Sunday, January 18, 2009

Bad Races in Alaska

The US National Championships in Alaska did not go well. I have had some great races this season and felt fit, healthy and excited to race on the trails I trained on throughout college.

In my first race, the 10km Freestyle I finished 39th, well behind my potential and my goal of finishing in the top 10. I did not ski relaxed and as a result did not ski fast. The race was painful and I was exhausted at the end.

My disappointment in my own performance didn't last long when I looked at the scoreboard and saw my CXC teammate Matt Liebsch finished 3rd. This was a great result for Matt and probably the best race of his life so far.
Garrott and Matt Celebrating Matt's great race while on an evening recovery jog

It is important to get over a bad race quickly so that you can prepare for a good race. In Alaska this meant getting ready for the Classic Sprint the next day.

Alaska was unusually cold when I was there and unfortunately it was too cold to race many of the days. Each day I would wake up, prepare to race and watch the thermometer. There is a rule that it must be -4 Fahrenheit or warmer in order for a race to be legal. This is a good rule because there are a number of risks to racing in the extreme cold. After two days of the races being canceled it was finally warm enough. The temperature was -2 F but the wind started blowing and it still felt really cold.

The tracks were firm and I decided that it would be fastest for me to use my skate skis and double pole the 1.4km course. I felt strong, but not strong enough, finishing nearly 20 seconds off of the pace set by the USST's Chris Cook. I finished 42nd, a disappointing US Nationals for me. Chris Cook dominated the qualifier winning by over 6 seconds.

Garrott Kuzzy's Quarterfinal

Kuzzy represented CXC well by double poling to second place in the qualifier. Kuz's quarter final did not go as well, he chose to use kick wax, yet still double poled nearly the entire course and finished 4th in a close finish.

Bryan Cook decided to stride after watching his older brother post the time to beat and qualified 25th. He skied a solid quarterfinal moving up to 18th on the results list.

The CXC women had a heartbreaking day finishing 31, 32, 33 (Stuber, Winters, Compton) with the top 30 moving on to the quarterfinals. Compton decided to double pole the relatively flat women's course.

Sometime you have to just go for it in ski racing. Kuzzy proved that double poling was still a fast option. Still for the majority of those who chose to double pole (myself, Matt Liebsch, Mark Iverson, Kevin Hochtl) we entered the race as home run hitters and unfortunately struck out.

Full Results (Click Here)

Congratulations to CXC's Garrott Kuzzy, Matt Liebsch and Caitlin Compton on making the Pre-Olympic World Cup Team. I will be cheering for you.


str-awberry said...

oh, hi brian. I was hoping it owuld be okay to use your photo of garrott at the start line for a fasterskier interview. I'll credit you, of course! Thanks, Aubrey Smith

Brian Gregg said...

Hi Aubrey,

Not sure how to get ahold of you. You are more than welcome to use a photo of Garrott. I enjoy your articles on