There is something very special about Spring Series, and the week of racing that it brings. No other time of the year feels the same.
The racing is really serious, yet so relaxed and mellow. It’s a time when athletes come together for one more week of punishment after months of racing and pushing our bodies to the edge.
So many athletes are done with the season, burnt out, had enough, yet everyone still comes from all over the country to race and enjoy one more week together. Some athletes even come out of retirement just to participate in races they are so fun.
Are the courses easier? Is the competition softer? Do we ski less? Nope. This week we were racing at over 2200meters on a course that had a 6 minute continuous climb in it. We raced a total of 71 km over four races and some of the best World Cup skiers were there competing.
The reason it’s so special is that Spring Series is simply a celebration of another winter spent racing with friends and that’s always something special. That another year has come to an end and no matter how it went it’s time for fun!
After the first weekend of racing we had a day off before a 4x5km team relay. Just to make things interesting the night before the race we got 10 inches of heavy, wet, Spring snow on top of the slush that was underneath. I was the second leg of our team and I had a super tough ski. I didn’t have any grip classic skiing so I had to double pole a rather tough 5km race. Still it was a really fun day to be a part of.
After another day off and a little bit of rest and recovery we had the 50km skate mass start. I was really excited about this race! I really like 50km races and I was so excited to be a part of this one! Firstly when I crossed that finish line I knew I was crossing off the season for another year. Secondly it was a beautiful sunny day and just the excited, jovial energy of the group just made everyone smile and look forward to the race. It was 9 laps of a 5km loop plus a “parade lap” on the sprint course. I was feeling awesome at the start and perhaps was a little swept up in it all but I pushed hard and worked my way up the field for the first 15km. The course was super fast, we started at 9:00am and after a night of hard freezing it was just crazy skiing. The corners on the downhills were extremely dodgy and by the end of the race there were a few guys on crutches hobbling around. People ended up in trees, rocks, bushes, you name it they hit it.
After 15-20km I started to fatigue and for 5km I died hard and dropped places before regaining my composure and pushing to the finish. Not an amazing race but a lot of fun. After the race most of the men walked out onto course and sat on one of the hills and cheered on the ladies. It was a great atmosphere as everyone joked and talked about the race, drank a few quiet beers and someone had even brought up a small coal BBQ and was cooking sausages. A great day spent skiing in the sun with friends.
I have now driven back to Bozeman and will be here for a few days as I gather my gear and move up to Alaska for a while. I’m off next week to the very north of Alaska, the part that’s considered inside the Arctic Circle for a week. I’m working with a program that teaches native children to ski. I did it last year and had a blast and I can’t wait to do it again.
Seeing as it’s the end of the racing season I would just like to thank everyone that has supported me over the past 12 months: BSF Nordic Elite Team, Rossignol, the Birkebeiner Nordic Ski Club and the Australian Cross-Country ski team. A Massive thank you to them all, I can’t do it without them supporting me each year! Also a huge shout out and thank you to all my family and friends who continuously support me!
Train hard, Rest easy, Live for the moment.