Race Faces, Homemade Headbands, and Blogging

Now that the season has officially kicked off, it’s time for some race recaps and race face photos. Racing generally means more time for things like this.  In between travel, resting, and fewer opportunities for adventures, the blog can come back out.  So without further ado: a life update from me.

No adventures for the blog this time, just good old fashion racing. I have to say, while I am truly addicted to adventuring, I am also addicted to racing.  Following the West Yellowstone supertours, my thoughts the next day focused on how we should be racing again or at least have a midweek race.  This weekend to weekend schedule was driving me crazy.  I don’t want to be a weekend warrior.  I’m a full warrior.  So instead Tyler Kornfield and I had fun spatchcocking a turkey to get my frustrations out.  We even managed to cook it well to make a lovely center piece for our delayed thanksgiving held on Sunday night. Racing takes precedence over thanksgiving as no one wants to race while still be super stuffed.  Also by delaying thanksgiving, it is much easier to justify eating pie for breakfast the next day as we are not racing in a few hours.

But back to racing. I had to put up with a few days of nice skiing in West Yellowstone before we could trek across the Idaho plains and nuclear sites to Sun Valley.  While we did have sun, it could also be noted that it was almost snowless valley; however, the groomers with some help from shovels put together a sweet 2.4k loop at Lake Creek.  This meant that we got to avoid a repeat of the spring races at Galena and avoid a potential double pole derby of Galena. Instead we got to race on hilly courses for the first time this season.

The sprint started things off at Lake Creek with a bang.  While I wasn’t sure how my qualifier went, the results indicated that I had made the heats in 15th place.  A personal best sprint qualifier place and classic had me pretty excited to try and make the semifinals.  I started my quarterfinal in my usual sprint start position (last) but quickly moved up and charged over the few hills. In the end, I came up a little short for moving on to the semifinals, but I was much closer than I have been before in a supertour field. This only built my excitement for the distance race.

For Sunday’s distance race, the guys at the venue arrived to an exciting race developing.  Shortly after the start, a two way battle was raging between my sister, Caitlin Patterson, and my teammate, Chelsea Holmes.  It was hard to focus on warming up properly as those two battled it out for several laps splitting up a little on the uphills only to regroup on the downs.  On the final lap, Chelsea put in a strong charge and dropped Caitlin.  However, the excitement wasn’t quite over when another teammate (Becca Rorabaugh) charged from behind to overtake my sister in second position. I will have to admit that family comes first and my loudest cheers were going for my sister. Thus I was disappointed, but still thrilled for my teammates.

My own race followed up shortly after.  The course consisted of a promenade short lap followed by six loops of the 2.4 kilometer loop.  Each loop treated the pack to three significant climbs and a couple of interesting corners. The men’s pack started relatively conservatively and I cruised around near the front for the promenade lap and the first two laps.  On the third lap things finally began to take shape.  Just prior to the largest climb, my teammate, David Norris, moved to the front and began to accelerate into the climb.  I was sitting in about 8th at that time.  He continued the charge up the hill and formed the first gaps of the race.  I was a little too far back to stay right with and had to put in my own charge over the top to reposition myself with the leaders.  This little acceleration kick-started my motor and put me in the mood to race instead of cruise.  Starting out the fourth lap, I moved to the front and never looked back.  Actually, I looked back, but I never did relinquish the lead.  I was able to develop a gap going up the largest climb on the fourth lap and extended my lead over the next two laps.  Coming into the finish, I had a 30 second lead to squander.  But it was too fun to ski fast, so I pushed all the way into the finish and celebrated with a quick fist pump, rather than taunting my competitors.  With that my first supertour win of the season, first mass start supertour win, period one supertours were in the books.

Looking back today, it’s hard not to attribute a great race to the changes and variations for the weekend.  Great wax and coaching support is always critical and the APU team did a stellar job.  Additionally, I had a big change going into this weekend by switching pole to a new sponsor, KV+.  While it may not have made a huge difference, there is nothing to say it didn’t. It is too easy to look and say that the new poles made me fast. (Check out http://www.mtendurancesports.com/ if you want to pick up some sweet KV+ tornados)

Now I am on my way back to Alaska to put in some work, some adventures, and some training to get ready for the next block of racing: Nationals in Houghton, Michigan. I have to say I am feeling pretty confident right now.

A few other write-ups of the race:

APU Newletter Write-up from Galen Johnson

Fasterskier Write-up

And now some pictures with a little description.  To put it bluntly, I may need to get a new headband.  The homemade headband with a couple patches doesn’t quite cut it for a professional look and a normal hair day.  My choice fabric seems to like to be closer to the sun than I like it to be.  Bring on the mushroom hairdo!

Watch that headband rise up! Photo: Caitlin Patterson


Getting the race face and hairdo going strong. Photo: Caitlin Patterson


Classic 15k Podium! Photo: Reese Hanneman


Post race chat with teammates, coaches, and wax techs. Photo: Caitlin Patterson

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