Hometime: the Hickock and Holiday Hectics

Well, it’s not that funny, but I really like alliteration.  Before we get to the Hickock, a quick recap:

We spent a couple of says in Bozeman Dec. 6th and 7th, doing the final SuperTours before we came home.  In Bozeman we stayed at some pretty fun houses, one of which had a stuffed mountain lion all ready to pounce from the trusses onto the couch:

Lions and Logs and Couches, Oh My! (Photo: Thomas O'Harra)

Lions and Logs and Couches, Oh My! (Photo: Thomas O’Harra)

… as well as some really gorgeous log work on the outside too.

Giant logs used as railings, oh the opulence!  (Photo: Thomas O'Harra)

Giant logs used as railings, oh the opulence!  (Photo: Thomas O’Harra)

My races in Bozeman went well, partly because the conditions for the distance race were some of my very favorite ones.  It was so icy out that everyone had to skid everything, the downhills were just screaming fast, it was fantastic.  I don’t know what our Alaska Pacific Univerisity ski techs did but my wax didn’t wear off anywhere, so I came in super hot and skidded the tarnation out of the start of every corner.  That way I was able to step the second half of every corner to carry speed out, as well as pass people on the way down the hill beforehand!  My basket came off early in the race, so I got to play catch up for a while, and the downhills provided an excellent opportunity to pass.  It was just a blast.  Caitlin Patterson and I both lost baskets and worked our way up again, and we finished 4th and 5th!

In the sprint race the day before, I was able to make up time on the downhills as well.  My strength for the day was working the downhill corners to catch back up, so I was pushing that hard.  Unfortunately I also pushed one uphill corner a little too hard as well, and ended up pushing the technical boundaries.  This resulted in my relegation from 4th to 6th, which is a pretty minor change in position considering the options.  Ironically, I shouldn’t have even been double poling there: it wasn’t even advantageous and I would have had a much better uphill if I’d started striding earlier.  In any case, now I really know how to do that transition!

I left the weekend with some good confidence in my shape and technical skills, and excitement to race at sea level soon.

Goodbye to our Home, Home on the Range! (Photo: Thomas O'Harra)

Goodbye to our Home, Home on the Range! (Photo: Thomas O’Harra)

Our first race at sea level was the Hickock Pursuit, on Sunday.  It was a smashing good time, with pretty fast conditions just like Bozeman.  The race was also held in honor of our local ski association leader Lars Spurkland, who died suddenly last week.  The ski community here is reeling a little bit; it’s scary to think about 40 somethings dying with so much life left ahead of them.  The amazing thing about Lars is that every Anchorageite that I have talked to knows him, he touched a phenomenal number of lives here, and everyone loved him.  He left quite a legacy, and is sorely missed.

Here is a short Hickock race video by Robert Arnold, who highlights Lars’s family racing in his memory.

Hickok Duathlon 2014 from Robert W Arnold on Vimeo.

Now that Hickock is done, it’s time for Holiday Hectics!  I’m happy to announce that I put up christmas lights for the first time in years, and less happy to announce that I succumbed to the LED craze.  My opinion has always been that LEDs are just not as warm and cozy.  However, they are okay if they’re pink:

My pièce de résistance (actually my only piece of holiday lighting) 

My pièce de résistance (actually my only piece of holiday lighting) 

I think they’re kind of cute, but only if paired with a nice warm lamp post.  This week my family is arriving for Besh Cup, then we’re all headed up to Fairbanks in one big posse.  It’s going to be hectic and hilarious, just because that’s what we’re like.  I’m excited to see everyone and my pooches, and to make christmas cookies! 

Happy Holidays everyone!