FasterSkier was able to catch up with Torin Koos during his travels after his recent victories at the Methow SuperTours.
FS: The conditions for the classic race sounded pretty difficult with all of the rain that had hit the Methow Valley. How was it out there for you?
TK: Sunday’s distance race was a tough one. The rains left such little snow pack the course we used in Saturday’s sprint couldn’t take classic tracks. The race organizers moved the SuperTour to the Loup Loup Ski Bowl, a small alpine venue in the mountains of the Okanogan Valley. The Ski Bowl isn’t a nordic skiing hotbed. Growing up in Washington, I’d only ever skied there maybe three times before. We drove up the morning of the races, crossing over a pass with a half-foot of freshly fallen powder. At the race course a little inversion was going on. It was 32 degrees and misting rain. The tracks became blown out pretty much instantly and made for a kind of technician’s ski day. The 5km loop was a grinder. Three kilometers of side stepping hills, followed by a kilometer of false flat double poling, then a steep multiple S-turn downhill to the stadium. Pretty much everyone, from the top racers on down to J3 skiers used zero/rubbing skis.
FS: How were you feeling out there ?
TK: I didn’t feel that great Sunday morning. You know, one of those mornings you wake up and feel a little groggy and the first, second or third cup of coffee isn’t quite going to take that away. With that said, when I hopped on my skis, I told myself, that I should win this race, that I would win this race. I really believed this and knew this was a good card to hold in my back pocket throughout the day.
FS: You had a really close finish with CXC Team Vertical Limit’s Brian Gregg. Did you know that it was so close? Were you getting splits throughout the race?
TK: I got in a pretty mediocre warm-up, but told myself this would be okay so long as I started conservatively and skied into the race. Then what do I do but open too hard, much too hard in the first two to three kilometers. Making it tough on myself… I went from having a half minute lead, to getting splits that I was down to Brian with 5 kilometers to go. I had to get back to skiing my race, stop the bleeding in terms of losing chunks of time every kilometer and keep it close. Luckily for me at least I pulled out the win by the smallest of margins.
FS: Where you getting splits off of Gregg and your closest competitors?
TK: This worked to my advantage today. Usually I don’t like splits. I’d rather just go out there and ski my race and not get hung up on splits. But today getting this information helped me find a couple seconds in the last two kilometers.
FS: So you had a long lay-off since your last race. Do you worry about where you are and your preparation for the game?
TK: I think this shows that the work of the national team, from the administration, to Pete and Justin and Grover and Co., to the athletes, that we’re doing some things right. Too often we hear about how we’re failiing in this regard or that. The last month’s been a little hard fighting to regain my health from a sinus infection and not getting the early season results I expect. You know, to put in some solid, consistent work and not see the effort paying out well yet on the results sheet. I think this shows the coaches have a plan to bring the athletes to a peak when it counts, that we get through these valleys and move on without looking back. I hope the whole of the U.S. ski community can rally behind the team that will represent the red, white and blue. At the Olympics for sure, but also at the World Cup event in Canmore, and to the U-23 and World Junior skiers that just left to the Black Forests of Germany.
FS: Thanks Torin and best of luck as you prepare for the coming Canmore World Cups and the Olympics. We are all cheering for you!