Sunday, January 29, 2012

Tour de Twin Cities

Today concluded the Tour de Twin Cities a series of 5 Super Tour races right out our back door.  Three races were contested at Wirth which really is right out our back door.   On a good snow year it is faster to ski to the venue than it is to drive from our house to the race trails at Wirth.  The final two races were held just 30 minutes across town at Green Acres Park.

One joy I have in ski racing is getting to know my competitors.  As a Minneapolis native Caitlin and I really took the initiative to welcome the skiers from out of A to the Twin Cities.  A big thanks to the Handlers, Carters and Kuzzy's for hosting skiers and to the many others who offered to host.  
Leading the train in the 15km Freestyle Race at Wirth Park
Caitlin and I hosted my good friend Sam Naney in the basement of our little house.  Sam and I grew up  together in the Methow Valley and have been neck and neck in races since we first toed the line together as 10 year-olds.  It has been fun to live and train with Sam these past weeks.  My cooking skills haven't grown much since my J3 years, but Sam has come in to his own as an excellent cook.  Sam had some great races throughout this week culminating in his first Super Tour distance podium in today's 20km Freestyle.  Recently Sam has been known as a strong sprinter so it is cool to see him establishing his strengths as a distance racer as well.  Nice work, buddy.  
My first year as a Minneapolis resident worked out well and I started the series off with two solid 4th place races.  Unfortunately I struggled in the latter races to match my performances from earlier in the week.  I still felt good in the races, but didn't have the snap to match the pace of some of the other guys.  My desire to win is strong, but it is also good to see my friends do well.  Congratulations in particular to Sam, Brent and Matt today.
Thank you to the organizers and volunteers for a great week of racing.  It has been an exciting week and I am ready for bed and a day off.  Check out this video of the crash at the start of Saturday's 10k Classic race.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Double Win Today

There is green grass in our front yard in Minneapolis and although it was great to be home for 4 days we set off this weekend to find natural snow in Hayward, Wisconsin and race the Seeley Classic.  Six years ago I moved to Hayward and Cresthill Resort and started my professional ski career.  It means a lot for me to race in the Hayward/Cable Community and it was fun to get back for one of the big Midwest marathons.  

The storybook weekend started friday evening with a fantastic family ski on the Seeley Trails.  Groomed by volunteers and the funds raised through the Seeley Classic ski race the dog friendly trails are a real treat.  It was the first time the Caitlin and I had skied on natural snow in 2 weeks.  Lahti did what he does best and ran ridiculously fast as we attempted to race him on the downhills.  We finished our ski refreshed from the drive and ready for the big race.

The Seeley Classic is a 42km classic marathon race on the Birkie trail with about 500 participants.  Unofficially called the classic citizen championships of the Midwest the race rose to a new level this year with  the addition of a $1,000 purse for the top male and female. The award was in memory of the late Garry Pennman one of the founders of the town of Seeley and the Seeley classic ski race.  Cailtin and I were very happy to both earn the win and the cash purse.  Results.  

Enjoying the natural snow in Hayward, Wisconsin

The CXC Team is spread around a bit this weekend and congratulations to the entire crew for a great weekend of racing.  Jessie Diggins finished 2nd in today's World Cup Team Sprint, Santiago Ocariz won the Sissu Ski Fest Classical race, and my good friend Matt Liebsch won the Sissu Ski Fest Skate race.  Great work.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year

The first race of the US Nationals Championships is tomorrow (Monday). We race every other day here in Rumford, Maine. There is no natural snow on the ground, but the race organizers have worked hard to make artificial snow and the 1.6km loop we are racing tomorrow is in great condition. Today the high is supposed to be 38 F so we are very grateful the conditions are as good as they are. The hard work is all done and now it is time to rest, relax and toe the line. There are 405 entries for the US National Championships and there are a lot of skiers cruising around the little man-made loop. We are limited to internet only at the Venue and every other elite skier in the country seems to be on it right now. Will try and post some pics of racing the Freestyle Sprint tomorrow.
Map of the 1.6 KM Sprint Course