Looking for a mid-season workout that’s both effective but not too taxing? Annika Taylor of the British World Cup team has one for you: a sprint workout with short intervals on varying terrain. “The workout focuses both on the neuromuscular (limb speed) required in sprinting and improving anaerobic capacity,” describes Taylor.
The Arrowhead 135 is a 135-mile, human-powered event in northern Minnesota. This year, Mike Brumbaugh broke the course record by 5 minutes despite skiing with a busted pole for 115 miles of it. “When I broke it at twenty miles, I stopped and stuck a stick in each end … It just snapped again. Then I just carried it for sixteen miles.” He had to get resourceful at a general store stop along the way.
Olga Abramova, a 27-year-old Russian-turned-Ukrainian, was identified as the mystery athlete who tested positive for a drug recently added to the WADA Prohibited List. Abramova had two top-10s at last year’s World Championships in Kontiolahti, and won double gold at Summer Biathlon World Championships in August.
A few new competitors broke through on the second day of SuperTour racing in Craftsbury, Vt., in both the men’s and women’s 10 k classic event. In the women’s race, Erika Flowers made a debut SuperTour win, while Liz Guiney and Julia Kern tied for second. Kris Freeman double poled to first in the men’s race, ahead of two UVM skiers.
In the SuperTour 5 /10 k freestyle events this past Saturday held in Craftsbury, Vt., Anne Hart beat out Chelsea Holmes by less than three seconds for first, and Paddy Caldwell achieved his first victory of the season. “It was my first ever SuperTour win, so it’s nice to cross that off the list,” Hart explained.
Considering anything better than sixth would have been a first-ever for either the U.S. or Canada in Sunday’s IBU World Cup mixed relay, that put Lowell Bailey in a bit of a position heading into the final loop. He ended up catching Canada’s anchor, Brendan Green for fourth and came within 1.7 seconds of third.
Three American women cracked the top 25 in Sunday’s 30 k classic at the world-famous Holmenkollen, finishing within 1.6 seconds of one another. Sadie Bjornsen led them in 22nd, closely followed by Liz Stephen in 23rd and Jessie Diggins in 25th. Rosie Brennan and Caitlin Patterson raced to 33rd and 36th, respectively, and Canada’s Emily Nishikawa was 39th.
One early miss didn’t bog Dorothea Wierer down. Coming off a podium in Friday’s sprint, the Italian raced to her third-career IBU World Cup victory in Saturday’s mass start, by 20 seconds over France’s Marie Dorin Habert. The lone North American in the women’s mass start, Susan Dunklee missed 10 targets to place 30th.
Fifty kilometers might seem like plenty of time to ease into a race, but especially in a World Cup race like Holmenkollen, those days are over. “It’s a battle from the start now,” Canada’s Devon Kershaw explained. His teammate Alex Harvey led the North Americans in 20th, Kershaw placed 23rd, Noah Hoffman of the U.S. was 24th, Graeme Killick of Canada 30th, and U.S. skier Scott Patterson 32nd.
Canadian biathlete Megan Tandy was set to race her first home-turf World Cup, before a fall on a morning jog left her with a broken wrist. Now her season is over and, having not yet met Sport Canada carding criteria, she’s unsure if she will be able to continue her career. “Iʼm not going to give up on another two years without a fight,” she said.
The story of why one citizens skier trekked six hours (each way) for a race in a southern port city of Alaska. “Sometimes it’s important to travel for five days so that you can spend less than two hours racing, but do so on a course that goes from a mountain overlook to the shores of the Pacific Ocean,” the author explains.
Martin Fourcade and the rest of the top three agree, something about racing in Canmore is hard. “None of us felt they were skiing really fast,” Germany’s third-place finisher Simon Schempp said. He finished more than 18 seconds behind Fourcade and 3 seconds out of second, which went to Russia’s Anton Shipulin.
An athlete is provisionally suspended after their “A” sample tested positive for either an insulin-mimicking drug or for mildronate, both of which were added to the Prohibited List on January 1. However the IBU hasn’t named the athlete and made the strange move of saying that the finding is “not considered a positive doping case”.
Norway’s Petter Northug showed his versatility as an all-rounder, winning Wednesday’s classic sprint in Drammen, Norway. His quick double pole and quicksilver skate skis won out the day. The U.S. Ski Team’s Simi Hamilton placed 11th overall while Canada’s Alex Harvey posted his second-best sprint result of the season in 20th.