Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Presque Isle

(photo stolen from Jamie Doucett, more of them here).

I should preface this by saying, I love coming up to the County. The skiing is great, the people are super nice, the trails are fantastic, and there is generally really good competition. Unless everyone gets freaked out about driving in the snow and doesn't show up. This past weekend was mostly a Stratton exhibition on the women's side, with a couple UNH girls in there for show. Saturday was a skate sprint, and Sunday was a 5k classic. I love classic skiing on these trails, the gradual ups and twisty steep downs suit my skiing style. Unless of course I fall on my butt. We'll get to that.

Jess and I drove up there Friday, picking up NENSA's professional photographer Kris Dobie, and got there just in time for the sun to go down. It got really cold that night, and was only 3 degrees the next morning. I raced all day with a thing pulled over my face, since I didn't want to have as bad a post-race cough that I did after the west yellowstone sprints. My qualifier was so-so, I felt really weak and uncoordinated, but I knew with a field this small I'd be in the heats no matter what since they were taking 30. There was one long-ish hill near the end, I felt pretty sluggish up that. After cooling down, we made some origami reindeer. I don't know if they qualify as pure origami, because you needed to cut the antlers, and you needed to tape the two halves together, but they were pretty neat.

2:15 rolled around and the heats started. It was really chilly, and the sun was behind the trees so it wasn't getting any warmer. My first heat I got out in front and blocked up the hills next to Heather Zimmerman for most of it. Then I did something weird over the second little bump and lost my balance and Mae Foster got past me. She was pissed, and moving fast, so I hopped in behind her since it looked like she was going to get around Heather. Then halfway up the hill I stepped on her pole, and even though I moved my foot off the pole really quick and instantly went into "oh-god-I'm-so-sorry" mode, the damage was done, she slid sideways, took out Heather, and Isabelle Caldwell caught up to us and went up the side. I naturally followed her around the carnage and made the next heat. Oops.

There were about 30 min between each heat, which was way too long in my opinion, because I couldn't stay warm despite skiing and running around. In the semi, two stratton girls took it out fast, and Marlijne Cook and I were behind them until the long hill, when I got caught behind Marlijne and they got away. Then I settled for the B final and cruised in; the other two Stratton kids were pretty far back. At this point I was so cold I just wanted it to be over, I just didn't care anymore. I felt like I was standing on frozen icicles, gently poking at the snow with my poles from my straight-legged position. This was not a fast technique. I don't really remember the B final very well, I just know that based on the results I was 3rd in it. Qualified 7th, ended up 7th, why did there have to be so much coldness in between? I think I did a cooldown, but I don't remember that either. I don't remember much until I started to warm up in the shower.

Sunday felt a little warmer, although it was still 3 degrees in the morning. I ended up on a toko green binder, Rode light blue covered with multigrade green really lightly, and then some multigrade purple under the toe. It was good. Too bad the body was not so good. I felt pretty crummy in my warmup, but sometimes you have a good race anyway. The course starts down a hill, and its a fun one, twisty and fast, and for some reason I found myself skidding on one of the last turns. I told myself I had to step, I couldn't afford to lose momentum on this hill, so I stopped skidding, but for some reason I never started stepping and so I fell over when I went off the trail. There isn't much to say about the rest of the race, I basically played mind games with myself to keep myself from stopping and sitting down on the side of the trail to catch my breath. I guess I'm tired. I blame staying up till 1am baking cookies on thursday night. Oops. The cookies were totally worth it, though =).

Overall, I guess the weekend looks good on paper. Top 15 in the classic race, and I beat Tracey (who now claims to have asthma). But I felt like crap, and I don't think I should be feeling like crap right now. I need to get out of this negative slump soon, hopefully a couple rest weeks leading up to nationals will do just that.

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