The North American Championships weekend started off today with a Sprint Race. The morning dawned clear and cold, really cold. Familiar faces, big smiles, and that ‘race day’ feeling were all good vibes. To reach the Start of the race, all competitors skinned up a few hundred feet to Uley’s Cabin part-way of the resorts slopes.
The Sprint consisted of a 250 foot vertical skin, a downhill, another skin 150 feet, to a boot-pack for 80 feet, then another skin to the top and a final downhill.
I caught up with Janelle Smiley on the skin up to Uley’s Cabin in the Brrrrr of the morning. One of many good friends, we were able to swap a few smiles and laugh a bit on the way to the start.
Luke Nelson, 2012 U.S. Ski Mountaineering National Champion, was looking relaxed and fluid. I asked him how he felt and he humbly nodded and said ‘I feel good.’ Luke is a major powerhouse for the
skimo team. He is consistent and fast. I wished him luck prior to his start. With many great athletes participating, I knew Luke would be one of the top performers. The Italians did arrive and raced. Both Manfred Reichegger and Lorenzo Holzknecht from U.S. are amongst the top 5 in the world of ski mountaineering racing. Italy
|Italian coach and Bryan Wickenhauser|
Before the race began, racers were having skin troubles and failures. Cold hands and cold bodies were all around. People were nervous. We took shelter in Uley’s Cabin to stay warm. The anticipation before a race can be a bit nerve wrecking, and this race was no exception. There have been times I have been completely relaxed before a race. Today was not the case. I knew I wasn’t in top form and that added a little pressure. At the same time, I am no longer expected to win, so I can release some pressure there. I feel well and ready to race, but need to work on a few things to speed-up a bit more.
The Sprint Race today for me went fair at best. I made huge mistakes on transitions. Many others also had ‘issues’ and some made no major errors. In the end, I came through the Finish Line smiling…there were friends cheering me on (thanks Jari, Janelle, Jeff) and I wasn’t going to let them down. The race is a great group of people and athletes and today it was good to be racing with all the good skimo folks.
|Tomorrow's summit and downhill|
Tomorrow we will race in the Individual Race. I look forward to this high altitude race. Start time is and the course should serve cold weather, altitude, and a strong field of racers. Finish times from the Sprint and Individual races reveals Final Finish order.
Results are in from the Sprint Race today: