This past weekend were the first Junior National Qualifier races. With Patrick and Anja racing elsewhere and Sabra sick, Wyatt, Emily, and I were left to represent the Elite Team on our home turf.
(Looks Like Home Turf)
On Friday night Emily and I went over to Tahoe Cross Country to help their Comp and Devo teams wax their skis for the race. It was a ton of fun and they put the PARTY in waxing party.
I was really excited to get to do a sprint this weekend since I have struggled a bit in sprint qualifiers. For most sprint races, after the qualification round the top 30 skiers move on to elimination heats. I have had the unfortunate luck of finishing 31st or 32nd in the last 5 Supertour sprint qualifiers, missing the heats by an average of 7 tenths of a second. My goal for this sprint was to practice my pre race warm up routine and lay down a really good qualification time.
I made sure I was really well warmed up before the qualifier and ended up with the 2nd fastest time. There is always room for improvement, but today was great practice for the upcoming sprints at U.S. Senior Nationals.
Racing sprint heats is one of the most fun parts of ski racing and it was awesome to see so many junior skiers gaining experience with this head to head style of racing. Part of what makes sprint racing so much fun is all the different race tactics one can use. Since the 2nd half of the course had some tight corners and steep uphills where it would be harder to pass, my strategy for the heats was try to be in the lead going down the hill out of the stadium and go especially fast in the wider sections of trail where it would be easier to get passed.
I felt great through all the heats and with some good starts off the line was able to finish first. Emily had a great day herself, qualifying in 3rd and skiing an aggressive final to take home 2nd place!
This race reminded me a lot of my favorite high school race, way back when I was a senior in high school, my school’s home meet was a skate sprint. I raced hard all day and ended up winning the final in front of all my family, classmates, and friends who were cheering me on. Despite only moving to Truckee a few years ago I don’t think I have ever had quite this many people cheering me on in any race I have ever done. I consider myself very lucky to have become part of such a strong and welcoming community here, You are all AWESOME!