Brian Gregg (CXC Elite) kicked of his 2011 season with strong results at the opening SuperTour in West Yellowstone, and left town with a lot more than just some good points races.
As the annual fall camp was winding down, Gregg proposed to girlfriend, and CXC teammate Caitlin Compton while on a long ski.
“The engagement (to Caitlin Compton) this fall really has given me a lot of energy,” said Gregg, who is literally glowing when he talks about his wife to be. “I‘ve just gotten more and more positive,” he said, noting that the happiness spills over to everything in life, including racing.
“If the races at nationals go really well, I’m definitely on the bubble for the Worlds. But I have to race well with everyone being there,” said Gregg in an interview. The CXC skier is currently ranked eighth on the latest USSA points list, which gives him an outside shot at the 2011 World Championships in Oslo – if he races fast enough at the US Senior Nationals.
Gregg feels like he has made solid improvements over the fall and early season, especially in classic. “I’m super-excited about nationals, especially about classic striding, which has been sort of my weak side until now,” said Gregg. Explaining his improvements, he credits both a spring training camp in Bend, Oregon, and an August training camp with the APUNSC crew on the glacier.
“I’ve worked a lot with the CXC coaches, and my all-round technique is more relaxed, much better. And my stronger races (this fall) have been classic. That’s really cool, because that has always been my weak side,” Gregg said.
Additionally, Gregg has maintained a pretty high training volume throughout the fall, and has used the early competitions to ski into race shape. “We kept the volume pretty high and trained through the races in Rossland, British Columbia. I typically have my best races in the second half of the season,” Gregg explained.
This fall, he has managed to stay healthy, minus one short bout of illness following a tight traveling schedule. “This year, I didn’t get sick over Christmas, and that’s pretty big for me. I think I just have more experience preparing for travel and the stress of Christmas after a hard period of racing,” Gregg said.
Time to shine
So with lots of volume in the tank, Gregg was ready to drop the hours and work into shorter and harder intervals by Christmas. He feels well prepared and now he is ready to show it all off at the US Senior Nationals in Rumford, Maine.
“I’d like to break into the podium,” Gregg said of his goals, adding that if he does, there might be a ticket to Norway waiting, either for the World Championships or for the later World Cup races.
“I really would like to race the 50K in Holmenkollen. I think the course suits me well with lots of climbing,” Gregg said.
But if Gregg doesn’t make the World Championships, there are other exciting options as well. “There are lots of good races domestically for me. Having spent the last five years living in Haywood, (Wisconsin), I feel lots of energy surrounding the Birkie,” he said.
Biggest challenge: Relax
While Gregg has been able to stay healthy this fall, with only getting sick once, he noted that “The biggest challenge is going to be staying relaxed and not get too worked up with the US Nationals…I’ve done all the work, now I just need to stay relaxed and not focus on the results but on racing my strongest efforts,” Gregg said. “The only way I can mess up is to get too fired up, too focused on results, splits and times.”
Inge is FasterSkier's international reporter, born and bred in Norway. A cross-country ski racer and mountain runner, she also dabbles on two wheels in the offseason. If it's steep and long, she loves it. Follow her on Twitter: @IngeScheve.