Two weeks ago I made a quick trip to Montana to watch my brother and former team (UVM) race in the NCAA Championships in Bozeman. The weather out there was amazing and seemed quite the tease but now we have it here too! UVM put on quite the show and brought home their first NCAA title since 1994. My little (but bigger) brother Alex had some great races, making for an awesome conclusion to his career as a Catamount. Bozeman is a special place for Alex and I to race as we have quite a few family members in the state who usually make the drive to come see us. This trip didn't disappoint...I think I saw eleven of them! Plus my whole immediate family got to be there as well!
I flew into Utah and met my parents, brother Isaac, and family-friend Heidi there. From there we rented a van and drove up to Montana. Here we are way too excited to be crossing from Utah into Idaho.
(L) Most of our drive was a white-out but we did see elk, antelope, deer and even buffalo! (R) Our fake wood stove that came with tools to poke the electric-fired log. How does that work?
Bohart Ranch, Bozeman MT.
(L) Nice skiing in the sun on the perimeter loop at Bohart. (R) Fun with my siblings at sunset on my relatives ranch outside Bozeman.
(L) Enjoying a sunset from the pasture at Ross Peak Ranch, Belgrade, MT. (R) Alex throwing down in the NCAA 10k Skate.
All smiles after a great end to Alex's collegiate racing career.
After Bozeman I came back to Maine in time to hop in the van to Canadian Nationals in Quebec. Canadian Nationals? Yes. We decided to race in Canada instead of our own Nationals because Canadian Nationals are notoriously more competitive and better attended than US Nationals. This year was no exception. Several of their National Team racers attended plus a whole gang of club skiers making each of the three events I skied larger than any other race I've done this year. Not to mention that there were around 150 athletes competing each day! The senior boys category had 40+ racers! Canada has bright future if these numbers continue....now the U.S. just needs to follow suit!
Getting my pre-race face on while getting some last minute advice from Seth.
(L) BethAnn and I at the start of the women's mass start race. (R) Me at the start of the sprint race in some very foggy weather. Luckily we never got rained on while racing. We did wake up to some lovely thunderstorms passing through before race time one morning!
BethAnn and I got to join a bunch of Canadian women in hosting a Fast & Female event right near the race venue. This was the toughest Fast & Female event I've done...the language barrier was huge! Most of the kids there spoke some english but somehow I got matched with a group that included a bunch of french-only girls. They had fun despite being inside due to rain....hopefully they'll be part of the next generation of athletic Canadian girls!
On Thursday night we went into Quebec City to check out the Crashed Ice Canadian Team trials racing that was going on. They make a downhill course (much like a snowboard cross course) out of ice complete with tough turns and jumps. Racers qualify individually and then race four cross style in heats. They skate on hockey skates....nuts!
The staging for the course was amazing...so much work for one week of competition and events!
The start...right at the top of the hill in downtown Quebec City.
My races in Canada went well considering how I felt going into the weekend. My season has been long but most of it has been training. In fact, prior to these races I hadn't done a biathlon race since the very beginning of February. With that in mind, I was really happy to come away with great shooting results after two of three races...2,0,0,1 (3 total misses) in the mass start and 0,1 (only 1 miss) in the sprint.
Middle school racing at 10th Mountain yesterday. The kids did great despite the super warm weather and mashed-potato snow. One more race to go!
What's left of the winter for me? Skiing until the snow's gone (hopefully including some crust cruisin') and then some easy time "off" until Seth and I make our migration to western Virginia for a biking vacation. It's 60 degrees and sunny out...time to get outside!