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Archive for December, 2015

Western Period One

Tuesday, December 15th, 2015

Well, I guess that was it! “It” being the START OF THE SEASON, that mythical event that we all think about from last May until now, that thing that hangs over our heads and motivated us through every foggy wet swamp run and frozen rollerski. So much rides on “it” at least in our heads; there are unspoken pressures and expectations that weigh our spirits all summer, especially preceding every tough workout or early evening in.

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And then suddenly, “it” has already happened. The start. We’ve started…

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After starting my season last year on the World Cup, I was looking forward to kicking off a little closer to home, and not being just thrown into the wringer.  I never felt great last season, in any race. I never performed how I had trained all year to perform. There were glimpses of good, but that is not enough to sustain a soul for long. My only real focus for this fall was to get out of my season-long slump and get back to enjoying skiing, enjoying skiing fast, and truly going fast again like I had in the season of 13-14.

 

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Driving up the Gallatin River Valley:

Engine Room-9179

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I was happy with how these first two weekends of SuperTour races went. For as long as I have been racing, these first two weekends of elite racing have been held in the high mountain west, at illegally high altitude (according to FIS), which always makes them a little funky. Traditionally, if I have done even remotely well in West Yellowstone, it is a good sign when things get a little more vertically reasonable for the rest of the season.

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The skate sprint was the first race, and I came away content on the day. I was mostly just excited to feel my acceleration there again; the throttle response I didn’t have last year is back. I was psyched to qualify 4th, only a second and change out of the win, which is a great indicator for me. By far the best part of the day was coming down the finish stretch with no one in real contact, except for my brother Logan, and drag racing like weve done hundreds of times all the way to the line. Being right behind him as he won his first SuperTour was an amazing experience!! I’m so proud of him, and couldn’t pick anyone else I’d rather lose to!!

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photo - Gabrielle Naranja/Fasterskier.com

photo – Gabrielle Naranja/Fasterskier.com

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photo - Fasterskier.com

photo – Gabrielle Naranja/Fasterskier.com

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You can read more about this history making duel HERE.

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The 15k skate interval start there in West Yellostone was actually pretty solid for me. That may seem strange, but the reality is, that event on that course is just the total opposite of what my strengths are. At that high altitude, there isn’t enough oxygen to be able to need much power in your skiing; its more about a constant purring chug, without the slightest break for 40 mins. Considering this, I was happy with where I was, and it is a good sign for me.

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Sun Valley was a new stop for the fall SuperTour circuit, but we were all stoked to race at Lake Creek. The SVSEF crew did an awesome job with the small amount of snow they were given, producing some of the hardest courses we will see in the US this year.

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Driving across rural Idaho, looking at the Tetons in the distance…

photo - Scott Patterson

photo – Scott Patterson

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Engine Room-9270

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The classic sprint was a pretty good day. I just wanted to ski relaxed, and let the intensity of the difficult course play to my strengths. Another solid qualifier in 2nd, but I knew the real show would be b going head to head with Dakota Blackhorse for the win. He was looking very sharp all day, as we were on opposite sides of the heat tree. But we both eyed each other in the final; I went out hard and attacked harder, and was able to create a little gap on everyone at the top of the second big climb; The only problem was that Dakota was still just in contact, and we had a huge gliding downhill into the finish, which is never great news when you have that solid block of stacked muscle to try and out-glide… He came by and I whipped out of the final sharp corner as close as I could, but we were both double-poling so fast and the finish short enough, no-one was gaining or losing. I was very happy to continue my silver-streak, and it was reassuring to feel my high-output fitness coming back.

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Trying to break the A-Final:

photo - Bryan Fish/USSA

photo – Bryan Fish/USSA

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You can watch a sweet aerial video of our mens A final below! It’s hard to discern who is who, but basically, I took the lead on the right side as we passed the yellow snowmachine sled at :34 seconds in the video, and then remained in front until the final tucking downhill where Dakota passed me.

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You can read more about the race HERE.

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Now, its back to Alaska, to get in a big training block of skiing in to prep for nationals. The Nordic Ski Association of Anchorage has done an incredible job grooming and using both natural and manmade snow to procure some really awesome trails.

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Kincaid in the morning:

photo (1)

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Looking forward to Christmas with the family, and building a real peak for US National Championships in Houghton, Michigan the first week of January!

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Happy trails!

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