Sprint day, leading the quarter final - Note the new suits!
Home! As of 12:35am I arrived back to my apartment in Canmore and B-lined it to my bed. Waking up this morning to -25, I was happy that I didn’t have to be on the racecourse today. Instead, I woke up to crêpes with my brother, Phil, and his girlfriend, Sarah. I can feel the NorAm Circuit or racing in Silver Star and Rossland being absorbed into my body, pretty lethargic today!
The Haywood NorAm MiniTour was kicked off on Friday December 17, with a 1.4km Freestyle sprint on a newly renovated course at the BlackJack Nordic Center, a great improvement to the last time I sprinted on the course there. The Sprint day was especially important for the Canadians racing because it was the qualifying race for World Senior Championships in Oslo, Norway in February.
Sprint Day - Qualifier
MiniTour Day 1 - The morning started a bit chilly, but the women heated up the course quickly with Sadie Bjornsen of the USA posting the winning qualifying time of 3:02.32. I was excited about my qualifying time, finishing 3rd Senior Woman (1st Canadian and 1st Junior). It was a quick trip back to the condo between the qualifier and heats to chill and refresh before heading back to the race site for the afternoon heats. I advanced through the quarter final and semi-final and earned myself a spot in the A-final. I was really excited about this, my first NorAm final! I joined Bjornsen, Brooks and Diggins of the US as well as fellow Canadians Perianne Jones and Andrea Dupont. I had the fourth lane choice and off the start I got boxed out from the first corner and had to jockey for position up the long climb. I put up a solid fight, but ended the day in 5th position, 2nd Canadian. Overall, I was so thrilled to be a part of this final and learned a lot, most noticeably, that I have a lot to learn! There was great racing from Perianne Jones, who stamped her ticket to the World Senior Championships as well as Stefan Kuhn on the Men’s side. I will have my chance to do so for World Junior Championships in January.
MiniTour Day 2 – A 5km Freestyle Individual start was on the menu for the second day of racing, and I was pumped. The course’s terrain was much more tame than the World Cup courses in Canmore, which meant that every short climb was time for an attack! I think that was my word for the day, attack. I was pleased with how I skied this race and ended the day as the 14th Senior Woman, 2nd Junior and 3rd Canadian.
MiniTour Day 3 – Today’s start list was a combination of your sprint qualifying time and 5km Skate time with a time bonus deducted based on what position you finished on sprint day. A little complicated, but makes for an interesting pursuit start. The starting area had three lanes and each racer, based on their overall ranking, was directed to a starting lane. I was ranked 8th overall, 1 minute and 5 seconds back from the overall leader. This meant I waited in my starting gate, watching racers in front of me with better overall positions take off, until the right amount of time has expired, at which point you go ‘fetch’. If only the MiniTour ended after two days of racing, I would’ve been more than satisfied with my overall position. However, on this snowy day at BlackJack, there was a third day of racing, a 10km classic. I was being ‘retrieved’ a lot more than I was ‘fetching’ in this pursuit style event. I tried desperately to find that fifth gear, even a fourth gear, but they just weren’t accessible today. As much as it adds another element to race in snowy and sometimes unpredictable conditions, it is always important. Training in Canmore is awesome, but rare is the day where we have unpredictable conditions. MiniTour results – 20th overall, 6th Canadian and 2nd Junior.
Sprint Day - After the A-final
Great skis, courses, company and conditions and a solid weekend for the Academy. It will take a couple of days of RnR before I feel like doing that again! For now, it is time to gear up for Christmas. I have a top-secret mission of creating a gift for one person in my family, The Widmer Secret Santa ‘Homemade’ edition. This is always fun and always interesting to see the creative gears churning in my family’s minds. I should get to work on that project.
Thanks for reading and Happy Holidays!