Simi Hamilton

 

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After an up and down first WC period in Europe, I’m back in Aspen making the most of the comforts of home. After a few weeks in northern Finland and Sweden, we chase the sun down to central Europe and had some great racing in Germany and Switzerland. Sprinting in Dusseldorf was a wild experience. The course is laid out literally right above the Rhine in the downtown streets, and the WC hotel is part of a Bundasliga 2 soccer stadium (photo below). Needless to say, it was a very new and cool experience. For me personally, the races weren’t great, but we had some good team performances, highlighted by Kikkan’s 2nd place.  The 2 lap course is tricky… pacing is a key factor. It is entirely flat, so recovery is hard to come by. For the most part, if you try to ski the 3:30 qualifier like you would a normal skate sprint, you’ll most likely end up losing quite a bit of time in the last 500 m. because you’re so blown out from the first 2/3. Believe me, it’s true, I know from experience. But Andy and I rolled into the team Sprint on that Sunday renewed and with a fresh confidence (neither of us had good days on the individual day). Conditions were way better than the previous day- hard and fast snow made for more sprint-like conditions. Our semi heat was going really well; our heat was significantly faster than the previous heat, and we maintained a great position in the lead pack for 5 of the 6 legs. With 600 meters left on my last lap before tagging Andy for his last lap, a German made what I thought to be a very questionable move as he cut right in front of me skied over both of my skies, sending me toppling into the slush and watching as the front pack (which I had been in) skied away toward the exchange. But hey, that’s ski racing. Sometimes things don’t work out in your favor, and it sucks. 

On Monday, I put the not-so-great weekend of racing behind me and we headed to Davos to meet up with the rest of the team. Besides getting a massive dump of 50+ cm right before the distance race, training went really well all week. My leg was feeling the best it had been feeling since I injured it in October, and I was no longer hesitant to really put it to the test during skate workouts. 

It was fun watching the crew race the tough 10/15 km on Saturday. No one had a truly stellar day, but it was still awesome watching everyone hang tough through the crazy conditions. Sunday’s sprint yielded really great conditions, and the sun even blessed us with its presence for most of the day. My qualifier went well- I felt strong, relaxed, and efficient and was pretty psyched when I saw that I skied to 11th. I wasn’t particularly psyched with how my heat ended up going, but I learned some really good things that I will undoubtedly be applying to the next WC heat I ski.

Now home for a couple weeks before jumping back on a plane and heading out to Rumford nationals. Check back in for an update from Aspen, where it’s currently dumping!

Davos!

 

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12.15

2010

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