Sunday, January 31, 2010

Exciting WJC Relays

Our racing ended today with the World Jr Championship relays. It was a great day with close racing (top 3 girls teams within 5 sec, top 2 boys teams tied with 250 meters to go). The US skiers did well and and made us all proud and happy. It was a good way to end the 7 straight days of racing. All of our U23 team was out cheering and waving flags...it was quite the event.The girls lead pack at about 1.5 km...right in the middle of the monster climb. The red suit third in line on the right is Sophie. Sophie came in 9th, 10 seconds from 4th. Caitlin paced herself brilliantly, fading to 11th, but then hammering the last km to pull the team to 6th. Joanne had a great leg, holding on to 6th and Jesse skied really well, but had a couple of team "studs" slip by her. Great, exciting races with lots of lead changes. Norway ended up winning by 1/2 second over Finland, but Sweden had also had the lead on the final leg...that's how close it was.
4th,5th....6th,7th...and Jesse D hammering to catch up with 600 meters to go. Jesse eneded up 1/2 second out of 7th. If each of the girls had skied 1 sec/km faster, they would have been 4th. If they had each skied 14 seconds faster, they would have won!
Start of the mens relay...actually 2 km into the race.
David (above and below) scarmbled. He has been a little off this week, but he gave a great effort and brought us in with a crowd in the mid teens. Sam skied tough, but lost a couple of spots and Scott and Erik B skied very well and brought us in at 12th...Erik caught the Swede with 300 meters to go but got nipped at the line. Exciting stuff and great skiing.

Sam T hammering up "the wall".
Scott skied a great skate leg.
The "Digger".
This jumbotron screen showed the action from around the course.

Some of "the gang" at the closing ceremonies.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Visions of Glory in U23 Pursuit race.

Today was the U23 15/30 km pursuit day. We woke up to 10-12 inches of fresh, damp snow and an unplowed driveway. The morning got a quick jolt when the bread delivery man got stuck and the wax coaches had to help push him out. This turned out to be just a good warm up for us. It took us 15 minutes to get our car out to the main road and then the mountain road was nearly impassable. We ended up having to back our car 2 kms up the slipery road because it was the only way to get traction /weight on the front wheel drive car. At one point we pulled alongside a car driving up forwards..it was quite the experience...but somehow we made it up (45 minutes behind schedule, but in time for the races).
The weather at the race site was cooler so the waxing wasn't too tough and the girls got their skis in plenty of time for testing and touch up. The races started on time and there were some great competitions. You'll have to check out the fis-ski.com site for results, I don't have them yet.
The womens lead pack at 3km. There is a small downhill leading into a sharp corner and this steep uphill so the group gets pretty well bunched here.
Our girls had another solid day with Sadie taking top honors in 26th.
Ida, striding up the hill in the midst of the pack. Ida did not have a great race today, she is just a bit tired and feeling flat. To do well here, you need to feel great and have great skis. If anything is off, you drop back in a hurry. No sweat, she had a great day in the sprint and she'll be back!
Mens start.
This was another exciting pursuit race. Our boys skied really well and had us jumping up and down when Tad Elliot and Noah Hoffman entered the exchange zone at 15 km in 1st and 11th place. Reese and Pete were a bit back, but skiing well. They faded a bit during the 15km skate, but still posted solid results. They have a lapping rule that says that skiers who are lapped must DNF. Reese and Pete clearly beat the race leader through for the start of their last lap, but a race official mistakenly pulled them off course and so they were DNF's.
When our skiers mix it up with the top guns, it shows me that we are close to being right in the hunt. Our end results were not spectacular, but we showed that we could ski with the best in the world for a good portion of the race.

The picture above and the two below are taken at about 3 km into the boys race. This is the steepest hill and it is near our wax room, so I go to cheer and make sure that their wax is working. The lead pack stayed tight for the first 4 laps (of eight) so it was tough feeding and I went to help with that (so there are not too many action shots).

Here is Tad, hanging on at 29 kms.. he gave a tremendous effort and had us dreaming of a podium for 20 kms!
"I know my skis are here somewhere."
Adele, half girl, half smile :)

Our bosses, Matt and Pat confer in the wax room. They are doing a great job organizing everyone and keeping everyone focused and upbeat.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Bridger Tyler Leads US at Scando Cup Sprints

Read about Bridger's smart and gutsy day, click on the J1 Blog under the links listed on the right. Yeah B! Nice racin'!

WJC Pursuit Update

Here are a couple of pictures from todays Pursuit race at World Jr. Championships. You can click on any picture to enlarge it.

As you can see, it was snowing quite hard. This made the day very exciting. The girls had to all crawl into the front seat on the way up the mountain in order to get enough traction to make it up the road. They arrived all firewd up and proceeded to have a great day putting 3 in the top 25. joanne led the way in 17th with an excellent race.

Scotty P once again led the boys with a 19th. He was 15th after the classic and stayed in the 15-20 zone for the whole race. A super effort on a really tough day.


Thursday, January 28, 2010

Hellos and Goodbyes

We skied at Wild Wings in Peru this morning. If you are looking for someplace to ski, the tracks there are wonderful. Thanks Chuck for all you do. We really appreciate it.

Here we are - giving a shout out to Sverre, Bridger, Cobby and Izzy.

We miss you guys! Good luck in your races!

Now here's something Izzy is definitely missing out on,

a group hug for Ashleigh!

Cam is really going to miss Ashleigh....


Ash has spent the summer with us for the second year (her summer). She's from Australia. She's headed home today to go back to school. She'll be trying to make the Australian Jr. World Team this coming season. Hopefully she'll make it and will have some friends on the US Team from SMS to greet her next year. Good Luck Ash! Stay in touch, we miss your smile and Aussie laugh already.

U23 Classic Race

Today was the U23's turn to rev it up. New snow and a tough course made it a demanding day. We had solid, but not spectacular results. Everyone gave it their all, but in this competition, you have to be spot on to get top results.
The fresh snow made kicking a bit tricky. It was important to have a good pair of soft snow skis and to pace yourself on the hilly course. For those of you familiar with Soldier Hollow, think of the last big hill. There is a hill the same size on this course and another just a hair smaller...and... you need to do them both every lap (3 for girls, 4 for boys today). Tough course, you need to ski smooth and strong..the Russians were the best today. But we're close and we'll get after it tomorrow!
Fitz hammers over the last hill.
Rosie looking good. She finished 26th.
Ida took it out strong, but didn't quite have her usual energy and finished in 34th.
Becca skied a strong consistent race and came in 24th.
Noah skied an excellent race and ended up 20th. If he had gone 1 second faster every km., he would have been 12th...yup..it's tight out there. That was an outstanding effort for "the Hoff".
Pat started strong, faded, but then held on and fought back for a solid 52nd.
Tad (above) and Simi placed 33,34. Both skied hard and gave it their all.Good skiing boys!
Simi cresting the last big hill on lap 3. The start intervals were 30 seconds, but with a 3.75 loop skied four times, there was plenty of non stop action.
Pat urging Noah on. 2 seconds would have moved him up 3-4 places...he tried!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Pattersons lead US Juniors to 6 top 30 Finishes at WJC's

We had a good day in Germany today with very solid results from both the boys and the girls. Caitlin and Scott Patterson led both teams with strong 17th place finishes and we had a bunch of others close behind (Sophie in 24th, Anne in 27th, Sam in 22nd and David 29th..I think). I have not had a chance to really study the results, but it is fun to go to the FIS page and look up the results. You can click on the names to see what races they have done... oh..this one had a podium in a World Cup etc... The top 3 girls crushed it today, then we had three within 45 seconds of 4th. The top 2 boys ran away from the field, but our boys were close to third. I think we are pretty close and we have pretty good depth... we just need to keep working hard, training intelligently and taking care of ourselves.
I was too busy waxing to get out much, but the girls raced at 10 and then had fun cheering on the boys and Sophie took some pictures. As you can see from the pictures, it was pretty close to a perfect day for skiing, high teens to low twenties, sunny and calm.
Tyler K is one tough kid. He has been quite sick, but has rallied to put in two strong efforts.
Our health has actually been pretty good...a couple of small colds for Eric P and David, but something worse for Tyler. Everyone else seems good.
Sammy T had a great race and ended up in 22nd.
David N gliding along the perfect tracks.
Scott showed that he can ski with the big boys, he was also the top J1 skier today!
David has been fighting a little cold, but he gave a great effort that landed him in the top 30.
These two pictures show one of the uphills. As you can see, it gets pretty busy! Looks like the Tour de France with the crowd on top. I would venture to guess that if you had a crowd like that cheering you on at the top of every uphill, you would learn how to push yourself pretty hard!

Pete seems to be enjoying the free drink and food in the warm athletes tent.
First try above, then better below.... the girls showing their Team USA spirit.

Tomorrow the U23's have a 10/15 km classic. The weather forecast is calling for snow and temps around 20. Should be fun and we're excited to get after it!