Pre-Christmas NorAms

Warming up at AB Cup Credit: Angus Cockney

The season is well underway now that we've had two full weekends of NorAm racing. The first weekend of racing took the Academy to Silver Star, BC. Staying at Silver Star and racing at Sovereign Lake Nordic. A great venue to kick things off with a classic sprint event. I qualified in 10th position to move on to the heats and was happy with my result, considering I was really close to not qualifying at all. In the adrenaline of the moment,  I was on a small climbing section of the course in my qualifier and mistook a larger than average gap in the barricade as the turn around point of the course. I caught myself mid-mistake and was able to correct it and go around at the proper point. Crisis avoided. 

Rounding the corner to the finish in A Final at Sovereign Lake NorAm Credit: Dan Roycroft
I made my way through the quarter final and semi's and onto the A final. It was my goal of the day to be in the A final, one check mark off the list. Unfortunately, by the time I got there I just didn't have the gas to get anything done. I was happy overall and finished the day in 6th position.
Classic sprint Credit: Angus Cockney   

Alysson Marshall and I in the quarter final Credit: Dan Roycroft
Classic 10km Credit: Angus Cockney

This photo was too good not to put up. Pretty much sums my day up. Credit: Angus Cockney
 After the sprint day on Saturday, it was time for the 10km classic individual start. I've skied and raced here many times, but I've never had a classic race on the distance 5km course. I knew it was a hard course for skating, but I had another thing coming once I went around on classic skis. My skis were great and I was happy with my starting pace. However, my body felt like it had a limit on it's potential for the day and I wasn't able to push past it. It was a really hard day for me, heavy legs and high heart rates isn't the best combo for racing. I was happy to have it done with and move on to the next weekend of races in Rossland. Silver Star always has a great vibe thanks to the great accommodation, volunteers at the site and conditions. See you again for some spring skiing soon!
Killing time in the afternoon. Minecraft is to boys what crocheting is for girls.

  Off to Rossland! Having the NorAms here last year was a blast and I was super excited to be able to race the same venue again. It's always comforting knowing the course before hand and having that confidence of what to expect before going into an event. The skate sprint qualifier went fairly well, I qualified in 5th and did my best to recover fully before the afternoon head to head racing. There is one infamous technical downhill section of the course in Rossland, but my elbows were up the whole time and I managed to move through my quarter and semi without any incidents. Onto the A final. I put out my best fight right off the bat. Jessie Diggins is skiing really strong right now and I just couldn't match her tempo. I finished the day in 5th position behind Diggins, Marshall, Bender and Dupont. Marlis Kromm also put up a good fight in the final. Again, happy to be in the final but ready for more! 
Famous Kate

Waiting for the awards in Rossland Credit: Angus Cockney
Sprint Podium at Rossland NorAm
 The following day we were back at the Black Jack venue for the mass start 10km Skate race. I felt good on my first and second laps of the 3.3km loop, but man did I die on the third lap. It was like treading water with lead weights on my legs from that point on and I finished the day in 16th position. My best effort for the day. It was really fun to be able to start as a group and use the group tactics to save some energy in some parts of the course and push the pace on other parts. I was lucky I had such fast skis because I needed all the help I could get out there!
Christmas cheer! Rebecca and Janelle getting ready to drop off some Christmas goodies.
 I'm back in Canmore now after spending a couple of days to recharge at home in Banff for Christmas. After reflecting on the season so far and looking ahead to trials in Whistler, I'm really excited for what is in store in 2012! I've had my fill of homemade baking and carols and now it's back to reality!
I capped off the start to the racing season with an alpine day at Fernie with my bro, Phil and my Mom. The skiing was super sketchy at the bottom, but we were able to scope out some good tracks near the top of the mountain. Pray for snow!!
Christmas Kobo reader from Joey! All the books I need, none of the hefty weight. Awesome.
Angus Cockney not only has an eye for photography, but helped me craft a dancing polar bear from soap stone as part of the Widmer Homemade Secret Santa gift exchange this year.