Norris and Hanneman, both skiers for APU in Anchorage, are among a rare group of U.S. men who have finished the Tour de Ski. We conducted a brief email exchange with the skiers post-Stage 7 of the Tour de Ski.
FasterSkier: Huge accomplishment to one, stay in the Tour, and two, remain near the top-30 in prob the deepest field the TdS has seen for a long time. Can you speak to that?
David Norris: I didn’t know what to expect going into the tour, but my goal was to finish in the top-30 overall and picking up some top-30 finishes in the distance events. Dropping out was never a plan unless I were to get sick.
The first three stages felt awful for me. I was healthy and fresh going into the Tour so I tried to just focus on improving each day and in general, I felt better each day that we raced.
FasterSkier: First time at the TdS. What are your takeaways in terms of how you grew as a ski racer this week?
David Norris: The Tour was a great chance for me to practice the skill of moving past frustrations and preparing for the next opportunity.
David Norris: Toblach’s pursuit was a ton of fun. I got into a group of guys who were all battling hard against each other. Of course, the hill climb will remain a highlight to my ski racing memories.
David Norris: I crashed on a completely untechnical section of the 15km mass start in stage 5. When I got up I was in last after having a great start position.
FasterSkier: Top-30 on the Alpe. What was that experience like?
David Norris: Everyone went out hard and fought for spots before we got onto the Marcialonga trail. I felt really relaxed coming into the base of the climb after a few kilometers of single-file skiing. When the track got wide at the base of the climb I felt really strong and was able to move up a bunch of places. After about 8 minutes of climbing, I just remember trying to pick guys off/hanging on to dudes, listening to the fans screaming, and not clipping my tips on the alpine gates.
FasterSkier: You are a rarity — a U.S. male skier finishing the TdS. What advice would you give to others who might consider the risk/reward of contesting the event — given the opportunity?
David Norris: I can’t speak for where I will be in a few weeks, but because I remained healthy throughout the Tour I think it should help boost my fitness. I don’t think we should be afraid of this event. I washed my hands more than ever and ate an insane amount of risotto and pasta this week so I’d suggest others do the same going forward.
FasterSkier: Just finishing, what does that mean to you?
Logan Hanneman: It means quite a lot to finish the Tour actually. I am not much of a distance skier, so I was very happy to be able to make it through all of the stages without getting lapped or pulled.
FasterSkier: From a pure learning experience standpoint, what did you learn?
Logan Hanneman: I learned that there are some incredibly fit skiers in this world! But also besides that, I learned just how chaotic mass start races over here can be.
Logan Hanneman: Definitely qualifying well in both sprints and making the heats was a highlight for me. Especially the second sprint. I was getting pretty tired that far into the tour, but so was everyone else.
Logan Hanneman: Lowlights…ha…realizing just how much more fit I need to get in order to even remotely close in distance races.
FasterSkier: Comment on why you stayed in the TdS? And will you get starts in Dresden or take a rest?
Logan Hanneman: I stayed in the Tour just because I had set the goal for myself to finish. Sure on paper, it may not have looked like a great decision, seeing as how I was way near the back in the distance races. But in years past, I have not done much distance races during the middle of the season, and I feel that that negatively affected my fitness for the remainder of the season, so I wanted to try something different this year. Plus, it’s pretty cool to finish that last stage, even though it is just brutal. I am unsure at this point for sure if I will get offered starts in Dresden, but I think it looks pretty promising, so I will plan on racing that weekend and then heading home for a few weeks to recover and train.