Saturday, January 23, 2016

One Day at a Time

          The past few weeks have been a strange few. This is the first time in years I've been based out of home this much of January. Last year, at this time I was bitter with myself for only being the reserve athlete for the Antolze WC. Two years ago I was skiing top 20 ski times in the same WC after qualifying for the Sochi team; times change I guess. Now I'm sitting here watching the pursuit on my PC. It hasn't been easy, but it hasn't been as difficult as you might proportionally think it should be either. The coping process of a season denied consists of two outlooks. One being the acknowledgment that when you stop caring about certain things life becomes a lot easier. The other is what lies in store for the rest the 2016 winter.

         December went down the drain. The best I can take from the Canmore trip is fact that I tried. Not every athlete, successful or not, can say the same. I didn't spend more time talking about what I wanted to accomplish than I did working for it. I'll be better off if I can convey that on a job resume someday. Since I can't do much of anything to change the past there isn't as much reason to be down about it. It's still rough, but this outlook makes things easier.
         Since then, I've been looking towards what's fun. If it's too expensive, it's not fun, If it's classic or involves heat rounds it's not fun. Lot's of travel-not going to happen. Cold- probably not. This has reduced my racing itinerary down considerably. Which is a good and bad thing. I like races that are suited for me, but sometimes going out of my comfort zone means having an excuse to leave the house to. Advantages and disadvantages, I suppose.
Time to swap out the baskets on the ol classic poles. 
        The one race scene that actually happened was at Quarry Road trails in Waterville, ME. On the plus side I think I won my starting seed in a commanding fashion. Unfortunately, despite unloading an obnoxious amounts of cash just for a start bib NENSA still pushed me down the start list. This is a known disadvantage when the condition are normal. When you're racing on a 1.5km loop and dodging (or taking out) other racers the whole time it adds to the disadvantage. Were these only the two obstacles, I might still have had a chance. The real clutch was the snowstorm that didn't let up for the duration of the race. Add in a non stop blanket of snow for an hour after the first senior man to the mix and that's what I was racing on. Shame on you NENSA. What a punch to face for the ninch athletes in my position. That concludes that rant. On a real plus side, the other MWSC athletes had a stellar classic race the following day.

        Looking ahead, a marathon in Craftsbury was sounding like a grand idea. Turns out I didn't read the fine print. There I was looking for a place to stay for what I thought would be skate marathon. A nine hour drive for a classic 50km does not fall within the fun window. With that out of the plans the next race is another eastern cup in Stowe, VT. The most glorified eastern cup of all. Or so I'm told. If all goes well I'll make the 10km skate happen.

        The real core of this salvaged season rest on the American Birkebeiner. The North American 50km to end all 50kms. I have little idea what to expect. What I do have, is a confirmed flight out, a place to stay, good ski bases and grinds, and a good wax team. Past experience tells me that when you're not sure what you're heading into racing wise the best thing you can do is be really, really fit. I contacted an old coach of mine for some tips regarding marathon training. I won't bore you with the specifics of said session, but it makes the actual 50km effort feel easier by comparison. Nailing the key sessions and timing is what's going to make the difference.

              There is more to the season than just the Birkie, but for now we'll focus on that. That, and maybe a better 10km effort come early February in Stowe.  If all goes well then great! Good for me. If not, then oh well. That might not be so bad either. Tomorrow I'm representing Snow Mt Trails in a 15km classic. You read correctly. I own two pairs of classic skies. Neither are in great shape and one is somewhere in Europe. Won't this be entertaining.


Monday, January 11, 2016

Still Functioning

A more elaborate update is in the future. For now here is a glimpse of a session I did last Saturday. It's the shortened version of a prep for marathon racing.
 Currently, I'm on antibiotics due to a tooth infection. If that clears up fast enough I'll go for a start at the Eastern Cup race this weekend.