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.


Jimmy Gunka said…
Shit happens Mike, hope your recovery goes well and I expect you to bang it out next NorAm weekend!