Sun Valley Race Recap

And we’re back again with another Super Tour race recap! This time from Sun Valley, ID.

Thursday, Dec 8th: 15km classic mass start.

14th overall. 11th American. 6th U23 American.

After some easy days following the 4 races in SilverStar, I was super excited for these races. Unfortunately it was still not the race I had hoped for, as the stomach problems that plagued me in Canada still persisted. We had 6 laps of 2.5km and on lap 2 I felt good and comfortable, racing right up towards the front. By lap 3 I started to feel the same stomach feelings creep back in, and the rest of the race was simply survival.

Saturday, Dec 10th: classic sprint.

6th overall. 4th American. 3rd U23 American.

What a day! I qualified in 11th, which was my best qualifier to date, which I was happy with. I tried a slight variation on the warm up based on what I learned last week, and it seemed to work well. It had been snowing quite a bit overnight, which made for soft, slower conditions. The heats were a lot of fun, getting to mix it with some speedy guys. I came up a bit short in the finals due to some poor, early positioning and just a general lack of speed up the most prominent hill. That said, I was happy with the finishing speed I had all day, and some various moments throughout the day. The body responded well, so I was hopeful that Sunday’s race would go as planned without any limiting factors, namely my stomach.

Sunday, Dec 11th: 10km skate individual start.

8th overall. 6th American. 4th U23 American.

Fortunately today my stomach was not a problem. I’m hopeful that I got to the root of it and can move forward without further glitches! This race was crazy because of all the snow that came down overnight…18 inches! The races were delayed an hour because of the snow and the course was changed from a 5km course to a 2.5 km course. Despite all the traffic and grooming efforts, it was still quite soft out there! Fortunately for me, I jumped in behind a competitor finishing his 1st lap as I was starting. I thought he would likely be competing for top spots, so I tucked in behind him. I skied with him for 3 of 4 laps, which I think ended up being a mistake. My plan early in the race was to stay with the pace he was setting and then have a monster last lap. Turns out it would’ve been wiser to race a bit faster each lap (ie5-10 sec faster) rather than try taking out a big chunk (30sec) on the last lap alone. At the time this didn’t seem like it would be a problem, but because of the relationship between effort and speed in these soft conditions, the legs flooded as soon as I tried to up the pace on the last lap. So lessons learned on that, but overall I’m just happy that my stomach wasn’t a problem today, and that things are headed in the right direction!

Coming into this dense racing block, the debate was whether or not to do all 7 races. After having done all 7 races in 12 days, I’m just bummed we don’t have more races this weekend, as I feel like I am just starting to hit my stride. On the same note, I’m happy with how I was able to come through this race block, feeling like I only got stronger, rather than feeling tanked by the end. As it stands, my next races will be at US Nationals at the beginning of January, in Houghton Michigan. Until then I’ll be enjoying time at home in CO, celebrating Christmas with the family, putting in a little training block, and not having to do school work for a while. 🙂

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year!!

Until next time,

Garrett Butts