Maria Stuber and Brian Gregg, teammates on CXC Team Vertical Limit both finished 2nd in today’s 5/10km freestyle SuperTour in Minneapolis. They took a few minutes to answer some questions following the race.
It sounds like the conditions were pretty sloppy out there with all of the warm and wet weather. Can you tell us a bit about the conditions; how did the weather effect things, how the trails held up, etc?
Maria Stuber: The course was extremely wet and sloppy. It had been raining a little bit all morning, but it actually started to pour at about 9:00 when the first racers went out on course. Most of the ups and downs were mushy, but the flats stayed relatively hard and fast. Transitions were extra important today because you had to think about terrain changes as well as snow texture changes.
Brian Gregg: The trails held up really well, especially considering that there were nearly 500 racers. The course is really fun and is constantly rolling and twisting around. Nicer weather would certainly have improved spectators experience but skiers and ski fans are hearty.
CXC did very well as a team, did guys feel extra fired up today with the race going on in the MidWest? Were there many CXC supporters out on course cheering you on?
MS: Of course we were fired up to be in the Midwest. We had tons of supporters cheering us on, handing out bibs, collecting chips, testing wax, giving out awards, and basically running the show. It is nice to say thank you to a community for hosting an event like the SuperTour, but it’s even nicer to show them that their support is really contributing to CXC’s success by stacking the podium. Thank you to everyone in the Midwest for your support of our program, we need you!
BG: Sleeping in your own bed and feeling comfortable with your surroundings is always an advantage. It was great to see ‘Chuck’ (Matt Liebsch) do so well on his home town course. Our CXC wax crew led by Bryan Fish is always strong and with a home event we are able to get additional support with testing and waxing. Racing in a metropolitan area helps bring more spectators to the venue and there were a lot of cheers for CXC in the crowd. My Aunts, Uncles and Cousins were a strong force out there. Thanks guys.
How does this race fit into your preparation for Canmore? Are you working on anything specific in your training to get ready for the WC?
BG: This week is a recovery one for me after a good week of volume and training through the Methow Super Tour races. Originally I was planning on only racing one race here in the Cities but I have been feeling great. Mass starts are my favorite and I am looking forward to Sundays classic. Next week will be a big training week for me before tapering off in preparation for the World Cup races.
What are your goals for the Canmore WC? For the rest of the season?
BG: The 15k Freestyle race in Canmore has been a focus event for me this entire season. I consider myself a strong climber and the course suits me well. I have wanted to race the Olympic 5km in Canmore ever since I first skied it two years ago. One of my goals is finish in the top 40. After Canmore I will return home to Hayward for a few weeks of solid training in preparation for the Birkie and some March OPA cup racing. I am very happy with the constancy of my season but am hoping to make that jump to the next level of racing for the second half of the year.
MS: I really wanted to make it to the Canmore WC this year, but I guess it wasn’t in the cards. My focus is now on the Midwest SuperTours and the Birkie. Then I plan to train well during March and have some good races at the SuperTour Finals in ME.