These past two weeks have been a whirlwind of travel and racing. We raced 5 races in 9 days and I loved every minute of it!!! I have learned that as long as I enter the season with a bit more gas in the tank and slightly below my ultimate race fitness, I can improve throughout the season and hold my peak through the bigger races of the year that are in February.
I came out West and to altitude almost 6 weeks ago. After many solid hours of training and racing I am finding my top gear again! Last week in Silver Star I had my first glimpse of newly gained fitness. I reached the podium in the 10K Skate race. I was 2nd. Although I was a bit off my friend (and Olympic Roomie) Holly Brooks pace, I knew I was tapping back into my race legs.
This past week we (the CXC Team) have been staying with a great family just down the road from the Black Jack Nordic Ski Venue in Rossland, B.C. This week's schedule consisted of three races in a row. We started with a Skate Sprint, then a 5K Skate and finished with a 10K Classic. Time bonuses were awarded for each event culminating with a pursuit style final race. The entire weekend was a blast! I managed to move into the B-Final of the Skate Sprint and finish 9th. The next day was my favorite event the 5K Skate and I was narrowly edged by .1 of a second by my teammate Jessie Diggins for 3rd Place. Today was the 10K Skate and I was able to hold onto my 5th position in the overall! The best news was that my teammate Jessie Diggins moved up from 3rd to take the mini-tour overall victory!!!
Jessie is only 19 and training with the CXC Elite Team year-round. She is a super talent and I look forward to watching her progress throughout her career. While she is on the team, I enjoy her energy and excitement to train with the rest of us. I know my results are improving after spending 6 weeks with her!
I have managed to improve immensely since my first races in West Yellowstone, MT. I am now within a few seconds of winning and I know I still have more in the tank! Our next event is U.S. Nationals in Rumford, ME. Until then I am looking forward to going to Brian's home in the Methow Valley of Washington and enjoying the Holidays with family and friends.