The first weekend was made up of a 5km skate and a 15km mass start classic race. The first weekend was also combined with a college race, junior race, and high school race so there were over 1000 people racing! As one of the only places to ski in the Twin Cities, the trails were busy all day everyday. I started the tour out with a bang wining the first race by 14 seconds. I was ecstatic to have continued skating strong and to put so much time on my competitors the first day.
|Thanks David Owen for making some of your beautiful photos available on Facebook! I greatly appreciate it!|
|Podium day 1 L-R Caitlin Gregg, Rosie Brennan, Erika Flowers|
|Our boys also had a great day coming in 1st and 3rd!|
|Jennie and I leading|
|The front pack making its way up one of the steep climbs|
|Jennie bringing it in for the win and me in the background holding on to 2nd|
|Did I mention it was really cold that day and after succumbing to frost bite while I was home, I had to wear tape on my cheeks to protect them.|
Sprint day came and I felt I was struggling with morale. I was getting pretty sick of skiing around that same loop in the cold, I was way too concerned about "having" to win, and I wasn't a fan of the course. This left me stressed and concerned about things I couldn't control. This is often the hardest part of racing, especially in the middle of a big series with nothing else to think about. My skiing showed this and I skied poorly the whole day. I managed to squeak by in 4th place at the end of the day, but still lost quite a bit of time on my lead of the tour. Fortunately, I recognized all my silly worries and did my best to put myself in a different place for the final two races. I don't even have pictures from the sprint...
Saturday brought a 5km classic race and my goal was to simply go out hard and to really focus on those sections that I lost time in on the 15km classic day. I came out on top, but by only .6 seconds....so things turned around for me and I felt I had even started to improve on my weaknesses.
|Hammering into the finish|
The last day was a nerve racking one. It's called a pursuit start so everyone's time from the previous 4 days is added up and each person starts based on their time back from the winner so the person that crosses the line first wins the overall tour (although may not have the fast individual time of the day). I was the leader meaning I went out first and the whole field followed at various intervals, all hunting me down looking for that big win. I had a 17 sec lead on second, 30 sec on third, and about a minute on 4th. My only hope was to go out hard and not look back. Being the 3rd day of racing in a row, my legs were exhausted and it was really a trying effort, not to mention that due to the twisty nature of the course, I could see my pursuers all the time. Trying to judge time and distance while racing is challenging, but I could tell the girl who started in 4th was flying and I couldn't stop pushing. I managed to hold everyone off and cross the line first about 30 seconds ahead of second place. However, Caitlin, the 4th place starter and 2nd place finisher, was just flying around the course and had the fastest time of the day. I have always admired her ability to skate so I was very satisfied with 2nd place on the day and 1st for the overall tour.
|Time of the Day podium L-R: Me, Caitlin Gregg, Kate Fitz|
|Out front trying to hold everyone off|
|Men's Overall Podium. Patrick was actually 6th, but failed to show up for the prize ceremony....|
|Girls Overall Podium!|
From here I will continue to race in SuperTour races from the month of February and then I will head over to Europe for a full month of racing in March!
Thanks for cheering, supporting, and following! 'til next time