac American Ski Marathon Feb. 12 in Vermont. Stamina is the key to cross-country ski racing, and since it won't come overnight this is a good race for beginners.
Second, the moderate and varied terrain this course features is good for developiong the skills necessary to move from cross-country ski touring to cross-country ski racing.
A good racer smoothes out his technique so he can handle the uphills with some speed, rest on the downhills, and use a strong kicak and glide on the level portions.
Finally, here are two tips for the beginning racer.
Most beginners have to learn to use their poles more than in cross-country touring. The swing of each pole and arm and the subsequent push supplement the kick to add more glide to your stride. The push and glide takes balance, since you are really skiing on only ski at a time.
On each kick work on extending the leg almost fully without raising the tail of the ski toio far off the ground at the end of the kick. This is the moist efficient but poweful kick.