In the past three weeks I have gradually been making my way closer and closer to home as I raced my body to the bottom of the fuel tank. After leaving the 30k Holmenkollen race, I headed for Dobiacco, Italy where I planned to compete in a three series OPA Finals Competition. Unfortunately I came down with the MEAN stomach bug two days out. After spending the whole night over the toilet and the following day- I decided it wouldn't be so smart to race. Sooo, instead I slept, attempted to get some food down, enjoyed the sunshine and used that loud voice of mine for some cheering. I have to say, it was pretty interesting watching some of my closest European competitors ski. Rarely do I get to see what they are skiing like- so that was sort of fun.
|cheering on Erik during the races in Italy|
|The APU ladies team that was traveling around on OPA |
Following that I headed back to Vermont to meet up with my club team for Spring Series. Our first couple days in Vermont were more like spring vacation than anything. It was 80 degrees out and beautiful. You could literally hear the snow melt as you skid around with no shirt and shorts. It was incredible!! I even had to visit the local thrift shop for some "warm weather clothing" as my wardrobe of clothing did not exactly have "summer" in mind.
|some would call this water skiing|
Luckily temperatures dropped shortly afterwards, otherwise I think we would have been running our spring series races. Craftsbury has been working super hard for the entire winter farming enormous piles of man-made snow for the event, so it was hard to even tell it was summer when you were on the little magic white path through the forest.
|waxing on the grass..!!|
This years spring series event was made up of four races with a combined effort ending in a hill climb up the alpine hill. Following that we had our 30k skate National Championships to top off the broken body. After missing Nationals during Christmas time due to a sickness that took me down for the month- I was excited to finally get to do some domestic races. Every single race I had started this year was either a World Cup or U23 Championships.
With the certain lack of snow, all of the races throughout the week were around a 1.5k loop that managed to do a good amount of climbing. Starting with the 2.5km Prologue, I managed to finish on the podium in 3rd place. The following day was a mass start classic race, which was pretty exciting for me! Having never really excelled in mass starts, I decided to just have fun and see what happened. With two preems on the course, one at about 3k and one at 5k, I decided to sprint for the money. At the second preem I looked around realizing nobody was around me- and really went for it. Looking back I realize that was maybe a bit aggressive, but it managed to work out. At about 8km, my roommate and one of my closest friends, Rosie Brennan pulled up beside me. As she said "Sadie lets make this happen", I found a second wind and we worked together to hold off the rest of the field finishing first and second. Having never won a domestic mass start, I was pretty stoked on the race. I was even more stoked for Rosie, who had her break through race of the year!! Not only that, APU swept the podium for the day, with Holly Brooks finishing 3rd. I have to say, there is nothing more fun than sweeping the podium with your teammates- there is a unique feeling that comes with that!
|APU podium sweep|
|Herb Swanson Photo|
|Jessie and I working together in Mass Start- Herb Swanson Photo|
With a day off in between, the next race was a classic sprint. Qualifying 2nd, sandwiched between two of the best sprinters in the world, I was pretty stoked to finally ski some heats. Racing on World Cup all year only allowed me to ski two heats; once in Turkey and once on my last World Cup Sprint of the year. Unfortunately in my semi-finals, I got a little blocked by another skier, so went on to skiing B-finals. Still, that was about 3 more races than usual for a sprint day!
|Skiing some heats alongside the dirt... don't want to get thrown off the trail on this course!!|
|Leading the charge w/ Kikkan|
With my placing throughout the week I started the final day leading the tour, and getting chased down (rather up) by Liz, Jessie and Holly up the massive alpine slope. Having always HATED this race, I decided to just shut my brain down. Those three girls are some of the best climbers in the world, as they have proved in the final climb of the tour de ski- so as they passed me I tried to stay positive. One foot in front of the next, I managed to get myself up the hill, holding myself in 4th position for the Mini-Tour! Much better than I have ever finished in these final spring series races.
After one more rest day, it was time for the 30k skate. Having only done two 30k races before, both classic- this was a bit of a new experience for me. With the small amount of snow left in Craftsbury, we were set to do 20 laps on the 1.5k loop. After talking with the girls, I decided that we were going to treat it like 20 victory laps in celebration of what an amazing season everyone has had this year. Right from the gun, those 20 victory laps were clearly going to hurt! Settling in with a group of 5 other strong skiers, we went around the loops hammering the big hill all 20 times, and working together to get through the deep slush. Skating has always been my weaker stroke, and especially when things start exceeding 15k. Going into the race with no huge expectations, I was pretty excited to be able to hold onto the group and finish in 9th on the day! To me, that was my own personal victory, and a great way to finish the season! With all the people out there cheering, and Craftsbury's amazing ability to keep the event possible despite the conditions- I was just so happy! Happy to be there, and happy to be done!
|Working with the pack of ladies- fasterskier photo|
The following day we all go dressed up in bright clothes, brought out the boom-box and stood at the top of the hill dancing and cheering for all 33 laps of the mens 50k. Another sweet finish to the season.
|got to have the beats when you are cheering loud!|
|The cheering squad|
This season has been long, but so great in so many ways. It has been amazing to be part of a team that has continuously pushed all year long. Every person on our team had an exceptional break through, and one of them even came home as the best sprinter in the world! It is an incredibly exciting time to be part of this sport as all of us are working hard to push that bar even higher! Thanks to the US Ski Team, APU and Erik Flora for steering me in the right direction and making sure we believe we can do this!
|The rockin APU squad. Always kicking butt and having fun!!|
This year has been a huge motivator and learning lesson for the many years ahead. With my first year on the World Cup, my first World Cup medal, my first World Cup Point, my first time to Russia and many more firsts.... this would have never been possible without the financial support of so many people that jumped in to help. The success that we all experienced this year was only possible because the people from back home jumped in and helped us work towards our goals. So thanks to everyone! You guys are all wonderful, generous people with a passion- and I am fortunate to be able to share that with you!
For now its catching up on the life that I put on hold for the past five months! Sleeping in my bed last night was amazing, but not as amazing as waking up and picking a new outfit out of my closet! Man did I miss it back here in AK.... although there seems to be about 30 times more snow here than I have seen all winter combined. I guess AK was hogging it all.
Thanks to Everyone and more updates from my spring adventures to come.