Note: I do have some pictures to put up from these last ski races and NCAAs, but just can’t seem to find my darn camera cord to upload them!! Will work on making it happen ASAP! Sorry for the delay!
Well, it looks like my ski season is pretty much all wrapped up… despite the fact that it looks to be full-on winter outside my window right now! But, things closed up on a really good note, and I am really grateful for that!! Also, I am stoked because I have a LOT TO LOOK FORWARD TO, and I am already super excited about it!
The last race of the season was this past weekend, the California Gold Rush series. I chose to do the Silver Rush (30-km distance) instead of the Gold (45-km) which I have done the past few years, because I wanted to win the Fischer Cup Series (local race series that is a culmination of total race points from five races throughout the season). In the women’s field, the Silver Rush, not the Gold Rush, was the race that garnered Fischer Cup points, and the final race of the series. I couldn’t win the series without completing the race, and since I DESPERATELY need the money, I went with the Silver! But, no regrets here!
After completing those two 15-km laps I was more than happy to ski through the finish line, rather than have to go around yet again. Actually, I don’t think I could have made it at that point! Of course, I hope I would have paced the beginning a little easier if I had been doing the full marathon, but regardless, I was EXHAUSTED after 30 k. And when I say exhausted, I mean it, in every sense of the word. This is a GREATTT thing! As I have emphasized again and again in this blog, one of the toughest things for me in racing in years past has been really pushing to that point where you go beyond what you thought you could — exceeding your limits and just getting everything out of your body that it could possibly give. As I have been so happy to finally start doing consistently this year, I succeeded at reaching this point yet again in this last race. And I am stoked!
My exertion level alone was enough to make this a really good last race of the season, but fortunately for me, it also happened to be a day when I was feeling good as well, and things just really came together. Between not having too much trouble from my body, pushing so hard and also really feeling “there” mentally — maybe from knowing it was my last race and wanting to prove to myself that I could really have a good one after the Great Ski Race — the race turned out awesome. Even though it was extremely tough and I was so damn tired at the end that I didn’t know if I would make it up the last hill, I never took my foot off the accelerator. I just kept telling myself that I didn’t know where anyone else was on the course or how much they were turning it on at the end, so I managed to really keep the sense of urgency there and never get too comfortable. In the end, this paid off despite the pain, as I felt like I skied great, and ended up with a result that I was super happy with.
I took second for the women, behind the ever-speedy Joanne Reid (daughter of the all-amazing Beth Reid), and placed sixth overall. The Far West boys took all the top spots, so that was cool as well. After I crossed the line, it took me a while to get my body back to a normal state and eventually muster up the energy to stand back up. I was supposed to bring a water bottle out to Maria on her last lap, and I was really doubting my abilities to make it out there. I tried, and ended up skiing pretty far despite feeling like I could barely stand on my legs the whole time, only to find out they had long passed the point I made it out to on the course. They were flying! So, I slowly made my way back into the stadium just in time to see the next few skiers AFTER Maria come in to the finish. And at that point, I cannot emphasize how fortunate I felt that I had just settled for the Silver Rush. Man did it look hard coming up that hill for the THIRD time!
The racers kicked some butt though, and of course I was super happy with the winners: Matt Gelso with yet another victory and Maria pulling out the win in the last 600m of the women’s race. Awesome job guys! Maria and Beth pretty much kicked my booty time-wise, despite going 15km longer than me. Had I done another lap at the same pace (which I don’t think I would have managed to do!!), I would have been a ways back there. But, seeing as they were in the top-10 overall, I don’t feel so bad! We will see how I fare next year if I am able to jump in the Gold Rush again. All in all, it was a great day: sunshine, plenty of snow and a lot of great people celebrating the end of another awesome season in the Sierras. It was one of those days when I remembered how lucky I am to live here and be part of this ski community!
I did end up winning the Fischer Cup, as my second place on the day was good enough to earn the top spot overall, so I was happy about that. I should add, though, that Beth went for the win in the Gold Rush, as she is a phenomenal distance racer, and in all likelihood would have won the Fischer Cup otherwise, as she has won most all of the races in front of me this year. But, without the Silver Rush points, she was unable to win the event, but I still think she deserves credit for everything she has done this year and just the overall amazing ability she has consistently shown. She is truly the best skier out there in this region, alongside Joanne — like mother like daughter, I guess! Anyhow, awesome job to Beth and all the ladies who came out there and raced so hard in all these races! It was a lot of fun!
Now, I am in a transition phase, as I get ready for another long but FUN season of competition! And I really can’t wait for this one! I have been working hard in hopes that it will be great, and am really heading into this run/tri/bike season with a lot of heart, hope and high expectations. I have some pretty big goals, but I am more than ready to put in the time and energy that I need to in order to achieve them. My schedule is still in the works, but there are a few things I know will be happening for sure, and I am already getting so stoked for them!! The biggest is my IRONMAN, July 31st! This is a big goal of mine and I am expecting a lot from myself, and I am already so stoked for the race! Counting down the days!
In addition to the Ironman, I will be doing one or two other half-ironman distance triathlons, a handful of olympic distance tris, two marathons, a handful of half marathons, and some other shorter bike and running races mixed in. It’s going to be awesome!! Right now I am taking a bit of a break, with a couple of pretty low-volume, zero intensity weeks, focusing on the job search and moving out of my house. Needless to say, I have still been plenty busy. But, starting next week, I will pick things up and really get into gear training for these competitions. For a while there it was looking like spring had fully sprung, and I even got out on my rode bike a couple times down in Reno, and got in a number of good runs. It was awesome! But, old man winter has decided to come BACK! We have gotten multiple FEET of new snow this past week, and the temperatures are below freezing! It looks like we are back in full-on winter mode for now. This is throwing me for a loop a little bit, but I did have the opportunity to get out for an incredible classic ski today in what looked like the most snow of the whole winter up at Auburn Ski Club. I guess I will just try to take advantage of this last chance for a few more great ski days, and stick with riding the rollers for now, and getting in some more runs down in Reno on work days. More to come soon!