I like the UP. Yep. It might not be most people’s number one travel destination, but I always enjoy the time spent in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. The team traveled to Houghton last weekend for the most recent SuperTour stop. The UP is famous for a number of things like mining, copper, and deep snow. Here are a few other things ubiquitous with the UP. . .
First, Yooper pride.
Second: Pasties. 3 for $5 in Ironwood. Doesn’t get much better than that.
Finally, the Kromer. Modeled here by Wayne Fish.
Wayne is my coach, Bryan Fish’s dad, and an integral member of the Midwestern sports community. He’s traveled with our team and given us a lot of support over the years. Wayne’s played a big role in developing the mountain bike scene in Wisconsin, working with juniors and skiers at all levels, and he’s always an enthusiastic friend to run into on the trails full of great stories. At the moment, Wayne is in the hospital battling a brain tumor. My thoughts and prayers go out to Wayne, Barb, and Bryan. You can follow Wayne’s progress here.
On the racing side of the UP, we got to compete in three races in three days at the Michigan Tech Ski Trails in Houghton: a classic sprint, 10km classic, and 15km skate.
They’ve got a great club, the Copper Country Ski Tigers, with about 50 kids involved. The CXC Team spent our first afternoon in Houghton working with the team: Cook and Stuber led the youth team, while Gus, Eric, and I took the junior team and worked on our hop skate and drop-in speeds. Those kids have got some great ski skills and they handled everything we could throw at them with ease. Thanks to Mike Young for coaching the team and getting us involved with the practice. Go Tigers!
After the workout, we got to sign autographs for the younger skiers, many of whom brought their own posters and skis to the event.
Gus Kaeding is probably the only coach on the ski circuit with autograph seekers, thanks in part to his victory over Bjorn Daehlie in the 2009 Birkie Classic race. Yeah Gus!
One of the highlights of the weekend was receiving tickets to the MTU vs. Wisconsin Badger hockey game on Saturday night. The Tech Athletic Director, Suzanne Sanregret, hooked Mikey Sinnott and me up with some tickets to the game. It was pretty cool that she was the one to hand out awards to all the athletes last weekend. She even volunteered at the finish line all weekend. Great to see a college AD support their ski program.
The game itself was a little lop-sided, as is evident in the attentiveness of the goalies:
Oh yeah, we did a little ski racing too. CXC tool 5 of the top 6 spots in the men’s race and the top two steps of the women’s podium in the 15km Skate.
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