|Photo courtesy of KHMR|
What a busy 4 weeks it has been! It all started with a trip out to Golden for the Gore-tex Continental Championships. I was really looking forward to this race because of its great course and the opportunity to race against some of the top North American skimo athletes.
I arrived the day before the individual race and spent some time checking out the course and the new snow with my friend Michelle. It was apparent that we were in for a great race with all the fresh snow that had accumulated during the week. Something I have always liked about this race is that it starts midday, leaving more time to sleep in! Most high level endurance athletes need to eat 3 hours before an event to provide time for digestion or there is a possibility of being slowed down by stomach cramps. So if your race starts at 8am that means a 5am (at the latest) start to the day.
The race started with its classic Le Mans start and a ski down to the first climb. This first section of the course would be the only part that I would be in the lead for. I found out as the race unfolded that I was not as well recovered from Europe and the previous weeks of hard training as I had thought or expected to. After having to dump a lot of speed on the 3rd decent to avoid some public skiers, I arrived at the transition behind Ben Parsons. On the next climb Ben was having some trouble with the skin track and I was stuck behind him until I could exploit an opening to pass. The top 3 put a gap into me that I just could not close with my sluggish legs. After this the race did not change much for me - I was stuck in no mans land, forced to battle with my mind to the end. I ended up in 4th place. It was not where I was hoping to be but I was happy to have raced hard against great competitors and friends.
The following day was a fun relay race designed to show off the sport than rather than be a hard race. I arrived early to help set the course, which really reminded me of the great races and courses in Europe. After a quick lap around the course and some fun cheering, another race was over and I had an invitation to go on a 3 day ski traverse!
Next up: Part 2 - The Bow-Yoho Traverse!