Tuesday, April 16, 2013

2012-2013 Season, What an Experience!

What a great year, it has been so fun! I'm already excited for the next one :).

After 5 months on the road, it feels extremely good to be home. I arrived back in Anchorage this last Friday and the last three days have passed by like a snap of the fingers. I'm back in snow country, the reason I live in Alaska!  My ski season ended last Thursday, so I have had a few days to think about what a great year I have had.   I have also tried to take a bit of time to unwind a little bit!  Being on the road for so long and always focused on the next race has a stress that I am need to become more familiar with.   As an elite athlete, one puts a lot of  pressure on themselves to perform. I set some high goals for myself this last year and I now feel more than in years past, how important it is.  I'm super excited and feel more energized than ever before, as I accomplished many of my goals. Some of the events I might have liked to have done better and some events were beyond my goals.  I feel very lucky and I know that all that I accomplished is nothing I can take for granted. I do feel like I worked hard for this success, but I also realize many of my friends and other elite athletes have also worked hard and have had the same goals as I do, so I must continue to give everything I can to accomplish what I am set out to do.  I'm am super proud to represent the US ski team as we are on a roll that every country is acknowledging!  It is super exciting.

Photo Credit: USST

One thing I have been reflecting on the last few days is how amazing people have been to support me this year. I raced more this year then I ever have, I traveled to more countries, stayed in more hotels, and traveled on more airplanes then I ever have in a ski season. None of this was cheap and none of it would have been possible without all the generous people who have helped me over the years.  A special thanks to NNF for their support to nordic skiers.  A big shout out to all of you that support them who support us!

Photo credit: USST

Last week I finished off the season in Truckee, California. The last race series was the Super Tour Finals/ Distance Nationals. I went into the ski races not knowing how I would perform and I had the feeling that the best of my season was over. After winning the first race by over 14 seconds I realized that I was feeling good and that the body was not done for the season. The second day I came in 2nd place and that is when I realized I might have a shot at coming out of the four day race series on the podium. Going into the last race I was sitting in first, but was being chased by Kris Freeman, a three time Olympian and one of my biggest idles. I didn't sleep much that night, thinking I had a chance to take the overall win. It was a great battle the last half of the race and I'm supper proud to say I was able to come out on top. I consider it to be my biggest athletic accomplish yet and it is so motivating to want to train even harder this summer going into the Olympic year.

Photo credit: fasterskier

Again, thanks to my coaches, the wax techs, my competitors and my friends and supporters for making this season one of the best.

Photo Credit: fasterskier

Thursday, February 28, 2013

World Champs 15km Skate

Yesterday was another great opportunity. It's really exciting putting my toe to the line knowing I'm in better shape and skiing faster then ever. My goal this week was to watch and learn from the best in the World. I try to be realistic and not be to hard on myself when I don't see my name near the top of the results sheet. Yesterdays race was a 15 kilometer skate, I went out at a hot pace thinking that was my best shot at posting a fast time. When I went through the stadium onto my second lap my legs started getting heavy and really tired. I then struggled a little bit on the second lap but was still able to make good movements and was trying to really hammer the fast flat sections. By the last couple kilometers of the race my body was starting to come around again and I was able to leave the rest of my energy out there on the last couple climbs and into the finish. The course was tougher then most courses I see in the U.S., it felt like if I wasn't climbing up a steep hill I was hauling down one.  Overall I was pretty happy with my race and I now know how much work I need to do to be the best in the world. It has been a lot of fun racing at these championships and seeing all my teammates kick butt. I'm now looking forward to racing the 50k classic on Sunday and cheering on the mens 4x10km relay tomorrow! 

I want to thank all of my friends, family, teammates, and supporters for helping me get here. This has been an eye opening trip.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

World Champs Team Sprint

Today I raced the team sprint with Andrew Newell. I was planning on racing the pursuit yesterday but when I got to the venue to warm up I was told Simi Hamilton, who was scheduled to team up with Andy, was not feeling good so I could race the team sprint if I wanted. I was in for sure! I decided to skip the pursuit to conserve as much energy as I could for today. If someone would have told me a year ago that I was going to be in the team sprint at the World Champs with Andy Newell I would have said no way. It was an awesome opportunity. Todays game plan was to ski in the front pack and conserve as much energy as I could. As usual things did not go exactly as planned. I had a good start and was skiing around 5th in the first lap when someone stepped on my pole from behind and it broke, forcing me to ski about a half lap with one pole. Luckily the pace was not to high at that point so I was able to keep position. The second lap went smoothly and I kept my spot in the lead pack. Then on the third lap when I was really starting to hurt someone in the front made a burst at the top of the first hill and everyone scrambled to hold on. A French guy, a Finish dude, and myself tangled. I might have been the only guy to go down but I was actually the first guy out of the little cluster f*c#, but by that point we were out of contact with the top four. We ended up finishing 7th in our heat and about 10 seconds out of moving on to the finals. I think we would have had a good shot of moving on if I wouldn't have gone down. Oh well, it was still a TON of fun and a great opportunity. I hope I get to do more team sprints with Newell in the future. That dude is fast and just an all around great guy!
 The U.S. women had a pretty amazing day! Here they are on the podium.
 1st! Making history..
The guys top three teams.