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Beitostolen Race Recap

Three days ago, I raced the classic sprint in Beitostolen, Norway. To make a long story short, it was a weekend full of promise that left me wanting more. As always, there are good and bad takeaways and I feel like I am finally coming out of the funk that the sprint in Lillehammer last weekend put me in. Again, I missed the top 30 and didn’t get the opportunity to ski in the rounds. However, despite the lackluster performance on paper, there are some things that were notably better than the weekend prior.

The 1.3 kilometer long sprint course is one that I have watched many times before on television. Each year, the country of Norway hosts the first races of their season in Beitostolen. So, for years now, I have watched Norwegians race on the very same track that we raced three days ago. I had ideas of what the course would be like from having watched it, but it wasn’t until I got there that I could truly appreciate the race trails they have. The sprint course flowed well. Each turn, climb, and descent was cut to build a course that connected perfectly. I was excited to put on a race bib and give it a go.

Fortunately, unlike the weekend before in Lillehammer, I didn’t feel as sluggish or flooded with lactic acid while racing around the course. I still didn’t feel snappy and fresh like I had hoped to feel, but despite being further back on the results sheet, I was grateful to finish the race and not feel as defeated. The best analogy I have to describe the feeling was that I was actually swimming laps in the pool rather than simply treading water like in Lillehammer. Hopefully, this weekend in Davos, I will be able to swim, or in this case ski, like a sprinter again.

There are always ups and downs in ski racing. Sometimes you don’t feel your best and the body isn’t willing to move as quickly as the mind demands. If I had to guess why I felt flat the past couple weekends, I would attribute it to the unforeseen toll that travel and being away from home has on the body. I have never been in this position before and I expect that the more time I spend racing in Europe, the better I will get at managing the stress of weekly travel and hotel stays. The bottom line though, with all excuses aside, is that I simply wasn’t fast enough to qualify the past three weekends.

I know that I am fast enough to qualify in the top 30. I am confident that on a good day, it’ll happen. Most importantly, I feel like I am happy to be here. Grayson showed up to surprise me in Beitostolen a few days ago. Mom. Liam, and my Grandmother will meet up with Grayson in Davos and I’ll have a solid cheering squad, in person, this coming weekend. I have what it takes and the support I need to have a great day. I plan to end period 1 by laying it all out there.

Andy (my coach) and I have altered my pre-race intervals slightly to better suit how I have been feeling, and I have talked with the boys here racing with me about qualification tactics. To be completely transparent, I might try starting harder than I usually do. This weekend, I have nothing to lose. If I start too hard and blow up, then so be it! I’d like to see my name near the top of the results sheet at the midway split. If I can do that, and still fall short of my goals, then at least I set myself up for success halfway through the race. I know I have the speed to qualify. So now, I just need to figure out how to make it happen. There’s no point in doing something the same way over again if it hasn’t worked in the past. Now, it’s time to let go, try something new, and learn from it.

Wish me luck and cheer loud!

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