I spent three weeks from late-January to mid-February on the road, traveling around to races. Here is a story for each of those weeks.
Following a couple weeks of down time in Canmore after trials, I booked an early plane ticket back out East to spend some time with my family before competing in the Eastern Canadian champs (which conveniently takes place at Nakkertok, my home club!).
Like most time spent visiting family and friends, my time at home sped by a lot faster than time usually does. In a flash, I’d met up with friends, played with my little siblings and completed my pre-race day routines (not necessarily in that order). I raced a skate sprint, a 15k skate and a 20k classic mass start--before I knew it the races were over and I was cooling down in a state of semi-unconsciousness after the 20k.
As I headed out for a final loop before returning to the Nakkertok “ski barn”, I noticed the Open Women sprinting out of the start echelon, starting their 15k mass start.
It is a goal of mine to never use age as a reason for not doing something, so “I’ve grown out of...” is not usually a phrase one would here me say, but it seems like in these last couple years I’ve grown out of sticking around race sites to cheer on others once my own race is finished. As I get more and more serious about racing I become more focused on my own event so that getting to the race site, doing what I need to do and then returning to the hotel to recover has kinda become the norm. Cross country skiing is an individual sport--but it is also a team sport. And to appreciate the awesome atmosphere of a race weekend properly, you can’t forget the team aspect of ski racing. Being back at my home trails, surrounded by ski friends, the race weekend atmosphere got to me and I decided to do a bit of an extended cool down so as to cheer on the open women’s races.
For those of you unfamiliar with Nakkertok’s trail system, the race course weaves its way up and down an escarpment to get in the required amount of vertical--so, I made my way up to the top and skied back and forth, taking shortcuts at the top of the escarpment so that I could cheer on the girls every time they looped back up to the top of the ridge. The final 30min of my “cool down” went something like this:
“COME ON!!! UP UP UP!! THIS IS IT! 20 MORE METERS AND YOUR AT THE TOP!!!” ...short cut to the top of the next hill... GO GO GO!!! THIS IS WHERE YOU GOTTA HURT!! THERE’S ANOTHER PACK AHEAD OF YOU!! YOU CAN CATCH THEM!!” ...short cut to the top of the next hill and repeat.
Okay, so maybe it wasn’t a text book recovery ski, but in a funny way cheering people on makes me more motivated--and I know that I’ll race even faster next time because of it. As a bonus, I had about half of the top 10 open women skiers come and thank me for cheering them on!! Twenty years down the line I may not remember what place I finished at Easterns 2014 (that’s what Zone4’s for, right?), but I am gonna remember cheering on my friends, like a maniac, during my cool down!
|Two sweet photos of me from the Easterns sprint, courtesy of my bro|
|Sprinting to the finish in the semi-final|
Check back later this week for the second story!