Sunday, March 10, 2013

From Skis to Jumps

It seems like every blog post I write I’m extremely excited about something, but the last two weeks have been more exciting than usual.  I capped off my Vermont winter training block by skipping the first ProXCT in Texas to do a 50km Nordic ski race called the Rangeley Loppet.  The snow conditions were fantastic for my last week on skis. My goal for this loppet was to start aggressively and keep contact with my VTXC teammate Robyn Anderson.  The race was two twenty-five kilometer laps of a fun rolling and twisty course.  I made it out of the mass start alive thank goodness (imagine a mass start mountain bike race with poles flying everywhere).  I could see Robyn up a couple of groups ahead and I started to chip away at the real estate.  Sabe put some special Swix sauce on my Atomic skis and they were absolutely flying.  I was passing master men twice my weight on the downhills.  Having fast skis makes racing so much more fun.  Sabe was all over the course and fed me as well as provided me with her Nordic ski racing knowledge and sister juju.  She is a great Nordic ski racer. Finally, towards the half way point, I bridged up to Robyn and tried to draft and recover whenever possible.  As we were nearing the finish, this became an incredible tactical battle.  I attacked with five km to go and Robyn stuck on.  Robyn attacked with two kilometers to go and I stayed on.  I realized I don’t know how to sprint on skis so I was going to have to come into the stadium first if I had any chance of getting the win.  I did this, but it turns out I still don’t know how to sprint so Robyn nabbed me for the win.  It was AWESOME.

I am so excited.  About to descend the cork screw
 Allen Lim with Skratch Labs teaches the crew how to make rice cakes, perfect ride fuel

Riding back from day one of skills camp
After the loppet, I flew out to Colorado for the USA Cycling board of directors meeting for two days and then the USA mountain biking skills clinic over the weekend.  Shaums March was our instructor and our group consisted of Georgia Gould (Olympic Bronze medalist) and I along with four other developing mountain bike talents.  These juniors and U-23 riders have the chops to make it big.  This camp was life changing.  This is absolutely no exaggeration. World Cups these days are peppered with drops and jumps.  I never learned these skills and, thus, was terrified of these sections.  There are alternative lines around these features, but a rider loses a lot of time taking them. Shaums is one of the best coaches I’ve ever had, and the entire group now feels comfortable with these world cup challenges.  We took some sick air, rolled some gnarly drops, ate some great food from Skratch Labs, and had a blast doing it all.  This skills camp is literally the best thing I could do right now. Thanks to Shaums, the future looks bright for USA Women’s mountain biking.  My riding has been revolutionized.  A big thanks goes out to G-Form for providing the impact protection for this camp which was a necessity.  I’m ready to throw a seat dropper on my bike, get on some flat pedals, get on a pump track, and start burning in some of these new skills.  Mountain biking is fun.

I’m on a plane out to Santa Cruz for the next two months.  My first race is next weekend at the Bonelli ProXCT.  Send me the good juju please.


 The cork screw in action
 Practicing step up with flat pedals!

Shaums helps me feel the nose wheelie