Post Nationals Update

On the road again! Crazy that ‘22 US Nationals have already, come and gone! It seemed to go by particularly quickly this year, as I’m sure that the anticipation that was built up, due to the lack of racing, helped drive things along. Anyways, let’s jump right into the good stuff! I’ll give you a play by play run down on the week of racing.

Jan 2: The Skate sprint.

Over the past many years, sprinting has emerged as somewhat of a weaker link for me. In my opinion, it’s not because I’m physically incapable of sprinting, but simply that I’m continually learning how to move super fast on skis, aka…sprint. Not that I think I could be an out and out sprinter, but I think that how I was sprinting 2 years ago is far from what I’m capable of. Needless to say, I came in 44th overall in the qualifier, 34th American overall, and 9th u23 American overall. I did not accomplish one of my goals which was to qualify top 30 and therefore move on to the heats. With that said I would still consider this race a success, based on how I skied, and how close I was to athletes I race against regularly.

Jan 4: The 30k Skate.

I’m not gonna lie, I was very excited about this race as soon as I knew that it was on the race schedule. Given that it’s my first year as a u23, it is also my first year to race with all of the seniors, which means doing a 30k at Nationals vs a 10k. Since it was a longer, mass start, skate race, with no kick wax to worry about, I was “jonesing” to toe the starting line as all those things add up to a really fun race. I started bib 36 in the 4th row, which is a ways back when you know that the boys up front are looking to string things out from the gun. Long story short, I got a good start, eventually worked my way through the field, and 8×3.75km loops later, I crossed the finish line in 8th place overall, 8th place American, and 2nd place u23. Don’t get me wrong, I’m stoked with the result, as it is a clear sign that my hard work is paying off. However, I am still eager for more, because I know that I could have been closer to the leaders if I didn’t have as much traffic to go around and could’ve just started off right behind the leading group. But, that’s how it works. You have to earn that start spot. So, that is exactly what I intend on doing. It was also a fantastic day for the APU crew as well, which was awesome to see! We went 1,2,3,6,8,10,12 on the day. Not bad I’d say.

Jan 6: The 15k classic

Just 2 days after the 30k, I was very interested to see how the body would respond. In the end it responded very well! Oh, did I mention that it was 40 degrees, at race time 12:30? This meant super tricky waxing conditions in wet, slushy, glazy snow. Unfortunately, my skis/wax with which I intended to transfer this performance were simply not where I needed them to be. So, I ended the day in 48th overall, 36th American overall, and 8th u23. Despite the fact that the result was far from representing my capabilities, I was still left partially content. In my opinion, I think that was the hardest race I’ve possibly ever done. A race is only as hard as you make it, right? Right. I’ve never wanted to slow down in a race as much as I did in this one. So, I was very happy to have resisted this urge, and to have pressed on, full gas, through the finish.

Jan 7: Classic sprint.

Much like the first sprint day, this day was short and sweet. I ended up qualifying in 33rd overall, 24th American Overall, and was the 8th American u23. Today was a little bit harder to swallow as I was less than ½ a second away from qualifying for heats. But, again, based on where I was compared to my cohorts I was happy with the result. I was also super lucky to have some video footage during the race so I was able to find some things that I can work on, that are hard to know of unless you can see them yourself.

In the end, it was an overall successful week of racing, with ¾ races going to plan. Now I’m heading up to ID for a few days of downtime before revving things back up for next weekend’s Super Tour races in Sun Valley, 1/15-16! Stay tuned for more info on those.

Thanks for all your words of encouragement and well wishes! It means a lot! Also huge thanks to all the staff behind the scenes, and to Tobias, aka, @untraceableg and Lisa/ Erik Maurer for the amazing pics!

Until next time,

Garrett Butts

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