The NorAM Super Tour has been running over the past few weeks in the mid-west, and I have been lcuky enough to be racing some of the best US skiers in these events.
Last weekend was the Mt.Itasca Super Tour, with a 10km classic and 15km skating race on a man-made 2.5km loop. The mid-west has not been spared with the unusual lack of snow, but the small loop at Mt.Itasca was groomed to perfection and temperatures were surpringinly mild.
The classic race went well for me, finishing in 36th place overall, but feeling like I had skied as hard as I could have. I grip waxed slightly warmer than some of the other athletes, but didn't seem to have any glide issues and was thankful of the grip up the short, but steep climbs. Lars Flora dominated the field and unfortuantely for me, I was too far behind to achieve the FIS points I am here to obtain. [So that he may qualify for the Australian Team at the World Championships!] Still, tomorrow is a new day and I was really looking forward to the skate race, my preferred technique.
Sunday's skate race also went to plan and I skied strongly to finish in 30th place, about 11% behind race winner Flora. I had great glide, with a ZR1 grind (thanks to Zach Caldwell of engineered tuning) and waxing choice of Vauhti Speed Moly, Spektra Moly and Black Fox race block.
Once again FIS points didn't co-operate and some fresh falling snow in the middle of the race didn't help my time behind the winner. Other issues were congestion on the course (I was tripped up!), but again I felt as if I had done everything possible to ski fast and as racers, we really cannot ask for more than that!
So it is on to Telemark, WI where I currently sit nervously waiting for tomorrow's 10km skate race. I feel this is my best chance of FIS points and so hope everything goes to plan tomorrow. The course is yet to be decided, but rumour has it currently running over a mixture of dirt, tree roots, ditches a semi-trailer could hide in and generally poor snow cover. For Sunday's classic race, the race organisers have decided to make it an indvidual start, 15km classic on the 2.5km man-made loop. The weather forecast is predicting cold temperatures and fresh snow so anything could happen. With no wax support down here, I have tried to cover all possibilities and so have 3 pairs of ski ready to go for tomorrow's race.
During this week I also managed to drag myself to the Super Tour Skate Sprint which was held on Wednesday. As most of you who know are painfully aware, I am not the world's greatest sprinter, so I approached this race with less than ideal enthusiasm. The course was tough! 1.375km of climbing, 180 degree downhill, icy corners and high winds. I managed to come 17th from 18 starters so that was a win in my opinion. Seriosuly I "only" lost 19 seconds to Lars Flora (again) as opposed to my previous 30 seconds in other years. I also managed to stay on my feet, which was quite a challenge on this particular course.
Unfortunately I have no photos to accompany this article as I'm travelling alone with no-one to take them. I will be sure to update the weekend as possible with full results available at www.itiming.com
Getting the SuperTour underway in the skate race.
Working hard in the skate race.