|Ella finishing the Classic Race|
Photo by David James
This week there is a large group of athletes who could have gained the title of Skier of the Week. It could be Trevor who placed 3rd only 4 seconds out of 2nd and 2 in front of 4th. It could be Sydney who won the classic race and took control of the Leader Bib. It could be Nick, Maddy, Leann, Michaela or Morgan all of whom had some of the best races of the season!
Winning the Skier of the Week took something special and Ella definitely had it. After turning 21 on Thursday and having her best classic race of the year on Saturday Ella was NOT satisfied until she crossed the finish line in the skate race and looked back at the huge gap to second place.
We watched her at 1km as she was stuck in a pack of women a full minute out of the lead and shook our heads. She really needs to get out faster if she wants to win. Imagine our delight when at 8km we looked up and Ella was free and clear, over 20 seconds in front of second place and skiing like someone with a mission.
This has been a long time coming. First learning how to ski race, building the muscles to support good technique, building the base with hours of OD over the summer, hours of rollerski technique as the sun rose over the mountains, biking to build skate strength... Ella has been waiting two years for this moment. The 5 hour runs up mountain passes in the summer, the extra exercises with physiobands to strengthen weak muscles, the endless technique work and hours of roller skiing and skiing lead to this amazing accomplishment and it is only the beginning.
As coaches we know that you can't fake fitness, in the end it will show. There are no surprises and there is no magic bullet. Just getting it done day after day as Ella showed us this weekend!
Ella is the perfect example of a UW Nordic athlete, dedicated both on the skis and in the classroom. Exploring through skiing and school to reach the pinnacles of both.
Congratulations to Ella. You ROCK OUR WORLD!