Apparently, the promise of a home remodeling project is good motivation for me to race hard. After a lot of hand-wringing last week about the Winter Teva Mountain Games (WTMG), my husband Ian promised that if I raced and won, we could get the new shower we desperately need in our bathroom. The prospect of new tile kept me going all weekend.
Of course, I’m kidding (kind of). The inaugural WTMG turned out to be a terrific event in its first year and I had three days of good, clean, fun racing.
Like the summer Teva Mountain Games, the WTMG featured an Ultimate Mountain Challenge (UMC) competition, including three separate races over three days: a 10K Nordic race, a ski mountaineering race and a vertical ascent. I’ve won the summer UMC once and placed second twice, so I was excited and more than a little anxious to try the first winter UMC.
On Friday morning I lined up at the start line of the Nordic race with one Olympian and one National Champion, both of whom were also racing the UMC with me. I knew Rebecca Dussault from Gunnison, who raced at the 2006 Torino Olympics, would beat me by anywhere from five to ten minutes. The same went for Morgan Smyth from SLC. My plan was simply to minimize my losses. Thankfully, my longtime friend Stephen White is a Toko rep and he hooked me up with a super fast wax the night before.
Thirty minutes later; mission accomplished. Rebecca won the race overall for the women, taking home a nice check. I was just about five minutes behind her. Janelle Smiley was just a few seconds behind me. I was hoping and planning that Saturday would be my day to really win the UMC. (Vail Daily Nordic race recap here).
With 8,000 feet of climbing over 20 miles to Blue Sky Basin and back, we all were expecting the ski mountaineering race on Saturday to take at least five hours. I knew that it would be my opportunity to put some time into the pro Nordic skiers, and hopefully add to my minimal lead over Janelle. I started the race at a pace I thought I could maintain for 5+ hours. Janelle, who typically goes out fast, stuck to my tails like glue. We quickly built a solid lead over the Nordic girls and were within the top 15 men. Janelle stuck right behind me until the last ascent and descent, when she started to fall back by just a few minutes. I finished the race in 4:17 beating Janelle by four and half minutes. Stevie Kremer came in third. Rebecca had a tough race with major blisters from her boots and finished over 40 minutes back. (Vail Daily SkiMo race recap here, Denver Post recap here)
On Sunday, at the Vail Uphill, my plan was simply to stick with Janelle. I had some time to give but I certainly couldn’t walk it in. Stevie, in running shoes, crushed the 2-mile, 2,200 foot ascent in 38:15. Janelle kept up a great pace and finished in second place at 40:05 racing in her La Sportiva boots and skis. I finished 24 seconds behind her on my matching Sportiva gear for third place, but more importantly, I preserved my overall lead in the UMC.
When the weekend was all said and done, I won almost $3K at the Winter Teva Mountain Games for the UMC victory, the skimo top step, and third place in the Uphill race. It was a great payday for an awesome weekend of racing, and it should buy us a nice, new bathroom shower. I’m calling the contractor tomorrow morning…
Special thanks to my sponsors La Sportiva for providing me awesomely fast and light RSR skis and bindings, as well as my sexy carbon Stratos boots, to Polartec for keeping me warm and dry with baselayers all weekend, and to Honey Stinger for fueling me with chews and waffles in every race. I certainly would not have been prepared to race without the stellar coaching of Lindsay Hyman at CTS. Also thanks to all my Vail friends for cheering me on and an extra special shout out to Dee and Farnham, who housed me and the family in Vail…we couldn’t have done it without you. Last, but certainly not least, thanks to my parents for helping with the kids and getting them to Vail to enjoy the event.
Check out this video of the Best Trick contest on Saturday night at the event. Those guys were impressive (and Axel LOVED the flames).
And this edit from PinkBike.com