West Yellowstone

So the first weekend of racing is over. The first racing period has begun- four weekends of racing in a row leading into Christmas. The West Yellowstone ski festival has been a lot of fun and fairly successful. Early in the week we got a lot of snow and then it warmed up melting the snow a little. Then it all froze solid… Everything went to a sheet of hard ice. It made skiing, racing and driving challenging. Even walking the streets was a battle and people were falling everywhere!

You can't have a team of 40 athletes and juniors without some vans!
You can’t have a team of 40 athletes and juniors without some team vans!

I was rooming with fellow Aussie Mark Pollock, which was a lot of fun and made living really easy. He is also racing with BSF for part of the season, which is great. I went into the weekend of racing feeling really good and ready to throw down!

Roomie Mark pollock icing up.
Roomie Mark icing up his knees.

Friday was a skate sprint but it was more like a short dash. The course was only around 1000-1200 metres long and just rolling flat with one little pinch. I find such a flat, short course difficult, however I was really looking forward to the sprint. My sprinting has improved so I was hoping to make the top 30 and move into the knockout heats. I sprinted well but frustratingly missed out on top 30 by just 3 seconds. The sprint for me was solid and an improvement from past years but not quite as much of an improvement as I had hoped for. I’m looking forward to seeing a better result on a hillier course that suits me more.

Pretty big crowds for both days of racing
Pretty big crowds for both days of racing

I had my eye on Saturday as the race I really wanted to be successful in. The 15km skate individual start. The weather deteriorated for the Saturday, with strong winds covering the whole 5 km loop with pine needles and other bits of debris. Then around an hour before the start it started snowing pellets of snow. The mixture of snow pellets, pine needles and dirt on the track made for some slow, sticky skiing. The BSF waxing crew managed to do an amazing job on our skis on Friday, the skis were rockets! Then again on Saturday, even with all the mess on the course, the skis were fast. A big thanks to the wax crew in such testing conditions!

The wax truck and trailer that BSF takes to all the races
The wax truck and trailer that BSF takes to all the races

Saturday went really well for me. I was in the mix for most of the race. For the first lap I was sitting in 15th place and then I slowly was pushed back a little as I fatigued. The race course is brutal with no rest and above 2000 metres. I managed to finish in 28th place. A long way back from 15th originally but I was only 2 minutes behind the winner and the race was so tight in the top 30. It’s great to know I’m in form and skiing well and with a little more work I should be closing that gap!

One of the best bit about being back on the circuit is being able to spend time with Lauren again and watch her race.
One of the best bit about being back on the circuit is being able to spend time with Lauren again and watch her race.

I’m back home in Bozeman and again it’s super cold. It’s been getting as low as -30C for the last few nights. Next weekends racing is home at Bozeman so I’m really looking forward to having another good race at the Bozeman Supertour.

Home sweet home in Bozeman.
Home sweet home in Bozeman.
The streets of Bozeman are very snowy and cold now but very pretty.
The streets of Bozeman are very snowy and cold now but very pretty.

Train hard, rest easy, live for the moment.

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