I’m in Canmore, Alberta this weekend racing in NorAms and Canadian Olympic Trials. They are also points races which the US Ski Team is looking at for US Olympic team selection. Its back to back classic sprints on a hard course with lots of uphill. I got here very very early yesterday morning and previewed the course yesterday in complete awe of the incredible mountains jutting straight up from the hillside of the course. The Canadian Rockies are unbelievable and I definitely want to come back someday when I have more time to explore! I’ve taken some pictures but I left my camera cord in Vermont so I will have to get home before I can post any.
Today was the first race day. It was warm ( just above freezing) and the tracks were hard and fast. After a registration mishap I was slotted to start last for the women but luckily the field wasn’t very big and the conditions were staying constant. I started out really fast and about 50 meters after the start, the tracks broke for a stretch before restarting. I wasn’t paying attention and as I stepped back into the new tracks, I pulled a very JV move and clumsily tripped myself up. I was on one ski for awhile and then had a hand down quickly but pulled myself together to save from completely crashing. I was a little flustered but pulled myself together to get back up to speed. Then when I got to the hills I realized the tracks on the course were much slicker than the tracks on the warmup area. My skis were slipping a lot and had to get out of the tracks into the softer snow to run. So I wasn’t expecting much for the qualifying and was thus pleasantly surprised to find myself 1oth overall and the 2nd American. But with Laura Valaas just a second in front of me it was frustrating to know that I could have been the first American.
I had a short break and then it was time for the heats. In my quarterfinal I started conservatively figuring I would make my move on the big climb which was late in the course. But I soon found myself being pushed around on the corners and stuck behind two skiers on the climb, not being able to pass. Luckily I had fast skis on the downhill and was able to get a good draft and then move into second during the double pole finish to move onto the semis.
My semi-final heat was very stacked and I had the slowest qualifying time of all six skiers. But I was determined not to get pushed around or intimidated this time so I started out hard and aggressive. I was either leading or second for most of the race but then the draft was not in my favor this heat and I ended up getting caught and passed on the downhill and finished the heat in fourth place, just out of third place and the A final.
It was hard to watch the A final from the sidelines, especially when the three girls in my semi solidly went 1,2,3 in the final, skiing much faster than the girls from the other semi. I ended up as the 2nd American on the day but I know that I’m in the hunt and it won’t be long before everything comes together for a great day. And the best part is that tomorrow I have another chance. Same race, same course, same field and its on!