Andrew Gardner: You've just popped a huge result. What do your successes in Canmore do to your confidence / training / etc?
Garrott Kuzzy: The week in Canmore had both positive and negative aspects. The skate sprint was a highlight, but the Pursuit race shows there’s still a lot to work on. I think the 15km skate is the best reflection of my fitness right now, as the time gaps in that race were similar to where I’ve been finishing this season on the domestic scene (1min + off Babikov, 20 sec + off Freeman). That gives me confidence going over to Europe that I’m capable of holding my own. My classic skiing needs work at the moment, so I’ll be spending some time on that before the next races.
AG: Just how fast are those World Cup guys skiing? How would you describe it to developing skiers?
GK: These guys are fast, but I’m certain that World Cups can be won clean. The top World Cup skiers are skiing fast due to hard work, proper rest and recovery, and solid support. Each skier has a specialty and knows how to take advantage of it: Boerre Naess, for example, has a strong double-pole and used that to win the classic sprint by double poling on skate skis (which, I’m guessing, will become very common for classic sprints). There are also sprint and distance specialists on the World Cup, but there’s so much to be learned from each discipline. . .I wouldn’t recommend specializing while you’re still developing. Two years ago, a good sprint day for me was qualifying for the heats in a SuperTour sprint. In mass starts, you need the endurance to hang with the pack until you throw down in the final sprint.
AG: Any wild new stuff from the high end of the ski community that you'd like to share?
GK: I was hoping to see some new innovations. In Canmore, however, the World Cup skiers were skiing on the same stuff as the Carnival skiers, with a few more layers of high-flouros, of course.
AG: What's your plan for the rest of the season? The off-season? The summer?
GK: I’m back in Wisconsin for a little while. We’ll be traveling to Madison for the Capital Square Sprints this weekend, and then I’ll be heading to Europe in two weeks to chase more World Cups. We’ll be racing in Liberec, Czech Republic, site of next year’s World Championships, then in Sweden, Finland, and Norway, ending with the Holmenkollen 50km skate in Oslo. I’ll meet the CXC Team in Vancouver for Canadian Nationals, and then we’re heading to Fairbanks for US Distance Nationals. That’s the plan anyway. As for the off-season. . .do you mean the mountain bike season? This summer I’ll be back in Hayward training with the CXC Team. The program is growing and we’re always looking for motivated skiers.
This interview is concluded at http://www.middleburyskiing.org
Andrew Gardner is Head Coach of the Middlebury Nordic Ski Team.