To say I was anxious for my first race back would definitely be an understatement. I was concerned about my ankle being ready to race, if I remembered how to transition quickly, if I had any fitness and if I would just completely implode. Thankfully, catching up with so many of my SkiMo friends before the race helped calm my nerves and get me into the right head space at the start line.
Despite a very short warm-up, I worked hard from the gun to get on the skin track as far up as possible and as close to Stevie Kremer as I could. Stevie quickly started to open a gap (as I fully expected) so I pushed myself to keep the separation small while still trying to race my own race. There were a few moments in the first ascent when I thought I might hurl, but I managed to push past it without leaving any surprises for the racers behind me.
Keeping Stevie in my sights, I completed the the first two ascents and descents. By the third and final climb, I started to feel better and closed the gap slightly (of course, this may have been because Stevie slowed since she knew I couldn’t catch her, but I’ll just pretend it was all from my effort). The final descent reinforced how much I need to get out and train on the downhills but I was really happy to be finishing in second place, just three minutes behind.
In the end, it was a great day of racing at Irwin Lodge. Bryan Wickenhauser, Dave Ochs and the rest of the crew at Elk Mountain Events put on a spectacular race along with La Sportiva and Irwin Lodge. A special thanks go out to JD and Everett of Sportiva for their support!
Full results can be found here. Congrats to John Gaston who won the men’s race, and then sprinted back to Aspen where he won the Aspen Uphill that night–impressive! Next race is January 4-5 in Jackson!