It seems that we have come to see another winter break of racing come and go before our eyes. Since writing last, the team has seen two weekends of racing. The first was up in Bozeman, MT at the MSU invitational and the second at the Stagecoach Classic in Winter Park, CO. With a wonderful change of pace, we went from the slushy mess of Utah into a true winter wonderland in Bozeman. Cold temps, freshly compacted corduroy and bluebird skies are how I would best summarize the setting, it was pretty close to nordic skiing heaven. In recent history, our men’s team especially has struggled to put together good races in Bozeman and I went into the weekend looking to turn that streak around. The race series was composed of an individual start skate 10km for the men and a 5km for the women on Saturday and a mass start 10km for the women and 20km for the men on Sunday. The team, on the whole, saw good racing and many personal success stories over the weekend. Results can be found here: http://raceresults.sportstats.us/events.xhtml?eventname=2017%20MSU%20Invitational&companies=%5b9. For me personally, it was a mixed bag. During the skate race, I felt like I had tired legs throughout the race but my ability to push hard was not diminished. It came out to be one of my better points races to date and despite the tired legs began to feel I was coming into mid-season form. The classic day was a bit rougher around the edges. The tired legs from Saturday became really tired legs on Sunday. The race started and I could feel body just didn’t have the juice to stay aggressive in the first few kilometers. As the race continued on, I saw the pack slip away and found myself alone on the trails. Any racer who has experienced this knows how hard this can be. As my fatigue worsened I decided to focus on technique and skiing well. While my result was less than ideal, I finished the race and did not let my tired body get the best of me. Unless it is truly foolhardy for me to finish, a race I don’t like to drop out of races and make it an ultimate goal to finish even on the really hard days. After 5 hard races in about 10 days, I was happy with that.
This past weekend we had a change of pace and headed to the Stagecoach Classic with our full team. While I really enjoy the elite racing side of our team, my favorite times are when we are racing in citizen’s races with our full team. There is just something fun about the races and I really like seeing the entire team get to race. The Stagecoach Classic is a point to point 15km classic mass start and now stands as one of top ten favorite races. If you like to classic ski you check it out next year. This race is unique in that it funnels down to about a snowmobile width trace in many spots with only a single classic track and dense forest surround the trail on all sides. With a competitive field of skiers in the race, we knew it would be aggressive but fun as we flew through those trees. When the gun went off, the pace quickly ramped up and the games began. The course was double pole heavy to start but once we hit the narrow undulating forest part of the course we began to stride. Somewhere in that forest, it dawned on me that this is how nordic ski racing is supposed to be. I felt strong throughout the race and despite losing the lead pack with 3km to go, I ended up finishing 5th overall and 2nd in USCSA. Full results can be found here: http://edge.raceresults360.com/rr360/race/vv4QNX/#/results::1485146872814. It was a really good day and I hope the upward trajectory of my season continues as I head into racing in Kazakhstan in the coming weeks.
For the nordic skiing and climate change class, we began to explore the American Heritage Center at UW and continued to explore conveying climate change in a variety of non-traditional ways. My highlight has come in the form of conveying climate change data through music. If you are interested in hearing some of these pieces I am including links below. People are using music to convey everything from spatial variations in temperature over time, to forest health (both with real scientific data), to the UN collecting 4-bar compositions from composers from 192 countries conveying their thoughts towards climate change. Not only are these pieces beautiful, but they are allowing scientists to understand their data on a whole new level. This collaboration between art and science is very cool and I hope to start seeing it in pop up more places.
Changing Global Temperatures: https://vimeo.com/127083533
Forest Health in Alaska: http://www.climatecentral.org/news/climate-data-music-20708
UN Global Climate Change Music Project: http://www.theglobalclimatechangemusicproject.info/
Blogs from Kazakhstan to come. Until then, I hope you get to enjoy the trails yourself.