Ski Post News

Posted 28. March 2004 by Editor

California Gold Rush , American Ski Marathon Series Champions Cup

Last weekend's California Gold Rush was the final race of this season's
American Ski Marathon Series (ASMS).

In the men's race Justin Wadsworth and Andrew Johnson (US Ski Team) attacked
from the gun and soon put a gap between themselves and the rest of the lead
pack including Scott Loomis and Patrick Weaver. For the men Loomis and
Weaver were waging their own internal battle to determine who or them would
win the war that is the season long American Ski Marathon Series Champion
Cup. With Wadsworth and Johnson away early and likely taking the top two
podium spots with them Weaver's chances for winning the cup grew
dramatically. Weaver, with a slight lead in the Champions Cup could now ski
defensively. These two skied together the remainder of the race and dropped
the rest of the field before Weaver put one his final surge entering the
stadium to edge out Loomis for 3rd in the Gold Rush and a well deserved win
in the 2004 ASMS Champions Cup. At the front Wadsworth used one of his
patented finish line stretches to beat Johnson by a boot length.

For the women Katrin Smigun needed only to have a top three Gold Rush finish
to take the Champions Cup away from her Subaru Factory Team mate Abby
Larson. Smigun did so with a second place finish to Brooke Baughman with
NCAA double champion Sigrid Aas taking third.

This is the 9th consecutive season that the Subaru Factory Team has won
either (if not both) the men's or women's titles in the American Ski
Marathon Series www.xcskiworld.com <http://www.xcskiworld.com>

<http://www.royalgorge.com/EventGoldRush.asp?fv=6&b=2&d=1&pageredirect=Event
GoldRush.asp>

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Kikkan Randall US Developmental Taem and APU - Salomon Athlete Force

2004 Alpen Trophy - Another podium and a lock on the overall
Tarvisio, Italy
March 20, 2004
Women's 5km Classic
Whew, I'm back!! It seems like I just finished writing about the last race
when it was time to go out there and create another story to tell. Today we
started the final weekend of racing in the hometown of this year's Women's
World Cup Champion - Gabriella Paruzzi. There are posters all over the
place celebrating her overall win and even the track bears her name.

After three sprints in the last four races it was time to get back to the
distance events. The course here in Tarvisio is a single 5km loop that
zooms up and down on the side of a formidable alpine hill. For today's
race the women skied one lap (5km) classic and the men skied two laps
(10km), also classic. The weather is still quite warm, despite some fog
that rolled in over night, so we pulled out the stickiest klister we could
find and slapped it on the boards for some more racing action.

Music was blaring and the wind was rustling the inflatable start and finish
banners as I jogged to the start. The snow was very wet and mushy so I had
finished my jumps and sprints on the pavement before coming over. I was
glad to strip off my warm-ups as the first starter went out on the course.
Then I stepped into line and waited for my turn.

I started bib #8 with my teammate Melissa Oram chasing me down from behind.
The first kilometer of the course traveled out of the stadium and around an
awkward loop of ups and downs and zigzagging turns. It was hard to get in a
rhythm with all the technique changes. After a few minutes the track came
back toward the stadium and crossed a bridge.

After a short downhill the course started to climb. I strided up the bottom
of the first big hill and then quickly switched to herringbone as the hill
steepened. I continued to herringbone around a dogleg turn to the left and
then jumped back into the tracks. It was an awkward transition as the hill
was still quite steep but my skis had plenty of kick and I worked into a
rhythmic stride. I knew this hill was long and so I started repeating to
myself, "Quick and light, quick and light," to keep a good pace.

The course doglegged again, this time to the right and I made running steps
around the turn. A group of Italian coaches were standing on the corner and
they yelled, "Via, Via, Kikkan," as I skied away.

The hill continued up around a bending left-hand turn and I was able to
lengthen my stride as the grade of the hill decreased slightly. I slid my
skis down the track with quick flicks of my shin and bounding leaps from
side to side and continued chanting in my head, "Quick and light, quick and
light."

Near the top of the hill I picked up the tempo to build momentum for the
next downhill. I came over the top and threw in a couple of double-poles
before dropping into a tuck. Under normal conditions this descent probably
would have been quick and fast, providing some rest after the long uphill.
However, because of the sloppy conditions, I had to break out of my tuck
several times to double-pole and keep the momentum going down the track.

The next section of course was a sweeping, sloppy, s-turn. I step-turned
through the mush as it sprayed up over my boots. Around the second-half of
the turn the slush pulled me to the outside and I narrowly missed hitting a
tree. I had to work my way back onto the trail and into the shallow track.
The tracks disappeared shortly thereafter as I came to another bridge. I
scrambled over the bridge and came out onto a short horseshoe loop.

As I began to ski toward the top of the horseshoe, I could see the bib #7
just ahead. She looked tired and I set my sights on catching her as soon as
possible. With my gaze fixed on her back I dropped back into my rhythmic
stride and slid my skis down the trail with a quick tempo. When I came
around the top of the loop I had made up some good distance. I got a short
rest in a tuck back down the other side of the horseshoe and crossed back
over the bridge. Then I worked my way around another slushy corner and into
another long climb.

By this point in the course I had already skied 2.5km and I was still
feeling strong. Midway up this hill I caught bib #7. She was struggling
out of the track and I sped by her with a smooth cadence. I continued to
focus on quick movements as I made my way up the rest of the hill. An
Italian coach yelled a split to me as I came over the top. "3rd place, via,
via!!" I was surprised and excited to be in contention for the podium. I
pushed off aggressively into the upcoming winding turns.

The slush continued to grab at my skis as I negotiated the turns. I got a
little rest in a high tuck before turning back to face the final big climb
of the course. This section of the course was in bad shape and I scrambled
over patches of ice and dirty snow. There was a short section of
double-pole and I tried to make quick compressions with my upper body. My
poles sunk deep into the slush and it was hard to keep a quick rhythm.

I made it over the top of the next hill with a slipshod stride. The course
then descended and made an abrupt right hand turn. I had some good speed
coming into the turn and I had to skid to avoid flying off the edge.

The last kilometer was a long u-shaped loop that was mostly flat, with a
hill at the far end. I strode up the hill as fast as I could go without
forgoing efficient technique. More Italian coaches at the top of hill,
"Via, via, di, di!!"

The flat coming back toward the stadium was tough. The wet snow in the
tracks pulled on the skis and seemed to suck up each pole-plant. I tried to
be up and forward but I found myself instead, sinking deep into each
compression.

Then at last I came over the bridge, down a short hill and onto the finish
stretch. It was gradual uphill and long and straight. At first I
double-poled and then quickly switched to double-pole with kick. That
lasted for a few meters and then I switched to striding. After a few meters
of that I decided it was ridiculous to be striding on such a flat and I
transitioned back to double-pole with kick.

The last 10 meters I resorted back to striding, sliding my skis madly down
the track like I had during the classic sprint in Bad Gastein. Finally my
foot slid across the line and I came to a halt over my poles. The effort
left me feeling pretty wasted and I stood there for a minute to compose
myself.

Aubrey had finished just ahead of me and they were announcing her time as I
crossed the finish line. Then, before they could announce my time, Melissa
came across the finish and they switched to announcing her result. So I was
left wondering how I did as I set off on my cool-down with one of my Italian
friends.

We skied a couple loops of the course and cheered the boys on. Then I came
back to the wax station to change into dry clothes.

My teammates were at the wax station cleaning the klister off their skis and
they immediately offered congratulations to me for my good race. I had no
idea what the results were and I was pleasantly surprised to hear that I had
skied to third place. This was my fourth third place in five races and I
was excited to have a podium result in a distance race as well as the
sprints.

So, another trip to the podium!!

The 2004 Alpen Trophy finishes off tomorrow with a 10km mass-start skate.
Tonight I was informed that I am in the lead of the over-all Alpen Trophy
for the senior women by 51 points. So, because a win tomorrow is only worth
50 points, no one will be able to catch me!! Therefore, I can finish off
this race series with one more, good race!!

It's gonna be fun!!

Cheers,
Kikkan Randall www.kikkan.com <http://www.kikkan.com>


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Team Tactics by David Stewart:

Nordic ski racing is an individual sport. There's no disputing that. But
when it comes to marathon racing, having a few teammates on your side can
certainly come in handy. Think of the Tour de France. Lance Armstrong is
the world's greatest cyclist, but could he win the race year after year
without the other members of his team? Did you ever see Erik Zabel win a
sprint without a lead-out from the pink train of Telekom? I don't think so.
The Subaru Factory Team is just that'a team. And one of the reasons that we
win the ASMS overall nearly every year is not simply because we have the
strongest skiers (other teams have them too), but because we work as a team
(if a dysfunctional one). This last West Yellowstone Rendezvous was a
prime example.

With only two races left on the ASMS, the contest for the overall male
winner has come down to a battle between Pat Weaver and Subaru's Scott
Loomis. If Scott could win both the Yellowstone Rendezvous and the
California Gold Rush, and Weaver places second or worse, Scott will win'by
one point.

With this in mind, our team goal at the Rendezvous was to get Loomis on
top of the podium. The race course is fairly flat and the conditions were
rocket fast, so it was difficult throughout the race for anyone to break
away. The pace was moderate for the first 25 km, and a pack of about 10
skiers was still together at that point, in much the same way that a bike
race will stay tight on the flats before a climb. I figured that I wouldn't
be going for the win at the end, so I pushed the pace 1 km before the lap,
and took the $100 preem for the first racer to reach 25km. I then settled
back into the pack.

With nearly 15 km to go, Scott broke the race apart with a move that
whittled the lead group down to about 6, with Weaver and myself among them.
At the 45 km mark Weaver went all-out on the course's final substantial hill
in an effort to drop us and avoid a sprint finish. Loomis and I were able
to go with him, and for the last few kilometers Weaver led, followed by
myself and Loomis.

In the Lake Placid Loppet a month before, I had skied the entire race
with Weaver only to have him start his sprint with about 1 km to go (ouch),
and go on to beat me out by under 2 seconds. So when Weaver made his jump
with a kilometer to go, I knew it was coming and I was ready. I had to
sprint to stay with him, but once I was in his draft I had too much of an
advantage and he could not get away. He looked back, resigned himself to a
real sprint finish, and backed off.

Instantly, I saw an opportunity and I took it. With 400 meters to go, I
pulled out around Weaver, took one look behind me to be sure that Scott was
with me, and threw it down. I moved up along side of Weaver and sprinted,
not for the finish, but for a point about 100-150 meters short of it. When
I reached that point and was just ahead of Weaver I pealed off to the left
and let Scott go by. Not missing a stride, Scott stormed by like he was
flying out of cannon and went on to edge out Weaver by a few boot-lengths.
My mission accomplished, I crossed the line a few seconds back for third.

Now, I'm not saying that Scott couldn't have won the race on his own.
He's been our top marathon racer over the entire season., and that's why he'
s got a shot at the overall title this year. But I like to think I helped,
and I know he'd do the same for me were I in his shoes. Pat had to lead the
last 5 km of the race, make repeated efforts to break away (all the while
making a draft for us), and he had no teammate to save his energy for the
final dash to the line. As a result, he was left just short after 50 km.
If he had a teammate on his side'.?


Dave Stewart Subaru Factory Team


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Question from skiPost reader to Skiing Public regarding Yoga

Are and skiPost readers aware of any research, practitioners or guidance
related to the practice of yoga as part of training for cross country ski
racing (or endurance sports in general). I am hoping for insights and
experiences beyond the obvious benefits of stretching and flexibility.

Thanks
Doug Douglascale@aol.com

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SKIING IN THE WEST FROM AN EASTERN PERSPECTIVE

One of the many pleasures of growing up in the Northeast is the amazing
contrast in seasons. The Summer months bring many types of warm weather
great for outdoor training activities like running, biking, hiking, and
swimming. Crisp mornings and leaves falling to the ground are a sure sign
of the long cold Winter ahead. After 4-6 months of skiing through fluffy
white flakes, ice, slush, and dirt we head into right into the mud season.
And then...it all starts up again!! This contrast is great, but there are
days during the long cold snaps of January (like this year!) when it would
be really nice to go for a warm bike ride or run. Likewise, during those
incredibly hot and humid stretches of Summer the thought of a nice crust ski
is often conjured up during a restless sleep. Is there a happy medium? Is
there someplace you can do it all? For the past five years I have been
spending the Summers in Hood River, Oregon. For the Fall, Winter race
season, and Spring it's back to the east coast for a home base to ski out
of. This Winter I finally made the permanent move to the west coast, and
with that wanted to share a little of what it's like out here with all the
easterners back home!

I was skeptical at first, but after numerous days of skiing on the over 10
foot base at the local nordic area on Mt. Hood and coming down to people
road biking in town I began to believe! Two seasons were coexisting!
Although there are cold snaps, the pleasure of endless snow is often there
along with the option of biking or running in comfort in town. In the dead
of Summer I am only 1 hr from a Telemark ski or crust cruise, and this is in
Oregon! Even better possibilities for the coexistence of dryland training
and skiing can often be found in towns like Lake Tahoe, Boulder, Bozeman,
and Sun Valley. If you haven't traveled to any of the cities you really owe
it to yourself to check them out!! The marathon racing circuit provides a
wonderful way of doing this. The Boulder Mountain Tour in Sun Valley and
the Great Race in Lake Tahoe are two 30k races that are really incredible
and well worth the trip. Both have a net elevation loss from start to
finish and are often accompanied (especially the Great Race) by a post race
shirtless cool down, sunbathing, and re-hydration. I certainly don't want
to take anything away from the often sub-zero Lake Placid Loppet or
Craftsbury Marathon, but this just seems like a real nice change of pace
this time of year when it's been a long cold Winter. So, if you've been
doing the same races every season for the past decade and you're aching for
a change, why not splurge for a trip to West and check it out? Two weeks
ago I raced the "Geat Race" in Lake Tahoe, California and can honestly say
that it was one of the most beautiful racing experiences I have ever had.
The Spring is here in Hood River, Oregon and the flowers are blooming in
town. I was up skiing two days ago 35 miles away on an 8 foot base of snow,
I just can't complain!!

Enjoy Winter wherever you are!

Jason Lemieux, Subaru Factory Team
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Colorado International Spring Series March 27 - April 4

Online registration through Friday, March 26

March 24, 2004 - Fraser, CO - The line-up for the 2004 Colorado
International Spring Series (CISS) features hot competition, sizzling
courses, and smokin' apr

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