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Welcome! My name is Michael Somppi and I'm a competitive cross-country skier. I developed this blog so sponsors, family, friends and fans can keep up to date with my life as a full-time athlete. You can expect regular blog posts about racing, training, and life in general. Check out other sections of my blog by clicking on the tabs above.

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Rocky New Year

Well… it’s been a bumpy ride for me since I returned from Europe.  I arrive home on December 21st, sick and exhausted from the travel.  With the holidays in full bloom, I hustled around town Christmas shopping and visiting family.  As soon as I felt healthy enough I was back training hard, trying to squeeze in some volume, strength, and Lappe’s annual Boxing Day race.  I was rebounding pretty well until I came down with a random stomach bug that wiped me out completely for a day.  Two days later, on New Year’s Day, I was on the road to Houghton, Michigan.

This was all a bit crazy, but I couldn’t rationalize missing out on a chance to race US Nationals when it was only a 7.5-hour drive away.  At this point, some low-key volume training in Thunder Bay and a break from intensity would have been best for me, but the races weren’t going to wait on me so off to the States I went.

I was racing with low energy in Houghton and every race I had to really dig deep, yet I managed to have some decent results.  I certainly was hoping for more, but based on the circumstances I am satisfied to walk away with a couple top tens and a podium.

15km Classic: 10th place
Skate Sprint: 8th place
30km Skate: 3rd place

Above: Start of the 30km Skate Mass Start at US Nationals.  I'm bib #102.
Below: Leading the race with fellow Canadian, Kevin Sandau.

US National Championship 30km Podium
Ok, made it through US Nationals, now time to take a little break right?  Nope.  I had 6 days to try to recover then prime myself for a NorAm weekend in Thunder Bay… why do I do this to myself?  Ha ha.  That’s easy to answer, I love racing!  Sometimes to the point where it’s counter productive as in this particular scenario.

I felt so primed for Thursday’s skate sprint!  The qualifier felt awesome until I crested the main climb and the fatigue kicked in.  All through the heats it was the same thing.  My body would fail on me before I expected it to and there was just no fighting past it.  I ended the day in 7th, missing out on the A-Final.

Friday’s 15km classic was where I really fell apart.  First big climb I could feel it.  I had nothing in my legs.  I had been running on fumes and the tank was finally empty.  There was no fight left in me.  I ended up 9th place, a full 2 minutes behind in a race I had expected to be battling for the win.

I was done.  Cooked.  No 30km Skiathalon for me.  As fate had it, the 30km was cancelled due to cold temperatures anyway!  Time to take that rest I needed when I first arrived home from Europe.  Time to recover properly.