Here we go- I’ll try to catch you up without too much ado.
SuperTours and NorAms:
In Bozeman we raced a sprint prologue, a 5k skate, and a 10k classic race. Both of the Saturday races went quite well for me, and it was quite nice to be able to come back to the house between the two races. We had only an hour and a half between the first start and second start, which was quite an unconventional format. Fortunately for me, I love unconventional. Invariably I will have better intervals if the location or course is changed at the last minute… it must have something to do with not being able to properly fear the coming challenge. Rolling with the punches, I planned out my sprint prologue down to each transition, and just skied the course as well as I could. I know I lost some time on the hairy downhill as I cut inside too early, but I didn’t fall and didn’t shave too much speed coming into it. As it turned out, that didn’t matter because my third place was still about 15 seconds behind second place. I don’t know how that happened, but it did. Caitlin and Jessie killed it. The 5k went pretty well also, I wasn’t able to pull off another top 3 placing, but I was happy with 5th.
Sunday’s 10k race was funny because it was very conventional. It was everything that I love– interval start, classic 10k, and hardwax conditions. I should have been able to really rock that race, but for some reason I just wasn’t on my game. I have no excuses, I just wasn’t able to get into a really powerful rhythm like I ought to have. I ended up 7th, which wasn’t a disgrace, but wasn’t what I hoped for in my best event either. Fitz had a good day, and we were all stoked to see her on the podium!
The next day we drove for 13 hours to get to Silver Star, BC. It was a long drive, but terribly worth it! Our accommodations in Bozeman were pretty swanky, but Silver Star’s housing is sweet and the trails are unparalleled. There is nothing like them anywhere in the world! (Not anyhere that I have seen anyways, and a lot of the Sprintgutta profile information for the norwegian sprint squad have Silver Star listed as their favorite place to ski). Nightly grooming, 100k of trails, hot tubs everywhere, and lift access for cross country skiers. What’s not to love?
I was pretty excited about the promise of two classic races in a row in Silver Star, but the sprint didn’t go quite how I wanted it to. I learned that I need to start better in the heats, and that’s pretty much it. Last year I won the B final convincingly, and this year I was towards the back of it, so I felt like I didn’t quite do what I wanted to. The next day I came into it with a bit of a different perspective. In the 10k just tried to see what I could do, I tried to race hard but if I felt like I was going too slowly I didn’t panic and try to push way harder. I just let my body come around when it was ready. It worked out quite well! I was happy with my result, and it felt like I really got into a powerful classic rhythm in the middle of the race.
Anchorage, Besh Cups:
After those races we left Silver Star and headed home. I was excited to get back because it was snowing and I hadn’t seen the fam in a while! Also, Besh Cups were the following weekend and I hadn’t gotten to race in those in a few years. After following that circuit in high school and practically living for those races, I was looking forward to coming back and racing Besh as the ‘big older kid’. Luckily, it went pretty well. I had the skate sprint of my life on Saturday, feeling like I was on top of the world. For whatever reason, things seemed to come together and I was unstoppable. It was so fun! The trail was pretty fast and a little bit technical. It added some spice to the day as people ran into some difficulty with the corner coming into the stadium (see header photo). Brandon Kowalski’s crash takes the cake, especially when it comes to documentation. His pole broke into three pieces, and his dad got photos of the whole sequence! I mean, if you’re going to fall you might as well go all the way, and he certainly did. Go big or go home!
[Loving every second of it!! photo: Karl Kowalski]
Unfortunately, all good things come to an end. I had a bit of a scratchy throat the next day, so I didn’t race the 10k Classic and had a textbook sore throat by evening. That brings us to today, my first ski since Saturday, in Fairbanks. I am blissfully hanging out in Fairbanks with my family and grandparents, doing the christmas thing. It looks like my little virus was timed perfectly to be ready for Nationals in January, so I am excited to get there and really test my fitness a little! Fast conditions and sea-level racing– sounds like a fun change from the SuperTour.
Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Happy New Years, and see you at Nationals!