Bozeman Skate Sprint
A successful athlete is one who can have a bad day (or two, or seven) but turns around doesn’t let it discourage them from having a good race the next go around. Sometimes it is really hard to get over a bad race, or a bad season, but so far I’m doing pretty good. West Yellowstone was disappointing, certainly, but I got another chance today in Bozeman to get my sprint on, and it went well. I still get a bit winded just skiing easy because we are still at altitude, but I have been feeling waayyyy better this week. Today was the rescheduled skate sprint from West. It was a fast course with a couple short and steep pitches in the first half and a long, but winding downhill that offered no recovery into a final pitch up to the finish. I thought it was a really awesome course.
Sprinting is really fun because it can be a lot more tactical and aggressive, but still uses your fitness because to make it to the end you have to have the endurance to sprint up to four times. I qualified 9th in the prelim, with my teammates also qualifying in 2nd, 7th, 10th, 11th and 13th. I went up against my teammate Sadie Bjornsen (#2) in the quarterfinal, and it started off poorly. I was kinda slow off the line and went into the first hill in fifth, stuck behind other skiers that I couldn’t around even though I knew I could go faster. Going into the big hill at the top of the course I saw that there was a whole skier’s width open on the inside track, so I took it and just powered up the hill to put myself into third, a much better position. Like I said, sprinting can often be won or lost in tactics, and it’s also important not to let yourself get frustrated if you aren’t exactly where you want to be. I didn’t want to be in fifth at that point, but I saw my opportunity, took it and put myself in a better spot to qualify on to the semifinals. Finishing third in a quarterfinal is risky because only the two lowest bib numbers that finish third move on to semis, so it’s important to finish well in the prelim. Fortunately, today that worked in my favor and I got one of the “Lucky Loser” spots.
I had another less than optimal start and once again was in fourth or fifth. Unfortunately, I couldn’t quite close the gap on the same hill and came into the stadium hill in fourth, out of qualifying for the A-final, my legs just shut down and my teammate Kate Fitz went blazing by me. So I finished fifth in that heat, which I think put me in 9th or 10th at the end of the day. Sadie finished second, as did her brother Erik in the men’s race, and I believe we had four women in the top 10. Not bad. I was hoping to be top-4 or 5 but at least it’s a giant step forward over last weekend, and hopefully I can carry the momentum into Saturday’s classic sprint.
I got BK to snap some photos during the heats.