Welcome to my blog! This is a site where you can keep up to date on my life as a full-time athlete in the sport of cross country skiing. You can expect regular updates throughout the year as I report on training, racing, life in general and maybe even some school. Sponsors, family, friends and fans: Enjoy!

Friday, February 8, 2008

Turn around!

Every now and then I get a little bit lonely, da da da na na anana na na… Currently my brain is super fried from an extended stay doing my Physics 1133 lab. Nasty stuff, gets me every time…
Gonna try to make this update slightly abbreviated since I’ve got some of my famous Papa Berardi’s chili warming up on the stove…

So, last weekend was Easterns. It was a tough decision for me to go, since there was the option of going to Madison, Wisconsin to hit up some sweet Supertour Classic sprint and Team Sprint action. I ended up choosing Eastern’s because most of the team would be going to this and because my stay in the States had been long enough up to that point and I didn’t feel like going it on my own for a week in hostile territory.

Easterns it was. Got to chill in Ottawa for about 4 days. It was a fun time, cool city, nice urban vibe especially with the start of Winterlude. Sprint day felt like garbage. The sprint course was super gnarly; a huge climb, followed by a mushy gradual uphill followed by a sheer drop that led into a windy, slightly downhill stretch into the stadium. Going into the qualifier my warmup had been a bit sketch. I had lost Eric/Timo and did not know where my skis were. I didn’t have time to do Spiro (to warm up lungs for the extreme sprint effort) so that threw me off cause it’s been part of my warmup routine for about a year now. But anyways, I started my qualifier hard. I put about 8 seconds into my 15 second man by the halfway point on the course (after the giant climb), and proceeded to die hard and not ski very disciplined for the remainder of the course. To my surprise, I finished in a prestigious group of 8 skiers who all qualified within 2.28 seconds of each other. There was a big gap to the rest of the field. I went through all the rounds, bonking hard in my semi, and struggled through a post-bonk B-final where I defended my fast start as best I could to settle for a 9th on the day.

On another note: it’s sort of weird. Two days ago I learned that my sprint qualifier brought me 90 FIS pts despite the poor sensations I was feeling. This is a huge accomplishment for me, as this now makes me eligible for domestic World Cup racing for the next year! The discovery of this brought about dozens of fist pumps and a few victory laps around the Banning Street residence.

The next day of Easterns was the 30 km classic mass start. First time ever doing one of these, but I recall that the 30 km skate at last year’s Nationals was a super good race for me, so I was hoping to duplicate that success. The race would be battled out over 4 laps of a 7.5km, fairly easy course. The first lap I skied super easy. Drafting and saving energy. At the start of my 2nd lap I started to make some huge moves, and that is basically what the rest of the race ended up being like for me – just passing tons of skiers (props to Justin Kangarloo who skied much of the course with me and helped me out at some of the tough sections). The last lap was an especially good grind because of the changing conditions that left everyone’s grip useless, and I put in a good effort in that double pole fest. Too little too late to catch Argue at the end though. He turned to me at the finish line and said “I’m still the fastest Yellowknifer.”

That’s basically it for Easterns. That evening we got to wander the streets of Ottawa a bit and check out some Super Bowl at a local pub. The Giants were money!

This week can be defined as the biggest school week of the year for me, so I’m gonna go hit the books hard…


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