World Champs Race Recaps: P1

VERTICAL RACE: 847 meters

I am one to speak with high optimism, and I’m usually stoked about most things. However, in the case of the vertical race, I finished with heavy disappointment.

The race followed a “king of the hill” format- first one to the top wins; one big climb of 847 meters. The course setters threw snow into the streets and sent us racing up through the middle of Verbier town center. This was neat, both for spectators and athletes. The streets were packed with people. Another fun element was the helicopter camera following along and filming. I took a few moments to look up and smile as it flew overhead.

Vert Race- photo by Ohler
Vert Race- photo by Ohler

 

“Don’t go out too strong!” advised many people over and over. A frequent mistake is to start to fast and then blow up partly through the race. In hindsight- I didn’t start fast enough. And then combined with the low angled course that traversed and traversed and traversed, I actually found it difficult to get enough speed to get my heart rate going. As a climber, I felt as though I was on a Nordic course. I kept hoping for some steep hills.

Crossing the finish line I sprinted as Katarina cheered me on. I pushed my hardest in the last 5 min, but that wasn’t enough. Within moments of crossing the finish I quickly recovered from my meagre sprint finish and was ready to climb another 847 meters. I fancied more vertical. I wanted my body to sense the tolls of a race, but I was fresh as a daisy.

With reflection, I have to remind myself that not everyone can become a world cup racer instantly. It takes time to figure out strategy, personal limits, and knowing how to race. I quickly assigned myself the homework of gliding technique and spending a bit more time training on flatter terrain.

All in all, I grew as an athlete, as more of my limiters were highlighted. It was an  experience abreast with sadness and joy.

 

INDIVIDUAL:

After feeling a little down from the relay and vertical race, I had my race face on and was ready to tackle the individual race. I had a few goals which included going hard, slobbering, and dropping of exhaustion at the finish line. I was hungry for an intense and hard race.

The start went pretty well. I managed to find myself stuck in the throng of ski poles, skis, elbows, butts, etc. Oddly enough, a fellow competitors pole managed to catch my skin and flick it off my tip right within the first 60 meters or so- this was a tiny setback, but with mental fortitude I made no big deal and managed to push myself to remain with the pack. With a refined focus, high cadence, and a strong will, I could stayed within sight of the many top females throughout a good duration of the first climb.

A few race highlights to note: I crashed hard on a descent. I passed 4 athletes on the 2nd ascent. I continued to keep several key athletes within sight.

Boot packing down from Peak Six Blanc
Boot packing down from Peak Six Blanc

With the last ascent only gaining 200 meters I coached myself to attack the climb and redline it. Unfortunately my binding collected ice and would not engage. My boot would not properly clip into my binding- thus over and over and over again I walked out of my ski. As you can imagine this was both frustrating and also time consuming. I stopped at one point to try and remove ice and sort out the problem, but efforts proved nil. The ready to attack Michelle was unable to attack.

Competitor after competitor passed me through my gear failure struggle as I snailed my way up the last climb, attempting to remain positive.

As I crossed the finish line- I lacked in slobber, high heart rate, and the desire to collapse. Again I felt discouraged.

Martha and I posing in front of our names
Martha and I posing in front of our names

 

Stayed Tuned for the amazing “Teams Race” Report!!!

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