Inspiration is an interesting thing. As mentioned in my last blog post I felt a bit of a lack of this quality at the Vermont Supertour. The Winter Olympics--an amazing source of athletic inspiration--was kicking into gear as me and my team departed Craftsbury. With Canadian Western Champs in Prince George BC coming up the weekend after Vermont, one might have expected me to sit myself down in front of the CBC Winter Olympics live-replay webpage and just bask in the inspiring efforts of all the Olympians. But I didn’t. This year I really didn’t get into the Olympic spirit until after the fact.
Westerns was another three day race weekend but, having already done 6 races over the past two weekends we (the Alberta World Cup Academy) competed only in the second two races: a classic sprint and a 20k skate mass start.
I still see classic sprint-striding as being something for me to improve but I had a pretty solid classic sprint the first day--taking home some tasty fourth-place chocolate.
With a smaller field at Westerns than at most NORAMs my cpl points put me first in the starting echelon in the day 2 distance race! Sunday morning I filed into the start grid with the other skiers. “30 seconds to go”, was announced--and then, like, 10s later they fired the gun! Expecting another 20s before go-time I was taken quite unaware--adjusting my wind-briefs in a fairly leisurely fashion--and I remember thinking “oh, I guess they are firing the gun once for practice”. But no. There’s this picture on flicker of the race start and pretty much everyone have big grins on their faces as they ski off the line because the start was so unusual.
|20k at Westerns|
Fifty-some minutes later I crossed the finish line, 0.6s behind my teammate Russell, to take second place. I had mixed feelings. Although it was a decent race I felt that I should’ve pushed harder over the tops of the last few hills on the final lap in an effort to drop my competitors before the finish. Could I have dropped them? I don’t know, but whether I had or not, taking that initiative would’ve been the kind of inspired racing I’d been searching for in Vermont. Which brings me back to the Olympics.
With Westerns in the past I’ve had to take some rest on account of sickness and trouble with an injured leg. Looking for something to cheer me up I turned to the replays of the now-finished Olympics!
Watching the races--in particular the women’s relay, the men’s relay and the 50k skate--was so inspiring! Charlotte Kalla and Alexander Legkov demonstrated some of the most determined skiing I have ever seen; you could tell they wanted it, they believed they could achieve it and they were willing to race desperately--risking blowing up before the finish--to get to the line first.
If you have not watched these races yet--and if you’re looking for some inspiration--check them out! You can find replays here: