Like every year, I took a few days off and went to Ramsau-Dachstein to enjoy some cross country skiing. Skating on their world championship cross-country trails is really challenging.
At this time you see world-cup participants of different countries practicing and in my shape (coming of age breath becomes shorter and shorter ;) ) you need some self-confidence if you see them passing like lightenings.
However, from year to year it became more vital that I use the same equipment they use. Extra carbonlight skis and poles. Top shoes bound tight-but-flexible with the ski. And not to forget racing wax ( with the toxic fluorine :( ). And special light clothing that keeps you dry.
Combining brands, like Fischer, One Way, Salomon, Swix, Craft of Sweden, ... is combining top technologies. But it still needs muscles and oxygen balance.
After a maximum of 2 hours I am happy to recover at the balcony of my all-organic hotel and enjoy the above view (natural low tech "locomotion").