Here’s the quick run down of the races from this past week in Silver Star.
Wednesday, Nov 30th: Classic sprint.
30th place overall. 16th American. 10th American U23.
I ended up qualifying in 30th place which is the last position they take into the heats. Originally I had qualified in 31st position, but one of the athletes ahead of me was disqualified which moved me into 30th. I was pretty happy with my qualification. I am still trying to figure out how to qualify to my potential, and was happy with this qualification given it was the first classic sprint of the season. I moved into the quarterfinals which was a lot of fun! I finished 4th in my heat which meant I would finish the day in 20th overall. That would’ve been fantastic. Unfortunately, and ironically, I was relegated from my heat because I had accidentally cut off another athlete when I was changing tracks. I checked to my left for traffic and nobody was there, went to change track and as soon as I moved over, all of a sudden somebody’s ski tips appeared. Got into the heats because of a DQ and got relegated from the heat. So I went from 31st to 30th, 30th to 20th and 20th to 30th. In the end I was happy with the speed I had in the quarterfinal heat, and look forward to the day when I figure out how to qualify to my potential.
Thursday, Dec 1st: 10k skate mass start:
17th place overall. 12th American. 7th American U23.
I was really looking forward to today, but unfortunately there were a couple of limiting factors that kept me from having a race I know I’m capable of. I started as bib 41 which had me start in the 8th row of the start echelon. Long story short, I had G.I. issues that became an inhibiting factor. That said, the body felt pretty good besides that, and I was happy with how I was able to work my way through the pack towards the front.
Saturday, Dec 3rd: skate sprint
33rd place overall. 18th American. 11th American U23.
I went into this sprint race wanting to try a couple different things that I thought would help me have a better qualifier. One was a bit of a different warm up, to include what I call a “hot lap” to really get the body going, as I always feel better in the heats than in the qualifier. The other was trying to ski a bit more relaxed. A lot of times, you just think “Oh I have to go faster.” so you put in more effort but don’t get more speed out because you just end up getting more tense and choppy. The “hot lap” warm up seemed to not matter, although I think I can continue to tweak it to find what works optimally. The relaxed tactic, well, I felt like I skied nice and relaxed with big, strong pushes, but in the end it was a bit too relaxed. So, lesson learned, and next time I’ll inject a bit more urgency into it.
Sunday, Dec 4th: 10km classic individual start
26th place overall. 14th American. 9th American U23
I was also looking forward to this race, but alas it was not to be. This race was similar to Thursday’s race. The stomach was again a limiting factor despite my best efforts to control any known potential variables that might upset it. I had good skis,but unfortunately, my body felt flat, lacking the good energy I had on Thursday. The one bit I was happy about was that on my 2nd lap the athlete, who ended up getting second place, came by me on his first lap so I hopped in the track behind him and skied one of the big climbs with him quite comfortably. When we crested the top of that climb and started double polling, my stomach went to shambles and a gap opened up immediately.
In conclusion, I feel that my results for the week, given the various challenges I faced, are a good indicator of positive things to come when the stomach is fine, the body is sharp and the skis are fleet. After Sunday’s race in Canada we had a few days to recharge before we kick off 3 more days of racing tomorrow in Sun Valley ID. We have a 15km classic mass start tomorrow, Thursday, Dec 8th. Classic sprint on Saturday, Dec 10th, and a 10km skate individual start on Sunday, Dec 11th. I am looking forward to these races as I will have been at altitude a bit longer, will have had some more race efforts under my belt, and some easy days post race to bring some sharpness around, so it should be a good one. 🙂
You can follow the results at ,https://my.raceresult.com/.
Photo Creds: Doug Stephen, Nathanial Mah