The three day event took place at Lake Louise with a vertical race on Friday, a sprint on Saturday, and an individual race on Sunday. Going in, I wanted to focus on the vertical and have a good result in the individual, and I wasn't too concerned with how the sprint would play out which would be beyond my control. So I skipped the sprint.
The vertical race took place on the final climb of the Ken Jones classic individual course. Up Larch, through Rock Garden to Elevator shaft. This is a climb that I have suffered up many times with fatigued legs at the end of the races, battling with 1-3 other skiers. This time, we'd be taking it on with fresh legs and starting with the entire field!
After a comfortable start, it started to feel a little too comfortable...so I attacked. By the time I was caught, just as we reached the flatter section, there were just 4 of us in a front group, but my legs were hurting! The course finished with a single skintrack section so while I entered the pain cave early on, I didn't have to worry about passing, just about hanging on. Barely. In the end I finished 4th. I had a strong race but was regretting not pacing better.
Sunday's individual race started early and cold with not much time for a warmup. The race would be long with the ER5 bootpack added in (as it was in 2016), in addition to the rest of the normal course! I let others dictate the pace and pretty much dangled in 4th place the entire race, seeing Rory in 3rd at skins-on transitions. With a strong bootpack, I had increased my grip on 4th place, but definitely was looking forward to the top of the final climb (the same climb as Friday's vertical race).
|The large field. Not only did a bunch of Americans come out, but it seems like there are more local guys donning skinsuits every year!|
|Grabbed a shotski from the bar to bring up onto the podium|