Nathan Schultz is working with the US Ski Team as a wax tech and athlete coordinator during the Canadian World Cups Jan 19-27. He will file reports throughout the week documenting his experiences in what will hopefully be a very successful week for the USST. Schultz is the owner of Boulder Nordic Sport, www.bouldernordicsport.com.
Sunday Jan 20th Canmore, Alberta.
The races do not begin until Tuesday, so while we had a lot to accomplish today, it was pretty calm. When we arrived at the venue today around 10:30AM, it was pretty cold and the snow was not very fast. The first race is the Pursuit on Tuesday and the courses were groomed impeccably for both skating and classic. It has been a while since I’ve been on World Cup tracks and it was a beautiful thing to drop the classic skis into those perfectly formed, rock-solid rails and kick around.
The classic course is a brutal trip around the new 3.75km â€œOlympicâ€ loop with the skate course meandering around the mellower Centennial Loop (see course profiles at http://www.albertaworldcup.com/dyn/pages_coll22.php).
With women going 2 loops each of classic/skate and men doing 4, as I panted up the hills, all I could think is that it sure seems likely that it will be a fitness race that would shatter early due to the severe hills. Kris Freeman pointed out that the downhills that follow the brutal climbs tend to bring groups back together and while certainly the toughest skiers can create gaps going up, those gaps are easily close down on the descent. The pack tends to yo-yo back and forth, but ultimately the race sticks together until the last lap when the gauntlet is thrown down. Whatever happens, it sure will be impressive to watch a full World Cup field attack those hills.