Simi Hamilton

 

Archive for February, 2013

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World Champions!

Topic: General News

Yesterday was a good day. Screw that, it was a GREAT day. The U.S. won its first ever World Championship gold medal in cross-country. Jessie and Kikkan have always held strong leaderships positions on this team and their team sprint victory showed us that anything is possible at this sport’s highest level. I think their energy in this photo shows exactly why they were able to pull this off. Hard work, belief, and team chemistry made this one happen. And I have a feeling it’s only the beginning, for them and for all of us.

And a huge congrats also goes out to Sarah Hendrickson, Park City’s own World Champion in women’s ski jumping. I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know her a bit since living in PC and always enjoy adventuring in the mountains with her brother, Nick. They are two of the nicest people you’ll ever meet and Sarah carries herself as a World Champion without the ego that sometimes comes with the title. Her win on Friday night sure did kick things in the right direction for the whole U.S. nordic team.

And of course I can’t leave the NoCo boys out of this post… they had some stellar jumps yesterday and followed it up with incredible skiing to take bronze in the men’s 4×5 km nordic combined relay. Todd, Billy, Taylor, and Brian are always a force to be reckoned with and they are playing a big part in why the U.S. is quickly becoming one of the nordic superpowers. Congrats boys.

I just finished up an update for the Aspen Times, which I think summarizes my week here at World Champs. Read it here or read it there. Enjoy:

I’ve never been fond of using a cliché to make a point, but in this case, one might have to do. Over the years- as an athlete, a student, a son, a brother, a boyfriend, a human being- I’ve been reminded time and time again that the only way we overcome obstacles and learn lessons making us better at the things we pursue is from getting up after we fall down. Over-used and a bit corny? Absolutely. Relevant? Absolutely absolutely. It was tough to sit down and write this week’s update, I won’t lie. And it wasn’t because I couldn’t find a free minute in my day, it was because this is World Championships week and I’ve had too many free minutes in all of my days here in Val di Fiemme.

I’ve struggled this season with illness, but to fall victim to a chest cold two days before the classic technique sprint at World Champs was like a dagger in my heart, especially after coming off a respectable 13th place in a World Cup Classic Sprint in Davos just two days earlier. It was made more devastating by the fact that I qualified 5th in the Davos prelims amongst a very elite field; a sign that my fitness and speed were finally back to normal and I was in a great place heading into the championships week. The feeling that I’ve had lingering in my head for the last six days is like the one you get when you know you’ve aced a test but simply forgot to write your name on the first page. So much preparation, so much investment, so many days of pushing my body and mind to their absolute limits; but seemingly all for nothing. I’ll stop myself there, however, because I know that’s not true. The things that I am learning from this experience will be worth their value ten-fold down the road. It’s just a matter of if I choose to accept them and carry them with me or not.  And so I will. If you want to be good at something- to be the best at anything- it takes trying and failing and more trying and more failing until you’ve tried and waited long enough to emerge successful in meeting your goals. Regardless of the outcome, you’ve won because you’re either proud of what you’ve learned along the way, you’re wearing a medal around your neck, or hopefully both.

So I continue down this road. Learning and living and loving even the parts that I hate until I’m proud of what I’ve done and the people that know me are proud of what I’ve done. This season is far from over, but more importantly, this long and crazy adventure as an athlete in one of the world’s hardest and most frustrating sports is far from over. Thanks to all that have supported and continue to support this journey.

 

02.25

2013

Inspired by T. Swift

Topic: General News

Well, when you’re on the road as much as we are, and you find yourself with wayyy too much freetime on occasion, you’re bound to do something that you probably wouldn’t do otherwise. This litte video is a project that our team has been working on for the last couple weeks. At first, I thought that doing all the editing, and listening to the song 1,000 times might be a little rough to say the least, but this was one of the most fun things I’ve done in a while and I’m pretty proud of the finished product. Hopefully you get a good laugh out of it! Check it out…

02.09

2013

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Back from Russia

Topic: General News

It’s basically impossible to put into words the magnitude of the undertaking in Sochi. Every corner you turn and kilometer you drive, new hotels, apartment complexes, athletic venues, parking lots, restaurants, gondolas, trams, rail lines, and rail stations are springing up out of thin air. Simply trying to count the number of dump trucks hauling earth along the highway from Sochi to Krasna Polyana (the site of all the ski/snowboard events and sliding events) would prove to be an undoable task. But with all the chaos and diesel fumes comes an exciting feeling that we are in the home stretch and final countdown to the 2014 games.

It was a great week of World Cup racing at the XC Olympic venue. Just to be able to learn the courses and the layout of the athlete’s village will prove to be huge advantages come next February. To get to both the stadium/race trails as well as the xc and biathlon athletes’ houses, you have to take a 15 minute gondola ride that spits you out on a forested ridge with some pretty amazing views of the surround Caucasus peaks. Despite the 10 or so cranes and round-the-clock nail pounding and bulldozing, the location of the village and the venue is spectacular.

The courses are unique. They are not particularly hard, but they certainly have plenty of hard components to them. I think they will be fun Olympic races to watch, mostly due to the fact that there will be so many variables on any given day. During this last weekend, we saw two straight days of a huge storm in which it snowed over 2 ft, followed immediately by two days of perfect blue-bird, sunny, 45 degree days. One of the highlights of the whole week was being able to look west on the clear days and see the coast along the Black Sea. The place is crazy.

The races went well. I was encouraged with how I felt on the sprint day, although some tactically poor decisions in my quarterfinal ended my day earlier than I would have liked. Still, I felt like I achieved one of my main goals going into the race weekend, which was to come up with a plan to ski the long and challenging sprint course smart, and then execute that plan during the qualifier. If the sprint day was a good day, then the team sprint day was a great day. Not only were the conditions awesome (fast and hard tracks, plenty of sun and warm temps), but I felt like I had the race that I’ve been looking to have all season. Newell and I were both ‘on’ that day, and our skiing showed. After winning our semi-final, we had a bit of bad luck in the final when Newell went down on the last corner into the stadium with about 250 meters left in the race. We had been sitting comfortably in 4th, with the podium just two seconds in front of us. I think it’s easy for people to look in from the outside and say “well, they had 4th place locked up, so why did they go for it and risk more than they needed to?” I, personally, am proud that Newell decided to go for all or nothing and tried to catch Emil and Axel on the last climb, risking a fall in the process from the crazy amount of lactate buildup potential on the 90 second steep final climb. If you never go for things like that in your life, you’re probably going to be doing some serious regretting when you are telling stories to your grandkids in 50 years.

I feel like I have my speed back after what has felt like a bit of a dissapointing and unlucky season so far. I’ve struggled with sickness during opportune moments this year, and finally I feel like my endurance and quickness are where I want them to be at this point in the year. I had the second-fastest 3rd leg time out of everyone in the team sprint final, so I know that my endurance is coming around just in time for World Champs.

It’s so nice to be in Davos again. Our friends Heinz and Herbert at the Kulm Hotel always know how to make us feel great again after long periods of travel. I can’t tell you how invigorating it is to wake up and look out your window in Davos. You just get psyched for everything from doing intensity on the race trails to taking a trip to town for an afternoon cup of coffee. I’m planning on hitting the slopes a bit during our training break here, so I’ll try to get some good pics and footage from up high on the piste. I’m stoked lock my heel in and seek out some face-shots. Cheers.

Leading the pack out of the stadium during the team sprint

 

Getting my stride on in the sun during the team sprint

Regular shuttle service around the village/venue... on a beast of a snowmobile

 

02.06

2013

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