Friday, April 12, 2013

Season: Finito

After seven months of snow and half of a calendar year spent racing, the view outside my window has changed, and kind of in a big way. I’m really looking forward to taking in the islands of Hawaii, relaxing, eating too much pineapple, swinging a golf club for the first time in three years, and of course getting in the water. I don’t think it would take too much for me to swtich gears and become a waterman: long-distance prone-paddleboarding, outrigger canoeing and some surfing are all on the agenda once the body feels fresh enough after the long winter of racing that ended with a fury with the World Cup Finals, Canadian Nationals, and just yesterday the US National Championship 50km.

 After stealing the 50 kilometer championship from the Canadians at the Whistler Olympic Park, I lost my race shape by a bout of illness. This made yesterday’s soft, sloppy 50 kilometer a real grind. The body wasn’t up for a top performance, but I hung in there and came on strong in the final kilometers to finish 7th overall, or 5th American. Sometimes you’re the hammer, sometimes you’re the nail…

Racing around the King’s Castle in the old town of Stockholm, Sweden during the World Cup Finals.

It’s kind of crazy to think back right now, about where my winter of white began, and all the stops and stories I picked up along the way.  Day one of the 2012/2013 season started on the  rollerski treadmill of the sport science laboratory at Montana State University under the watchful eye of Dragan Danevski and Dr. Dan Heil.  The mountain photo above comes from the peak of the Dachstein Glacier where I once again joined Petter Hagen and Team Sjusjoen for the first strides of the season back in October.

In chasing one’s dreams, you incur the tenderest of debts. There are couches and beds you stay on, meals and rides, conversation and companionship, mentorship and sponsorship, training partners and service technicians, and, and, and… 

In particular, I’d like to take this opportunity so give some words of appreciation to my parents. From the first strides on my step-in Epoke skis at age two, to chasing the Olympic dream for a fourth quadrennial, they have been there every step of the way. And Bettina. And Petter and Dragan. And the Bridger Ski Foundation and Team Sjusjoen. And Tor Arne and Guri Hetland for opening the doors to train day in, day out with the Swiss National Team while in Davos, Switzerland this winter and fall. And the US team for the expert ski service and help at the Scandinavian spring tour.

I will particularly remember having so many friends from the University of Utah days out cheering trailside at the national championships in Soldier Hollow, Utah, and having the opportunity to race in front of so many uncles, aunts and cousins during the Tour de Twin Cities.

The list goes on and on.  To all of you and many, many more, thank you.

No comments: