Monday, January 7, 2013

Nationals Update

We have completed three races at Nationals and have one more race tomorrow.  It has been very cold each morning since we arrived in Park City but very cold is bearable when it's dry while that's not always the case back home where it can be both cold and humid. Erika's aunt and uncle have generously let us stay in their beautiful house in Park City again through these races (thanks Jeanne and Gregg!). It's been really fun staying with them and it's very nice being able to come back to a home each day after racing.
reunited with Erika at Soho!

Beautiful view of some elk from my window
Chilly morning

The first race of the week was a classic sprint on Wednesday. My qualifier in the classic sprint went very well and I qualified 2nd behind Sadie. I ended up 5th in the final heat and my striding and dpole in the beginning of each heat felt great but my double pole in every final stretch was a bit of a struggle. Overall I was happy with the day, I think 5th place is the best I've every placed in a Nationals classic sprint and I know what I need to work on. Congrats to Jennie Bender on the win! She has struggled with multiple sicknesses this year and it was really cool to see her push through and earn her first national title.
Sprint Prelim (Ian Harvey photo)

Skiing in the heats with former teammate Rosie Brennan (fasterskier photo)
Women's podium :Sadie, Jennie, Rosie (fasterskier photo)
The next race of the week was a 10k skate individual start on Friday. After talking with Gus, we decided I was going to sit one of the distance races out because I have a lot of racing and traveling coming up that I don't want to be super tired for. I was extremely stiff and tired after the sprint day so I decided I would skip the skate race and do the classic distance race (I also think mass starts are a lot more fun!). It was a beautiful and freezing day and I went out to cheer on my teammates and attempt to take some photos. It was awesome to see Erika have a great race, placing 8th and to see Rosie take the win!
Bundled up cheering section
Annie Hart

Parker Tyler

Erika catching a ride with Fitz

Artsy shot
Yesterday the women had a 20k mass start classic race. I think this was the first or second 20k I've ever raced - definitely the first classic 20k. I was excited because I think mass starts are especially fun and my goals going into the race were to stick with the lead pack and if possible, be as relaxed as I could. The group separated pretty quickly and part way through the first lap I turned around to see there were only 6 or 7 of us and that's how it remained for the rest of the race. I thought the pace was pretty relaxed the first two laps, it picked up a little the third lap, and the last lap was HARD! I had great skis and thought my kick was just as good as anyone else's, if not better, so I wasn't going to complain if we left the showdown until the last steep hill, Hermod's. That more or less happened but Sadie made a move on the hill before that and I think we dropped the group a little although I wasn't really looking back and I was just thinking, "stick on Sadie's butt!". It turns out I didn't have quite as much energy as I thought I was going to over the top of Hermod's and I faded quite a bit. Fitz passed me at the bottom of the hill and the final order was Sadie in 1st, Fitz in 2nd, and I came in 3rd. I was super excited about this because it was my first distance podium at Nationals and I felt great! Congrats to Sadie on the win - she is one of the most impressive all around skiers in my eyes. Video from the race can be found HERE.
Ian Harvey photo

the lead group (fasterskier photo)

Podium! (Fitz, Sadie, Sophie)
Tomorrow is the final race of the series and it is a skate sprint, my favorite! I am flying to Liberec Wednesday night and racing in the classic sprint World Cup on the 12th. Skyler, Erik B., Gus, and I will then stay in Liberec the following week until the rest of the group joins up with us for U23s. HERE is a SkiTrax interview of Sadie and me talking about the 20k and our upcoming races in Liberec!

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