The first race of what will be a packed season of racing was the Alberta Cup in Canmore, Nov 30 – Dec 1. Saturday’s race was a short skate sprint. I was feeling pretty good, but made some tactical errors that I didn’t seem to be learning from throughout the day that kept leaving me on my heels in the finishing straight. This was definitely frustrating as I was super determined to make the final, but lessons were learned and I still have to be happy with my effort!
Because I don’t have enough faith in my finishing kick, I try to lead in sprints as I think that's what I have to do to give myself the best possible chance of moving on. Unfortunately leading can be really tiring, and strategically, being in front in a sprint is not where you want to be, because you never know what’s happening behind you, and others can draft off you on the downhills. I made the mistake of leading my semi-final and didn’t take a really important 180 degree turn the right way, allowing some girls to get in my draft and slingshot by me, and these mistakes cost me a few positions that I couldn’t make up before the finish line.
You can ask my coach and my team-mates, I analyzed this race EXTREMELY thoroughly, going over each part of the course in my mind and thinking about what I should have done differently. At the end of the day, I know I had nothing left in the tank to give, and I learned some good lessons on strategy, so it was a positive experience!
Sundays race was a super flat 10km classic. I was really excited about this race (before I knew how flat it was) because I’ve had great results in distance classic races in Canmore – usually the courses here suit me really well because they are hilly. I was sad to learn that the World Cup trails still weren’t ready due to a lack of snow, so we’d be racing along the Banff Trail (basically the green circle highway that is a favourite among tourists). This course would favour the strong double polers, in fact a few of the men raced on skate skis!
Oh well, I was stoked to do this distance race anyways, and was going to enjoy it no matter what. I actually felt really good during this race. It was the type of course that would be easy to slack off on, because the terrain was rather monotonous, so every inch of the course I was telling myself to keep pushing and make every double pole and every stride count. It paid off, and I ended the day 5th Senior women, 6 seconds from 4th, and 1st U23. Very pleased with this result! More confidence boosting – my double poling strength is coming along!
Saturday skate sprint results
Sunday distance classic results
This was probably going to be the only time our entire team would be together all season, so we took some team shots. Rocky Mountain Racers!