Senior Nationals- Day One!

Reporting from up in da yoop! This week I am lucky enough to get to compete at the US National Championships (aka Sr Nationals) in the Upper Peninsula! This is a big week for me because depending on how I do, I have some opportunities to qualify for other races and trips! A quick run down starting from yesterday: 
We (my dad, Molly, and I) arrived in Houghton yesterday afternoon, and after settling in, we headed to the race venue, the amazing Houghton ski trails. Today we went out to the trails again for an easy ski and then ate lunch before Molly and my dad went out to Swedes Town for some more skiing. For me, it's just an easy afternoon, with a run mixed in with extra homework.
Tomorrow is the first race, a 10k classic. The men race at 10:00 and the women at 1:00, so I'll have time to jog a little in the morning to sooth some pre-race nerves. 
Right away again on Monday is the skate sprint races. These will be pretty exciting for me because I'll be competing against my own age group vs the entire female field. Unlike Jr. Nationals, which I've competed in the past two Marches, Sr. Nationals has a much larger field of athletes. All of the elite skiers make their way across the nation to compete for national titles, or to qualify for different teams and World Cup spots. 
After saying goodbye to my dad and Molly on Monday, I'm gonna spend my rest days on Tuesday and Wednesday with the Endurance United skiers that are up here in Houghton. I'll have a 5k Skate mass start, again with my age group, late Thursday afternoon. After my race, I'll be heading home with the Endurance United crew, and hopefully get back in the Twin Cities semi-early.... for I have school Friday! 
Stadium holds the start and finish
One of the reasons I'm so exited to race is because the course is very challenging and really fun to ski! It's a big downhill slope that you ski up and down 3 times. At some points it's pretty steep, and other times its very gradual so you have to be a well rounded skier to compete well on this course. 
The first downhill
As you can see above, the first part of the first downhill is fairly gradual, but after what is seen here, it gets a little interesting. Twists and curves and a steep slope make it fairly interesting but the big surprise is the 180 degree turn at the bottom and turning straight back into the uphill. You go up the first large climb that has some of the steepest points of the course. You get to the top and turn back down into the downhill. The 2nd downhill has more curves (and a lot of cushions on the trees!) and has even a sharper 180 at the bottom! In order to ensure that I race as competitively as I can, I went as fast as I could down all the hills today. It definitely is a little scary, and I did take a tumble on that second hill turn. 
Top of the 2nd hill

The start of the 2nd climb is less steep, but a 'gravity box' adds a change up in the routine. When you reach the top, you turn around one last time to make the descent. The last downhill is the least scary, and when you get to the bottom you have less than a kilometer to go. 
Finish photo thanks to Skinnyski
Signing off so that I can enjoy the nice bit of sun that we have here! Hoping to get another update up after tomorrow's race!




Comments

  1. Good luck, Erin and have a great time!

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  2. Great job! So much fun to watch you! We are so excited for you! Good luck!

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