CXC skier Caitlin Compton entered the first part of this season with a thinner training base than usual. Not expecting greatness before Nationals, she got off to a slow start in West Yellowstone, but turned up the heat in the recent mini-tour in Rossland, British Colombia.
“The first part of the race season has been really good. I didn’t know what to expect since I had not trained as much as I normally do, and planned on working my way into the season, ski into race shape,” Compton said, whose dryland season differed from that of her competitors.
“After the Olympics and a lot of time away from home, I was left without a lot of resources financially, so I just had to do a lot of work locally,” said Compton, who spent her summer working with the project “In the Arena,” which helps underprivileged inner-city kids.
While rewarding, her work didn’t leave Compton much time to focus on her own training. Having done no dryland camps and only training with a local group of athletes, she has been surprised about how well her racing has gone in the early season.
“How I was racing at the end there was a good indication,” said Compton, speaking of her performance at the recent Nor-Am mini-tour in Rossland, British Colombia, the weekend before Christmas. She is currently ranked third in the country on the third USSA points list, and feels on track for the US Senior Nationals in Rumford, Maine, next week.
“In the past, I’ve tended to peak early. Now I’ll peak later in the season. I’ve done more training than before, once we got on snow,” Compton said, explaining that this year, November and December have been some of her biggest training months with a focus on volume and longer intervals.
“It’s been great to work with the CXC coaches while on the road. They’ve really helped me fine-tune my technique. I’ve followed their training plan, and that has worked well for me in the winter time. They provide a lot of wax support, and my skis have been rocket fast, and that makes me feel really confident going into races with them,” Compton explained.
Now Compton will switch into shorter, faster work, and she’s ready to get to it. “I’m pretty fired up about Nationals. We did some testing last week looking at recovery and such, and I feel like I‘ve made a lot of progress…I love training, but I definitely love racing,” said Compton, who doesn’t get too nervous about competing. “Racing is easy. Other parts of my life are a lot more nerve-wracking. Racing is the easiest thing. You just put your head down and stay positive…You have to separate the result sheets from who you are. You can’t be too concerned about results. They go up and down. And you can’t look at each race individually, you have to see the whole picture, and honestly look at your life and see what you can improve.”
Season depends on Nationals
While Compton hopes to race fast enough at Nationals to nail down a ticket to the 2011 World Championships in Oslo in February, in its absence, she will focus on the American Birkebeiner as a primary season goal.
But making the Worlds team is all based on results in Rumford. In order to race fast at Nationals, Compton knows what to do.
“I just need to keep doing what I’ve been doing, not change anything drastic.”
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.