Saturday December 11, 2010
1.4km Classic Sprint – NorAm TeckSprint Series
In case you’re not familiar – “Sprint races have time trials where each contestant skis the course in interval starts. The fastest thirty skiers advance to elimination rounds, which start at five heats of six skiers. The first two skiers in each of the eliminations move on to the semi-final races, which consist of two heats of six athletes each. The medal sprint is one race with the top three skiers from each semi-final heat." - http://skiing.about.com/od/crosscountryskiing/f/ccracing.htm
As of late, the trend for sprint courses on the World Cup circuit is to make the courses longer and tougher. The Canadian circuit is following suit, and the knew course at Sovereign Lake Nordic showed is no exception. The temptation to double pole a classic race on skate skis is appealing because the time gained on the decent with faster skis makes up for any time lost not striding. However, on the course this past weekend, strong striding and grip wax were friends that you wanted to have on your side.
This weekend I raced up a category, as a Senior Woman, to try and get a feel for more aggressive racing. For my qualifier, I was really confident with my skis and new that the wax techs had been testing all morning to make things perfect. I felt I started a little conservative and when I saw my teammate Kate Brennan hot on my heels, I knew I had to kick it up a notch in the second half of the course. I finished my qualifier in 4th position, the top 3 finishers (Bjornsen, Brooks and Jones) were all within two seconds, and I was 13 seconds back of the lead. I was happy with my position, but surprised at how 4th place was so far back from the winning qualifying time. Alright, I have a feel for the course and now the real work begins, we had about 2 hours to recover for the heats.
Above: Halfway up the longest climb in the course
In the afternoon, I made it through my quarter-final, finishing in second position. I was really rooting for my legs to shape up for my semi-final. My goal for the day was to make it to the A-final, and in my semi-final I sat in third position before a long descent. Approaching the final climb, it was time to turn on the heat. I was mentally fighting, but my legs were in a different world. I kept the fight up as best I could, but didn’t finish in the top 3, B-final it was.
Above: Andrea Dupont and I in our semi-final
Disappointed with not making the A-final, I took the time to get fueled and amped for the B-final. Even though my final fight of the day wasn’t in the A-final, I was in some fast company. I finished last in the B-final, 12th overall for the day, not cool. This left me hungry for some more sprint racing, I’ll be sure to put up more of a fight next time around, always a lesson to be learned in racing. Big ups for Perianne Jones in the A-final, doing the Canadians proud in an A-final of Americans.
Sunday December 12, 2010
10km Skate – Haywood NorAm
How about thirty centimeters overnight to get you pumped to go…. Ski touring? It’s fun to get a big snowfall, but on race day it makes a hard course extra challenging when you have to swim through the fresh stuff. I was up to the challenge today and set off for my first 5km lap. I felt strong on this climbing heavy course and my splits were promising. I knew the second lap wasn’t going to be any easier; in fact, it was much, much harder. Surprise! I finished the day 17th overall, third junior overall and second Canadian Junior. A very encouraging day for me, I haven’t had a good distance race in a while and I’m starting to feel my legs getting back under me. I had a good feeling about the day when I woke up to the news that my big brother finished 18th and Lenny 17th overall in the Davos World Cup sprint. Awesome! Another result to be pumped about was Kikkan Randall’s bronze medal since Kowalczyk was relegated to 6th position, after pulling some sketchy moves in the final. Check out the controversial ladies final here: http://www.fiscrosscountry.com/multimedia/race-videos.html
Full results from both days - http://www.zone4.ca/results.asp?id=3242
Photo Cred: Dan Roycroft
Monday December 13th, 2010
This morning proved to be some of the best skiing all week! Clear skies, warm temperatures and endless trails around the Silver Star resort made the skiing unbeatable. Although, it was really tempting to rent a pair of Alpine skis and try the resort here. The Academy will be travelling to Rossland tomorrow where the mini-tour will have its debut on the NorAm circuit. There will be three days of consecutive racing next week.
Friday – 1.4/1.8km Skate Sprint
Saturday – 5/10km Individual Start Classic
Sunday – 10/15km Handicap Start Skate
The Handicap start means that they will start you based on the combined time from the individual start competition combined with the elapsed time from qualifying and time bonuses from the Open sprint heats for the top 30 skiers. So the faster you are each day, the farther ahead you get to start on the last day. Should be some exciting racing and judging from the course profile for the sprint course, a very difficult weekend of racing as well!
‘Till next time, thanks for reading.
Thanks to Jesse Winter and Dan Roycroft for the photos this past weekend!