by Jennie

When I finally decided to go to the Aspen Supertour , I realized how this was the epitome of a “business with pleasure” trip. Just saying the word Aspen has so may expectations and assumptions unlike any other nordic location in the US, that I almost felt guilty buying my ticket. As I put on my fur coat and hopped in my private jet for the weekend, I knew it was the right choice. Wait what? Oh yeah, as I skied around the nordic trails with the warm West sun on my face, I realized this was the right choice. After hopping off my Southwest flight (which is an AWESOME airline!!) I met my teammate Karl in Denver and we drove into the glorious mountains that I miss so much. As we were trying to find the hotel where I took advantage of my first ever comp’d Supertour Housing, we stopped at a fancy establishment to ask directions. The man flirtatiously asked, “would you rather stay here?” “If you’re paying!” I laughed, saying I wished (because it looked quite nice) but couldn’t. Later I found out that they were the most expensive hotel in town, starting at $400 a night and up! Yikes! This trip was an experiment to see how I raced at Altitude (~8000ft) without acclimating. Usually I go out a week ahead of time, and slowly train through the fatigue cycle our bodies go though. They say the first race goes well, then you hit a wall. That couldn’t be closer to my truth. I won the classic sprint qualifier by 14 seconds, and two hours later during the classic 5k, hit the biggest wall since Junior Olympics in Truckee California many years ago. I picked up 3rd, but I was gapped by a large margin. On Sunday, I tried the Owl Creek 21k skate, knowing that it was pretty much all of my  weaknesses in one race, so I would use it as a learning experience. We climbed constantly, and I was with the chase pack for at least half until I needed to back down to survival pace. Aka, the pace you need to race so that altitude doesn’t team up with the grim reaper and force you to your knees.  I ended up 7th, behind all the gals who were either from altitude, or knew how to race at 8000 feet. Due to lack of snow in the Midwest, I figured there was no rush to return home (ahhh the joy of being in your 20s), so Lee and I stayed at a friends place in Park City until I flew to Madison.  It was nice to be on real snow, and ski more than a 3k manmade loop! Report on Madison will come soon!

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