Simi Hamilton


Archive for November, 2013

Feeling like my power and energy are in a good place. Photo from Sunday's skate sprint qualifier in Beitostolen, Norway.

One Down, A Whole Lot More To Go

Topic: General News

I think it was when I was skidding to a stop on my face on a sheet of ice that I realized I wasn’t having a very great day. Generally, it’s faster to stay upright on your skis while you race, but apparently my kick pocket didn’t get that memo when it decided to launch me like a scud missile head first into the banked corner at the very bottom of the longest downhill of the season opener 15 km distance race in Beitostolen, Norway. So I think it’s fair to say that maybe the first real race of the year was not exactly what I was looking for. I felt terrible… my body was tired and it wasn’t firing like I needed it to, I shattered my pole when I face planted and had to ski the entire 2 minute climb after the corner with one pole (I actually did a fair amount of that this summer with a wrist injury, so I’d like to think that really helped), and then I skied for about 3 km with a spare pole that was 10 cm too tall. But I’m fairly certain that that by the time I was cooled down from the race and warming up in the shower, I was chuckling about how horrible of a day it was. You learn to deal with days like that after ski racing for 16 years. Sometimes I think it’s hindering to not get too worked up about a bad race day or an unlucky crash, but every now and then I think it helps to have that kind of personality

Fortunately, I was able to salvage a bit of my bruised ego two days later in the skate sprint race in the same small Norwegian town. At least for the first half of the day. I qualified decently well, which in Beito is generally a good sign considering it’s one of Norway’s biggest Scando Cup races of the year and more often than not all the big guns come out to play. My energy was great leading in to my quarterfinal but an overly aggressive move on the inside of an icy corner left me tangled with a German and with another shattered pole. Come to think of it, I’m really glad that I don’t have to buy poles anymore and that Swix’s support for it’s World Cup athletes is off the chart.

So the first weekend is in the books and now it’s time to get fired up for the World Cup opener in Ruka, Finland coming up in T-minus three days. The travel from Norway over to the true northland (Kuusamo is basically on the Arctic Circle and I’m fairly confident that this far north the reindeer to human ratio is about 5:1) was easy. The conditions here in Ruka are superb… this will be my 4th year racing here and I’ve never seen the race trails and the ‘tourist’ trails in such great shape. I’m unbelievably stoked for Friday’s sprint and the team energy is super positive right now. All for now!

Beauty of a morning yesterday flying out of Oslo en route to Finland

Feeling like my power and energy are in a good place. Photo from Sunday's skate sprint qualifier in Beitostolen, Norway.

Mmmmm. Look at that 'stache. That is a thing of beauty if I've ever seen one (Just kidding mom, I promise I'll shave that bugger off in a few days).

Brings me back to my high school days... some young jibbers setting up a handrail outside of our apartment last nigh. I think they just built the jump, looked at it, and talked about how sweet it would be to hit it. Posers.



A short but productive storm that rolled in last night

Welcome Back

Topic: General News

Well, I’ll start this post as I do most of my posts: It’s been a while. But as I look ahead to the next 5 months on the road in Europe, I can genuinely say that I’m stoked to keep all of you filled on my adventures, races, daily run-ins with strange European mannerisms, and everything in between. I got to spend a lot of time with friends, family, and fans (that word makes me feel pretentious but oh well) at home and in Vermont before I left for the season, and one of the most eye-opening things that occurred to me is that there are many, many people out there that are anxious to know what I’m up to, here the stories, and see what I’m seeing everyday. So here we go.

Before I give a run-down about how great the travel/race season has been so far (granted we’re only about 4 days into it), I want to give an enormous shout-out to:

1. My home town… before I left (literally just a few hours before), we had our annual fundraiser in Aspen to help support Noah, Michael Ward (U.S. Ski Team Nordic Combined athlete and home-town Aspen boy), and myself as we head toward Sochi. As it has been for the two previous years we’ve done the fundraiser, the night was a huge success. It’s always so wonderful to see old teachers, family-friends, old teammates, and so many community members in general. Although I don’t get to spend nearly as much time at home as I would like to these days, I can’t tell all of you how much it means to me to be able to physically see and feel all the energy and momentum that is lifting us Aspenites towards our ultimate goal of becoming Olympic Champions and great role models for the next generation. It is huge for us, and we appreciate everything so much. For the event, I put together a video highlighting some of our past seasons’ performances and our thoughts as we head into the Olympic year. For those that don’t know me, I don’t usually comb my hair, have a mustache, dress in Christmas sweaters, and sit by the crackling fire while I read Henry James’ Portrait of a Lady, or at least in combination.

2. My aunt and uncle Tots and Lolly… Tots and Lol are like my guarding angels. If it wasn’t for them, I’d probably still be in Vermont trying to pack, organize, and get everything I needed to get done before I left for the season. You guys are so awesome and I can’t thank you enough for all of your love, support, and long drives to help me pack, organize, and take me out to lunch.

Okay, so we arrived in Beitostolen, Norway (a sleepy resort-town about 2.5 hours northwest of Oslo) a few days ago. Although we were told the quality of snow was above average for the area this time of year, we brought with us the warm temps and had a couple days of so-so (relatively) conditions. Our luck turned around last night as a couple inches of big-flaked snow carpeted the trails and was immediately followed by a cold high pressure system that is supposed to sit over the are thru the weekend. The skiing today was outstanding with firm tracks, plenty of coverage and northland sunshine. Ahhhh Norway, that’s how I remember you. There will be two distance races and a sprint this weekend, and most of us will race a combination of two. I, myself, will race the 15 km classic on Friday and the skate sprint on Sunday. Because this weekend is not a World Cup, a quota doesn’t exist for start spots. Which essentially means that because this is Norway and because it is an open-entry race, there will most likely be around 1,000 people racing each day (no joke). And since the sun rises at 8:30 and sets at about 3, people will literally be racing from dawn till dusk. It’s a great scene, and I’ve had some good races on these courses before, so I’m pumped. On Monday we hit the road, flying over to Kuusamo, Finland (where it’s even colder and darker) for our World Cup opener weekend. Even though training has been going great this week and my body is feeling a little slow from one last push of volume and a little bit of jetlag, I’ve been trying to find some time this week to take a deep breath and get my mind where it needs to be for a very busy winter ahead. Basically, I’m looking down the barrel of 5 months of racing every single weekend, with lots of quality training on those week days that we’re not racing. It’s going to be a good adventure, so continue to check back in and follow along as we head toward Sochi…

Here are a few pics I snapped from around Beito.

Sun coming up as Liz and I walk to the venue at 9:10 this morning

A short but productive storm that rolled in last night

A few of the many Norwegians pounding out some intervals on the great tracks this morning

Pretty stellar view from the venue this morning of the moon and northland plateau. Seeing this land makes me want to come on a month long crust skiing trip to this place someday

Here’s a short clip showcasing the quality of snow and skiing right now in Beito:

We work hard, but these guys are always working harder. They get it done in the wax room day in and day out and take very little credit for it. Simply, THEY F%^&*#G ROCK



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