SMS T2 Midwinter Update

Midwinter update. Yikes! Time flies when you are having fun I guess!

The SMS T2 group recently returned from a successful week of racing at Nationals in Houghton, Michigan. While the early period of racing in November and December was marked by warm temperatures and sun, our time in the “U.P.” of Michigan was very much the opposite. Cold, blowing winds and heavy snowfall each day challenged athletes abilities to simultaneously wear all of their outdoor gear and perform at the highest level.

Dry roads and bare ground in VT headed out to MI at the end of December
Dry roads and bare ground in VT headed out to MI at the end of December
A little bit more snow in the Upper Peninsula
A little bit more snow in the Upper Peninsula…

On the drive up to Michigan the group stopped in Cable, WI to spend the night and break up the travel day. The group was able to get some great training in and defrost afterword in the Hart’s lovely cabin just 5 minutes from the trailhead.

A wonderful place to break up the long drive from MSP to Houghton
A wonderful place to break up the long drive from MSP to Houghton
Not the fireplace at the cabin, but at the host family for the SMS group. I spent a few afternoons here trying to warm up after long cold days in the wax room.
Not the fireplace at the Hart’s cabin, but at the host family for the SMS group. I spent a few afternoons here trying to warm up after long cold days in the wax room.

While in Cable we were also fortunate to stop and dine at the Rivers Eatery which hands down serves the best pizza, appetizers, and drinks in the area. The service and atmosphere was amazing and after some great food the athletes were treated to a night of live music. It was really cool to see what a vibrant outdoor community the Cable and Hayward area support with the Birkie trails being a centerpiece of the action.

Happy campers after a long day of skiing
Happy campers after a long day of skiing
Some of the awesome classic only single track trails winding in and out of main Birkie trails
Some of the awesome classic only single track trails winding in and out of main Birkie trails

While the cold temperatures and gusty winds put a damper on some of the fun, the athletes all did a great job prevailing over the tough weather and put together some fantastic races. Highlights from the week included Anne, Annnie, and Ben qualifying for U-23 championships in Kazakstan and the entire group meet qualifying criteria for the later season OPA cup races in February and March. Ben and Anne had stellar classic sprints finishing 2nd and 4th respectively and Erika posted 3 top 10 finished (just missing a 4th with an 11th place finish in the 20k classic) as well as her first appearance in a A final at US Nationals.

Nationals Skate Sprint Recap

Nationals 20/30k Classic Mass Start Recap

Nationals Classic Sprint

Nationals Individual Skate Race

Our wax room before sharing it with 4 other teams
Our wax room before sharing it with 4 other teams
Lots of cold waxes and additives to try to coerce skate skis into gliding
Lots of cold waxes and additives to try to coerce skate skis into gliding
The only picture I have from racing during the week and I didn't even take it. Must have been to busy cheering… Anne, KO, and Erika racing towards the finish in the Semifinal in the CL Sprint (Photo: Bryan Fish)
The only picture I have from racing during the week and I didn’t even take it. Must have been to busy cheering… Anne, KO, and Erika racing towards the finish in the Semifinal of the CL Sprint (Photo: Bryan Fish)

Post Nationals, the domestic group is putting in a training block getting in some solid volume, intensity, and a few low key race starts before the U-23s depart for Kazakstan and Erika continues chasing the Supertour with two back to back weekends of racing in Craftsbury.

Sharing the manmade loop in MSP post nationals with what seemed to be the entire school system in the area. Made for some interesting slalom intervals
Sharing the manmade loop in MSP post nationals with what seemed to be the entire school system in the area. Made for some interesting slalom intervals

Stay tuned for more updates from the T2 squad here in the US and over in Europe!

Pat

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