While I was in Bozeman for the 3rd and 4th Super Tour races I found myself constantly looking off into the mountains. I would think about Elk habitats, the fields full of geese to hunt, and wanted to take the team on afternoon runs along streams and rivers to check for good fishing spots. Ironically, the opposite tends to happen during the summer, when I often think about winter activities and ski racing. Don’t get me wrong- ski racing is one of my favorite things to do.
My focus on racing returned when I arrived home in Alaska… until I saw a grouse on the racecourse Saturday. Now I am arranging to grouse hunt when I am home in Fairbanks on an off day from training with my long time friend Nick Hajdukovich. He is a pro birder, hunting guide, and enthusiast of anything woodsy enough to demand a sweet mountain-man beard.
Super Tour races 3&4 went better for me than those in West Yellowstone. I felt a little snappier, but still not the kind of race shape I had felt a few times throughout the summer and fall. I have many ideas as to why I didn’t feel amazing, but none of those really matter. I just need to focus on the things that will help me progress through the season, such as regular nights of sleep and hitting the key training sessions rested. The sprint in Bozeman was a ton of fun; I tried to double pole my heat and was nearly strong enough to make it work, but on the main climb I stalled out just enough to loose contention with those on klister. I placed third in my heat after following TK down the main hill before he washed out on an icy corner. In the distance race I struggled to settle in with the lead group and was constantly falling off the pace, but in the last lap I really started feeling more like myself again and skied well to the finish line- placing 7th for the day.
This weekend I am in Anchorage for the Besh Cups. I raced a skate sprint and a skate distance race. These always serve to be effective tune up races for Nationals. The A Final in the sprint had two guys who have stood on the podium at Nationals (TK and Packer) plus Logan Hanneman, who has earned at least a few A Finals at US National sprints. I didn’t move onto the A Final due to a fall in the last 50 meters of the race.
The distance race was fast and had tons of V2. We raced on a substitute race course because the hilly course didn’t have enough snow. The substitute course turned out to be deceptively hard and I started to feel my legs on the second of three laps. I finished 3rd behind my teammates Scott P and Packer.
Yesterday TK put on the annual Lickety Splits fun day for the kids. Tyler gets tons of helpers from the local ski clubs and puts on a an afternoon of games and activities for about a 100 little skiers. It was a good time skiing around with all these little kids.
I'm back home for Christmas and it's awesome! Thanks for reading and Merry Christmas.