December 7th is D-Day. While officially it’s the “Day of Infamy,” for me it was a day to celebrate. Not only was it my dad’s birthday, but it marked my return to racing.
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!
With just over a month of rest, I jumped back in with the first skimo race of the season at CS Irwin Lodge on Kebler Pass. Ty Newton, Lyndsay Meyer and I left the Roaring Fork Valley this morning with great views of the lunar eclipse. We hopped on our snowmobiles for a fun 45 minute sled ride to the Irwin Lodge for the 2nd annual COSMIC race.
As usual, the start felt fast and I pushed to keep pace. It felt great to be back racing on my skis however I knew early on I would suffer straight through the finish. Stevie Kremer, Janelle Smiley and myself raced alongside one another through the first climb and descent and partway up the second climb. At which point Janelle started to trail a little.
Stevie and I raced tip to tail up three quarters of the final climb when I finally cracked. I could tell Stevie had more in the tank when I pulled over to fix my boot for a second. As Stevie went by, I tried to hold on as long as I could but she quickly opened a gap.
I finished a few minutes behind Stevie leaving everything I had on the course. Janelle finished in third with Lyndsay and Jari Kirkland in 4th and 5th. It was so much fun to race so closely with Stevie and Janelle and to fight right until the end. There is lots of work to be done before the next race but I’m ready for it after a nice relaxing off season.
Unofficial results from memory:
Thank you very much to Jake Jones, Bryan Wickenhauser and the CS Irwin staff for another great race!
Since it’s cold, snowy and December (-5 this am!), I suppose I should finally embrace winter. My new La Sportiva RSR skis and bindings are ready to race and my Hi5s are waiting for some more powder. The first COSMIC race is at Irwin Lodge next weekend so last weekend I decided it was high time to actually train on my skis.
Lyndsay Meyer, Todd Kennedy and I skinned a lap and a half on Ajax early Sunday morning. It took me awhile to sort my gear on Saturday evening but once my boots and skis were on the snow, I thankfully didn’t feel like I haven’t skied in almost six months. I actually felt really good – bring on winter!
After social hour at the Sun Deck complete with hot chocolate and a warm fire (it’s Aspen after all), I met the family for a ski day at Snowmass. Juniper also jumped right back into skiing and Axel thoroughly enjoyed his first day on skis.
…here’s hoping the skimo racing comes back as easily on Saturday in CB.
I had a blast racing today at the COSMIC Irwin race. Having missed all of last year’s race season while I was pregnant,I had forgotten how fun rando racing is.
Max Taam, Pete Gaston and I left the Roaring Fork Valley this morning, drove to the base of Kebler Pass and then snowmobiled into Irwin Lodge. The course was perfect with the 10 inches of fresh snow that fell last night.
I would like to thank Bryan Wickenhauser, Jake Jones, Pete Swenson, and CS Irwin for putting on an amazing race. What a great way to start the season!
Preliminary Results: (From memory so who knows how accurate they are.)
Brian Smith – Gunnison, CO 2hr13min
Jon – Winter Park, CO
Pete Swenson – Breckenridge, CO
Travis Scheefer – Crested Butte, CO
Max Taam – Snowmass, CO
Pete Gaston – Aspen, CO
Sari Anderson – Carbondale, CO 2hr22min
Monique Merrill – Breckenridge, CO
Janelle Smiley – Crested Butte, CO
Lyndsay Meyer – Chamonix
Molly – Reno, NV
Pete's sled loaded ready to head to the race.
The light was awesome on our way back over the pass.
Our family squeezed in one last trip to Moab this past weekend. The weather wasn’t perfect but the company was great. Despite 30 mph winds on Saturday, both Ian and I enjoyed rides on Flat Pass and Porcupine Rim. The trails were still very rideable with only very small patches of snow on Porcupine Rim. I know I should be training for the upcoming ski mountaineering race at Irwin Lodge but it was really nice to get one more mountain bike ride in before winter is here to stay.
After a lull in the wind late on Saturday evening I thought we’d be set for a calm morning on Sunday. Nope, I was wrong. The wind picked up right where it left off on Saturday so I ventured up a dirt road close to the condo (thank you Degenhardts!) to do a little exploring while running. I made it to a nice overlook but need to get back another time to put in some more miles of checking out the area.
We returned home to winter with the ‘big blizzard’ dumping a whole two inches in Carbondale. Aspen opens this week so it is officially time to get on my skis and start training for the next racing season. Maybe, just maybe, I’ll motivate to get out of bed early tomorrow and train before Ian heads off to work.