After a rest week at home and a mid-winter training week in Stratton, I’m currently in Lake Placid, NY for a weekend of Super Tour racing. I’m staying at the Olympic Training Center (one of the perks of reaching third on the overall SuperTour ranking list!), and it feels a little funny to be back in Placid during the winter months. For as long as I can remember Lake Placid has been all about the September training camp alongside the US Ski Team. But packing up the car yesterday we traded the roller skis for the snow skis, and swapped helmets for hats.
Despite the funny feelings, I’m really excited for the races this weekend. One of the reasons I’m really excited is that two of my teammates- Jessie Diggins and Sophie Caldwell- have been absolutely crushing World Cup competition. Jessie most recently got third in a 10K skate, and then anchored the relay team that Sophie led off to a second place finish. Before that, both Sophie and Jessie won their first World Cups, proving that the US isn’t just a one trick pony.
Jessie recently wrote a blog where she recounted a conversation she had with Astrid Jacobsen (a Norwegian skiing star): “She (Astrid) was commenting on the feeling of doing well in a World Cup when you know you’re up against the best in the world, and she said ‘it’s really cool when you can see the top. When you know exactly how close you are to winning and you know what you have to do to get there.’”
While I don’t think I’m ready to battle for the top spot on a World Cup podium (yet!), I know I’m ready to make the jump, and having trained with Jessie and Sophie I know what I have to do. Some of it is tangible- continue the work I’ve put in to building strength, fitness, and technique. A lot of it, however, is intangible. I watch them attack courses with an unshakable confidence in themselves, an understanding that not every day will be perfect, and all the while maintaining an unflappable belief in the process (and looking amazing doing it).
I’m hugely inspired. Nationals was a tremendous step in the right direction, but I’m not ready to accept that as the highlight of my season. This weekend we have a skate sprint and a 10K classic on tap, then next weekend a 5K skate and another 10K classic. Check back in later for a recap of the next two weekends of racing!