After a long winter on the road, I count down the days until I can spend time at home. This year that time came a little earlier as Craftsbury was hosting SuperTour Finals and Distance Nationals. Rather than having an additional week of travel, I was excited to be able to share my home with the top skiers from around the country. On top of the extra nights spent in my own bed, I felt a huge boost from the home course advantage. The familiarity of the courses as well as the special feeling of having my family and friends there makes a big difference.
Here's a recap and pictures of the final races of the season but first it's important to recognize the amazing work of the Craftsbury Outdoor Center. On a year when winter didn't ever arrive, they put together a world class 3.5km loop. The grooming and course condition was better than I saw at many World Cups this winter. The groomers and volunteers all worked tirelessly through the week to put on a very high quality week of racing. Thank you!
|We had over 80 girls and 20 ambassadors and sunshine for the event! (Reese Brown/SIA photo)|
|Ski stations (Reese Brown/SIA photo)|
|Sharing inspiring and embarrassing stories. (Reese Brown/SIA photo)|
|Pat showing he's still got it with some fast sprinting! (Reese Brown/SIA photo)|
|Finishing through the snow pole hole prevented any photo finishes (Reese Brown/SIA photo)|
|Dash for Cash podium and thanks for tall podiums when you have tall teammates :)|
|I actually had fun racing the 10km skate which doesn't usually happen in that race. But it was really fun skiing with Chelsea and Sadie and others. (Reese Brown/SIA photo)|
|First time ever being on a distance skate podium for me! (Reese Brown/SIA photo)|
|Team Madshus- I've been so happy with my new skis this year and of course a huge thank you to our awesome Craftsbury wax staff this week of Nick Brown, Anna Schulz, Ruth McGovern, Jake Barton, and Pepa. (Reese Brown/SIA photo)|
|Podium jump shot after the sprint final (Reese Brown/SIA photo)|
|So nice to have big cheers from Mom and Dad and all the other hard working Craftsbury volunteers|
The final race of year was the 30km US National Championship. There is no better way to end the season and empty the tank than with a long hard race! After not doing much distance racing this past winter, I was seeded 35th and a little nervous about starting so far back. Luckily it was very easy to move up in the pack and I found myself near the front not too far into the race. Jessie had already gapped the field but I settled into the chase pack with many of my GRP and USST teammates. Having not raced a 30km in two years and also having some spectacular blow ups in distance races this year, I was not sure what to expect. But I knew every turn, rise and descent on the course so well that I was surprised with how easy it felt and how quickly the kilometers flew by. Even as it got harder as the race progressed, I reminded myself of the number of times in my life I had skied and ran each section of trail and found an extra boost. With each lap I felt better and better and had enough energy to make a move on the final lap to finish second.
|Skiing with the pack early in the race. (Reese Brown/SIA photo)|
|Craftsbury green! Our women's team is so strong right now and it will be a fun to carry the momentum into the summer and fall training together. (Reese Brown/SIA photo)|
|Leading Caitlin, Liz, and Kait in our chase group pack (Reese Brown/SIA photo)|
|Post 30km carnage. It feels good to sit down in the snow after 30km of racing! (John Lazenby photo)|
|Big post race hugs with my USST and former Burke Mountain Academy teammate Liz who is one of my favorite people to ski with so it was a blast to race 30km with her. (Reese Brown/SIA photo)|
|Three GRP girls in the top 5! (Reese Brown/SIA photo)|
|30km National Championship podium with Jessie and Caitlin (Reese Brown/SIA photo)|