Just an update on what's new in the world of TD. I'm still in the rut of text-only blog updates. Hopefully that will change soon cause even I am getting fed up with this BS, hah!
So after the trainwreck that was Sovereign NorAm round 1, I rallied throughout the week, put in one or two good training sessions and refocused for round 2. The team did some extensive travelling throughout the week, part of which I decided to stay away from and keep my feet firmly planted at Ally Bower's (triathlete/firefighter from Vernon who was kind enough to offer Pate and myself a place to stay for the races) pad. Once the team made it back out to SS, I moved up into the house with them. It was a very good atmosphere up there; everyone hanging out, playing Connect Four and doing meals together. It was a good set-up and had everyone pumped to race fast.
Sensations throughout the week were ok. I wasn't exactly looking for any particular sensations. The week was mostly geared towards achieving my goal of being at the start line for my start time.
Come the sprint day, I felt great. I had an awesome sleep and had good energy that morning. I was experiencing some slight tightness in the arms (from intensity a few days before) and in the core (from "rolling-pin") but otherwise was ready to rock. That's how I felt before I raced, anyways...
The sport of cross country skiing is changing these days. Last year in the classic sprint at Sovereign we had the exact same conditions, exact same course, exact same skiers and yet only one or two people dared double pole the prelim. This year there were only a couple who didn't brave double poling the undulating 1.1km. This is a pretty interesting development, as double poling classic sprints is a fairly new thing, pioneered by the mighty sprintgutta dudes from Norway. I guess watching these badasses dom everybody in Canmore last year, Canadians have decided that more of an emphasis should be placed on the double pole. This year everyone showed up ready to rock la double poussée (haha, Lenny!). And that's what we did. Those who strode, didn't qualify. Those who double poled got to fight for who qualified. Fortunately I was one of the top-30 who managed to get into the heats. I managed the double pole, but didn't feel fast nor in any way snappy. I seized up pretty bad in the final stretch and was about 10 seconds off of the first qualifier.
I approached the heats as if I were to fight for a spot to move on. I landed in a pretty tough heat, alongside the eventually winner as well as 4th place. Off the gun I jostled for position and maintained 4th place for most of the race. I was just outclassed by the 3 guys in front, as they easily pulled away on the climb to open up an insurmountable gap. I seized up again coming into the finish and was passed by the two others. I approached this heat with nothing to lose. Either fight for my spot to move on, or crash and burn and finish last. Unfortunately the latter occurred.
On the whole I wasn't skiing very quick. It felt like I was just going through the motions. No huge disappointment or anything. I am committed to long term development in this sport and short-term results are of lesser importance. I was able to identify weaknesses, and this is what will direct my training for the next while until I have another opportunity to identify new weaknesses.
I might get that chance this week at Alberta Cup. There is a classic sprint on Saturday here in Canmore. Argue, P. Woody and I drove out yesterday and I'm planning on staying the week first with the Cockney's and then with the Yellowknife crew in prep for some more classic sprinting. The weather is incredibly cold these days in the west, so there's also a good chance the races will be cancelled. I'm out here now, so I'll play it cool in the hopes that daily highs are warmer than -20.
O ya, forgot to mention: my lackluster early season racing included another race - the Sovereign NorAm 15 km classic night race. I was utterly destroyed in this race, but I raced it very smart and paced myself very well. It was pretty cool and wickedly fun to be ripping around in the dark of night with only some patchy lighting in the best of places. Big shout-out to Argue who threw down big time in this race placing an impressive 7th. Not quite good enough for the awards ceremony - maybe next time.
Results can be found at zone4.
In the meantime, out here in Manmore, I'm reacquainting myself with the bitter cold. Nice to have the good old familiar feeling of -40. It was even pretty awesome racing the night race in close to -20. It felt like "real skiing". First dose of that that I've had this year!!