8:30 a.m. mass start. Some specializing in running, some cycling, some serious national caliber XC skiers. The course was fresh for the leaders. Softening with every passing competitor. The run produced little time gaps in comparison with cycling and the ability to use traditional XC skis or " Skate skis ". Skate skis literally twice as fast as traditional. When the smoke cleared I ended up 1st in my age group and 5th overall. Learned a lot and had fun.