Canadian Dasha Gaiazova won today’s women’s race in West Yellowstone in front of APU’s Laura Valaas. An enthusiastic Gaiazova is glad to be here racing in the US, and for the first time at West Yellowstone.
“This was something that was hard to get psyched up for because it’s hard to know what to expect. But, it also made it easy to be really relaxed, instead of freaking out.”
Dasha caught top-seed Morgan Smyth about half way into the race.
“…and then I got really tired and then she passed me again. I’m usually good on hills, that seems to be my thing this year. Most of my gains were on the first two uphills.”
“It was a wonderful atmostphere out here, it’s very cool to race on trails that are different from Canmore. It’s very nice to have different challenges. You have to really focus on keeping your speed up with V2 and then toughing it up on the steep hills.”
Valaas was not available for comment.
Top seed Morgan Smyth, recently added to the USST B-team roster, finished 11th today.
“I thought it was a little long. I anticipated it being long and went out really slow.”
“I think the most entertaining thing would have been if they shot a video at ‘the’ corner and showed a video at the expo. I didn’t expect the corner to be that fast, a lot of girls wiped out.”
Smyth had surgery for compartment syndrome on August 21st of this year. She says recovery has been going pretty well and she’s been fairly conservative with her effort to get back into training.
“It didn’t hurt classic skiing at all. I’ve been the doing the double pole machine and lots of biking and swimming. If I was going to do some triathlons, now would be the time!”
Confident in her ability to recover and re-train, Smyth is planning on skate racing at Silver Star this year.
“I’ve been living in Park City but am happy to be on the road again. The (USST) facilities there really helped my recovery. Nothing hurt at all today, but I haven’t done a skate time trail since July.”
APU coach Holly Brooks finished less than a second behind Shayla Swanson, a Canadian World Championship skier. This is a another breakthrough performance for Brooks, and a special one since it’s her first race since she started adding focused elite training to her more normal daily routine as a Junior and Master coach for APU.
“That really hurt. It was my first sprint in five years.”
Also of notable mention is Beth Reid (formerly Beth Heiden) finishing 14th today at the age of 50. Reid has plenty of athletic accomplishments to be proud of, including Olympic speed skating and cycling. She’s so fast she’s got a wikipedia page. Check it out here.