Exactly 10 days ago my leg seemed to have made a 100% recovery from injury and so I returned to normal training and skiing twice per day most days. After a few days on the leg I deemed myself fit to put it through the race motions. And thus I committed to the NorAm skate sprint event at Sovereign Lake Nordic Centre up on Silver Star mountain, BC, last Sunday.
The event was a short 1.1km. (I love the short ones - these days sprints are more of a distance affair at up to 1.8km long) The field was stacked with all of the top North Americans. Expectations on the day weren't huge; I figured that if I qualified for the heats it would be a good day. Qualifier ended up being great - left it all on the course. Had nothing in terms of a fast top-end gear but was able to maintain momentum on every key section and so miraculously qualified 23rd. I was elated to have qualified in the top-30 for heats after such a turbulent time in preparation for the race season. I was 12th Canadian but the race points were totally sabotaged by the Americans who were absolutely flying. Over 2:25 I was 5 seconds off the best Canadian. Nothing a little actual ski training can't remedy, haha.
My heat was a little disappointing. Off the line I easily moved to the front and eased off to settle in for 2nd. Everyone was super-antsy and there was a lot of contact on the course. One of the more questionable body contacts out there was when a certain G. Kuzzy grabbed my shoulder and pulled past me. That spelled the end of the heat for me as my speed was killed and I proceeded to get thrown around pretty good on the main climb on the course. I skied in for a 5th in my heat and a 25th overall on the day (14th Canadian). Results.
This is the only shot I have of the weekend of racing (thx Emil Svensson). Bringing it in for 5th in my heat.
OLYMPIC TRIALS THIS WEEKEND.
Tomorrow kicks off the weekend of Olympic Sprint Trials. 2 Classic sprint races on back to back days on a big bad sprint course here in Canmore, AB. Our preparations this week have been optimal and the environment relaxing - things couldn't be better. I have some decent boards and have rediscovered how to stride so it should be some strong races for me. I would be ecstatic if I perform well enough to qualify as one of the ten National Group athletes to represent Canada at the Feb. 6th pre-Olympics World Cup.
Among other things, what it boils down to is this: if I can find my breathing rhythm and my grip pocket out on the course tomorrow and the next day, I will be happy. Results will come on their own if I can achieve those goals.
After the trials, its back home to YK on the 21st for some R&R and some focused training for the skate sprint event at the U-23 World Championships Trials out in Quebec.
Time to give'r berries.