Tuesday, December 4, 2012

A Rough Start

For most of the season my training has been focused on the Canadian World Cups this December.  Training has been great and I traveled to Montana feeling the best I have ever felt.  Everything was going great and then I got a scratch in the back of my throat.  I bought a humidifier and went in to isolation to rest and get healthy.  After a few days of solid rest I started to feel better and went for my first ski on Tuesday.  I skied with the Master's Team and worked on technique with the group.  I felt better and raced on Friday.  I felt good racing and finished a respectable 6th place.  This is a decent result but it fell below my expectations and not what I would need to qualify for the Canadian World Cups. 
Happy to be back on snow
 The next set of races were moved to Bozeman, MT for a total of three races in four days.  Since getting sick my morning heart rate has been high, although I have felt fine.  I felt great in the skate sprint and finished 17th in the qualifier and 3rd in my quarterfinal.  This was a good race for me.  

Then the classic races came and things started to go downhill.  I went on skate skis, similar to most of the top men in the classic sprint but I didn't even qualify in the top 30.  I am amazed how fast the top guys are in the classic sprint. I went all out and still finished 20 seconds out.  I enjoyed watching the heats of the races and cheering on my friends and teammates.  The really good guys look so relaxed and that is something I still need to work out.

The view from our bedroom on the road.  We have a few skis with us. T
he snow coverage has been thin which makes it hard to test skis.
My focus for the weekend in Bozeman all along was the classic distance race.  Thankfully the race organizers worked hard and the warm weather cooperated for the races to happen (barely, Bozeman set a new record high on Sunday of 58 degrees).  The course was moved to a 3.8km loop but really was a great course.  I started at the front of the mass start pack.  I started fast and quickly found myself at the front of the pack.  About a hundred meters in I lost my pole basket.  I stopped about 500m up the trail for a new pole and the race went downhill from there.  My skis were ridiculously fast out of the start, but I went without enough grip to kick up the climbs.  When the group started climbing I could tell I was relying a lot on my arms.  On the third or four laps I increased the pace to try and make up some of the time I had lost.  I went a bit too hard and went under.   The last lap I fell apart and finished the furthest back in a domestic distance race in the last 3 years.  It takes a few bad races to appreciate the good ones.   This last weekend will help make the good races this season sweeter.

Instead of heading to the Canadian World Cups I am heading to WA to train and prepare for the next big set of races US Nationals.  I know that my preparations from this summer have gone well and I look forward to coming back from this setback.  If my morning heart rates recover to normal in the next few days I will race up at Silver Star, BC at the Nor Am races.

Green fields on Winter Wheat 

2 Feet of fresh snow today in Washington

Scott and Max were up early grooming.  Super tough grooming conditions today.  So much snow that the snowmobile and track setter kept getting stuck.

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