US Nationals and a New PB!

The first major part of the 2012/2013 race season has come to an end with the last races being the US National Championships. After quite a tough training block over the Christmas period back in Tahoe, we travelled to Soldier Hollow in Utah on New Years Eve. With an endless of supply of fireworks to be bought as we drove through Nevada, we did our best to light up the town of Midway to create some entertainment!

Trying to get'em all going at once!

Trying to get’em all going at once!

It was always the plan to train hard over Christmas and possibly not be fully rested for the start of these championships and from the results of both the Classic Sprint and 15km Skate, I’d say this was definitely the case. I felt flat for those first two races with very little spark – an obvious result of fatigue still in the system. Everything was scaled back drastically to try and get me to pick back up for the 30km and to my huge surprise it actually worked! I managed to ski in the top 10 for the first 22.5kms and even the commentator made it very obvious that he was clearly shocked to see a poorly ranked bib 58 mixing it with the front group! The pace then picked up significantly and I managed to stick with it for another km before a fall in front of me on a steep climb created some chaos. With the front pack not really making too much ground on me and a bunch of other skiers, I was very driven not to fade in the final part of the race. I did fall back temporarily dropping back to 18th place, but then picked it up on the final climb to be just pipped at the line from a top 15, coming in 16th only 1min 44s off the lead (2% behind).

Hanging in the pack

I knew that this result would be extremely close to another milestone that I have been trying to make for ages, this being a sub 60 FIS Point result. With lots of number punching from myself, Pk, August and Finn back home in AUS, we all got a numbers incredibly close. It was just a matter of waiting until the official result, which came with an amazing feeling of satisfaction. 59.44 pts which comes down to around 2s over 30km! Yes its only a number but there is significant benefits of a sub 60 result for someone in my position. More financial support from FIS is now available throughout the rest of the World Cup season relieving that constant stress even more. Additionally and even more importantly it has now given Australia another quota place for the remainder of this season’s distance World Cups which is incredibly important for my team mates.

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Although I managed to fire strong for the 30km, it sure took it out of me! The freestyle sprint was the final event of the championships and I was very hopeful to qualify for the heats, however unfortunately didn’t quite have what it took on the day placing 43rd.

Hurting at the end of the Freestyle Sprint

On the 9th of January I flew to Europe and experienced the worst flight of my flight. Gastro on a plane says it all and as a result I have spent the first 2days of my time here in Davos feeling about as energetic as a sloth of sleeping pills. Very happy to be eating again now and looking forward to getting back to it ASAP!