It was nice returning to Montana last week. I haven’t been here since graduation last May. I nearly brought down my fishing gear as my Montana license from last spring is still good until January, but decided against it because I had been fighting a cold before leaving Alaska for the Super Tour races in West Yellowstone.
Arriving in West Yellowstone last week the ski trails were in good conditions and the temperatures where ideal for racing. Alaska Pacific University stayed out of town in some nice houses, which was a huge upgrade from my college days of sharing a hotel room with two or three other guys and eating continental breakfast and sandwiches everyday for lunch.
This was the house I shared with a few teammates.
My sprint day started off pretty well with a 11th place qualifier on a really fast course. The times were just around 2.5 minutes and I didn’t feel like I could have gone any harder. I can work to improve my balance and transitions at that high speed, but overall everything went really well. In the heats I still felt good, which is rare because I often feel flat after warming back up from the qualifier (2 hour break between qualifier and heats). In the heats I got out to a good start and fell into second place then at the half way point on the course I made a pass into the lead. Unfortunately as I moved into the lead my pole broke against a competitor’s knee and kind of cost me the race. It was a good try and I feel like I finished the day confident that with more opportunities to sprint I can make progress in the future. I love the heats so I was a little bummed I couldn’t advance and keep racing longer that day.
The distance day felt pretty good for me, but didn’t create the results I was hoping for. I placed 14th, which isn’t bad in terms of my track record for skate distance races in West, but was pretty far off from where my goals are. The season is long and I’m confidant that things will progress.
Racing on my new Rossignols was sweet and the wax techs did a great job so I have no complaints. Overall, I am glad that I started the season healthy and ready to move forward because last time this year I was just an observer.