LAST RACE OF THE SEASON! (and a mountain climb)

By April 2, 2011 No Comments

My 2010-2011 ski season has officially ended! Whew! It was my longest, most intense, and definitely most rewarding season ever.

It was a hard, excruciating way to end though! Today we ended the Supertour with a hill climb that started at the base of Dollar Mountain and ended at the very top. I didn’t have much gas left in the tank but had the 8th fastest time for the stage, and held on to 3rd overall for the 4-stage mini-tour.

I forgot to post a blog about the classic sprints – the 3rd stage of the tour, so here’s the recap! It was a beautiful hot sunny day, and I had my best classic sprint of the year, finishing 5th. The waxing was super tricky and our coaches did awesome work as they were outside for a loooooong time testing waxes.

When we started the final stage of the tour, the hill climb, I was in second place, 1:23 down to Kikkan, with Holly starting a mere 6 seconds behind me. As I expected, she caught me before the major ascent of the course, and I pulled her along for a few kilometers – I moved aside so she could lead but she wanted me to pull since she pulled me for a few minutes in the 10km classic. A fair trade off!

She attacked right as the hill pitched steeply upward, and I quickly found I had absolutely nothing left after a hard week with 5 races. So I held on as best I could, fighting back some huge stomach flip-flops in the altitude that made me almost start dry heaving. Gross. But I made it across the finish line eventually, and then watched as some truly courageous races unfolded. Kate Fitzgerald pushed so hard she had to ride down the mountain behind a snow machine (she’s okay now) but as far as I’m concerned, she now wears the “bad-ass-ness leader bib”. There were some girls who couldn’t stand up so they were dragged out of the way as more people kept finishing. And of course, there were a lot of people getting quickly smashed as they drank beers right after they finished.

So at the end of the day, Kikkan pulled a terrific sweep of all 4 races (plus the 30km before the tour) and won the overall tour. Holly came in second, and I held on to third. Full results can be found on summittiming, as linked in my last blog.

But wait! My story is about to get better.

As I was pulling on my warm-up pants, my clothing bag with my jacket slid off the trail in the wind and started sliding down the mountain. Andy Newell made a courageous leap for it but broke through the snow crust and ended up with a whitewash instead. So for my cool-down, I spent a solid 45 minutes punching through waist-deep snow up a mountain and then punching my way back down, this time WITH my jacket (which was good since I was soaking wet and getting cold!). I think it’s good that I am such a stubborn person, because otherwise I definitely would have just left the darn thing up there. But once I decided I was going to go get it, I was in it for the long haul. And now my shins are covered in bruises. But I’m totally okay with that (and lets face it – since when are my legs NOT covered in scrapes or bruises? I’m the winner of the “clumsy leader bib” every day!).

So now I’m looking forward to some serious relaxation time with my family, as I take a nice break before firing it up again for next year. Thanks to everyone who helped make this season possible!

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