We headed to the airport about 4 AM and made it to West Yellowstone about 9PM, nothing is close to AK! We were greeted by less than ideal conditions. There was little to no snow on the ground and the sky kept moving snow to rain, back to snow, and back to rain again. This continued for days. As a result, races had to be moved, changed around, and altred.
We had one official SuperTour race on Friday. It was 9k rolling uphill course at about 7500ft with a net gain in elevation on a forest service road up on top of a plateau outside of West Yellowstone. While net elevation gain is always frightening, it wasn't the uphill portions that were grueling about this race. In fact, for my likings, it wasn't steep enough. But, what was very challenging was the fact that there were no downhills so there was no rest anywhere on the course. Anytime I tried to sneak in a tuck, I feared I was loosing too much time.
I started early on, so any splits I got out on course, I had to take with a grain a salt knowing that there were many fast girls coming through after me, however, I was able to follow 2 very talented athletes, particularly in skate technique. Before I knew it, I was closing in on the woman in front of me, arguably one of the best skaters in the country. The splits I was hearing were good and I was just relishing in the pain of racing at altitude. I caught her and then passed her and just kept going until I hit the last giant hill and the wall came and I hit it. I was crawling up this hill fearing I just lost the race and telling myself just to make every movement count for something. I eventually made it to the top and the finish was in sight giving me one last push to get there. It was the best race I have had in years. I ended up winning the race by a mere 6 seconds for my first SuperTour win ever! I am absolutely elated by this accomplishment and hope I can continue to race this way the rest of the reason.
|My new Rossignols skis are boots were incredible! Swix Sport Photo|
|So what happens when I am racing? Well I made 3 goals for the race so any moment I lose focus I have somewhere to look to: 1. Make every motion count 2. Get up on the balls of my feet to maximize power 3. Believe in my fitness Toko Photo|
|It was a perfect wintry day for a race. Swix Sport Photo|
|Coming up the finishing stretch! FasterSkier Photo|
Ski Trax: http://skitrax.com/48354/?c
But even more important then the SuperTour is the World Cup and my teammates crushed it this weekend. Kikkan Randall reached the podium for the first time in a distance world cup race while Holly Brooks had a career best finishing 5th place. Then, Holly and Kikkan, along with Jessie Diggins, and Liz Stephen teamed up to finish 3rd place in the 4x5km relay, a historic finish for the U.S. This is incredibly inspiring for me as I train with these girls all the time and finally all this hard work is paying off on a world scale. The US Women are just crushing it!
I have moved on to Bozeman, MT for 3 SuperTour races.