Sunday, March 6, 2016

Canadian Ski Tour - 4/8 Intermission

I like training, but I love racing!  I am halfway through the 8 stage Canada Ski Tour.  After racing 4 races in 5 days, I enjoyed a rest day and travel day as the tour went from Quebec City, Quebec to Canmore, Alberta.  I have had a good race, a bad race, and some so-so race.  With so many races in such a short period of time you can't spend much time analyzing or dwelling on your past race, instead you must learn your lessons and then focus on the next race.  This is one of my favorite parts of ski racing.  

Training the week before the World Cups in my backyard with the Minnesota Youth Ski League 'Ski with The Stars' Team Sprint Relay.
The Minnesota Youth Ski League is leading the charge with programming to help get kids, especially first timers out on skis.  Annually the alumni and local stars meet up with current athletes for a fun night team sprint.  I was pretty psyched that this year's event fit into my training and travel schedule.    Racing on a team with our future stars is sure a lot of fun!
Team Ginger!
After a week of rest and intervals at home in Minneapolis I loaded the plane for Ottawa and the Canadian Ski Tour.  This series of 8 World Cups has been the focus of my season.   

It is easy to get nervous heading in to a big event and the focus of a years worth of training.  Having fun is my favorite way to relax and prepare.  Pretty sweet to try out the Giant Skis for the first time.  Talk about a team exercise with  6 bindings per ski.
It is a dream come true to be racing together on the World Cup with Caitlin.

Enjoying a blissful post-race cool down with the guys in Quebec City
2 days before the Tour started my good friend and main training partner Matt was named as the final qualifier for Team USA at these events.  The three of us have training a lot together and it is fun to bring that familiar environment to the big show.
Matt cheering me in to the finish on a rough day in Montreal
The bond you develop with your teammates and training partners is something special.  Matt and I have been training and racing together in the Midwest for the last 10 years.  We have shared the same goals during that time and I know that many of my successes in life and ski racing are a result of Matt helping me to become better.  He has been my number one training partner and we are good friends.  We are also strong competitors and are constantly trying to beat each other, this is why we are good training partners too.  My second day of the Tour, the first distance race, I had a rough day and finished well off of my goals and expectations.  Rough enough, that as I came in near last place, the finish zone was empty, the other racers already in their warm jackets and heading out to cool down.  I had to smile thought as I crossed the line and looked up and Matt was there waiting for me.  He helped me take my skis off and offered the condolences of a guys who knows the work that has been done behind the scenes.  Those are the moments that help you move on from the bad races so that you can get on with the good ones.

Family cheering and supporting through the ups and the downs
One of the best things about a rough race is that it can make a good race feel that much better.  Two days after that Classic day in Montreal I had a really strong 15 km Freestyle in Quebec City.  The type of race where my legs felt great and I just continued to speed up throughout the race.  I love that feeling. 
Skiing to a strong freestyle finish in Stage 4 of the Canada Ski Tour