It is official, the 2012-2013 season is over. The last period of this season has certainly been giving me a run for my money. Starting around the end of february, beginning of march; two things start happening. You begin getting more and more tired, and somehow races begin getting more and more packed in there. After my little mini tour in Italy, I knew this last series of racing in California was going to be tough.

Truckee Spring Series turned out to be incredibly fun. After all the worry of racing at 7000 feet, the lack of snow, the hard racing schedule, and the extra warm temperatures- it turned out to be tons of fun! The organizers did an incredible job of putting everything together including lots of social events, lots of extra challenging courses, and of course great weather. 

Our Fast and Female event from the beginning of the week.

Macbeth Photo
Macbeth Photos
Awesome Fast and Female Video Skyler Mullings made:

Supertour Series started out with 3 straight days of racing. A skate prologue, a distance classic, and then a classic sprint. After completing these three days, I was skeptical of what energy I had left in the tank. All three races I managed to make it to the podium- which left me starting the final day of the series in 2nd overall headed up the alpine hill. In my recent past, I don't have a history of being the fastest skier racing up the alpine slope. But this year, I was determine to improve on my past three years of hill climbing where I generally end somewhere in between 20th-30th place. 

Macbeth Photo
Classic Sprint Podium
10k Classic Podium
What this meant was that I woke up on day four of racing with a goal of holding my podium position for the overall mini tour. This would mean that I could only allow one person to pass me. With Liz Stephan starting a minute behind me, I was sure the second best climber in the world was going to pass me; but I just wasn't quite sure WHERE. So I put my Clydesdale stature to work and just took on the pain cave. The hill climb is a unique event in our sport. Fortunately we only do it once or twice a year; but it is by far the most painful experience of the year! You have to just put your head down and block our every feeling and thought from your mind. Unlike hiking or skinning where you can just get in a rhythm and go; skate skiing up an alpine slope is just tough! Shifting between coaches skating, V1'ing and an occasional double pole as you weave around the gates- up, up, and away- your mind is screaming nothing but "help me"!! To make this event even more exciting then ever; mother nature decided to take us for a little adventure. When we woke up to colder temperatures the morning of the hill climb, little did I know what was going on only a couple hundred feet above us. As we weaved our way up the slope, the wind started picking up stronger and stronger. By the top we were in a full on blizzard with gusts of 75mph. I felt like I was trying to summit Everest! In fact, at the finish line, one of the volunteers felt the need to actually hold on to Liz to keep her from flying away in the wind. It was wild!! Not only was it the most difficult hill climb I had ever participated in; but it was some of the most extreme weather I had ever been in as well. 

Macbeth Photos- climbing to the top!
Congrats to Kikkan and Erik B for winning the overall series!! Erik giving some kisses.
So, when I crossed the finish line still in third position; I collapsed in pure pain and glee! That is surely one ski race I will never forget. As I gathered myself and all my limbs, I stumbled down the mountain. When I came to the realization that I was purely exhausted, but still had one more race, a 30 kilometer race, I tried to trick my brain into finding a way to recover.

Skyler made another great video from the hill climb:

With one day off to recover from the SuperTour Mini Series, I went into the final race of the season, the 30 kilometer National Championships ready to just drain every last bit of my tank. It was clear my "check fuel" light was on- but I was going to go as long as I could. For 30 kilometers I fought through 5 inch slush, 55 degree weather, and a world of hurt to finish my final race of the season in 8th. Weww, what a year!
Finishing my season! Pure exhaustion.
This year has been a considerable step up. After spending nearly 90% of my summer training hours either on a bike or in the pool running- I wouldn't have dreamt of some of the things that have happened this year. I managed to increase my amount of racing by 40%, I won two new National Titles, I got my first top 20 and my first top 10 on the World Cup, AND my teammates and I came within striking distance of winning a team medal at World Championships. 

This has been an incredible year not only for me, but for the entire team. The American Team has put their fighting gloves on. We are determine as ever, and now we have some confidence to build through the summer leading into the Olympics. 

I just want to take the time to say thanks!

Thank you to everyone that helped me get through this tough summer plagued by injuries. The endless words of encouragement and positive vibes were so important! Thank you to all my coaches and teammates for working together all season, pushing each other, encouraging each other, and supporting each other. Thanks to my friends and family that came to watch so much racing this year. It was so fun to have familiar voices and faces at so many races throughout the season. Thanks to all my sponsors and supporters. Thanks for believing in me and my teammates enough to support our dreams! I am incredibly lucky; and I have you all to thank!
My family got to come to many of the races this year!
Thanks to Lauri and Karl for coming to cheer! Turns out Lauri is my second cousin once removed!!
And finally, thanks to APUNSC! This is an incredible club, and it is incredible to see how much success it has been able to breed. We just recently won the NNF Cup, which is the awarded to the team with the strongest performance at the National Level throughout the entire season. This is the first year our club has won it, but I think it is a huge sign of development and what our team has built. I am lucky to be a part of such an incredible force!
APUNSC team with the NNF cup
For now, I am off to Florida for some much needed rest and recovery. This is one of the most tired I have ended a season before, so I want to be sure to be fully rested for this next important year leading into the Olympics. By forcing myself to lie on the beach; I won't have all the "snow temptations" that I would have in Anchorage. What this means is that for the next ten days I get to spend some time getting to know my boyfriends family before going on to visit my side of the family. It is going to be so nice to catch up with all my family members that I haven't seen in a few years now!

Until then- happy spring to everyone, and thanks so much for the endless support and cheers throughout the season. It has meant to world to share with all of you!